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Room 104

Room 104 Teachers: Mary Clifford, Megan Radon and Pam Gilchrist


March/April Newsletter 104

In the Classroom

At the beginning of the month we decided to tell stories to the children orally without the use of pictures or a book.  First we told “there was a princess long-ago” followed by “the sneaky crocodile”.   The children chose instruments to create background music as they retold their stories.   During Choice Time, they engaged in the centers using paint, blocks, puppets, and natural materials to recreate these oral stories.  As we observed the children at play, we began to notice how much storytelling has become an integral part of their play.

During meeting time, the children shared their ideas:

What do high quality stories include?

-a story needs a person, a story needs a character, cool characters

-listening to a story is helpful, it gives you new ideas for your story

-stories make you excited, stories make you happy

-stories can be told with blocks, like a tower or cans or drums or a piano

-pictures that you draw, good pictures, it doesn’t have just scribbles in it, take your time

-stories have words too, if you don’t know how to write them ask a teacher

-good words (big words) and good pictures

Our little authors are creating original amazing stories. They are so excited to share their stories with peers.  They decorated a chair and labeled it the “storytelling chair”.  Together with the children we have created a form for story self-assessment.  The children use this form after they share their story during Story Congress.

Moving forward we are dedicating each Friday as Story Workshop Day.  We have just added a fairy land and a pirate island as provocations for play. During this time smaller groups of children will engage in story telling with materials and have their work documented with the help of an adult.  If you would like to volunteer on this day, a sign-up sheet will be available outside our classroom with times posted.

As we encourage, support and explore storytelling, targeted skills including Literacy, Cognitive and Social Emotional are reinforced.  Children sharing stories gives us an opportunity to document and make visible what is happening in our classroom.  We have also planned two field trips to Beverly Art Center and an interactive puppet show with local Storyteller/Puppeteer Jeannie McQueenie to support the storytelling that is happening in our classroom.   Permission slip for Jeannie McQueenie sent home today!!


Happy Birthday- March   Amelia, Connor, Milanni, Sa’Marri, Nia, Max

April      Brady H.

Spring Break – April 7th-14th

Parent Conferences- April 19

Classroom Supply Helpers

March – Deonte, Luke, Alex

April – Connor, Patrick, Zane

January 2017 Newsletter

Barbara Vick Room 104

Happy New Year and welcome back.   Our first week back was an adjustment for a few friends (and teachers) but we are back to our routine and moving forward! You may have noticed that the children now enter our classroom, find their name tag, and meet us on the rug.   Our new schedule is posted outside our classroom.  Encourage your child to tell you about the change in schedule, this is a great opportunity for them to share about their day.  By doing so, they are building language skills: telling about another time and place, engaging in conversation, and using an expanding expressive vocabulary.

Classroom Activities

We introduced rhythms sticks at music time and the children look forward to following along with Hap Palmer: Rhythms on Parade CD.  The children continue to demonstrate their enjoyment of music by smiling, clapping, bouncing, and dancing.  Music is also used in our classroom to develop literacy, math, technology, and the arts.  Through our observations and the children’s conversations, we have decided to begin some explorations of music-making in the classroom.

Mark Your Calendar

We will be having our annual Parent Child Activity day on Friday, January 27th.  Please sign-up for a time that is convenient for you.  Please plan to attend school with your child for 1 hour on this day. Students will be dismissed with you at the end of the 1 hour session.   We will be creating our large classroom mural for the PTT Barbara Vick Fundraiser and you and your child will also create a smaller scale version to take home with you.

Happy Birthday to Colin and Tracy and Dayna!


-Please encourage and foster your child’s sense of independence and responsibility by allowing them to find their coat hook, take off their coat, and hang it on their hook. During pickup allow your children to dress themselves. It will help foster their independence.

- The weather is turning cooler and we do spend time outdoors daily, please make sure your child is dressed appropriately and that their boots, mittens, hat and coat are labeled with their name.

-  We have an envelope in our classroom to collect money from your grand raffle ticket sales.

Ms. Meg    Ms. Mary   Ms. Pam

December Newsletter Room 104

Hello parents! Can you believe that it is December already? This year is flying by. We hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving with family and friends. The weather is getting colder by the day! Please remember that we go outside to play each day for a half hour. Make sure your child is dressed appropriately for the weather. Label all hats, gloves, boots and coats with their name. Because we are trying to foster independence in dressing, mittens are much easier for children to put on independently.

Mark Your Calendar

  • Next week: The children will be in the hall to collect change during arrival and dismissal to support the children on the Giving Tree.
  • December 23rd – join your child at school to sing Christmas songs and decorate the outside trees. More information to follow.
  • Happy birthday to Deonte and Mercedes
  • Brady Hansen, Nia and Lucas J. are on the calendar to bring classroom supplies for the month of December. Please bring any of the following items you are able to donate: Kleenex, Clorox wipes, Mr. Clean Magic Erasers, Foam hand soap, gallon sized freezer bags and glue sticks


For the last four weeks we have been exploring persistence. We asked ourselves the following questions before bringing the idea to the children.

  • How do we support engagement or persistence in the classroom?
  • Do materials support engagement? Does dialogue with the children support engagement?
  • Where do the children experience joy? Challenges? Creativity?
  • Where are the children feeling engaged in their work? How does that look or feel?

We felt that to learn to persist more effectively we needed to show the children ways that they might be able to approach and overcome a problem.  We selected several stories in which the characters faced a problem and did not give up until it was solved. Over the last several weeks we had many discussions on how to solve problems and why it is important to always keep trying and to never give up. We showed the children videos and photos of themselves during choice time and asked them to identify how they were persistent. The children really seem to understand what persistence means and how it looks in our classroom. It is amazing to hear the children use the word persistence when talking with each other. We are very proud of the children and their work with persistence. We hope that this is something that will continue to grow in each one of them.

  • “Don’t give up. If it’s hard you just try to work on it.” ~Brady
  • “You have to stay with it. You don’t wander. You don’t leave. I was persistent in the natural materials area today.” ~Rex
  • “I was inspired by JordinParker’s building and I tried to build it myself and even though it was hard I didn’t give up.” ~Zane
  • “Writing my name, so hard. I keep working.” ~Tommy
  • “All of the characters use persistence. They all don’t know how to do something by they figure out a way.” ~Mary

After reading and discussing each story for a week, the children were able to identify how each character persisted even when it was hard. The children’s observations are very complex and meaningful.

“I Have a Little Problem,” said the bear by Heinz Janisch

  • “The bear has a problem. He go to doctor to fix it.” ~Lucas
  • “He had a problem, he needed someone in cave because he was scared. The fly come to him because he don’t have a home. They go to cave and Bear happy he found a friend. He try hard to find a friend”. ~Max
  • “The bear try to fix his problem but nobody listens to him. He keeps trying but only the fly listens.” ~Nia

Little Bear’s Little Boat by Eve Bunting

  • “The bear got big and then he found another bear to give the boat to. He builded a big boat then. He try so hard.” ~Rosie
  • “The bear grow bigger and bigger and bigger and him to big for the boat. He gonna make another boat. He sad. He can fit. He got big boat now. He happy.” ~Deonte

Ten Birds by Cybele Young

  • “The birds were trying to get to the other side. The kept trying. They get better. They never give up.” ~Mercedes
  • “The birds cross the bridge. They think it is hard. They keep trying. One bird flew.” ~JordinParker

What Do You Do With A Problem? by Kobi Yamada

  • “A problem got bigger and bigger and bigger. Then him fix it. He get tools. He work hard. He happy. Problem moved away.” ~Colin
  • “The boy had a problem and he had to tackle it because it kept getting bigger and bigger and bigger. He got a plan and he fix it. He felt happy. He wasn’t worried. ~Sam

Knuffle Bunny by Mo Willems

  • “Found Knuffle Bunny at the washing machine and now she is happy.” ~Olivia
  • “Him got left at washing. Dad found bunny. Him kept looking.” ~Sofia

Empathy and Listening with Understanding 

For the next few weeks we will be exploring the concept of empathy and what it means to really listen to each other. We will introduce empathy to the children and explain that it means feeling someone else’s feeling in your own heart. We will read books with the children that explore an underlying message of empathy and listening.  We will watch the children to see if they are making an effort to perceive another’s point of view. We know that children innately support and love each other so deeply and we hope to highlight this love and understanding in the next few weeks as we move into the Christmas Season.

Please check out our documentation board in the hallway to see photographs of the children’s work.  Also, if you have not yet done so, join the Shutterfly Site to see pictures of the children in action.

As always let us know if you have any questions!

Team 104

November 2016 Newsletter

Barbara Vick Room 104 

Room 104 Rocks!!!!  We so enjoyed connecting with you on Parent-Child Day.  Your commitment to your child’s development is evident by creating “All About Me” books that allow the children to share the story of “ME”.  The children enjoy sharing their books with classmates and teachers.  Our Peace Beads remind us daily to take a breath, slow down and appreciate the joys we get to experience with your children.   We are truly a community of learners in Room 104.

Classroom Activities

We are beginning our journey into Story Workshop.   This is a classroom structure that supports the connection between the arts and language and literacy in our classroom.  The use of materials such as designed wooden dolls, story stones, sticks, rocks, blocks, paints and various loose parts all play a role in language development.  Our goal is to make the children see themselves as storytellers and authors.  This is a work in progress and our classroom is excited to take this journey.  Each child has their own journal as a place to hold their stories.

Mark Your Calendar

  • Nov. 8   Parent Conferences 11:00 -6:00   Please come at your scheduled time as conferences are ten minute intervals.
  • Nov. 11   Veterans Day  No Classes
  • Nov. 23-25   Thanksgiving Holiday   No Classes


-Please encourage and foster your child’s sense of independence and responsibility        by allowing them to find their coat hook, take off their coat, and hang it on their hook.

- The weather is turning cooler and we do spend time outdoors daily, please make sure your child is dressed appropriately.

Happy Birthday

-      Oct.  Darius, Luke, Tommy, Emma, Lucas, Sofia

-      Nov.  Rex

Thank you for all the food donations to our local pantry.  Thanks to the families who donated classroom supplies for October and November.   Have a wonderful and relaxing Thanksgiving.

Ms. Meg    Ms. Mary   Ms. Pam

October 2016 Newsletter

Barbara Vick Room 104 

Our classroom has been filled with happy, busy children. We are delighted with the wonderful social interaction that has been taking place in our classroom. It is so fun to watch the children engage with each other and the materials. There is truly a sense of wonder and curiosity in our room right now.

We have been discussing what it means to be a member of our classroom community and what it means to take responsibility for our classroom. Some of our guiding questions during discussions have included:

  • What does it mean to part of a classroom community?
  • How do taking turns and sharing materials help to build our community?
  • What classroom “agreements” can we establish so that we all feel respected and safe?
  • How do we respect the materials in each area during Choice Time?
  • How does engaging in classroom activities help us to become successful learners?
  • What are some things friends do together?
  • What are words that you can use if you want to play with a friend?

The children seem to enjoy being a part of this process rather than having “rules” to follow that the adults make. As a group, the children are working to come up with a list of agreements for the classroom. These agreements are meaningful to them and help them to feel a sense of ownership about the decisions made in their classroom. At this time, their ideas about the agreements seem to focus on how and what to say to one another during the school day.

  • I share. If someone says please I give it to them. ~ Emma F
  • Sharing makes me feel great. ~ Emily K
  • Sharing is giving. ~Brady H.
  • You share stuff if people want it. ~Ainsley
  • Another way is to give it to them when they say “please can I have it”. ~Rex
  • I was scooping and then he was scooping and that is called taking turns. ~Mercedes
  • A friend is someone you play with and someone who makes you feel happy. ~Mary Caroline
  • We need to care for our toys and use nice hands when we are playing. ~Nia
  • Please can I play with you? ~Connor
  • I shared the Orbeez. ~Olivia

We will continue to document all of the children’s ideas and help form agreements during the next few weeks. We are really impressed with their thoughts at this time. It shows that they clearly have a sense of empathy for others, which is wonderful at this age.

Classroom Activities

We continue to observe the children during play to find out what they are interested in in hopes of beginning a project that is meaningful to them.  We have been working in small groups to explore each center in depth so that the children truly understand what is possible in each area. On Monday, The Rainbow Fairies visited our classroom and left materials and a note for the children in our classroom treasure box. We use the treasure box and fairies as a fun and exciting way to introduce new materials to the children. This week the fairies left wooden peg dolls, fabric, gems, buttons and yarn so that the children could each make a doll. The dolls will stay in the classroom and will be used during play and storytelling.

Art Studio

The children go to art studio with Miss Jessica 2-3 times a month. They have been exploring natural materials in our classroom and will continue to explore with Ms. Jessica. Check out the documentation board in the studio to learn more about their experiences.

Outside Play

We go outside to play everyday. Please send your child dressed appropriately for outdoor play.

Please label your child’s coat, hat, mittens and backpack if you haven’t done so yet. We have already had several mix ups with sweatshirts and coats.


Please remember to email us prior to your child’s birthday if you would like to come in and read a story or stay with them for a few minutes in the beginning of the day to make their birthday hoop.


  • Thursday September 29th Picture Day
  • The Book Fair starts next week! Family read night is Wednesday, October 5th from 6-6:45.
  • Monday, October 10th -no school, Columbus Day
  • Friday, October 21st-Parent/Child Activity Day-sign-up sheets will be on the door the week before.  Please remember to bring beads for our activity.

Please send in your child’s wooden embroidery hoop if you have not done so. We also need family photographs if you have not sent yours in. Thank You!

October Supplies: Emma A, Brady B and Rosie B are signed up to bring supplies in October

As always, email or call with any questions or concerns.

Ms. Mary, Ms. Meg and Ms. Pam

Mary- mdclifford@cps.edu

Meg- mlfinn@cps.edu

May Newsletter

Towers are Friendship!

The children in room 104 worked for months to investigate towers, draw towers, build towers-individually and with a group, paint towers and see towers, first-hand, downtown on our field trip. They worked together to build and furnish a huge classroom tower.

However, as we were reflecting with the children in the classroom about their experience during the tower project we discovered that the children didn’t really talk about towers at all. They talked about building with their friends or sharing blocks with their friends. They talked about finding a new friend to build with or helping a friend build a tower. They talked about working with a friend to build a car for the tower parking lot.

After listening to many children share their ideas one child in the morning class, Charlie exclaimed, “Towers are friendship!” That was very meaningful to us, as teachers, as well as for the students. We asked the children to further discuss what Charlie said and their answers spoke to the true heart of our project: FRIENDSHIP.

  • Friendship means playing with someone so you don’t feel alone. When you make a friend, they will be your friend forever. ~Nate
  • Friendship is holding hands. ~Sydney
  • It makes me happy to play with friends. ~Evan
  • Playing together. ~Rosie
  • Friendship is hugs. ~Colleen
  • Friendship is loving together. ~Zachary
  • I feel excited when I play with my friends. ~Gavin
  • Friends say please. ~Colin
  • You need to be nice to each other. ~Otis
  • Going places is fun when you have a friend. ~Wyatt
  • Friends play and give something to each other. ~Brady
  • Walking with friends and playing with them make me happy. ~Jeremiah
  • When I go home from school and say ‘bye’ to my friends I feel sad. ~Kameryn
  • Friendship is fair shares. ~Ainsley
  • My friends are the boys. ~Tommy

We invite you to come visit our Tower Museum with your child which is in the old yoga space across from room103.

Dates to Remember

Parent/Child Activity Day- May 20th

Memorial Day- No School-May 30th

What’s Next: The children will be making their own bug characters to inspire their story telling. We will also be setting up a robot building station in the classroom in the next two weeks. The chicks should be hatching in 9 more days!





Hello parents!

 Spring Break is finally here! We want to thank you for all of the support you have given us this school year. As you know, the children are so excited about towers and really enjoyed our field trip yesterday. We worked all day putting some of the finishing touches on our classroom tower and they are very excited to see all of their hard work pay off. We are inviting you to make a small tower with your child over break using recycled materials and bring it back next week to create a skyline in our classroom. We explained to the children today that the tower they make at home shouldn’t be much taller than their knee :)
Have a wonderful week enjoying your family!
Team 104


Room 104

Classroom Activities

Our classroom continues to investigate towers.   We have read both fiction and non-fiction books to further our inquiry.  The children have been developing their math skills, (measurement, spatial relationships, number concepts..) cognitive skills, (thinking symbolically, making connections..) and also social emotional skills, ( participates cooperatively and constructively in group situations).  Children’s explorations have included building block towers with a partner, observational drawings of downtown buildings, shadow projector drawings to name a few.  Both AM and PM classrooms are collaborating as they build a life size tower!!!  Our eggs will be arriving after spring break stay tuned for the excitement of hatching day!!

Field Trip Thursday 4/14/2016

One of the culminating activities of the tower study will be our trip to Navy Pier.

The children will all have an opportunity to visit the skyscraper exhibit inside the Children’s Museum and then we will enjoy a “working” picnic lunch on the lawn as the children engage in observational drawings of the tall towers of the Chicago skyline.  We are excited that so many of our parents will be joining us for this trip.


*all children should arrive at school by 9:30

* please provide a lunch for your child, plastic/paper bag labeled with their name.

* Pick-Up – 2:00 pm

Parent Teacher Conferences

Conferences are scheduled for Wednesday, April 13, 2016.  This is a non-attendance day for children.  An earlier email was sent home with specifics and a sign- up sheet is posted outside our classroom. Please contact us if you have any questions.

Mark Your Calendars

  • April 13- Parent Conferences
  • April 14- Field Trip Navy Pier
  • April 18-22  -  Spring Break

Have a wonderful spring break enjoy your time with your awesome children.

Happy Spring,

Meg, Mary, Pam

January 2016 Newsletter

Barbara Vick Room 104

   We believe in the laughter of young children and the wonder they bring to our classroom each day. We believe in taking time to listen and asking questions when we don’t understand.  We believe that lessons for learning should be purposeful but just as important fun!  We believe in allowing the children to engage with open ended materials; fabrics to dress up like Elsa, cooking a meal for a friend with acorns and pebbles, creating masterpieces with sparkly, fuzzy, feathery things and then share an amazing story about their experience. We love dancing and singing songs, building skyscrapers and knocking them down, counting to a really high number, and reading a great book over and over again.  We believe in giving hugs, wiping noses, drying tears, and the “look” at meeting time.  We believe in making mistakes and trying again until you get it right.  We believe in nurturing and supporting the growth of all our children so that they become capable and confident learners.  Thanks again for allowing us to spend time with your most precious treasures.  Wishing all our families a wonderful 2016.

Classroom Activities

We are beginning a literacy unit on stories by Jan Brett.  The children will be working on sequencing and predicting skills as well as story retell. They enjoy assuming the roles of the characters and performing for their peers.  We will also focus on story illustrations as a means to incorporate the children’s exploration of clay with Ms. Jill in the studio and our use of water colors in the classroom.

The children are now finding their name (first/last) as they enter the classroom.  They continue to build letter/sound relationships as they identify not only their name but their friends too.  Writing is also a focus this month.  We are providing activities to encourage writing through small groups, journaling, and apps on the iPad.

Our classroom is also involved with Erikson Early Math Collaborative and this month our focus is on patterns.  Take a moment with your child to find everyday patterns in their daily activities.

As we settle back in to our classroom routine we continue to focus on making choices and treating others with respect.  The children are just beginning to share with the class our photo project “the best part of ME”!

Parent Child Activity Day

   Please remember to sign up outside our classroom or email us.  The date is Friday January 22.  We will be working on our classroom project for the PPT fundraiser.

Mark Your Calendars

No School-Martin Luther King, Jr. (January 18th)

Parent/Child Activity Day (January22)


Jan 6   Colin L

Jan 13- Gavin S


 Please make sure your child is dressed appropriately for outdoor weather.  Also, an extra set of clothes in their book bag is a great idea.  Sometimes children are wet from outdoor play as well as the indoor sensory table activity.  Please label all outdoor clothing including boots, so many of the children’s boots look the same lol!!!

Slippers may also be worn during the winter months, many children leave a pair in their book bag.


Dear Parents,

Wow! Can you believe it is December? The children have been so excited by the change in the weather. Can you see and feel the changes around us?  Discussions about this can be heard outside during play. We notice the days are shorter and the ‘dark’ comes earlier in the afternoon.  The air is crisp and cold. Mist comes out of our mouths when we breathe.  Is there snow?  The children are learning through the active participation of their whole bodies.

The past few weeks were filled with discussions of what it means to be happy and thankful for the people and things in our lives. The children’s ideas were very sweet and thoughtful. On the Tuesday before Thanksgiving the children exchanged a friendship bracelets with one friend and told them why they were thankful for them. They chose a friend and shared with the whole group why that friend made them happy. It really helped to further foster the sense of community in our classroom.

We will enjoy hearing lots of great stories this month, including Corduroy.  We read the story for the first time today and the children made many observations about friendship, which goes to show how important the idea of friendship is to the children in our classroom. We will explore literacy skills as we continue to understand how stories are mapped out: with a beginning, middle and an end, as well as plot, setting, action and making predictions. We continue to refine our understanding of fiction and non-fiction.  We hope to turn our pretend play area into a teddy bear workshop to go along with the story Corduroy. If your child would like to bring a teddy bear with him/her to school please send it in their bag and they can play with it during indoor explore time. If you have any extra bears at home, you can donate to our room as well!

Special holidays fill the month of December!  You are invited to share your own family traditions with the class.  Perhaps you have a favorite story to share, or cooking activity you enjoy doing at this time of year.  Let us know if you are interested in this opportunity and we will set up a time for you to visit with us! As always, you are welcome to join your child for table time activities as they enter the classroom. We will continue to focus on family, giving and sharing during this busy time. We are intentionally keeping the focus on more than just the December holidays this month.  Children can be overwhelmed by the consumerism promoted on the TV and other popular media outlets.  The children need not feel our own stress and the pressures we might face at this holiday time.  Our intention is to maintain a relaxed, fun, low-key, predictable routine at school.  We hope that our classroom continues to provide a warm and safe environment in which the children find peace and love.

Mary, Meg & Pam

Dates to Remember

*December 16th 6:30-7:00 pm Holiday Sing-a-long at Chicago High School of Agricultural Sciences.  We will join our friends from Vick Village in a Holiday Sing-a-long. Hope you can join us.

*December 18th Last day of school before Winter Break

Special Reminders

*We go outside everyday as long as the wind chill is above twenty degrees. Please make sure that your child is dressed appropriately. Please label all hats/gloves/scarves etc… with your child’s name.  If you would like your child to wear boots to school they may leave a pair of slippers in their bag to change into before coming into the classroom. Sometimes boots are so heavy and slippers may provide comfort throughout the day J

*Your child may bring in their favorite teddy bear to play with during Indoor Explore time.


   We will going on a school wide field trip, Monday Nov. 23 to the Beverly Art Center to see Alice in Wonderland. Attendance will be from 11:00 to 1:30 pm  Details will be shared on Parent Conference Day along with the permission slip.
Meg Mary Pam

November 2015 Newsletter

Barbara Vick Room 104

The children continue to inspire our teaching with their sense of awe and wonder for learning.  We have taken walks around the neighborhood and across the street to KennedyPark observing the changes of the season.  The children gathered artifacts from nature to add to our natural materials area in the classroom.  We have observed the many benefits of these excursions. Children forming new friendships as they choose a walking partner,  overhearing engaging conversation with peers and teachers, and the calming effect of taking a break from the busy life of the classroom.   We have an awesome community of learners in Room 104!!

Classroom Activities

We have introduced Story Workshop twice a week in our classroom.  The children seem excited about the experience and we are learning alongside one another as we begin this new journey.   Several staff members traveled to OpalSchool in Portland last year to engage in professional development related to Story Workshop.  Story Workshop supports playful literacy in the classroom.   “The structure of Story Workshop, invented at OpalSchool, has shown us the power of story-making to fuel the imagination, engage all the senses, and make visible the hundred languages of children.”   We will be sharing more information as we move forward and inviting you to stop in and take a look.  Please check out our classroom board to view some of the children’s work.

The children are recognizing their name in print and have begun working on tracing/writing first/last names.   Our classroom will be partnering with Erikson Early Math Collaborative to incorporate math skills in everyday classroom activities.


The children will be going to yoga again this year with Ms. Margaret.

Parent Conferences

We will be sending a separate email with details and a sign up sheet will be posted next week.

Service Learning Project

The children will be collecting can goods from our neighbors for our annual food drive.  Look for the green sheet of paper we will be sending home on Monday. Please join us for the walk.

Mark Your Calendars

  • Nov. 11— No School –Veterans Day
  • Nov. 12—  Food Drive  (Please join us)
  • Nov. 13— No School-School Improvement Day
  • Nov. 18— Parent Conferences 11-6

Flu Shots


PTT@ 6:00

Nov. 25-27— No School- Thanksgiving Holiday

Have a wonderful Thanksgiving break with family and friends,

Ms. Meg, Ms. Mary, Ms. Pam


October 2015 Newsletter

Barbara Vick Room 104 

Our classroom has been filled with happy, busy children. We are delighted with the wonderful social interaction that has been taking place. It is so fun to watch the children engage with each other and the materials in the classroom. There is truly a sense of wonder and curiosity in our room right now.

We have been discussing what it means to be a member of our classroom community and what it means to take responsibility for our classroom. The children seem to enjoy being a part of this process rather than having “rules” to follow that the adults made. As a group, the children came up with a list of agreements for the classroom. These agreements are meaningful to them and help them to feel a sense of ownership about the decisions made in their classroom. At this time, their agreements seem to focus on how and what to say to one another during the school day. For example:

The Children In Room 104 Agree To Say:

  • “Hey, come on let’s play”.
  • “Are you okay?”
  • “Let’s share toys”.
  • “Will you be my friend?”

We will continue to revisit these agreements and add to them if needed throughout the year.  We were really impressed with what they decided was important to them at this time. It shows that they clearly have a sense of empathy for others, which is wonderful at this age.

Classroom Activities

We continue to observe the children during play to find out what they are interested in in hopes of beginning a project that is meaningful to them.  We have been doing some in depth reading of classic tales of 3: The Three Bears, The Three Pigs and The Three Billy Goats Gruff.  The children really have a deep understanding of these stories by the end of the week and they are able to act out the stories using props.

Art Studio

The children will begin going to art studio with Ms. Jill once a week. They have been exploring natural materials in our classroom and will continue to explore with Ms. Jill. Check out the documentation board in the studio to learn more about their experiences.

Outside Play

We go outside to play everyday. Please send your child dressed appropriately for outdoor play and make sure that their hats/gloves have their name inside.


  • Monday, October 12h-no school, Columbus Day
  • Friday, October 16th-Parent/Child Activity Day-sign up sheets are on the door. If your child rides the bus please email with a time that works for you. Sessions are: 9:10-10:10/10:30-11:30/12:45-1:45/2:00-3:00. Information to follow.

Please send in your child’s wooden embroidery hoop if you have not done so. We also need framed family photographs if you have not sent yours in. Thank You!

As always, email or call with any questions or concerns.

Ms. Mary, Ms. Meg and Ms. Pam

Dear Parents,

Our first child/parent activity is Friday, October 16th.  We will be making or adding to All About Me Books. We will provide the binders, the pockets, markers, crayons, glue, and scissors. You need to bring your choice of the following photos:  baby pictures of your child, birthday celebrations, holidays, special events, pets, and/or favorite foods, and stickers if you would like to decorate the pages.  The book will be kept at school.  During the school year we will be adding pages with your child.  At the end of the your child’s time at Barbara Vick, your child will take the book home.

Why is making an “All About Me” book important?  It is important because:

  • It helps your child develop his communication skills when he shares his book with the teachers and their friends.

  • Collecting the items to put in their books gives your child a reason to feel proud.

  • By choosing the items that are going to be put into the books, the children create a sense of security and identity – a connection between home and school.

We are hoping that each child’s book is unique, just like them! Look for the sign-up sheet outside the classroom door or email us with your preference. This is a day for you and your child, no siblings please.  If you are unable to attend, please ask a grandparent, aunt or uncle to accompany your child.  Remember this is an attendance day for your child.  If your child does not come he/she will be marked absent.

All About Me Book Ideas ( You and your child can choose what you would like)

Photographs of:   The front of your home           Sports/Activities

Family                                   Extended Family           Favorite toy/activity       Favorite body part

Child as a baby                      Pets                             Favorite food Favorite Place in Nature

Birthdays/holidays                Vacations                     New siblings Friends/School

You can also  bring print outs of favorites from the Internet and make drawings for the book.

Please sign up for a time either by signing up in the hallway or by email.
You can choose a time from the following :
We look forward to sharing this day with you!
Ms. Meg
Ms. Mary
Ms. Pam

Dear Families of Room 104,

In the next few weeks, we will be coming to the end of our Reduce, Reuse, Recycle study. As many of you may know, we began the study by investigating the idea of garbage. As we move towards the study of recycling, we are looking for two families to come and present to the children on how you reduce, reuse, and recycle in your own homes or communities. Recycled materials, pictures, and other visuals such as posters are welcome! If you are interested in volunteering, please sign up outside the classroom.

Important Dates:

The children have been working hard making structures and games out of recycled materials and have been so creative throughout our study. They have made robots, castles, recycling centers, ice cream machines, space ships, and much, much more! Some of the materials the children have used include water bottles, cans, yogurt containers, old jeans, toilet paper rolls, plastic tubes, aluminum foil, milk containers, and boxes.

For the culmination of our study, we need your help! We are asking that each child bring in a structure, invention, game, etc. made out of recycled materials to display in our hallway Recycling Gallery. We encourage families to work together on this project, and to be as inventive as you can. Please don’t limit your creativity! Some examples that families have brought in throughout the study are car/train tracks made out of old jeans, lanterns made out of cans, and a bowling game made out of yogurt containers. We will only have two folding tables available, so please make sure you are able to transport the creation and that it doesn’t take up an incredible amount of space.

Half of our families will display their creations in our Recycling Gallery the first week and the other half will display them the following week. Please sign up for a spot for one of the following weeks: March 23 – 27 or March 29– April 2. This sign up sheet will also be located outside the classroom. We cannot wait to see what you come up with.

Thank you for all of your support,

Room 104 Teachers

recylce symbol

recycle structure

Dear Parents of Room 104,                                         2/3/15

We are embarking on a new project this February and March – all about the importance of reducing, reusing, and recycling! Most of us don’t spend much time thinking about trash and garbage. We might give some thought to it sometimes, but we often forget about the challenges in dealing with all of the trash and garbage our world collects. We think that studying the ideas of reducing, reusing, and recycling will engage the children, encourage them to think about everyday objects in a different way, and introduce the importance of protecting our environment.

But first, we need your help!

  1.  We are looking for parents, family members, or friends who have knowledge about trash, reusing, or recycling. We would greatly appreciate if you could share your knowledge with our students, as we have found that experiences like these are so special to the children! Please let a teacher know if you can come in to our classroom.
  2. Further on in our study, we will also need help in gathering items to investigate. We will be sure to ask when the time comes, but for right now we encourage you to talk to your child about trash and recycling. Help raise your child’s awareness of these topics by borrowing some library books, or having your child sort your recyclables (even if they are just to bring to school!) When you are outside with your child and notice a piece of trash on the ground, point it out and talk about it. We encourage you to discuss the importance of keeping our world beautiful in any way, shape, and form.

Here are examples of some books we will be reading during our study:

I Stink by Kate and Jim McMullan

Why Should I Recycle? By Mike Gordon

The Michael Recycle Series by Ellie Bethel

Our Class is Going Green by students of the Oak Park Elementary School in Bartlesville, OK

Something from Nothing by Phoebe Gilman

Adventures of a Plastic Bottle by Alison Inches

George Saves the World by Lunchtime by Jo Readman

Sandy’s Incredible Shrinking Footprint by Femida Handy and Carol Carpenter

The Dumpster Diver by Janet S. Wong

Trashy Town by Andrea Zimmerman

Here Comes the Recycling Truck by Meyer Seltzer

The Cardboard Sisters Save the World by L.A. Ocampo

Compost Stew by Mary McKenna Siddals and Ashley Wolffe

Important February and March Dates

2/5      Friendship Day- Students visit classrooms during choicen  time.

2/10   Child Progress Reports and IEP Report Cards distributed.

2/16   NO SCHOOL – President’s Day

3/6     PTT Fundraiser – Bourbon Street 6 PM

Happy Birthday!

3/3     Colin D.

3/23   NyQwon

3/28   Evan

Outdoor School Policy

As long as the wind chill is above 20 degrees our children go outdoors for physical activity.  Teachers will assist children with dressing.  Kindly mark their clothing, boots, hats, mittens with names.  To keep our classroom floors dry, please include slippers or street shoes with winter boots.  If your child brings home the wrong winter accessory kindly return with a note.

Valentines Day 2/13

We will be having a celebration of classroom friendships on Friday, 2/13.  The children will be making cards for friends and families, practicing writing their names and drawing and cutting out hearts.  We feel that cards made by the children for friends are so special.  Starting this week, please send in stickers,  art supplies, and decorations in lieu of pre-bought  cards. 

Thank you for all of your support!

Hello Parents,

Thank you for signing up for Parent Child Activity Day.  You and your child will be PAINTING  our rain barrel that will be auctioned at the school fundraiser.
 Additionally, we are asking you to bring in materials (pictures, stickers, memento)  to create 2 pages for your child’s All About Me Binder about FAMILY TRADITION.  Examples of Family Traditions: Friday popcorn/movie day, attending a white sox game every season, game night, taco Tuesday, storytime, boy’s night with Dad, etc……   Please think of a special time or event that you do on a regular basis with your child that you would like to capture and record. We will supply the gluesticks, scissors, markers, crayons and paper. Feel free to bring in materials you want to work with, keep in mind the pages are the size of a large index card.  We will be displaying one of your pages on our bulletin board. Be creative,  you will cherish tomorrow the simple memories you create of today.
-Scheduled Hour- Morning 9:10-10:10, 10:30-11:30 Afternoon- 12:45-1:45, 2:00-3:00
-Please keep siblings at home
-We ask parents to bring child to school instead of  utilizing School Bus transportation. Please contact Ms. Elma if you need bus.
-Your child will attend school for one hour and come and go with you.
We look forward to seeing all our parents,  please let us know if you need assistance or have any questions about that day.
Ms. Mary and Ms. Elma

Lending Library             12/2/14

Dear Parents,

We are starting our Lending Library.  A book will be sent home with your child in their book bag.  Please read and enjoy this book with your child.    Reading with your child is one of the most important beginnings to early literacy and a wonderful way to share family time.

As of now, our library day will be every Friday.  Please return lending  library books only on Friday. Each Friday a parent volunteer will help your child select a book.   When you and your child are ready for a new book, return the book to your child’s book bag and a new book will be sent home to enjoy.   The children are excited to be “checking out” library books each week.  Please encourage them to be responsible for taking care of their book and returning it to their book bags on Friday.   The children will only be able to check out a new book when the previous book has been returned.

Happy Reading,

Ms. Elma        Ms. Mary       Ms. Crystal


Thank Your for your help and donations!!

Room 104 Newsletter

Reminder Dates

November:      11- No School (Veteran’s Day),

12- No School (Parent Conference),

26-28 – Thanksgiving Break

December:      22- Jan 2 – Winter Break

In the Classroom

We are finishing up our month-long theme of Being Kind and the children have come up with our Room 104 Kindness Agreement.  Please take a glance in the classroom at some of the words and ideas the children have expressed of how to be kind and how to be a friend.  Come in and read their Journal Folders, and their Kindness Reminders and Kindness Agreement, their entry in their All About Me Book of- How To Be Kind to a Friend, and our Family Homework Board on- How our families are kind at home.  It’s not too late to turn in your Family Homework, if you haven’t already.

Next, we are embarking on an Author Study of  award winning author- Leo Lionni.  Some of the books we plan to focus on are: It’s Mine, Little Blue and Little Yellow, Pezzettino, Swimmy, Fish is Fish .  We would like the children to learn the role of author and illustrator, identify and compare characters, the setting, problems occurring in the story, the sequence of events, and resolutions in the stories.  We will be working with collage materials since Lionni’s illustrations and characters lend themselves to that media.  We will be working with the children to write and illustrate their own stories or extend a Lionni story.  For example, after reading the story Little Blue and Little Yellow, perhaps your child might create the character- Little Red.   We will observe the children’s interest and see where this author study will lead.  If the children are interested in the fish theme of the story books, we may also plan a field trip to the Shedd Aquarium.

Some of the skills we are currently working on are touch counting with one to one correspondence, numeral identification, patterns, name recognition, daily Heggerty Phonics, and name writing.

Birthday Celebrations

Happy Birthday to Preston, Nolan, Abbey, Ally, Colin C., Aiden, Nate.

December Birthday Greetings to- Kamiya.


We go outside daily as long as the wind chill is above 20 degrees.  Please dress your child appropriately with hats, mittens, coat, and boots.   When the snowy weather arrives, your child can bring along slippers to change into in the classroom; we keep boot out in the hallway to keep our classroom dry. Please LABEL your child’s items.  It is chaotic trying to figure out 40 odd mittens or boot.  It seems at times that every child claims the cool spiderman boots  or the sparkly  mittens.  Please, pleae LABEL.

Thank you,

Mary Clifford, Crystal Henderson, Elma Wee Sit


Room 104 Team

Dear Parents,

We are starting to focus next on sewing and textiles.  Ms. Mary brought in her sewing machine and we are setting up a sewing center.  Some of the activities we hope to do this month: – textile wall hanging – sew a shirt or skirt -Tapestry table for-burlap sewing with plastic needles -mixed media art with textile and wood

We need: – A piece of clothing from each child that we will be cutting up to use in our projects. – Donations of textile remnants, 3 yards of burlap, notions (buttons, thread, plastic needles, big needles, trim) -6 fairly straight wood branch( 5-6 feet in height, 3-8 inch circumference).  If you see one bring it in.

Stay tuned for our clothing/textile exhibit!

Thank you, Ms. Mary, Ms. Elma, and Ms. Crystal

PS- We have dismantled our clothing store.  If you are missing any clothes you lent our store, please come into the room we still have a bag of clothes left.



Dear Families of Room 104,

Happy New Year! Our class will be starting a study on CLOTHES. We noticed that the children are very interested in clothes. They talk about clothes, put them on and take them off, compare clothes, and add clothing details to their drawings. We think clothes will make an interesting study.

We need your help to gather a collection of clothes to investigate. We need children and baby clothes, different types, colors, and fabrics. Here’s a list of suggestions, but you may also send in clothes that are not on the list. Please label the clothes with your name so we can return them to you at the end of our study. We promise to take good care of them! Please limit your clothing loan to 2-3 items per child.

Child size or baby size-suit coats, blazers, vests, sweaters, sweatshirts, T-shirts, turtlenecks, work shirts, dress shirts, blouses, flannel shirts, jeans, trousers, pants, skirts, dresses, exercise clothes, old-fashioned clothes, uniforms, costumes, shoes, boots, sandals and more!

We are planning to turn our dramatic play area into a clothing store. Therefore, we are looking for hangers, laundry baskets, bins, fabric, and buttons.

Favorite Fridays- On Fridays we are going to schedule special clothes days. Students can wear favorite clothing such as favorite hat day, or favorite shirt day, or favorite pant day. Stay tuned to your email for Favorite Friday clothing schedule.

We are looking for family members who wear uniforms (police officers, firemen, paramedic, nurses, mailman, etc.) to visit our classroom and present your uniform to the class. Do you crochet, sew, or craft clothing? Can you show the children how you make or decorate a clothing article? Please share your talent with our children. Speak to one of the teachers or see sign- up sheet to come visit.

Our story books related to clothing that we will be reading (somewhat in order) are: Caps for Sale, Uncle Nacho’s Hat, Llama, Llama Red Pajama, Goldilocks and the Three Bears, A Pocket for Corduroy, Button, Button, Who’s Got the Button, The Mitten, Wash and Dry, The Girl Who Wore Too Much, Abuela’s Weave, The Paper Bag Princess.

As we study clothes, we will learn concepts and skills in literacy, math, science, social studies, the arts, and technology. We’ll also use thinking skills to investigate, ask questions, solve problems, make predictions, and test our ideas.

What You Can Do at Home

Talk with your child about clothes. Examine the fabrics together and discuss how the clothes were made. Look at the labels to find out where the clothes were made and identify the fabric. Look at pictures from the past and note how the clothing differs from clothing today.

Teach your child to stitch. Use a large plastic needle and yarn; make stitches on burlap or felt.

When you shop for clothes, help your child notice how clothes are organized in the store and offer a simple explanation of how you compare prices.

Birthday Greetings-
January- Jenny, Ryan M., and Miley
February- None

Important Dates January/February
1/20- No School- Martin Luther King
1/24- No School- Teacher’s Institute Day
1/31- Parent Child Activity Day- modified day of attendance
2/12- No School- Lincoln’s Birthday
2/21- School Fundraiser- Bourbon Street

From Team 104
Mary, Crystal, Elma

Dear Parents,
12/19- Family Sing-Along at Agriculture School 6:30 pm
12/21- Start of Christmas Break (No School)
1/6- Return to School

Happy December!
Our classroom will be participating in a Barbara Vick tradition, the Giving Tree Program. The Giving Tree assists children in our school and families in the Crisis Center who are in need this holiday season. Our classroom participates in this program by asking our students to collect spare change, so we can buy presents for two children in need. This year, we are collecting for Mario – 7 year old, and Madeline- 9 months old. Please allow your child to bring in change to fill up our “Giving Snowman.”

Tree Study- Thank you parents for your awesome participation in assisting children in bringing treasures from your nature walk. We enjoyed listening to the student’s describe how they picked their treasures and use vocabulary about parts of the trees. We need your additional support by helping your child complete homework about-What comes from trees? Our goal is for the children to learn to investigate and look up facts. Your child will choose a fruit to investigate and answer questions about that fruit. Each child will be reporting their finding to the class during meeting time. Please turn in homework before Christmas break, ASAP. If you do not receive homework, please email us and we can send you a copy.

Shapes and Patterns- This month along with our Tree Study and Word Play Phonics, we will be learning about shapes and patterns. Along with basic shapes, we will be challenging the children to learn complex shapes and geometrical names such as the rhombus, cylinder, cube, octagon, cone, hexagon and more. In patterns, we are learning to copy/ extend a pattern, create a pattern, explain why it is a pattern. We will be learning the Shape Family Song by Dr. Jean and the children will have an opportunity to make shape puppets.

December Birthday Greetings to – Anna, Olivia, Eric, and Kamiya!!

Happy Holidays- Ms. Mary, Ms. Elma, Ms. Crystal

November Newsletter
Dear Families of Room 104,

Happy Fall!!!

Dates to remember:10/31- Hat Parade and Collection for Food Pantry
11/1- No School -Teacher Professional Development
11/11- No School – Veteran’s Day
11/12- Parent Conferences (No School for children)
11/27-Begin Thanksgiving Holiday Break

Reminder: Don’t forget to turn in your Family Sheet for All About Me Binder!

Tree Study
Our class is beginning to study trees. We’ll be observing and comparing trees to learn about what lives in them, what they’re made from, and who cares for them. We hope that this study will help children explore and appreciate nature. As we study trees, we will use literacy, math, the arts to explore the topic in depth. We will learn important social studies and scientific concepts through firsthand investigations. Please visit the classroom during the study to see how we do this.

If you are able to take a “tree walk” with your child, we would appreciate your help in collecting tree parts to investigate. If you can, please take a small bag to a tree area and collect things that have fallen, such as leaves, bark, acorns, twigs, flowers, fruit, or cones. See below for suggestions of other tree parts to bring in.

a variety of leaves
small limbs, branches, twigs
food from trees (fruit, nuts)
evergreen sprigs or small boughs
a live, potted tree
flower clippings (may be kept in water)
tree “cookies” (cross sections of trees that show the rings)

We need your help to enrich the children’s learning. If you work with trees, please let us know. Perhaps you’re a gardener, forester, tree trimmer, tree farmer, or nursery worker. Even if your job is unrelated to trees, you can be involved in our study. Extra hands always help!

-We are also looking for literature-books (fiction or non-fiction), magazines, posters, art work on trees.
-If you have family pictures related to trees- apple picking, picnicking under a tree, a tree in front of your house…. Please send it in and we would love to hear about the picture.
-Parents, can you come in and tell us an experience you had with a tree? Cutting one down, trimming a tree, watching a squirrel or bird build a nest, a hornet or bee hive in a tree????? Can we schedule you for a 5 minute share time during morning meeting?

What You Can Do at Home
You can help your child explore and appreciate nature by learning about trees. Invite your child to talk about trees. Share stories about your favorite childhood memories involving trees and games you might have played around them. Wonder aloud with your child to encourage his or her thinking about trees.

“I wonder why leaves fall from trees.”
“I wonder what makes some trees grow so big.”

At home, collect parts of trees, and encourage your child to sort them. Your child might also enjoy making a collage by arranging and gluing tree items on paper.

Thank you for playing an important role in our learning.

Team 104- Mary Clifford, Elma Wee Sit, Crystal Henderson

Welcome to Barbara Vick School. We are excited to begin the 2013/14 school year with you. Here is some information to start the year.

Ms. Mary, Ms. Elma, and Ms. Crystal

Teaching Team:

Mary Clifford – General Education Teacher, M.A. Early Childhood Education

Elma Wee Sit – Special Education Teacher, M.A. Early Childhood Education

Crystal Henderson – Classroom Assistant,  B.A. Criminal Justice and Administration & Child and Adolescent Psychology


AM Class  9:10-11:45

PM Class 12:30-3:05


Phone # 773-535-2671



Our hope and dreams for our classroom this year:

  • Listen and observe and know each child.
  • Create a welcoming classroom for students, families, and staff.
  • Help our children develop into independent thinkers.
  • Develop a connection with students and family and foster communication.
  • Respect and celebrate individual differences in each other.