2021-2022

  • Brian Nash

    Brian Nash, American Painter

    (with many other talents)

    1957 - 2020

    After successful work in advertising, marketing, and even songwriting, one day Brian picked up a paint brush and found his passion to create what he called “art for the child at heart.” His paintings, prints and textiles are in private collections, galleries, hotels, restaurants, and corporate settings in North and South America, Europe, Asia and Africa. His work will continue to be sold through the soon to be established Brian Nash Foundation, which will donate a portion of the proceeds of every sale of his artwork to the causes he held so dear. Until then you can view his art at www.briannash.net.

    (from https://www.dignitymemorial.com/ obituaries/nashville-tn/brian-nash-9188797)

     

Mr. Quisling's Class

  • The Yellow Submarine Museum

    The Yellow Submarine Museum

    by Brian Nash

     

  • Subs rock!

    Posted by Michael Quisling on 1/31/2022

    Hello Families,

    I hope you are well and happy!

    As your kids have likely told you, I’ve been out sick for the last few days. Ugh!

    I’ve heard from the substitute teachers who worked with the kids that learning continued uninterrupted while I was away. I’m very grateful to have substitute teachers to call on when I can’t be there. They serve a very important role.

    In case you are wondering why the kids didn’t bring homework folders home today, I gave them the day off. I told them I hope they read anyway, and tomorrow I’ll send homework for the week with folders.

    There is a lot going on in class right now . . .

    We’re on our fourth round of our Colonies -> Revolution book study. There are a total of 6 books we are reading that start with early colonial settlements and take us through the beginning of the Revolutionary War. I’m looking forward to hearing what they think when I return tomorrow. I hope you have a chance to ask your child about what they have learned with their reading group so far. If you want to read any of the books with your child, please do! There are links to PDF versions of all 6 books in our Google Classroom.

    Several of the kids have finished Animal Migration essays, and everybody else is either almost done or making progress. Instructions and lessons have been very explicit for this writing project in order for the kids to fully understand some basics about writing an informative essay. Even the kids who are done might have revisions to do after the final few lessons. Want to see how your child is progressing? Ask him or her to open the assignment on Google Classroom. All the kids will be sharing their writing with you soon.

    We started a math unit about fractions last week. I led the first two lessons and planned the next few for the substitutes. I’ll have more information about their progress with fractions after I have a chance to look over their work. 

    We’re working with more mixtures and solutions. Don’t be surprised if your child brings home some goop soon. You read that right.

    We’re having a Friendship Celebration on Monday, February 14 (Valentine’s Day). Next week’s homework will be connected with that. More information to follow.

    Please let me know if you have questions/comments/ideas/etc.

    Have a great week!

    - Mr. Q.

    Comments (-1)
  • This Week in Squirrel Burrow 16

    Posted by Michael Quisling on 1/23/2022

    Hello Families!

    I hope you had a terrific weekend and enjoyed the appearance of the Sun!

    Among the things in school there isn't consensus about is homework. I'm on the fence about it too, but if there are benefits, here might be a few:

    For one, reading for 30 minutes every day after school is a great habit to get into (for adults too!). When I assign that, the reading log is some accountability, and I think the response assignments help them think about what they read.

    Another benefit might be a connection between school and parents. Talking with them for a few minutes about their homework gives you some information about what they are learning at school and let's them know you value the effort they put into it.

    One more might be executive functioning. Forming a habit of asking themselves, "What am I expected to do for homework today?" and then doing it might lead to initiative and acceptance of responsibility. Remembering to bring homework back on Friday (and not expecting parents to rush it over to school or blaming parents for not reminding them) might help with good habits too.

    I'd be interested in your thoughts about homework if you would care to share them.

    We're in the middle of some information writing about migrating species, and we're continuing our study of the English Colonies in North America and the American Revolution. We're also starting an important and sometimes challenging math unit on rational numbers. Please continue to have conversations with your kids about their learning. If you need something to talk about, ask your child to open Google Classroom and talk about the assignments there. There is a section in "Classwork" called "Current" which has assignments and projects we are currently working on.

    Have a great week!

    - Mr. Q.

    Comments (-1)
  • Happy 2022!

    Posted by Michael Quisling on 1/10/2022

    Hello Families,

    We had a great first week of 2022 in our classroom. 

    We welcomed two new classmates, Esmee and Ryder!

    And here’s information about things we’re working on . . .

    We’re writing essays about animals that migrate with clear introductions, body paragraphs, and conclusions.

    In math we’re pivoting to 3-D geometry, applying ideas and concepts we’ve learned earlier and learning new ones. We’ll name three-dimensional shapes, understand the concept of dimensions as attributes of shapes that can be measured, and learn strategies for finding the volume of rectangular prisms and shapes that can be decomposed into rectangular prisms.

    Lots of the kids are reading ORCA (Oregon Readers’ Choice Award) books, and those that aren’t participating are choosing their own fiction chapter books to read, discuss, and work with elements of fiction. We’re all noticing the ways we find ourselves thinking as we read by making connections with stories, places, and characters, visualizing based on the words and passages we read, making predictions, checking our understanding, and other metacognitive reading strategies.

    We’re experimenting (safely) with mixtures and solutions and interactions between chemicals and materials.

    As we study colonial America and the American Revolution, we’re asking defining questions to guide us like:

    What is freedom?

    Why do people move?

    Why would someone leave their home country?

    What did   [various people, places, and events]   contribute to the making of the United States of America?

    Whose voices are heard/less heard/not heard?

    I’m finding it a very interesting time to look again at what happened as people from different cultures experienced changes throughout North and South America during colonial times, especially in what is now the United States of America.

    Let’s all have a great week!

    - Mike Quisling (Mr. Q.)

    Comments (-1)
  • Secret Snowflakes and Other News

    Posted by Michael Quisling on 12/13/2021

    Hello Families,

    As the kids and I head into our last week together before Winter Break, in addition to the reading, writing, math and other subjects we’re studying, we have some activities planned to put everybody in a good mood before two weeks away from school.

    First, the kids will each be a Secret Snowflake to celebrate a classmate throughout the week. Each of the kids will randomly receive the name of a classmate, and then each day bring a simple gift to secretly give to their unsuspecting recipient. The idea is to make something simple like a card, a drawing, some origami, bookmarks, or something else to send good wishes. Nothing needs to be purchased.

    Then, on Friday, the kids can guess the identity of their Secret Snowflake, and all will reveal who they are. I imagine it will be tricky to keep the secret, but we’ll try!

    Tomorrow all the kids will complete a survey about themselves to be given (secretly) to their Secret Snowflake to add a personal touch.

    Also, the kids can wear their jammies and bring a small stuffed animal to school on Friday. Frankie’s mom, Vanessa, is organizing cookies and hot chocolate, and the kids are going to choose an age-appropriate movie to watch at the end of the day. I’ll let you know the choices as soon as we have them.

    We’ll also take time for art and other activities to celebrate the end of the year and the time we’ve spent together so far.

    I’ve really enjoyed working and interacting with your kids this year, and I’m looking forward to spending part of 2022 with them.

    Joy to you all! Have a terrific week!

    - Mike Quisling (Mr. Q.)

    Comments (-1)
  • Thankful

    Posted by Michael Quisling on 11/29/2021

    Hello Families,

    First I have some news from the category of “Things that make Mike Quisling giddy.” My 27-year-old daughter Katie and her husband Jerad are expecting, and as if that isn’t joyful enough, they’re having twins, and as if that still isn’t joyful enough, they’re having identical twin girls! The due date is in March.

    I hope you and your kids thoroughly enjoyed Thanksgiving week. My wife and I celebrated with our kids, along with my mom and her husband who visited from Southern California. I have lots to be thankful for, including my wonderful students.

    Thank you for reading with your kids about their explorers. You helped them understand that time in history better. We’ll continue our Age of Exploration project this week, along with where we left off in our other subjects before the break. 

    Part of the kids' homework this week is to look over returned work with you and have some conversation about things you see that interest you. I’m hoping you will prompt your kids with statements like, “That looks interesting. Tell me more about it!” and questions that get them talking. I’m not expecting any criticism about their work, only that you notice and talk with them about it. They have a page to write about your conversations. Please ask them to show you their homework instructions when they bring their folder home tomorrow. In their folders, returned work is on the right, homework and other items to act on are on the left.

    Finally, I attached a photo of a Tree of Thankfulness we made on Friday before the break. A student drew the tree on our white board, and everybody made leaves with post-it notes for their messages. If you look closely you might see what they wrote along with some critters and other ornaments. I can tell the kids are thankful for the people, places, things, beliefs, ideas, etc. that give their lives joy and meaning.

    Thank you for your support as always, and let me know your thoughts/questions/ideas/etc.

    Have a great week!

    - Mike Quisling (Mr. Q.)

    Comments (-1)
  • World of Exploration

    Posted by Michael Quisling on 11/15/2021

    Hello Families,

    I hope you and your family enjoyed the long weekend!

    This week’s homework activities will help the kids learn more about the explorers they are researching and writing about at school. Part of their homework involves you.

    Instructions and resources are on Google Classroom for this week’s homework.

    The kids can bring their school Chromebooks home, but they must bring them back to school each day. They’ll be using them at school each day.

    One part of the assignment is a handmade map of the voyages traveled by an explorer your child chose to study. See Google Classroom for details.

    The other part involves you - reading, discussing, and writing (a little bit) about 2 or more articles from the resources we’re using for research. It will be great for the kids to read and discuss together with an adult family member who has some background in European discovery of the Americas and resulting changes to the world. See Google Classroom for details.

    I hope you’ll have time this week to read and discuss the articles with your child. I think you’ll enjoy it, and I know it will help them!

    Thank you for your support, and let me know your thoughts/questions/ideas/etc.

    Have a great week!

    - Mike Quisling (Mr. Q.)

    Comments (-1)
  • Short Week

    Posted by Michael Quisling on 11/8/2021

    Hello Families,

    I hope you are well, warm, and dry!

    This week we’re continuing what we started last week including our Age of Exploration project, and moving forward with all our learning.

    With the short week, the kids don’t have homework, so feel free to read with them, play board games, practice musical instruments, and otherwise enjoy time with your family.

    This Tuesday, November 9 Lifetouch will be at school to retake pictures for all who want them.

    There is no school Thursday (Veterens Day), or Friday.

    Thank you for your support, and let me know your thoughts/questions/ideas/etc.

    Have a great week!

    - Mike Quisling (Mr. Q.)

    Comments (-1)
  • Classroom News

    Posted by Michael Quisling on 11/1/2021

    Hello Families!

    I hope you had a nice weekend with no stomach aches due to excessive candy consumption!

    At the end of a productive week, the kids and I had a fun day on Friday with some fall-themed activities including drawing a scary tree (the kids didn’t think it was that scary), making clothespin bats, and playing fall bingo. We worked in some math, reading, and writing. 

    We’re starting several new studies and projects this week.

    In math, after finishing our studies of decimals to the thousandths with an end-of-unit quiz on Monday, we’re going to work on computation strategies for whole numbers. We’ll revisit addition and subtraction briefly, we’ll dive deep into multiplication and division strategies, and we’ll study the order in which mathematicians agree to perform operations.

    For reading, we’ll use deep-comprehension and note-taking strategies for nonfiction as we read about the Age of Exploration and some of the explorers who influenced history. We’re going to keep open minds as we consider outcomes of European exploration and colonization throughout the world with an emphasis on exploration that led to the formation of the United States of America.

    Our writing will focus on the Age of Exploration with an information and illustration project. Each student will have an explorer to research and write about in an information article. The kids will also continue on their own reading journeys with self-chosen books in all their favorite genres.

    In addition to reading and writing, the Age of Exploration will be our social studies theme for the next few weeks with other learning activities and projects.

    Here’s our list of learning goals again for you to consider and talk about with your child:

    • Approach learning willingly and with curiosity
    • Manage impulses and emotions
    • Keep a positive attitude
    • Respect reasonable boundaries
    • Use our time well
    • Better and better work quality
    • Help each other succeed

    Thank you for your support, and let me know your thoughts/questions/ideas/etc.

    Have a great week!

    - Mike Quisling (Mr. Q.)

    Comments (-1)
  • Classroom News

    Posted by Michael Quisling on 10/24/2021

    Hello Families!

    I hope nobody blew away this weekend!

    Here are some things happening in our classroom:

    Math: We’re working on adding and subtracting decimals using various strategies, like using hundredths grids to model and solve, adding and subtracting by place value parts, using number lines, and using that handy trick of stacking the numbers and carrying to or borrowing from the place next door.

    Writing: The kids each contributed to a display of poems they wrote about being their age with some artwork to go with them. A photo of the display is attached. Ask your child about them. Now the kids are working on personal narratives about their experiences with illustrations to go with them. Some skills we’re focusing on are separating our writing into paragraphs, punctuating dialogue, elaborating, and using a storytelling voice instead of summarizing. We’ll have a collection of our illustrated stories in a book soon.

    Reading: I recently read aloud Inside Out and Back Again by Thanhhà Lại, and I’m almost finished reading aloud Home of the Brave by Katherine Applegate. We’ve had great conversations about struggles refugees face when moving to a new country to escape violence and hardship in their home countries. Both books have been rich with complex characters and themes. The kids are working on reading lots of good-fit books, one after another, and on responding to their reading in various ways. What a bunch of voracious readers!

    Science: Doug at Mystery Science has guided us through great lessons and activities about the Solar System and stars. Friday we compared how high we can jump on Earth with how high we could jump on other planets and moons with more or less gravity. We wouldn’t be able to jump very high on Neptune (if we could jump at all since it’s a giant ball of gas!), and we could jump really high on Neptune’s moon, Triton. We have one more space science activity before starting our study of early new world explorers and how the world changed as a result.

    Goal Setting: We also came up with a list of learning goals we could focus on individually and as a group. Here they are:

    • Approach learning willingly and with curiosity
    • Manage impulses and emotions
    • Keep a positive attitude
    • Respect reasonable boundaries
    • Use our time well
    • Better and better work quality
    • Help each other succeed

    Ask your child which goals he or she wants to focus on.

    As always, thank you for your support, and let me know your thoughts/questions/ideas/etc.

    Have a great week!

    - Mike Quisling (Mr. Q.)

    Comments (-1)
  • Executive Functioning

    Posted by Michael Quisling on 10/17/2021

    Hello!

    In case you’re not familiar with the term, Executive Functioning is a term used to describe a set of mental skills that include working memory, flexible thinking, and self-control. We use these skills every day to learn, work, and manage daily life. We also use these skills to set goals, get started on tasks and projects, and see them through to completion. 

    In the same way some students have more developed skills in math, writing, reading, art, etc., some students have more developed executive functioning skills than others, and all of us develop these skills over time with practice. Providing a learning environment that promotes executive functioning is always on my mind. It’s also one of the first things to consider if a student seems to be struggling at school with academics, behavior or both. Trouble paying attention, regulating emotions, starting and completing assignments, and remembering to do and turn in homework are likely executive functioning issues, which are best addressed by teaching skills instead of heavy-handed approaches.

    If you are interested in reading more about executive functioning and brain development, I found some useful information at understood.org. Here is a link to a page on their website specifically about executive functioning:

    https://www.understood.org/articles/en/what-is-executive-function

    I’d love to hear your thoughts, so please share.

    All the kids in my class are trying to do well, and there is a range of executive functioning development among them.

    Warm wishes!

    - Mr. Q.

    Comments (-1)