About the SPF:
DPS launched the School Performance Framework (SPF) in September 2008. It is a mechanism the district uses to accredit schools as required by the Colorado Department of Education, but more importantly, it provides a comprehensive body of evidence about school performance. It is aligned with district goals, as well as state and federal mandates. It incorporates data provided by the CSAP and AYP, but it does not replace those measures.
What makes the SPF so unique and powerful is that it reflects the work being done in our schools by showing us whether our students are learning over time and demonstrating improvement from one year to the next. It provides the most comprehensive and complete picture of school performance in DPS that we have ever seen.
I am proud of the hard work that all of our students and teachers do every day. I believe we will find the SPF to be a valuable guide in our efforts to keep this great momentum going.
Kindergarten is ready for a 5 Star Winter !
At home you can extend our learning in math by using DOMINOS and tools to MEASURE.
We also hope you will search around and look for examples of SYMMETRY in Nature and in Books. This is similar to butterflies that have a distinct line where the 2 sides are the same.
We will also explore the words: possible, impossible, certain, likely, unlikely, and probably. You can use these words when reading stories (“Is that possible? Are you certain that is true?”) or try sharing ideas or jokes.
In WRITING we are now making BOOKS. Even a folded piece of paper can have a Title, Author and 1 BIG idea with pictures and words. We hope your children are excited enough about writing to try making books at home, too.
We encourage the use of frequently used sight words and, then stretching sounds to spell other words.
We will continue to work on using the BrainWise Wise Ways and the new Emotions Elevator tool so that we have access to our wise thinking brains.
What do GOOD READERS do? Our lessons have included asking yourself questions before you read a book: “Does the cover remind me of anything? What do I notice?
During reading we are also trying to make connections to our own lives.
What’s happened so far? What did I notice? Is anything changing? What do you think will happen next?
After reading try asking: “What does this remind me of?”
As the weather changes, please, remember coats, hats, gloves and appropriate shoes. Children who are here all day go outside up to 2 times nearly every day.
Judy Cardenas, Cara Havenar, and Liz Reynolds
First graders will be involved in retelling stories with a beginning, middle, and ending. We will include the characters and the important details. Our classrooms will continue to make text-to-self connections and also text-to-world connections. In addition, we will be reading many "How to” books and following a sequence of steps to complete projects. During December, we will be reading a variety of holiday books from around the world and will share family traditions as well. After the holidays we will be working on non-fiction reading.
Our “How to” unit will be beginning this month. Students will be making houses, hats, and holiday crafts by reading and following directions. They will also be writing “How to” books for their classmates explaining how to do something. Including all the steps is an important part in writing instructions. After winter break, we will be writing nonfiction pieces. Students will write “All About” books on a variety of topics. This is always a favorite writing unit for first graders.
First graders are on Unit 4 in Everyday Mathematics. Unit 4 focuses on standard and non-standard units of measurement. Students will use rulers, tape measures, and other tools for measuring. We will also be working on basic facts, timelines and number scrolls. Unit 5 focuses on Place Value, more basic facts, and Number Stories. All family letters can be found online at http://everydaymath.uchicago.edu/parents
Economics is the focus in social studies this trimester. Students will learn about wants and needs and opportunity costs. We are hoping to have Junior Achievement volunteers come in and share their wonderful curriculum with our students.
During this first trimester we practiced some golf basics – the full swing and putting, and a little golf etiquette. Football skills, such as the pass and punt, came next. We completed our fall physical fitness tests: the Pacer test that measures our aerobic capacity, the Sit and Reach test for flexibility, and the Push-Up test for upper body strength.
We’ve played some games, always being aware of developing our skills as we fully participate in our activities, improving our sportsmanship, and increasing our ability to work as a team, whether that means with a partner, a small group, or the whole class. We held some mock cross-country meets and ran some relays. Frisbee Golf took place on the field and we hit balls off the tees as we worked on our eye-hand coordination and our fielding skills. We assembled skeletons, learning the names of our bones along the way. We’ve been busy, we’ve been active, and in the process, had a little fun.
In Good Health,
Nancy Smith - Physical Education Teacher
Kindergarten just finished up a unit on Vincent van Gogh and will be learning about artist Jasper Johns next.
First Grade has been working on color. They will continue to work with warm and cool colors and the concept of a horizon line. Also, they will work with anatomical models (or art mannequin) to help with proportions when drawing people.
Second Grade is working on a line design project. Next, they will learn about artist Jim Dine.
Third Grade is completing their unit on Victorian architecture. Be sure to check out the three dimensional houses hanging in the hallways. Next, they are going to prepare for a trip to the Denver Art Museum by learning about Native American art and the sculptures of Deborah Butterfield.
Fourth Graders are sewing soft sculptures of someone important to them.
Fifth Graders are using acrylic paint to paint a chair on canvas. This lesson came about after reading A Chair for My Mother by Vera B. Williams.
Thanks for supporting the Arts!
A chill in the air, the swirl of fall leaves, a little “turkey talk” …
Second graders have been applying their creative powers to the season of colors. Ms. McDaniel’s class wrote poems ripe with metaphors of autumn, while Ms. Dire’s class wrote free verse inspired by the picture book, Leaf Man. In Mrs. Archambault’ s class, students imagined themselves as Thanksgiving turkeys doling out advice sprinkled with a plea: Please … eat the pig!
During October and November, students have studied mathematical place values, the science of sound and are now moving onto a social studies unit about their cultures and communities. They are busy preparing cultural heritage projects that include hand-made dioramas, game boards and even culinary treats. In reading and writing, they’ll soon begin a study of nonfiction.
We have a lot on the docket between now and the end of 2011, including two field trips. Second graders will visit the DPS Planetarium Thursday, November 17. We’re also planning our annual ice-skating party at the University of Denver arena: More details to come.
For now, enjoy the rest of autumn, immortalized in our poetry.
Fall is the color of red
Fall reminds me of magic in the air
Fall wears a jacket
Fall lives in orange and brown
Fall friends are leaves
Fall remembers chilly days.
-Jolie LeJeune Room 110
Fall is the color of October
Fall reminds me of a long time ago
Fall wears pumpkin pants
Fall lives in a pile of leaves
Fall friends are warm clothes
Fall remembers Thanksgiving.
-Maya Saad-Masri Room 110
Away from the snappy little branches in the woods,
A Leaf Deer’s got to go where the wind blows.
Off to the river that glitters with the moon,
A Leaf Deer’s got to go where the wind blows.
Maybe you’ll find a Leaf Deer waiting to go home with you.
-Leela Perez-Cobo Room 107
High above the mouse’s hole,
A Leaf Mouse’s got to go where the wind blows.
Soaring over the mouse trap,
A Leaf Mouse’s got to go where
the wind blows.
Flying over the cat,
Maybe you’ll find a Leaf Mouse
waiting to go home with you.
-Joe Bettinger Room 107
Poultry (Persuasive) Prose by
Never even think about touching me and making me look at the extra hot oven (400 F!)
Always invite me to any type of Thanksgiving feast with any kind of food (herbs, please!)
So please, make lots of food, get any chair that you’d think I would like and treat me like a human.
Sincerely, Leah (Elsner) Turkey
Never serve me with salt, pepper and sugar since I am allergic!
Always serve me with nothing on top, or else I might sneeze,
So please, serve me without anything on top so you won’t ache!
Sincerely, LaeLim (Jung) Turkey
Thank you for your support!
It's another exciting year in drama. Kinder & 1st grade students are working on reading scripts and adding expression to their acting. 2nd grade is working on projection and following their part in a script. The 3rd grade students in Ms. Romero's class are working on a holiday performance. This performance will be December 6th. The other 3rd grade classes are working on a play called The Fairy Tale Advice Council. They will be performing this play after winter break. Your help with memorization would be greatly appreciated. 4th grade students are also preparing for a performance after winter break. It's called Pirates. 5th grade students are finishing up their unit on writing and performing monologues. It's been fun to see their creative ideas.
Ben Herman, Drama Educator
We’ve had a really busy and productive fall. In writing, we’re finishing up our University Park Visitors Guides, which will be available for you to look at online soon. Our next literacy unit is poetry, which is always fun to do with children because they are so imaginative and open. We’ll be reading, writing, and talking about free verse poems and learn various poetic techniques to try out in our own original poems. In math, we’re still practicing multiplication and division facts, and continuing to focus on place value, including decimals. We finished our science
unit on electricity, and are starting the third grade social studies curriculum on Denver and Colorado history. We’re starting with Colorado land forms, and will move on to the people and events that shaped our state. We’re looking forward to our next science unit in January, which is called Objects in the Sky, and have a field trip to the Steele School Planetarium planned for mid-January. Be sure to stop by the showcase next to the office to see our beautiful (and ugly) apple-head people.
Ms. Ertman, Ms. Romero, & Ms. Heckart
Thanks to all who supported the University Park library and classrooms by purchasing books at our recent Scholastic Book Fair! Special thanks to Dawn Stenlund, Andrea Bowser and all the UPark families that made direct contributions to benefit our little library!
My primary charge as a librarian is to put books in your child’s hands each week, but my responsibilities include protecting and preserving our small collection of books for everyone to use. One of the best and least expensive ways of doing this when children check out items from our library is to utilize the 2.5 gallon plastic bags I provided to all UPark students at the beginning of the year.
I believe our students’ success begins in library when they check out books, but I made the decision at the start of the school year to limit check-out to children who do bring their bags to the UPark library upon their weekly visits. Regrettably, that means children who don’t have their bag with them can’t check out new books. If for some reason your child has lost his bag, new ones can be purchased from me for only fifty cents.
Finally, please make sure you know what day your child visits the library each week and encourage him to prepare his library materials the night before his scheduled checkout day.
Mister “I-loathe-being-a-bad-bagguy” Hernández
University Park Students Sang in Denver Public Schools City Wide Honors Choir.
University Park students participated in the City Wide Elementary School Honors Choir performance on November 19, 2011 at Manual High School. There were one hundred forty-five students representing twenty-three DPS elementary schools. The Honors Choir was conducted by Travis Branam, Assistant Conductor for the Colorado Childrens’ Chorale. The City-Wide Honors Choir members were: Elizabeth Blackmun, Ione Fried, Taylor Johnson, Alesa Moskal, Rachel Niyonzima, Abbey Shaw, Anthony Singer, Pippi Thompson, and Nan Yebuah.
The fourth graders have been very busy this month. In science they completed the Physical Science unit. Students enjoyed learning about and using physical and chemical properties to discover what the mystery powder would be. In December the new unit of study will be Earth Science. Here students will conduct experiments to help them understand the different kinds of erosion that take place on Earth’s surface.
In math students are in Units 4 and 5 at this time learning about decimals and their uses and extending their computation skills in multiplication and estimation. Students will also be extending their knowledge of the metric system to millimeters and decimeters. Multiplication facts should be approaching mastery at this time. Please help your child practice these nightly at home: 0 x 1 through 10 x 12. Flash cards, computer games or programs online, and even their fact triangles are useful tools in helping them reach mastery. Addition and subtraction facts should be at mastery level. A few students still need more practice with these.
In reading and writing, fourth graders are heading into the poetry unit. The students will be studying figurative language, mood/tone, structure, word choice and imagery to help them understand poems. For social studies, students will begin work on the Young Ameri-Towne unit to prepare them for their trip in February. Materials covered will include the topics of banking, checking, government, advertising, marketing, and advertising. The fourth grade teachers will let you know more about adult volunteer opportunities in January for this amazing program.
The end of the 1st trimester is here. Progress Reports will soon be going home. This is a good time to set goals with your children and praise them for their accomplishments. This is also a good time to check in with your child to see if their supplies need replenishing, especially pencils and paper. Enjoy the vacation times that are coming up: rest, read, share time with family, and reflect on your blessings.
Ms Morton, Ms Bryers & Ms Durkee
It was wonderful to see so many parents at conferences. This helps to create a good home to school connection. Here is some upcoming information about your fifth grader.
We have started our Family Life unit and the students are very interested in learning this new information.
We are aware that many students have started shadowing at the various middle schools and for those of you who have not, parents need to contact the schools in order to arrange a visitation time. This needs to be completed prior to winter break. Please give your child’s teacher any necessary teacher recommendation forms as soon as possible.
Soon after the book report, your child will receive a reference material homework assignment called the UPark Pursuit. They will have two weeks to complete this assignment and at this time they will not have additional math and language arts homework packets. This will not be an assignment to leave to the last minute and requires individual responsibility towards completion. In addition, please ensure your child has a place at home to regularly do their homework. Also, your child will soon receive a copy of their Shakespeare script to keep at home. Try-outs will occur after Thanksgiving break. Your child does not have to have the part memorized and may read from their school script during tryouts. In closing, with the weather changes please ensure your child is wearing proper winter clothing to school. Have a wonderful holiday season!
Molly Kull and