Message From the Executive Director
April 1, 2020
Dear Exploris Community,
I hope this newsletter finds you and your family safe and healthy as we all adjust to the restrictions and remote working/learning environments. Although this crisis has profoundly changed all of our lives, I remain inspired by our community’s spirit of determination and resilience. This crisis has caused dramatic changes. Together, we have grown, transformed, and emerged stronger as a result. Our teachers and students have risen to these challenges and have continued to reflect on ways to improve and refine our remote learning processes. I want to thank all of our families for your support and partnership. We will continue to navigate through these challenges and become stronger through the process. With confidence, grace, and tenacity we will weather this storm and our children will further develop their independence, curiosity, grit, responsibility, and tenacity as we journey together.
We have now completed 9 days of remote learning and our community has grown in our use of technologies and developed a vocabulary with new meanings including zoom, google meet, seesaw, flip grid, padlet, voicethread, and google classroom just to name a few. Although there are technology challenges at times, the skills under development will propel us all forward into the new horizon. Some of the studies underway this week include: 5th graders writing on immigration, 2nd graders getting hands-on and creating cylinders in math, 7th graders studying genetics, 4th graders continuing their study on fractions, 1st graders inventing a new animal and using graphic organizers to showcase their characteristics. Last week, the 8th graders even had a crop scientist join them as a guest speaker to discuss the role GMO’s play in our food production.
Service-learning is another core foundation of the work we do at Exploris. We are all striving to make each moment with your children a learning opportunity to improve the lives of others as well. Teachers have shared information with your children about the #DoGoodFromHome Challenge which was launched by the Design for Change organization and Hasbro. They are leading a national campaign to capture how kids are trying to support those in need at this difficult time. Teachers have shared ideas with their students and challenged them to help make a difference in our community. Exploris always shines with our commitment to service and living out our vision. This is a great opportunity for all of us to reflect and be grateful for one another and reach out and share our gifts with others. Challenge your child by asking them, “How are you “doing good from home?” Have them share their plans on how they are supporting neighbors, health care workers, family, or friends as we all weather the challenges ahead.
Prior to the transition to remote learning, our students were involved in the design and brainstorming process to develop a new school mascot. School mascots promote school spirit, serve as school behavioral role models, reflect school image, and guide decision-making processes. Students in art classes drew inspirational images of how they envision the Exploris mascot. Kaizen student leaders from K- 8th grade brainstormed many different name ideas and then shared a survey with students and staff to select from the top three ideas. It is my pleasure to share the results and exciting new school mascot with all of you. We are now officially, The Exploris Trailblazers! We are already living out that name as we blaze a trail into the digital learning world along with all the pioneering work that Exploris has already accomplished over the 20-year history. Our teachers and students are blazing this new trail to guide us into the future. We will be celebrating together with a school spirit week following our spring break. The crew teachers will share additional details in the near future.
Remember to take extra time with your family to reconnect with one another and enjoy the simple pleasures in life to reduce the stresses of these uncertain times. Our family has had family game nights, ping-pong tournaments, movie nights, and taken on a new outdoor Viking chess yard game called Kubb, and rekindled the spirit of family competition. Reading, working, learning, and playing together has been a shared joy for all of us during this time. I wish you and your family joy, health, and happiness.
Enjoy reading all the interesting grade level highlights in the newsletter to find out more about the exciting learning taking place with our new remote learning Exploris. Remember to update your calendars with the upcoming important dates. Feel free to reach out to your child’s teacher or one of the administrative support team members if you have any questions or need assistance.
All the best,
Below you can see the K teachers during their new kind of Morning Meeting.
First-grade students have been connecting with their classmates for a virtual community circle on Fridays!
Silly second graders wore silly hats to Ms. Rachel’s crew meeting on Friday.
In third-grade we have been holding Crew meetings each day on Zoom. This is a great way to check-in with each other and stay connected during this strange time. We have had lots of guest visitors during our talks and in the picture below you can see a chicken!
4th grade is making the best of digital learning! Students are connecting in a variety of ways including Flipgrid and weekly zoom crew meetings. Here are some pictures of those!
Like every grade, 5th grade has been exploring ways to connect and continue the community we established over the course of the year. Each morning, our crews meet virtually to share stories about our experiences, ask questions about learning, and learn more about one another. While not a replacement for meeting in person, It’s the highlight of our days.
6th grade is learning about First Civilizations this week through interactive digital journals, Edpuzzle videos, and good old-fashioned face to face discussion.
Who knew that all that work with Design for change with Padlets and the other technology we've been using all year would come in so handy in our virtual classrooms. The seventh graders are rocking it.
Thanks to the coronavirus, Exploris has now moved to online learning. While being stuck at home we have found a way to still have school thanks to Zoom, Google, Flipgrid, and many others. We are now on week three and we are still getting used to the transition. In the 8th grade expedition, we are learning about the early ages of Earth and biologic evolution. On March 27, we had a guest speaker Kurt Boudonck (BASF crop scientist) to talk to us about GMOs and how they are affecting the economy and the environment. Big shoutout to Kurt for spending time with our eighth graders during this pandemic. Hopefully, we won't be stuck at home much longer. - Riley Lloyd
Last week, kindergarten went outside for Connected World and investigated a small piece of land: They found frogs
and observed trees
! Fourth grade coded Chase Games
In an effort to help families find resources related to community supports and counseling all in one place check out the Counselor's Corner. This is updated daily and will continue to have new information for families. You can find a link to the resource by clicking on Counselor Corner
or on the COVID-19 tab on The Exploris website.