Entertainment Books!

Entertainment book fundraiser information is coming home today.

Each student received a sample copy of the book with their name labeled on it.

If your child sells the book to your family or to someone else, they can have the sample copy.  All other books will be delivered a week after the order forms are due.

If you choose not to sell the Entertainment books, the sample copy needs to be returned to school!

There is a parent letter in each child’s “selling kit” that explains this further!

All orders and unsold Entertainment book samples are due on December 12th.


West Coast November PLUS Representatives

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Each month Mr. Henry asks for a few scholars that have been living the PLUS all month long.  As teachers, we look for scholars that live the PLUS (Perseverance, Leadership, Uplift and Scholarship) day to day. Mr. Henry acknowledged these scholars in an assembly this morning.  Their names were announced and they sat in a chair in front of their peers.  Each scholar chose two peers to speak on their behalf about all their amazing work.  They then were given a PLUS shirt (that cannot be bought).  Lastly, Mr. Henry spun and pushed them around on the chair.

These scholars work to make Lane a better place and help to build the community.  Each of the scholars pictured (Abby L., Sebastian W., and Morgan K.) make Lane better.  All three scholars enhance their seminars by actively participating and asking beneficial questions when they are confused.  Additionally when in Workshop, all three of these scholars can be found on task at all times.  If they are working independently, they are working hard!  When collaborating with others, they are bringing good ideas forward and uplifting those students that might not be sharing as much.

We are very honored to teach each of these scholars on a day to day basis.

Congratulations again Morgan, Abby and Sebastian.

PLUS Stars – Week 7

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Perseverance: Margaret Y. —   Margaret has been showing perseverance by working hard in her day to day tasks.  She especially showed perseverance the day she was home sick.  When Margaret was not in school, she still managed to get class work done.  She wrote on an amazing post on KidBlog.  Additionally, she worked on her other class work too.  She even was top in the school on Achieve!  Way to persevere, even if you’re not as school.

Leadership:  Sebastian W.  —   Sebastian has earned our PLUS star of the week once already this year, but he has been continuing to be a stellar example of the Patriot way.  For Science, our scholars are working on designing and constructing their own engineering project to make life better or to solve a problem.  Sebastian is working in two groups to help make their projects successful.  He continues to strive and show leadership daily in the West Coast.

Uplift:  Ben C.  —   Ben uplifts a full range of people throughout his days at Lane.  He uplifts his fellow scholars by helping them out when they have questions.  We saw Ben helping scholars who were absent and filling them in on their missing work. He uplifts his teachers by actively participating in seminar. Additionally, he uplifts Ms. Kaestner by helping her clean up the chairs after basketball games.  Ben is such an asset to Lane.

Scholarship:  Katrina S. (not pictured) —   Katrina is another second PLUS star award winner.  Katrina’s scholarship is continually shown even if she isn’t at school.  Last Friday, she was out sick.  She emailed her teachers letting them know.  She also iMessaged questions she had throughout the day; it was like she was still at school.  Additionally, she is putting together a website to document her learning and to help other students’ perfect their skills.

We are very proud of these students, in addition to all of our scholars at Lane!

Achieve Follow Up

Achieve is a reading program that gives your scholar articles at their reading level.  Sometimes I assign them specific articles to read, but a lot of the time they are able to choose something they’re interested in.

Once they finish the article, they complete an 8 question activity.  Their goal is to score a 75% or better on their first attempt of the quiz.

(This shows up once the activity is completed).


Students should be completing two activities a week with a score of 75% or better.  They can do more!  Achieve is a great way to boost reading comprehension skills.  Some students complete one a night at home. 

When your child log in to Achieve, you will see a bar like the one pictured.  This shows the total number of activities they have completed above 75%.


All students should have had 17 articles done for today (11/17).


Here is a schedule for the number that should be completed for each week:

Due on…

11/17 – 17

11/24 – 19

12/1 – 21

12/8 – 23

12/15 – 25

1/5 – 30  (Over Winter Break)


If you can help at home to follow up with your child about Achieve and ask to see how many they have completed, I would greatly appreciate it!  Students are able to complete these articles anytime over the course of the week (at home or at school).

Any other questions, feel free to email me (kaestnere@wawmsd.org) or ClassDojo message me.


Genius Hour Round 2

We are in our second round of Genius Hours.  Students presented a few weeks back on their learning and projects from the first time around.  We had websites made, iMovies created, video games were designed, a fundraiser organized and a lot of other amazing final projects.

A little background:

The search-engine giant, Google, allows its engineers to spend 20% of their time to work on any pet project that they want. The idea is very simple. Allow people to work on something that interests them, and productivity will go up. Google’s policy has worked so well that it has been said that 50% of Google’s projects have been created during this creative time period. Ever heard of Gmail or Google News? These projects are creations by passionate developers that blossomed from their 20-time projects.  Another origin of genius hour projects came from the book Drive by best-selling author, Daniel Pink. In a blog post he writes about how the Google-time projects are also used in other corporations.

Again, the goals of this project:
*to promote, support, and model creative, innovative thinking and inventiveness
*to allow students an opportunity to discover/investigate one of their passions and reflect on/share their learning with others
*provide students and teachers an opportunity to develop skill sets that are valuable in any learning situation (research, experimentation, collaboration, creativity, problem solving and critical thinking)

We just finished writing and approving proposals for their projects.  Round two has left these students more inspired, more motivated and taking bigger risks!  Please have a conversation about your scholar asking them what their Genius Hour project is!  I’m sure they will be happy to share.

PLUS Stars – Week 6


Perseverance: Billy L.  — Billy has been showing perseverance in all of his classes.  He is putting his best effort into all of his work even if it’s challenging for him.  He perseveres through any and all tasks asked of him.

Leadership:  Parker O. —  Parker continually shows his leadership in Workshop and in Seminars.  He helps out his fellow scholars that have questions.  He raises his hand to share out his knowledge in Seminar and continues to excel in 6th grade.

Uplift:  Tommy T. — Tommy has been uplifting people all year.  This week he spent a lot of time uplifting one of his fellow scholars.  He helped him to make sure he was on task, get him to his seminars on time and improving behaviors!  He did a wonderful job uplifting his fellow scholars and teachers this week.

Scholarship:  Nicole G. – Nicole’s scholarship skills have allowed her to continue to excel in 6th grade.  She shows high quality work in her assignments and puts in her best effort.  Instead of settling for “proficiency,” she works to show her best work each time.

We are very proud of these students, in addition to all of our scholars at Lane!

Reading, Reading and more Reading!

Today, we talked about finding a good book to read for fun.  The students brainstormed strategies they used for finding good books such as searching for their interests, finding a genre they like, picking an author they’ve enjoyed reading before, reading a few pages, looking at the back cover, etc.

We then talked about ways they could get these books.  The first option was from my personal library I have in the Stanford room.  Students know it’s available for them to borrow books as long as they want.  We also talked about being able to order books online through Scholastic.  You can find the website here.  The class code is MMGGP.  Books can be ordered whenever, and the best part is we get points to earn more books for our class!  The link for this can be found on the right of the blog.  The last option we discussed was getting a book from our Lane Library.  Each student went down to the library and checked out a book or two.  This means each child should have a book they can read for enjoyment!  

PTA is kicking off some awesome reading incentive programs.  Students received two blue sheets of paper in their 9th hour class.  One is a chance to earn a FREE Six Flags ticket if the child reads 600 minutes by February.  The other is a chance for the student to earn a free personal pizza from Pizza Hut and other fabulous prizes for reading 15 pages a day for each month!  The reading they do can count for each contest.  There is a spot for a parent signature on each.  You can also find more specific details about each.

It is great to see these students get so excited about reading!  If you can promote/encourage reading at home and we can promote it at school, each child’s passion for reading will continue to grow!

If you want more information on the PTA, you can NOW find links to their website and Facebook page on the right side of our blog!  

Beginning of 2nd Quarter

We just finished the first week of the second quarter.  Report cards are being sent home today!  We cannot believe how quickly this school year is going, and how much these scholars have grown already.  It’s wonderful seeing them becoming more accountable, more responsible and better advocates of their learning.

Thank you to those of you who filled out the Google Reflection Form.  If you did not and still want to, you can find the form here.  This form has given us great feedback and ideas on how to make the next quarter even more successful than the first one!

One question that I want to answer is about all the different forms of communication and technology for us, you as parents and the students.  We use a lot of different things, I agree, each has a purpose.  We are trying to figure out what works best for us and you.  This is our first year having a Team Blog for example, and this is the first year Class Dojo has the messaging feature.

Here is a “quick guide” as to the different technology and purposes:

Class Dojo—  We use for the students to monitor their behavior.  We’ve seen great changes in behaviors already this year with many students.  They reflect weekly on their scores and strategize ways to improve for next week.  We also LOVE the messaging feature.  This is a great way to communicate with us, and we like to use it to communicate with you.  I like to use it for whole group messages because I’m able to see when the message is “read.”  This allows me to know who’s seen it and who I might need to follow up with a different way.  Additionally, someone asked about knowing why the student earned or lost a point.  I’ve talked to the ClassDojo people, and they’re trying to find a way we can leave specific comments each time we give a point if necessary.  Sadly, this hasn’t happened yet.  Your child should be able to explain why they lost a point.  We try to have a conversation with them, explain the situation and use the Dojo vocabulary.  Positive points aren’t always told to the student, but most of the time it means they’re doing an amazing job in the classroom.

Parent Portal— You should use this to know what your child is missing.  After seeing what the Parent Portal looks like via the app, we noticed you are unable to see the “total points possible” for assignments.  This doesn’t make sense to us, and we are unsure of how to fix it.  For the time being, the number in parentheses at the end of the assignment title will represent the total points possible.

iTunesU– The students use this to monitor their workload and tasks their accomplishing.  They SHOULD NOT check off an assignment until it’s turned in.  Feel free to ask your child to see any of that work.  All work is turned in through Edmodo which means they can bring up anything they’re working on through the app (even if it isn’t on their iPad anymore).  If you’d like access to the iTunesU courses for yourself, let us know.  You can only access iTunesU through an Apple device (iPhone, iPad, iPod, etc) though sadly.  

This Blog—  We use this blog as a way to send out smaller general messages.  These are messages that might be beneficial for you.  Like I said above, this is our first year with a team blog.  We are trying to use it to keep you better informed.  Thank you to those of you who read it and give feedback.

Thanks again for all you do to support your scholar and the school.

Have a wonderful weekend!

PLUS Stars – Week 5


Perseverance: Jackeline G.  — Jackeline has been persevering since the beginning of the school year.  She transferred a few weeks in and worked hard to learn the expectations and procedures of the West Coast.  Jackeline shows perseverance with her work ethic because she always makes sure she turns in high quality work and pushes herself to be her best.

Leadership:  Zach E. —  Zach has been a great leader for the West Coast all year, but he has especially excelled this week.  When Ms. Kaestner sent out two different iTunesU posts about apps that needed to be downloaded, Zach had his accounts set up before even returning to school the next day.  He was a leader in his learning because he saw the notification at home and went right to work.  This then allowed him to be a leader in the classroom by helping his peers set up their accounts!

Uplift:  Xavier E. — Xavier has been uplifting scholars and teachers all year with his smiling face and friendly demeanor.  He uplifts teachers by his amazing behavior; he hasn’t lost a single point on Class Dojo all year!  He also uplifts his peers by leaving them constructive blog comments about things they did well and things they can improve on!

Scholarship:  Abby L. – Abby’s scholarship has been shown all year.  Abby always turns her work in on time, but not only that, her work is done well.  She holds herself to a high expectation and makes sure to provide neatly done, well organized assignments.  When in Workshop, you can see Abby collaborating with a table of scholars working on a common task.  She helps improve the conversation with her incite.

We are very proud of these students, in addition to all of our scholars at Lane!