Elementary

Monthly cooking classes for all ages

Students are invited to join chef and nutrition educators Jenny Breen and Mel Coombs for a month-long culinary exploration. During November students will focus on basic cooking techniques, flavor and elements of cooking and using basic whole food ingredients to make delicious and easy meals. We will eat, and possibly also have leftovers!

Week one: Basics of sauces and condiments (pesto, salad dressing, mayonnaise, pate and salsa) and yummy things to put them on
Week two: Grains and Legumes for soups, salads,and everything in between
Week three: Celebration foods

Classes are offered for students ages 5-10 on Tuesdays, November 12, 19 and 26.

Classes are offered for students ages 11 and up on Thursdays, November 7, 14 and 21

Cost: $75 (scholarships are available; special rate for students already participating in extended day programming, Email bigcanoe@greatriverschool.org for more information)

Space is limited! Use this link to register.

Grades 1-5 Afterschool Spanish Class Offering

Students in grades 1-5 have the opportunity to begin learning Spanish in an afterschool program taught by teachers from Language Sprout. The Language Sprout Curriculum uses characters to build lesson upon lesson so that language learners of all levels feel connected and successful with the materials they use. Language Sprout uses familiar games and activities to make learning fun.

Winter Session: November 7-January 30

When: Thursday afternoons from 3:30-4:30

How: Students will meet in the cafe area after school, have a snack and a few minutes of recess, then a guide will bring them to the classroom; parents should pick students up on the south side of school at 4:30 pm

Cost: $200 (scholarships are available in case of need; students attending Big Canoe on Thursdays have a special rate. Email bigcanoe@greatriverschool.org to inquire)

Space is limited; please register by clicking on this link.

NO SCHOOL WEDNESDAY-FRIDAY THIS WEEK

There’s egg on our faces - we are so sorry about the confusion with the school calendar! See below for a complete list of upcoming school dates to know about.

Upcoming Elementary Dates of Note:

  • 10/16-18: No school, MEA break

  • 10/30: Half-day, 11:45am dismissal

  • 10/31-11/1: Conferences - No School (signup here)

  • 11/25-26: NORMAL school days

  • 11/27-29: Autumn break - No School

  • 12/2: No School, Teacher PD day

Upcoming Adolescent Dates of Note:

  • 10/16-18: No school, MEA break

  • 10/30: Half-day, 11:45am dismissal

  • 10/31-11/1: NORMAL school days

  • 11/25-26: Conferences - No School (signup coming 11/4)

  • 11/27-29: Autumn break - No School

  • 12/2: No School, Teacher PD day

NO SCHOOL WEDNESDAY-FRIDAY THIS WEEK

There’s egg on our faces - we are so sorry about the confusing calendar communications. See below for a complete list of upcoming school dates to know about.

Upcoming Elementary Dates of Note:

  • 10/16-18: No school, MEA break

  • 10/30: Half-day, 11:45am dismissal

  • 10/31-11/1: Conferences - No School (signup here)

  • 11/25-26: NORMAL school days

  • 11/27-29: Autumn break - No School

  • 12/2: No School, Teacher PD day

Upcoming Adolescent Dates of Note:

  • 10/16-18: No school, MEA break

  • 10/30: Half-day, 11:45am dismissal

  • 10/31-11/1: NORMAL school days

  • 11/25-26: Conferences - No School (signup coming 11/4)

  • 11/27-29: Autumn break - No School

  • 12/2: No School, Teacher PD day

Save the Date - Davanni's MMUN Fundraiser

Davanni's Fundraising Pop Up to Support the Adolescent trip to MMUN in New York
Tuesday, October 15th from 4-8 pm
41 Cleveland Ave S, St Paul, MN 55105

davanni's flyer Oct. 15.png

Come and enjoy community and pizza, while supporting adolescent students attending the Montessori Model United Nations trip to New York this February.

Davanni's will donate a portion of their proceeds to our cause. Discount applies to dine-in and pick-up orders. Please be sure to show the cashier the attached flyer or mention it upon ordering.

Harvest Fest TOMORROW

Regardless of the forecast, Harvest Fest is ON this Saturday! 2-5pm. The weather is looking frightful, so the event will most likely take place in the gym!

PEG’s Top 10 Reasons to Come to Harvest Fest:

1) Join the Great River School as we celebrate Autumn and our community
2) Support our adolescent students’ microeconomic ventures and bring home wonderful wares such as student-made birdhouses and lactofermented pickles.
3) Enjoy a sing-a-long and student-led music by DJ Rena and Energy Park
4) Bring some chopped vegetables, a mess kit, and enjoy stone soup over a wood-fired cauldron
5) Press apples and enjoy apple cider (bring your own cup)
6) Top your own caramel apples
7) Make a leaf crown
8) Get your bounce on in the bouncy house
9) Get your face painted
10) Make a bird feeder
Bonus: see Sam O'Brien in a straw hat and overalls

There are still some needs for volunteers at the event. Sign up here:

Indigenous People’s Day - 10/14

Great River will have school on Indigenous People’s Day - October 14th, 2019. We encourage our community to reflect on and celebrate the vibrant living culture and politics of indigenous Ojibwe and Lakota people in Minnesota, and the indigenous people all across the Americas

Harvest Fest This Saturday

Dear ones, 

Harvest Fest is a time for us to meet together. We work to make a feast of shared soup, and wait together as the soup simmers to temperature. We wait for the soup because it is not an assured outcome. We aren’t selling soup. We aren’t selling rides or tickets or bouncy house times. We are enjoying together free crafts, caramel apples, community-made soup, and a bike rodeo with prizes!

We are asking of each other to gather. We have a consequence in each other’s lives: we share a place where our children build community and learn together. We are gathering to share in the sustenance of our cooperation. Yes, this year it looks that it will be cold. May that cool air lead us to be all the more thankful for our warmth and welcoming each other’s shining faces! Bring a bowl and a spoon to use for eating the soup - and bring a veggie to contribute!

Harvest Fest is happening on October 12th 2-5pm! 
Bike Rodeo is still happening on October 12th 2-4pm! 
Due to predicted weather, both will likely take place inside the school.

We are still looking for setup volunteers! Sign up here! 

What should I bring? 

  • a mess kit (bowl, spoon for eating the soup) 

  • prepared vegetables to add to our soup (bring pre-cooked veggies or tender greens that cook quickly - make sure they are chopped small or pre-sliced for the soup!) 

  • bikes and helmets for minor adjustments and reflective tape decoration

  • an attitude of hospitality 

What if it’s raining or cold or snowing? 

We are still holding this wonderful event rain or shine - we have a warm gymnasium and are prepared to have many activities inside if the weather is chilly.

What will be happening? 

all free of charge: 

  • Bouncy Houses for fun leaping and bounding!

  • Face painting for wonder and whimsy!

  • Live music (including student band Energy Park)

  • Caramel Apple stand

  • Leaf Crowns

  • Cider pressing for fresh cider

  • Bird feeder making

  • Stone soup making

  • A chance to buy from student micro-economies (crafts, fermented foods, student-made bird houses, etc) 

Hope to see you and your family on Saturday,

Sam O'Brien
Head of School
sobrien@greatriverschool.org

LE Workshare

Dear Elementary families,

We are excited to invite you to our LE Work Share event the week of October 23-24,  from 1:45-3:00 pm and 4:45-6:00. This year we have added an evening time slot so parents who are unable to come during the day can attend.  If you have the flexibility in your schedule to come in the afternoon, we ask you to sign up for that time slot leaving the evening slot open for families who do not have that flexibility.  

Both slots are for one hour and 15 minutes.  We have found that many students do not need the whole time to share work with their adult.  You do not need to stay for the entire time, if you are done early please make sure your child checks out with the classroom guide.  If you have signed up for the evening slot and cannot get there by 4:45, no worries, come when you can and stay until 6:00.

If you sign up for the afternoon slot and would like to take siblings home when you are done, please use the change in transportation link and plan on meeting siblings in the cafe area at 3:00.  If you are not picking up other students, and your child is done sharing work, you have the option to leave with your child before the end of the school day.

During this time your child will get to teach you their favorite work, and show you around their classroom. Each afternoon has limited space-we hope by limiting the number of children, we can allow more space and uninterrupted time for them to show their favorite work each afternoon. When you arrive, your child will greet you and lead you through the event.  Guides will be present, but will intentionally stay in the background, in an effort to make space for your child to lead and shine.  Please sign up for only one spot.  

We see this event as different from a more casual Open House event; this afternoon is focused on connecting with your child, and letting them guide you around their interests and activities.  To better facilitate that opportunity, here are some guidelines:

1. Please choose which one adult will accompany each child. 

2. Please do not bring any siblings. This will help give space and attention to the work your child is sharing. 

3. While it is tempting to connect with other parents, or guides, please try to keep your focus on your child, and what they are doing. 

4. While it is tempting to record for posterity, please leave your phone or camera outside the classroom. Be present in the moment with your child. 

4. If your child should ask you to do something for them, first ask questions like “what would you do if I wasn't here?”, or, “I would love to see how you do it yourself”. Remember that your child is very independent in their work here at school, and can ask another child for help -giving that child a chance to practice their skills as well.

 We look forward to hosting these events for you and your children. Please don't hesitate to reach out with any questions or comments!

 In anticipation,

Lower Elementary Staff


Call for Apples for the Harvest Fest

Hi GRS parents-

During the upcoming Harvest Fest, we will be pressing apple cider. We had a generous donation from a nearby orchard, but if you or a neighbor have extra apples, bring them to the harvest fest, (you can also drop them off this week), and you can take home a half-gallon of your own cider. Remember to bring in clean gallon milk jugs for taking the cider home!

Thanks, Harvest Fest student planning team

Parent Observation Communication

Hello Elementary Families,

Please sign up for a time to come and observe!  Lower Elementary observations will start on October 15th and Upper Elementary observations will start on November 7th.  Observations will be for 30 minutes unless otherwise arranged.  If you are not able to observe during scheduled times, please reach out to set up an alternate time.  Scheduling ahead of time helps us maintain the learning environment and limit the number of observers at any one time.  Each spot is for one adult -- please do not bring anyone else with you to observe.  

When you come for an observation, please sign in at the main office, located on the north side of the school on Energy Park Drive.  You will be greeted and shown to your classroom. Before you enter the classroom , please review the list of general guidelines (provided upon your arrival) and read about some specific items to look for. A student will then escort you to the observation chair in their room. Teachers are not available during your observation to answer questions. If you have any questions about our curriculum or your observations, please reach out to Jean Peters or your child’s classroom guide - we love to talk Montessori! 

The children are aware that parents will come and go without disturbing their daily routines. If you are the parent of a child in the classroom, you may or may not observe a normal day of activity for your child. It is difficult for some children to manage their emotional attachment to you and sustain their independence in the classroom simultaneously.  It is helpful with younger children to talk about how you are coming to observe and that you will leave and they will carry on with their regular day.  

Students might approach you and introduce themselves or offer you a refreshment.  Feel free to say hello and let them know you are here to see their work. It is appropriate to accept or decline any offer of refreshment.

Distractions can disrupt the natural rhythm and flow of children’s work, so we ask you to review and observe the following guidelines:

  • Please turn off your cell phone.

  • You will be shown to an observer’s chair.  Please stay seated in the observer’s chair for the duration of your observation. 

  • Children may come up to you.  Please do not try to engage them in conversation.  A polite “Hello” and a direct response to who you are is sufficient.(“I am a parent observing your work!”) Montessori children realize and understand that observers come to watch them work.  If they approach, let them know that you are here to watch them do their work. You can ask them to return to their work. 

  • Avoid speaking to the teacher or assistant. Please write any questions on the observation paper that was provided and a teacher or administrator will reply by phone or email.

Thank you and please reach out with any questions!

Traffic Clarification

Driving families!

Briefly, here is some more clarity regarding the cones I mentioned in my previous note:

The only cones you need to worry about are the ones that are *IN* the road (perpendicular to the sidewalk, creating a barrier) that are out there *BEFORE* drop-off begins. When I put up the big green flag, we then move the cones out of the way so folks can start driving forward. That's it! After the flag is up, don't worry about any cones! :)

Thank you all for your attention to detail and for giving me the feedback!

Best,

Derek

Call for Dry Leaves for the Goats

Dear Great River community,

The goats are back from the summer stay at Philadelphia Community Farm [PCF]. Students care for all three goats, Oz, Rue, and Lucy, in our husbandry occupation and learn about anatomy and use them to graze our agriculture plots. We feed them our leftovers and share their comforting personalities with anyone who need it. We hope to breed them soon as well as be able to milk them. 

We are in need of dry leaves for them, If you would be willing to bring dry, bagged in plastic leaves into the school that would be great.

Thank you,

Ayla and Noah


Big Canoe Offered For Upcoming Time Off

Registration is open for upcoming Big Canoe half and full day care for grades 1-6:

October 16 (full day, 8 am-6 pm) Students will take a field trip to Dodge Nature Center for nature classes and activities. Cost $50

October 30 (half day, 11:45 am- 6 pm) Cost: $30

October 31 (full day, 8 am-6 pm) Activity TBD. Cost: $50

November 1 (full day, 8 am-6 pm) Activity TBD. Cost: $50

Families can sign up for half and full day care at this link. Just put the product in your cart and check out to register and pay.

Space is limited, and please note the deadline for registration is one week before the activity. You can email any questions to bigcanoe@greatriverschool.org. Thank you!

Elementary Social Work Communication

Dear Great River Families,

We're excited to announce and introduce a larger social work team at Great River this year. As a result of ongoing grant funding to support academic and social emotional needs for students, we have been able to welcome two new full-time social workers to our school - Ori Wasserburg (they/them pronouns) and Liv Sandin (she/her pronouns). Ori is familiar with the Great River community as a result of their fantastic work serving as an intern during the previous school year, and we're thrilled to have them back full time. Liv is excited to not only be joining the Great River faculty, but also moving to the Twin Cities community from North Carolina. As a school, we're eager to be able to increase the support offered to students across all grade levels, with both individual and group work with our social work team. As always, our social workers will continue to be available to all students, as well as organizing groups, presenting lessons to classes and preparing curriculum for social emotional learning.

So far this school year, we have had Seth Tupper and Saleha Erdmann, our returning social workers, transitioning Ori and Liv into their work in the Adolescent and Elementary programs respectively. Additionally, Saleha has been working with our Student Equity and Wellness coordinator to deliver social-emotional learning lessons to our Upper Elementary classrooms.

Beginning next week, Saleha will begin her maternity leave as she anticipates a new baby sometime very soon! Saleha's leave will continue through winter break. As a veteran in our elementary program, Saleha has worked this past month with Ori and Liv to prepare for this leave to ensure a smooth transition in student services.

Beginning next Monday, your social work contacts in the Elementary program are

- Liv Sandin - lsandin@greatriverschool.org in the Lower Elementary and in Shingobee, Little Elk and Crow Wing in the Upper Elementary

- Ori Wasserburg - owasserburg@greatriverschool.org in Blue Earth, Swan River and Otter Tail Upper Elementary classrooms.

Please be in contact with me - Matt McElrath - mmcelrath@greatriverschool.org - if you have questions about the transition of services. Thank you all for a successful start to this school year.

Best,
Matt McElrath