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  • Last Friday, we had an amazing field trip to Mission San Juan Bautista. The kids learned so much about missions and how they operated. This information will be vital to the kids as they are currently in a social studies unit on California Missions. To visit San Juan Bautista Mission up close and personal was an experience I am sure the students will not soon forget. Wanted to personally thank all of our parent volunteers (Sharon Singer, Vera Yank, Nancy Larocca Hedley, Nick Gracia, and Amy Traum) for taking time out of their busy schedules to chaperone the kids on the trip. Enclosed are some highlights from the month of March.


    As I mentioned above, the class is currently working on informative reports on California Missions. We have assigned one of the twenty-one missions to each of the kids. Currently, they are researching their mission so they will have the necessary information to write a report on their particular place. It will be important for students to pace themself so they will complete their report on time. We will have our Missions Night on April 20th. Hope to see you.


    In reading, we have been going through the novel, Esperanza Rising. This novel tells the tale of a 14 year-old girl, Esperanza, whose family completes an emergency migration from Mexico to the United States to escape the heavy-handed ways of their uncles, Luis and Marco. Esperanza Rising is the classic Cinderella story, but with the twist of being told in reverse. Esperanza is the daughter of a wealthy landowner from Mexico, but is forced to move to California and becomes a migrant worker in the San Joaquin Valley. Esperanza uses grit to rise above her circumstances and reshape her life in a surprising and new way.


    In writing, we have been working on our autobiographies. The kids have writing on the following subtopics: family members, places lived, hobbies and interests, physical description, places traveled, proudest moment, and a life motto. I look forward to reading the kids life stories. The due date for the autobiographies is Friday, March 25th.


    In math, we have been working on the math strand of fractions. The kids have learned to add and subtract fractions with like denominators, add and subtract mixed numbers, and multiply a fraction by a whole number. The class will have a math test on Tuesday, March 29th.


    In closing, I want to remind everyone that report cards came out this week. Please take the time to look over the areas where you see real growth in your child. Remember to think back on the goals that you set in the portfolio and celebrate the successes they have had, as well as looking for areas of growth. Best of luck! Finally, please remember to keep bringing in your building materials for the Mission Building Project which is coming up April 11th – 15th.





    John H. Fuller (4th grade, Oak Knoll Elem.)

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  • Hello Everyone,

          Wanted to give folks an email to update you on our Missions Unit that will be coming up over the next to 4 to 6 weeks.  Enclosed in this email is the Mission Supply List.  We will be providing the boards.  Mission Building will begin the week after Spring Break (April 11th through 15th).  The Mission Project is a labor intensive activity.  The old adage, "Many hands makes light work." is never more fitting than with Mission Building.  I will let you know more soon as to our scheduled time each day.  Mission Building goes really well if we have 4 to 5 volunteers every day we are building.  
         Our Mission Field Trip to San Juan Bautista is on Friday, March 18th.  This is an all day field trip.  Thanks in advance to the parent volunteers (Amy Traum, Nick Gracia, Nancy Larocca Hedley, Sharon Singer, Veronica Yank) who signed up at Back to School Night to chaperone the trip.  The kids will be receiving their field trip slip information on Friday.  The kids will need to bring a brown bag lunch, Lunchable, or pre order a lunch from Choice Lunch.  We wanted to have the San Juan Bautista Mission Trip serve as our kickoff to our Missions Unit.  
                                                                                                                                        Thanks for Your Support!
                                                                                                                                                               John H. Fuller (4th grade, Oak Knoll Elem.)

    Mission Supplies

    Mission Building Week: Week after Spring Break


    Please keep items at home (I will let you know when needed at school)


    Every child needs:


    1 Costco cereal box (with child’s name on box)

    1 or 2 packages of hot glue gun sticks (the long ones)

    2 regular cereal boxes opened and flattened (for roof tiles…to be cut at home after being painted at school)

    1 large piece of thin flat cardboard (the large pieces that separate items at Costco work best)

    We also need the following:


    Artificial turf (can get a Home Depot as remnants)

    Small-sized artificial flowers/plants/greenery

    Small twigs (lots and lots of them to make trees/fences)

    Sawdust (Petco has bags that are quite inexpensive)

    Sand (but not out of the sand box…dark colored works well)

    Coffee grounds (ground cover)

    Other ground cover

    Small pebbles (to line pathways)

    Small blue rocks/glass beads (for water ways/fountains)

    Small bells for bell towers

    Items for fountains (there are plastic mini champagne glasses at Dollar Tree that work well)

    Any other treasures that you think would work


    Options for your child:

    Small plastic farm animals

    Small mission tools (available at craft stores)

    Small plastic padres


    Comments (-1)
  • February Newsletter 

    I hope everyone is enjoying their Mid-Winter Break. I am having a great time relaxing and getting caught up with friends and family. The first few days, I went up to Seattle to see my family. I was able to catch up with my mom, brother and sister in law, cousins, and even made a presentation of Fly Car to a class in Kirkland.   I came back to Orinda late Tuesday and have enjoyed the rest of the week. Went to the movie Race, the Jesse Owens Story, which I would highly recommend. Looking forward to seeing the kids on Monday. Enclosed are some highlights from the past month. Enjoy!

    Writing: Contrary to this photo, the entire month has not been a sugar induced party. We spent the past six weeks working on persuasive writing. Lucy Calkins Writer’s Works defines this genre as Argumentative/Opinion writing. The key is to use research as a way of supporting your position and writing in a convincing and compelling way. An essay that wins the reader over to a basic understanding of your position. We wrote a number of these essays including: Ice Cream, School Uniforms, Club Sports, Car Choice, and Career Essay. We concluded this unit with a posttest prompt. This score does not go on their report card, but does show whether the students picked up on the key elements of this writing style.

    Reading: In reading, we completed the novel, Island of the Blue Dolphins by Scott O’Dell. This 1960 Newbery Award winner tells the story of Karana, a Ghalasat Tribal Member, who is stranded off the coast of Santa Barbara on San Miguel Island.   Karana learns to survive and thrive off what the land has to offer as far as natural resources. When we return we will be beginning a new novel.

    Math: In math, we completed one-step, two-step, and multi step problem solving of word problems. Chapter #4 was not an easy unit, but there were some key strategies that helped. Highlighting key information, looking at math words (i.e. sum, difference, product, how many in each?), setting up the equation, and finally successfully computing and labeling your answer. We will be beginning chapter #5, which looks at measurement. This includes standard and metric measurement, measures of time, area and perimeter.

    Science: In Science, we are coming to a close on our Magnetism and Electricity Unit. We will complete Investigation #5 and then take the Post Test for the FOSS Unit some time within the first two weeks of March. Just as a reminder, FOSS grades are broken down 20% I.Check Quizzes, 20% Science Journal, and 60% on the Magnetism and Electricity Post Test. Best of luck!

    In closing, I wanted to thank all of the volunteers who made the Valentine’s Day Party a tremendous success. A huge shout out to Suzanne Gallie for coordinating the Valentine’s celebration. Thanks to Wendy Kuhnen for Bingo, Sharon Singer Christopher Ball and Candace Vesely on Snacks, Marina Nagy for Cookie Decorating, Theresa Bergeron for Wreathes, Kealailani for snow globes. If I missed anyone, I apologize in advance. Thanks again for your amazing commitment to kids.


    Enjoy the rest of your Weekend!


    John H. Fuller (4th grade, Oak Knoll Elementary)


    Comments (-1)
  • Important Dates


    Valentine’s Day Party                                 Thursday, February 11th

                                                                            (12:30 – 1:20 p.m.)


    Professional Development Day                Friday, February 12th


    Mid-Winter Break                                       February 13th – February 21st


    Friends and Family Day                             Friday, March 4th


    Field Trip to Mission San Juan                 Friday, March 18th



    Report Cards Go Home                              Monday, March 21st


    Professional Development Day                Friday, April 1st


    Spring Break                                                April 2nd – April 10th

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