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My Cup Runneth Over-

by Ms. Branch teacher: Mrs. B - Grade 5
Blog Entries
Monday Mail - April 19, 2010 04/19/10
Monday Mail - March 15 03/15/10
Monday Mail - March 1 03/01/10
Monday Mail - February 22nd 02/21/10
Monday Mail - February 15th 02/14/10
Monday Mail - February 1st 01/31/10
Monday Mail - January 18 01/17/10
Monday Mail - December 14 12/14/09
Monday Mail - December 7 12/07/09
Show All
Homework Nov. 24th 11/24/09
Monday Mail - November 16th 11/16/09
Monday Mail - November 9th 11/08/09
Monday Mail - November 2 11/01/09
Halloween Riddle #1 10/25/09
About Halloween 10/25/09
Monday Mail - October 26 10/25/09
Monday Mail - October 19th 10/19/09
Monday Mail - October 12th 10/11/09
Camping Prediction 10/08/09
Monday Mail - October 5th 10/04/09
Another Riddle 10/01/09
Riddle 10/01/09
Monday Mail - September 28 09/27/09
Monday Mail - September 23, 2009 09/23/09
First Weeks 09/18/09
Monday Mail 09/15/09
Tuesday Mail - June 9th 06/08/09
Monday Mail - June 1 05/31/09
Tuesday Mail - May 26th 05/25/09
Monday Mail - May 18th 05/17/09
Monday Mail - May 11 05/11/09
Hands (a porton of) by Jewel 05/10/09
Monday Mail - May 3 05/03/09
Learning to be Kind 05/03/09
Personification Poem 05/03/09
Senses Poem 05/03/09
Onomatopoeia Repetition Poem 05/02/09
Poem for my Father 05/02/09
Alliteration Poem 05/02/09
Monday Mail - April 27 04/26/09
April 21 - Monday Mail 04/20/09
Monday Mail - April 6th 04/05/09
Monday Mail - March 23 03/25/09
Monday Mail - March 16th 03/16/09
Monday Mail - March 2 03/02/09
Students' Class Group for Landmark 2009 02/25/09
I Have a Cobe (Cold) 02/22/09
Monday Mail - February 23 02/22/09
Be Who You Must Be... 02/15/09
Reflection on Love 02/15/09
Monday Mail - February 16 02/15/09
A Weird Thought 02/09/09
Tuesday Mail: Feburary 10 02/09/09
Homework February 3, 2009 02/03/09
Homework for Monday February 2nd 02/02/09
Keep a Poem in Your Pocket 02/02/09
Monday Mail - February 2 02/01/09
Homework January 30 01/30/09
Welcom KK to 5D 01/29/09
Homework: Thursday January 29th 01/29/09
Authors 01/28/09
Monday Mail - January 26 01/25/09
Goals 01/24/09
Ever hear of StarWars? 01/24/09
In Celebration of You 01/22/09
Monday Mail - January 19 01/22/09
Camping Photos 11/07/08
Camping 11/07/08
Camping Predictions 11/03/08
5D Community Agreements 10/16/08
Great to be Home 10/16/08
Greetings from Cyprus! 10/14/08
Seven Random Facts 10/10/08

Article posted April 20, 2010 at 04:18 AM GMT0 • comment • Reads 1272

April 19, 2010

Dear Families,

After a strong re-connecting week, we are back this week to recommit to rigor and stamina in our quest for knowledge. We are building on and developing further our 21st century skills. You will note that your child will be online quite a bit more frequently over the next couple of months. Please do not despair. Here is what we are working on:

Blog: We are posting our poetry here. As we prepare for next week’s Poetry Café, we are sharing our wonderful works of art with the world.

NVS: This is our virtual classroom. We are posting much of our reader’s workshop work here on discussion board forums. These posts are quite remarkable. (Ask your child to give you a tour of this online learning forum.)

NVSF: The science fair is still posted. Judges will be browsing and evaluating our wikis and blogs very soon. We have much to be proud of with our science projects.

Country Culture Study Wiki: We have just started working on our own wiki. Each child has his/her own page dedicated to the country of his/her choice. We will be researching about our country’s culture and recording/posting all of our information on this wiki. It promises to be a showcase of knowledge, hard work and technological skills. (All of this work is available to you to browse at your leisure.)

Exciting things are happening in 5D. I am very proud of our children and am very excited to see the results of all of their hard work. It is almost difficult to keep ahead of them. They are an energetic and lively bunch!

A couple of upcoming scheduling notes…

MAP testing begins for us on Wednesday April 21st.

Poetry Café forms are due on Thursday April 22nd.

Fun Run is on Sunday April 25th.

Progress Reports in Monday April 26th.

Poetry Café is Thursday April 29th.

Early Release is on Friday April 30th for Parent/Teacher conferences. (This has been moved from Tuesday to Friday.)


Ms. Amy Branch

Article posted April 20, 2010 at 04:18 AM GMT0 • comment • Reads 1272

Article posted April 14, 2010 at 05:17 AM GMT0 • comment • Reads 304

April 13, 2010

Dear Families,

“My cup runneth over…”

Today was my first day back with our children. It was a wonderful day of connection and realignment. I was out of the class room for a few days covering for absences in the office before break; I then traveled to Seattle, Washington (my home in the states) for spring break only to return last night. Today was wonderfully refreshing. I loved being back in our community. We truly do have the most incredible kids!

Although it was a couple of weeks ago, I feel I must mention our NESA Science Fair. This Celebration of Learning was an absolutely spectacular event. The NESA Virtual Science Fair was a showcase of hard work, dedication, perseverance and academic prosperity. I am still in awe of all that I witnessed over the past few months. I am extremely proud of our young scientists: their ambitious commitment to their investigations and experiments was truly remarkable; they worked diligently on finalizing all of their discoveries; and they executed their presentations with poise, expertise and professionalism.

Thank you to all of you for your support. We were all so pleased to have you as our guests. If you were unable to make it or if you want to see more, please ask your scientist to guide you through the Blackboard which contains all of the teams’ hard work. The next round is for the judges. Only two of ACS’s teams will move on in the next two rounds. I am very proud of all of the teams and it is a shame that not all teams will be recognized as the “winners.” Everyone is a winner in 5D!

I am looking forward to an uninterrupted next couple of months. We still have much learning going on. Progress Reports will be coming home in two weeks. And the Poetry Café will soon follow. Time sure is passing quickly.

Warmest regards,

Ms. Amy Branch

Article posted April 14, 2010 at 05:17 AM GMT0 • comment • Reads 304

Article posted March 16, 2010 at 05:58 AM GMT0 • comment • Reads 106

March 15, 2010

Dear Families,

It is quite surprising to know that we have reached the halfway point of March already. Time has truly flown by in 2010.

I would like to be sure to thank you ahead of time for your contributions for this Friday’s Care/Share project. This is an ongoing commitment that all elementary school homeroom classes are participating in this year. Your child should have informed you of this and has hopefully established a plan as to what the food item will be as well as how it will get to school by Friday at 9:30 AM. Thank you for all of your generosity.

I would like to make sure that my invitation for next Wednesday’s Celebration of Learning reaches all of you. We will be sharing all of our NESA Virtual School Science Fair projects. We developed our hypotheses and questions; designed and conducted our experiments; wrote abstracts and interim reports; and will be completing our final products this week. We are delighted to share with you our conclusions and scientific procedures. Please join us next week. Save the date, March 24th. The actual time is yet to be determined at this point. We look forward to sharing with you.

Be sure to note that there is no school on Thursday March 25th. School is in session on Friday March 26th.

Monday March 29th is also an important event for us. We have been given the special opportunity to visit the BETA shelter. We will meet many of the dogs and the caretakers all the while developing our mindfulness and compassion for the plight of these animals. It promises to be a nice day. I am sure the weather is now changing so it will definitely be a special day.

Thank you for your continued support of all that we are doing in 5D. It is a pleasure being your child’s teacher.

Most sincerely,

Ms. Amy Branch

Article posted March 16, 2010 at 05:58 AM GMT0 • comment • Reads 106

Article posted March 2, 2010 at 05:34 AM GMT0 • comment • Reads 158

March 1, 2010

Dear Families,

Welcome to March! We have a busy and exhilarating week ahead of us. It all starts off with our Book Performances and Read-In Day on Monday. I am anxious to see the performances as I am certain the kids have worked hard at producing quality work as well as practicing for their oral performances.

On Tuesday, we will begin our math unit on fractions and geometry. This is often a more challenging unit for children. I will work attentively with each of our children to ensure they are conceptualizing the arithmetic as well as developing a sense of whole/part relationships. We will also begin converting decimals to fractions; all of which is an extension of concepts already covered this year. We have built the foundation and now we can delve even deeper. I anticipate that they will not only succeed but will enjoy the unit.

On Wednesday, we will be returning to the library to delve further into our expository research. We had an introductory session last week and we will continue to deepen and broaden our skills. I am very proud thus far of the passion and perseverance I am witnessing with our nonfiction studies in both reader’s and writer’s workshop.

There is an opportunity for our scientists to stay after school with me on Wednesdays. We are conducting experiments and holding meetings for our NVSF Teams. If your child needs to meet with his or her team, please note that this time is available to them.

We will have our first school wide circle groups on Friday. This is a lovely tradition in the elementary school. There are over 50 circles comprised of one adult and 7-8 students (approximately one per grade). Our focus will be on bullying. We have had to postpone this circle time because of scheduling conflicts. It is a valuable time for us all. I believe our children will model and teach; they are excellent exemplars of character.

Please note that Monday March 8th is a professional development day and that Tuesday March 9th is Teacher’s Day. There will be no school on either of those days.


Ms. Amy Branch

Article posted March 2, 2010 at 05:34 AM GMT0 • comment • Reads 158

Article posted February 21, 2010 at 02:25 PM GMT0 • comment • Reads 160

February 22, 2010

Dear Families,

I enjoy writing these letters and looking ahead at the week to come. It is with anticipation of the learning, spending time with our children and the joy of being a teacher that excites me most each week.

It was wonderful meeting with all of you last week. It is always nice to have the time to sit down and celebrate with you. I am very appreciative of all of the support and love that I witness coming from you. We have very blessed children in 5D! Thank you for making the time to come in and share.

As we finish our last week in February, we are beginning a new unit. In science, we will be studying the brain and the nervous system. I love this unit because it allows me to integrate the Multiple Intelligences from Howard Gardner into our studies. This is one of my favorite things to discuss and explore with children. “The essence of the Multiple Intelligence theory is to respect the many differences among people, the multiple variations in the ways that they learn, the several modes by which they can be assessed, and the most infinite number of ways in which they can leave a mark on the world (Gardner 1994).”

This notion of “many kinds of minds” is often thought of as a progressive theory toward learning. Gardner also suggests, “It is the utmost importance that we recognize and nurture all of the varied human intelligences, and all of the combinations of intelligences. We are all so different largely because we all have different combinations of intelligences. If we recognize this, he (I) thinks we will have at least a better chance of dealing appropriately with the many problems that we face in the world.”

The theory suggests that intelligence has more to do with solving problems and fashioning products in a context-rich and naturalistic setting than the traditional intelligence assessments were designed to identify. Thomas Armstrong adds support to the theory by the notion of a “paralyzing experience” that occurs when the intelligences aren’t being used properly, the complement of this being a “crystallizing experience” where intelligences are being used.

In Multiple Intelligences and Student Achievement, Linda and Bruce Campbell share examinations of success stories from six different schools using the multiple intelligences. They say that…”gains are possible even though the teachers do not teach to the test. Instead, they believe that all students come to believe in themselves as well. Moreover, teachers have discovered that instruction through MI is so positive and engaging that students – all students- can’t help but learn.”

Assessment needs to be authentic, many evaluations are based on experiences that are often accomplished through taking a person out of his natural learning environment and asking him to do isolated tasks that he’d never done before and probably would never choose to do again.

The MI theory encourages the celebration of students’ products through a variety of opportunities and outcomes. The change I am going to make in our classroom is one of documentation and assessment through the multiple intelligences. I want to encourage our children to demonstrate their competency in a number of ways, which will have meaning and value for them.

I will focus on individualized growth progress rather than comparing them to each other or other students. This whole approach is very appealing as valuing the humanistic qualities of our children are a priority for me. Celebrating and nurturing them is the key. This theory integrates character education beautifully and fits very well with my teaching style of honoring the individual. I am aware of the “big, bad” views and fears of tests our children have so this lends itself to inspire children to live into the possibilities of success rather than limiting them to failure in unmet expectations.

I am excited to begin this work with our children.

Please note that there will be no school on Friday.


Ms. Amy Branch

Article posted February 21, 2010 at 02:25 PM GMT0 • comment • Reads 160

Article posted February 14, 2010 at 02:09 PM GMT0 • comment • Reads 134

February 15, 2010

Dear Families,

I hope this letter finds you rested and renewed after the weekend. I am looking forward to meeting with you this week. (Please check under Parent Handouts on our website to confirm your conference time) Conferences are a rewarding and connecting experience for me. I look forward to them each time they come around. Thank you for your consistent support of your children. Your unconditional love is admirable and inspirational. I will value all that you share with me; I am committed to do all I can to foster a fervent learning environment where each of our children feels successful both in academics and as developing human beings. It is an honor to be a part of such a wonderful community.

We are starting to focus on some new units of study. We are discussing the virtue of justice this month. Our children are steadfast in their beliefs about fairness. As always, I seem to be the one learning the most in our morning meetings. We have such thoughtful and compassionate children. They motivate me to become a better person.

I hope you have had a chance to discuss your child’s NESA Science Fair project with them. They should be well on their way. We have already received compliments from the NVSF founders that our children are doing exceptional work thus far. Please do inquire.

Literacy Studio is going to begin to look a little different as we delve deeper into our comprehension and understanding of literacy both as readers and as writers. We are focusing primarily on nonfiction text. In reader’s workshop, I will be forming book clubs with our children where I assign them books to read collectively. I am also expecting that each child re-reads a book they have finished already so they can truly form a deeper grasp of authors’ craft and they can sharpen their ability to determine importance within the text. Most of the Book Club work will be done online in our virtual classroom. Be sure to ask your child for a glimpse.

In writer’s workshop, we are beginning our exploration of nonfiction and expository texts. This is woven into our nonfiction unit. We are also taking some time to craft some poetry. It is harvesting time in Literacy Studio; we have planted the seeds, we have cultivated our products and are now reaping the rewards of our crop. Soon, we will have a variety published pieces to yield and share.

It astonishes me that we have completed half of our year together. I am exceptionally pleased with the flourishing growth and development I have witnessed thus far. This is the time of year where we need to challenge our children and to create even higher expectations for them to aspire toward. I appreciate all that you do to nurture and care for your children. You are the roots of their success both in school and in life. Your dedication does not go unnoticed by me. I appreciate you. Thank you.

Warmest of regards,

Ms. Amy Branch

Article posted February 14, 2010 at 02:09 PM GMT0 • comment • Reads 134

Article posted February 1, 2010 at 05:29 AM GMT0 • comment • Reads 146

February 1, 2010

Dear Families,

I am hopeful that the weekend was a restful one. We had such a terrific time on our overnight trip. It was full of exploration, learning and laughter. Some children even slept, I think. Our children were exceptionally well-behaved and respectful. They were polite, they were positive and they were most enjoyable. I will savor the memories of this trip always.

I must sincerely apologize for the movie that was shown on Thursday night. We made a decision to show Avatar, which is rated PG-13. For this, I express my deepest apologies. It is not a movie that should have been shown without your approval. I am sorry for this disregard.

We have successfully completed our MAP testing. Each of our children set obtainable goals and most were successful in reaching them. It is always a prideful moment for me when I witness our scholars aiming high and setting lofty goals for themselves – and then feeling the exhilaration of success. Please talk with your child about their MAP testing. Remember that this is only one indicator of your child’s development this year.

This week promises to be a prosperous and engaging one. We begin with our Read-In Day. Each child will be presenting his or her Book Performance on Monday. Since this is designated as a celebration, we are going to call it a Read-In Day. After the performances, we will read for the rest of our day. I have invited everyone to wear their pajamas (dress code appropriate), to bring a mug for our “Espresso” (hot chocolate) and to bring in free-choice reading material. We do have PE in the morning so it is necessary to wear PE uniforms and shoes to school; they can change into their pajamas after PE for our fun-filled day.

We will end the week with our tree-planting trip to in Del Amir. I am fully impressed with our children. Their thoughtful and compelling persuasive letters are inspirational. It is my hope that they will feel proud of the work they have done as well as a sense of fulfillment when they plant their very own tree. We have been discussing the importance of conservation and global awareness. This is a way for them to experience that they can make a difference.

Please be sure to read the calendar updates on our website. There are many things coming up that you will want to be well informed of ahead of time. Report cards and conferences are coming…

May all be well with you and your family.

Most graciously,

Ms. Amy Branch

Article posted February 1, 2010 at 05:29 AM GMT0 • comment • Reads 146

Article posted January 17, 2010 at 08:00 AM GMT0 • comment • Reads 121

January 18, 2010

Dear Families,

I am hopeful you have had a restful and fruitful break with your children. It is always a nice to time to reconnect and to rejuvenate especially as we prepare for the upcoming months. My anticipation for the New Year reminds me of how quickly time flies. It is hard to believe we are already in the middle of January. MAP testing time has arrived again, ski trips are being planned (rescheduled) and report cards are coming out next month. All of which signals the half-way mark of the school year. It is important for us all to take a moment to establish, grow, extend and restore our commitments to each other. Our children need us now more than ever to support them lovingly and consistently.

Our short time together last week was very rewarding for us all. The children, albeit a little groggy at times, were settling in nicely with enthusiasm and rigor. There was an overall sense of home-coming as we reunited as a community of learners. We are moving forward with our goals, we are raising our expectations and we are fervently delving into our schoolwork. It promises to be a productive time in 5D.

Please note some of the upcoming dates:

• Monday 1/18 MAP testing (Math)

• Tuesday 1/19 MAP testing (Science)

• Wednesday 1/20 Field trip to AUB museum

• Thursday 1/21 MAP testing (Reading)

• Friday 1/29 Early Man:Summative

• Monday 1/25 MAP testing (Lang. Usage)

• Monday 2/15/10 Report Cards

Faqra has been postponed due to a lack of snow. I will let you know as soon as we have re-scheduled our trip. I am sorry for the disappointment and inconvenience this may have caused.

Thank you for your ongoing support. I am delighted to be back with our children. It feels like coming home.

Warmest Regards,

Ms. Amy Branch

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Article posted January 17, 2010 at 08:00 AM GMT0 • comment • Reads 121

Article posted December 14, 2009 at 01:38 PM GMT0 • comment • Reads 181

December 14, 2009

Dear Families,

As we move into the Winter Holiday break, I would like to be sure to share a few important dates and scheduling notes.

• Wednesday ~ Empathy Celebration @ 9:30

• Thursday ~ Early Dismissal @ 12:00

• Friday ~ 1st day of Winter Break

• Thursday (Jan. 7th) ~ School Resumes

Traditional Irish Blessing

May the blessing of light be on you,

Light without and light within.

May the blessed sunshine shine on you

And warm your heart till it glows like a great peat fire,

So that the stranger may come and be warmed at it,

And also a friend.

And may the light shine out of the two eyes of you,

Like a candle set in the two windows of a house,

Bidding the wanderer come in out of the storm.

And may the blessings of rain be on you,

The soft, sweet rain.

May it fall upon your spirits so that all the little flowers

May spring up and shed their sweetness on the air.

And may the blessings of the Great Rains be on you,

May they beat upon your spirit

And wash it fair and clean,

And leave there many a shining pool

Where the blue of heaven shines,

And sometimes a star.

And may the blessing of the Earth be on you,

The great round earth.

May you ever have a kindly greeting for those you pass

As you're going along the roads.

May the earth be soft under you when you rest upon it,

Tired at the end of a day,

And may it rest easy over you when at the last,

You lay out under it;

May it rest so lightly over you

That your soul may be off from under it quickly

And up and off, and on its way to the sky.

And now may the Spirit of Life bless you all and bless you kindly.

I wish you all the joy, nourishment and peace the holiday season promises.


Ms. Amy Branch

Article posted December 14, 2009 at 01:38 PM GMT0 • comment • Reads 181

Article posted December 7, 2009 at 11:22 AM GMT0 • comment • Reads 139

December 7, 2009

Dear Families,

My Sunday morning was spent with many of you walking the 5k portion of the Beirut Marathon. It was a little bit rainy but still awfully fun to be a part of such a healthy and positive event. I am impressed with how enthusiastic and positive our children were with the questionable weather and the massive crowds of people; their optimism is refreshing. It is also commendable that the children noticed all of the littering during the race and chose to collect bottle caps for our school wide recycling program. Thank you to all of you parents that were willing and able to join us. I am glad you were there.

We will kick off our Social Studies unit on Early Man this week. There is an informative response link on my website called Early Man that I would like each child to complete by Thursday Dec 10th – please remind them to check it out and respond. I am using it as a formative assessment to simply see what they may already know about this topic. Next week, we will take a little trip to the Movenpick old port to search for flint and other “fossilized” artifacts. It will be an hour of discovery and fun.

Please be sure to inquire about our “Empathy Celebration” next week. On Wednesday, the 16th of December, many of you will be joining us for our celebration. It will be an hour honoring you and others in our lives who embody the attributes of empathy, kindness and caring. I guarantee you will be blown away by the articulation and presentation of character education in 5D. Our festivities begin at 9:30.

Thank you for all of your loving support. This has been such a magnificent three months of school. I look forward to each day with anticipation and joy. Only two weeks before winter break…

Yours truly,

Ms. Amy Branch

Article posted December 7, 2009 at 11:22 AM GMT0 • comment • Reads 139

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About the Blogger

Ever since I was a child, I wanted to travel the world and to make a difference in other people's lives. I truly didn't believe I would become a teacher though; however, I am so glad that I am 5D's teacher! I am originally from Washington state but have enjoyed living in both West Africa and Lebanon. I am very blessed to have lived such an incredible life thus far.

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