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Wednesday, April 5, 2017

April 4th-17th #ncsgrowingawareness


Hello Star Families,
    It's already April! Time is flying by and lots of exciting things are happening as we head towards the end of the year. One of those things is our Growing Awareness Month as we work to raise awareness with students and families about learning disabilities. Please click here to view an informational slide show that our Growing Awareness team has prepared for students and staff.
     Also, the Growing Awareness Committee would like to hear from you if you have experienced, either personally or as a parent, an invisible disability, such as ADHD, Sensory Processing Disorder, Anxiety, Dyslexia or any other learning disability. Please note that this is completely anonymous. If you would like to participate feel free to enter your own story or fill out the questionnaire below. We will share each story as a blog post. We appreciate your courage in sharing your story.

Share your story here:
https://goo.gl/rjLkAe

New NAEF Director
The Natomas Arts and Education Foundation (or NAEF) has a new executive director. NAEF supports Natomas Charter School students and programs in many ways. New director Sierra Hersek has created this short video to introduce herself and NAEF to NCS families.
Dates and Details
Apr 10th- 17th Spring Break
April 18th Growing Awareness Spirit Day 

April 21 Spring picture day!
April 24-28 CAASP Testing grades 3-5
April 28 no minimum day Star (Leading Edge still minimum day)
May 8 Minimum Day (changed from 4/28) Star only
May 2-5 Teacher Appreciation Week
May 11 Family Night 5:00-6:00 followed by Stars Parent Meeting at 6:00
May 25 Minimum Day- Open House
May 26 Minimum Day- NCS- wide Professional Learning
May 29 No School- Memorial Day
June 9 Last day of school! Minimum Day Star only-- Family Fun Day & Picnic

It's time to order yearbooks! Yearbook order link

Mrs. Imgarten wrote a blog post about her marble STEM activity! Read about it here!

Link to Star Academy 2016-17 calendar
Link to NCS 2017-18 calendar (minimum days for 2017-18 not yet added)

Follow us on Twitter!


Have a wonderful Spring Break!

STEM Activity: Marble Genius by Tammy Imgarten



Have you heard of STEM? STEM stands for Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math.  What does this mean?

STEM activities provide opportunities for creative thinking, problem solving, and innovation!

Becoming an Ambassador
Several weeks ago a blog post made its way into my inbox.  In the post, Francie from Corkboard Connections describes how she came across a product called Marble Genius (www.marblegenius.com). My third graders have enjoyed every STEM activity I've thrown at them so I was intrigued already, but more so when I read on to see that Marble Genius was looking for 'Marble Ambassadors'. As an ambassador I would test the product, blog about my experience, and create lesson plans using the Marble kits.

In return, they would send me 5 complimentary sets of the Marble Genius SUPER set! I was fortunate enough to get one of the 100 available spots. They shipped right away!

Exploration
After putting students into groups of 4-5, I gave kids the kit and set a 10 minute timer. This was their 'explore time'. At this point they didn't even have a marble! I wanted them to think about what they were doing, what each piece did, and how the pieces connected.

  

video
These explorers experimented with a new piece: the spinner!


 Once each group was given their marble (the kit comes with 10 marbles per set, but I wanted the kids to practice cooperation and work together, so I gave them just 1 per group) they had another 6 minutes to 'play'.

At this point their conversations were already high level:
"We should add another leg so we don't have to hold it."
"This piece got stuck. Let's add another piece to make this side higher."

video
Another student watched this group's design and suggested an improvement!

And of course, there was the group who decided to use their explore time to make the tallest structure they could! 


The First Challenge
The kids cleaned up their practice designs and met me for directions for their first challenge. Third graders LOVE to be given a challenge!


The kids are used to the word 'constraints' through our Project Lead the Way (PLTW) curriculum. I gave them the opportunity to ask questions, but they didn't have any!

I realized while watching over their exploration designs that most teams held their structures to keep them standing: one of the most important constraints I added was that the structure had to stand on its own!

They started building right away. In their teams they discussed which pieces would make the structure move more quickly and which ones they should leave out because they would make the structure slow.

Design and Re-design
During their build time, kids worked frantically to build. Watching their cooperation was a proud moment for me as a teacher! They respectfully disagreed about design features and backed up their choices with evidence "This piece will be faster because it's going to push the marble down the ramp."

After 10 minutes I took a photo of their original design and passed out their marble. They then had another 6 minutes to decide if they wanted to change their design.

Overheard:
"To make it go faster we have to make it steeper."
"Ours looks cool but it's really slow because of the circle piece."
"It gets stuck here. Let's use this piece instead!"
"We need support here or it might fall."

I could even hear several teams counting, "1..2..3.." as they timed their run. Some groups peeked at other teams to see how they compared for time!

Original Design Final Product



This group realized that the top part of their structure cost them valuable time.
So they removed it!
They also shortened the legs.
This group questioned me after their trial.
"How tall does it have to be?"
"You just need to follow the constraints"
They decided that shortening their structure would speed it up a bit!
Engineers at work!

This team was also wondering how short they could make their structure.
They discussed the plan with the another group and decided that they didn't need a tall structure either.
They felt the red piece made their marble faster.


This team saw that other teams were making drastic changes but considered shortening the design 'cheating'...
They shifted a few ramps around and were happy with their final design.
This group was happy with their design and removed a few pieces to make it faster and more stable.


Learning Outcomes

In just a 45 minute session, the kids had so many opportunities to explore, re-design, and learn to cooperate with teammates who may have had different visions than them. Feedback was positive and the kids are looking forward to many more opportunities to explore with the kits! 

Kits at Home
I was given a code for anyone who is interested in getting a kit for themselves! This would also be a great gift for a teacher at any grade level.  
These sets are available from Amazon starting at $24.99. Use coupon code XMVFNU6Q to save 10% before May 31st.
Additional information and links can be found in this document.

Additional Photos of the Fun
Ms. Steinlein's class also had the chance to borrow our marble kit. Here's some fun and excitement from both classes!


 

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Saturday, February 25, 2017

February 27-March 10 #celebratereading


February 28-March 3 Dr. Seuss Spirit Days
March 1 Dr. Seuss Night 4-6 PM
March 9-10 4th grade to Coloma!
March 11 PFAA MS auditions
March 13 No School- NCS- wide Professional Learning Day
March 21 Star Academy 2017-18 Lottery
March 24-31 Book Fair 
Apr 10th- 17th Spring Break
April 24-28 CAASP Testing grades 3-5
April 28 no minimum day Star (Leading Edge still minimum day)
May 8 Minimum Day (changed from 4/28) Star only
May 2-5 Teacher Appreciation Week
May 11 Family Night 5:00-6:00 followed by Stars Parent Meeting at 6:00
May 25 Minimum Day- Open House
May 26 Minimum Day- NCS- wide Professional Learning
May 29 No School- Memorial Day
June 9 Last day of school! Minimum Day Star only-- Family Fun Day & Picnic

Link to Star Academy 2016-17 calendar
Link to NCS 2017-18 calendar (minimum days for 2017-18 not yet added)


Follow us on Twitter!






Have a great week!


Friday, January 27, 2017

January 27-February 10







February 4, 2015, was the first annual Global School Play Day for students in schools around the world. In year one, over 65,000 students participated! Year two of Global School Play Day took place on February 3rd, 2016. In year two, over 175,000 students participated from around the world! We are so excited to be participating for the second year in a row! Students will have play rotations at their walk time on Wednesday February 1st. Global School Play Day is designed to be a day for unstructured play for students. We can't wait! Check out the website for more information at http://www.globalschoolplayday.com/

Dates & Details
February 1 Global School Play Day!
February 3 5th grade field trip to PFAA and Leading Edge
February 6 Minimum Day- Star Academy only
February 9 Star Parent Meeting
February 16 Starlight Family Dance  6-8 PM
February 17& 20 No School- Lincoln and Washington Birthday
February 24th at 4:00 PM-- last day to turn in NCS 2017-18 applications for enrollment
March 9-10 4th grade to Coloma!
March 11 PFAA MS auditions
March 13 No School- NCS- wide Professional Learning Day
March 21 Star Academy 2017-18 Lottery
April TBA STEM Night 5:00-6:00 followed by Stars Parent Meeting at 6:00
April 10-17 Spring Break
April 28 Minimum Day Star only
May 2-5 Teacher Appreciation Week
May 11 Family Night 5:00-6:00 followed by Stars Parent Meeting at 6:00
May 25 Minimum Day- Open House
May 26 Minimum Day- NCS- wide Professional Learning
May 29 No School- Memorial Day
June 9 Last day of school! Minimum Day Star only-- Family Fun Day & Picnic

Link to Star Academy 2016-17 calendar
Link to NCS 2017-18 calendar (minimum days for 2017-18 not yet added)


Follow us on Twitter!


Monday, January 9, 2017

January 6-20



Our Winter Fest is THIS Friday from 5-8 PM and we are still looking for volunteers for various games and activities. Also, class basket donations are due tomorrow. Your child's teacher should have shared information about the theme and basket items needed. If you would like to contribute a financial donation instead of an item, we can also purchase something for you! Every little bit helps. If you send in a donation, checks can be made payable to NAEF, or cash can be returned to the office or your child's teacher in an envelope clearly marked with the child's  and teacher name. Thank you for your support! We are excited for a fun evening! Check out the Winter Fest website for all of the information! https://sites.google.com/view/starwinterfestival

Tickets will be available for pre-sale this Friday morning. There is only one ticket for everything this year and tickets are 50 for $20 and we have hundreds of sets of 50 tickets already counted out and ready to swap for a $20 bill.

Donation List

Volunteer List

Treat Walk Donations



January 11 Coloma Informational Night 5:30-6:30
January 12 Stars Parent Group Meeting 5-6
January 13 Winter Festival 5-8 PM
January 16 No School- Martin Luther King Jr. Day
January 17 PFAA/Leading Edge 6th Grade Informational night at Star
January 23 No School- NCS-wide Professional Learning Day
January 24-27 Great Kindness Challenge
February 1 Global School Play Day!
February 3 5th grade field trip to PFAA and Leading Edge
February 6 Minimum Day- Star Academy only
February 9 Star Parent Meeting & Family Learning Night-- Google Docs & Tech Tools
February 16 Family Dance
February 17& 20 No School- Lincoln and Washington Birthday
February 24th at 4:00 PM-- last day to turn in NCS 2017-18 applications for enrollment
March 9-10 4th grade to Coloma!
March 11 PFAA MS auditions
March 13 No School- NCS- wide Professional Learning Day
March 21 Star Academy 2017-18 Lottery
April TBA STEM Night 5:00-6:00 followed by Stars Parent Meeting at 6:00
April 10-17 Spring Break
April 28 Minimum Day Star only
May 2-5 Teacher Appreciation Week
May 11 Family Night 5:00-6:00 followed by Stars Parent Meeting at 6:00
May 25 Minimum Day- Open House
May 26 Minimum Day- NCS- wide Professional Learning
May 29 No School- Memorial Day
June 9 Last day of school! Minimum Day Star only-- Family Fun Day & Picnic

Link to Star Academy 2016-17 calendar


Are you following Star Academy on Twitter?

It's like Open House every day! Follow us and celebrate!

Saturday, December 17, 2016

December 16-December 21





Greetings Star Families!

I hope you are enjoying this beautiful day! With just three days left of school before winter break, it's hard to believe that 2017 is just around the corner. January kicks off with our Winter Festival, an evening of fun for families! Check out the links below-- we are still looking for items, booth volunteers, and donations for the treat walk. We appreciate your support! Have a wonderful weekend and a joyous winter break!

Donation List

Volunteer List

Treat Walk Donations


Dec 22-Jan 2 Winter Break
January 11 Coloma Informational Night 5:30-6:30
January 13 Winter Festival 5-8 PM
January 16 No School- Martin Luther King Jr. Day
January 17 PFAA/Leading Edge 6th Grade Informational night at Star
January 23 No School- NCS-wide Professional Learning Day
January 24-27 Great Kindness Challenge
February 1 Global School Play Day!
February 3 5th grade field trip to PFAA and Leading Edge
February 6 Minimum Day- Star Academy only
February 9 Star Parent Meeting & Family Learning Night-- Google Docs & Tech Tools
February 16 Family Dance
February 17& 20 No School- Lincoln and Washington Birthday
February 24th at 4:00 PM-- last day to turn in NCS 2017-18 applications for enrollment
March 9-10 4th grade to Coloma!
March 11 PFAA MS auditions
March 13 No School- NCS- wide Professional Learning Day
March 21 Star Academy 2017-18 Lottery
April TBA STEM Night 5:00-6:00 followed by Stars Parent Meeting at 6:00
April 10-17 Spring Break
April 28 Minimum Day Star only
May 2-5 Teacher Appreciation Week
May 11 Family Night 5:00-6:00 followed by Stars Parent Meeting at 6:00
May 25 Minimum Day- Open House
May 26 Minimum Day- NCS- wide Professional Learning
May 29 No School- Memorial Day
June 9 Last day of school! Minimum Day Star only-- Family Fun Day & Picnic

Link to Star Academy 2016-17 calendar


Are you following Star Academy on Twitter?

It's like Open House every day! Follow us and celebrate!

Sunday, December 4, 2016

December 5th-December 16th #bringthejoy




It's December already! How can that be? As the year flies by, I'm reminded about all of the things that bring us joy at Star Academy every day--smiling kids, fabulous staff, involved families, and even grass and sunshine! Every day is truly a gift. As we head towards winter break, I hope you are finding joy and happiness in the ordinary where ever you go. Have a wonderful week!

Dates & Details
December 8         Family Writing Night  (click to RSVP) 5:00-6:30 & Stars Parent Meeting at 6:30 agenda
Dec 22-Jan 2       Winter Break
January 13           Winter Festival 
January 16           No School- Martin Luther King Jr. Day
January 17           PFAA/Leading Edge 6th Grade Informational night at Star
January 23           No School- NCS-wide Professional Learning Day
January 23-27      Great Kindness Challenge
February 1           Global School Play Day!
February 3           5th grade field trip to PFAA and Leading Edge
February 6          Minimum Day- Star Academy only
February 9          Star Parent Meeting & Family Learning Night
February 16        Family Dance
February 17& 20 No School- Lincoln and Washington Birthday
March 9-10         4th grade to Coloma!
March 11            PFAA MS auditions
March 13            No School- NCS- wide Professional Learning Day
March 21            Star Academy 2017-18 Lottery
April  TBA         STEM Night 5:00-6:00 followed by Stars Parent Meeting at 6:00
April 10-17         Spring Break
April 28               Minimum Day Star only
May 2-5              Teacher Appreciation Week
May 11                Family Writing Night 5:00-6:00 followed by Stars Parent Meeting at 6:00
May 25                Minimum Day- Open House
May 26                Minimum Day- NCS- wide Professional Learning 
May 29                No School- Memorial Day
June 9                  Last day of school! Minimum Day Star only-- Family Fun Day & Picnic!

Link to Star Academy 2016-17 calendar

Are you following Star Academy on Twitter?
It's like Open House every day! Follow us and celebrate!