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Wildcat Weekly



Cipriani Elementary School works hard to surpass the academic guidelines established by the state of California by providing a challenging and engaging curriculum for our students. The Belmont-Redwood Shores School District core curriculum standards for each grade are listed to the left with active links to the Common Core State Standards that have been adopted for the upcoming school year. The California Department of Education website offers a wealth of information for parents, students, and staff. Please take a look at what is in store for your child this academic school year. 


We are transitioning to the California Science Standards at Cipriani in all grade levels. Here is a resource that provides more information about the shifts in science education taking place during this exciting time. 

Curriculum Update: Check out the latest classroom news!


The children have been busy in TK.  They completed a January Self-Portrait and a Writing Workshop Story; all on display in the classroom.  This week, the children learned about the letter Hh and the sound it represents in words.  The children continue to learn how to write letters, words, and sentences (step by step).  Please look at the work in your child’s Yellow Homework Folder and review the work with your child.  Please review the letter Aa, Bb, Cc, Dd, Ee, Ff, Gg, Hh, and Ii poems in your child’s My At Home Reading Workshop Binder.  As a foundational skill for Reading and Writing Workshop, we continue reading fiction and non-fiction books about seasons, animals, insects, and trees during the winter season.  The children are becoming more confident about speaking in complete sentences, sharing their stories with the class during WWS, and answering the Question of the Day using a complete sentence.  In Math, we continue to count the days of the month, talk about the day of the week, the date, the concept of counting on, counting by 1’s, 2’s, 5’s, and 10’s, and complete a daily pattern on the calendar and with math manipulatives.  The children are practicing 1:1 correspondence while counting the number of math manipulatives in their patterns.  The children are now counting their math patterns up to the number of days we have been in school.


We have been “filling each other’s bucket” with kindness and now we call these notes, “Love Notes.”  The children enjoy sending a special note to their friends each day.  This is an ongoing activity that the children can participate in throughout the year.  In TK, our goal is to express kind words and thoughts to and with our friends and “fill their buckets” with kindness.  I have included four notes you can write with your child at home and deliver to school next week.  Your child can tell you what they want to say and you can write the words, copy the words or your child can draw a picture.  Please remember to include a “To Whom” and “From” on each note.    




  • Readers Workshop- Our work is focused on the Letter E currently as it has so much magic.  Our reading superpowers are coming in handy as we try to blend sounds and learn sight words. 
  • Math- As we continue our journey with counting 1-100, our skills are being tested with number writing as we strive to eliminate reversals.
  • Writers Workshop- Kindergarten students are writing How To...books where they choose a topic to explain to a reader. We are also working on sequencing with our mentor text, The Mitten. 
  • Phonics- We are working on reading as much as possible for Reading Power and sounding out words as we go. This allows us to be more fluent readers. 
  • Social-Emotional Curriculum- Our students have been mastering belly breathing as a method for calming down when emotions get high. 




Integrated studies:  Over the next few weeks/months, students will be learning more about the many different kinds of bears. We will take a close look at the bears’ habitats, diets, and life cycles. For each bear, students will be reading informational texts together, as well as responding to what they learn in writing. Students will also complete an art project for each bear that will be made into a book that will be on display during Open House later this year. We can’t wait to learn more about these amazing animals.


Reading: This month, students are taking a closer look at the characters, plot, and settings. Readers will preview books to get ready for reading adventures, use the storyline to make predictions, practice retelling to improve comprehension and learn about the main characters and their relationships.


Writing: During January, students will be writing how-to books. Writers will focus on using transition words, sequencing steps, labeling pictures to make their steps clearer, and using action words.


Social Emotional Learning: Students are practicing using self-talk and belly breathing for calming down big emotions. They are also working on counting or talking to an adult when they are worried. 


2nd  GRADE




Reading- We have begun our new Reading Unit, “Bigger Books Mean Amping Up Reading Power”.  We discussed that researchers have found that second-grade readers have a reading voice in their heads.  Sometimes it is the voice of the story, or the voice of the teaching book, or the voice of the poem.  But it is no longer the voice of the beginning reader who is trying to get the words right.  Instead, it is the voice of a smooth, fluent, reader.  Researchers have learned that FLUENCY IS THE MOST IMPORTANT SKILL FOR SECOND-GRADE READERS.  We learned that we need to reread our books, out loud and in our heads, to make our reading smooth.  We also are trying to make our reading voice just as smooth as a singing voice.  We have been practicing scooping up more words at a time by noticing punctuation.


Writing- In our new Poetry Writing Unit, we have learned that poets see the world in fresh, new ways.  Poets look at things with their hearts and minds.  We are practicing stretching our imaginations to look at the world in ways that are brand new.  As we read/write poetry, we ask ourselves:

  1. Can I make a picture in my mind?

  2. Does this writing help me look at something in the world in new ways?

  3. Does this writing give me a certain feeling or make me think or question?

  4. Does this poem have music?

Math- We made a meter tape and learned that a meter is 100 cm and a decimeter is 10 cm.  We measured our heights and learned how to display our data on a line plot.


Science- We began our new unit, “Pebbles, Sand, and Silt”.  We categorized rocks into three different families and discussed the properties that make up each category.


Social Studies-We learned about the contributions of Martin Luther King, Jr.  We began a project to embrace MLK, Jr.’s dream and dreams of our own for the world.


Health- We continued to learn about the heart and blood.  We noticed how our heart beats faster after we exercise.



-We will be continuing our work in math with Unit 3: Measurement and Data. Throughout this week, our focus will be on the measurement of time and telling time on an analog clock. As we move forward in the unit we will work on estimating time and elapsed time.Starting in the upcoming weeks, we will be beginning a weekly multiplication fact fluency quiz. These quizzes will be short and timed. They are a way to help us better recall our math facts as we continue the rest of the year. We will start with 0-2s, 5s, and 10s. Please help your child practice any math facts they may be struggling with. Thank you!


-Before the break, we started our informational writing unit in Writer’s Workshop. We learned about making expert lists to help brainstorm our potential writing topics and worked towards choosing one of those topics for our expert book. We tried out a variety of organizational structures that we can use when drafting our books and this week we will begin the drafting process.  


-In Science, we are continuing our Forces and Motion unit and keeping our focus on magnets and how amazing they are.


-We also started our next Reader’s Workshop unit, Reading to Learn, before the break. This week, we will be touching back on ways to rev up our minds for learning and how to preview expository, nonfiction texts. We will also be building back our school reading stamina.


-This week, we will be presenting our Winter Oral Reading Report books. We have already heard a few and they have sounded great! Thank you for your help and support with this project!




We are finishing up our first round of Book Clubs. Students worked in cooperative groups to practice reading and discussing the various aspects of the novels they read, implementing different reading skills into their work. 


We will be returning to regular, independent reading within the classroom as well as integrating the different subject areas (history, math, etc.) into our reading.



As we approach our study of the California Mission Era, we have been preparing our minds to write informational pieces by recognizing and identifying the characteristics of good non-fiction writing.  


Vocabulary and Spelling:

Word Study continues with continued emphasis on word spelling and sound patterns. We have also been using Spelling City as a fun way to incorporate games and activities to practice writing, alphabetizing, and typing with our words. 


We continue on our journey to study and learn 100 Word of the Day Vocabulary words as we have surpassed word #44. Be sure to ask your child the meanings of "parapet", "awry", "prototype", and "zeal".



We began Unit 4! This week we covered mathematical concepts such as the properties of algebraic notation, situation & solution equations with addition, subtraction, multiplication and division problems. 



We studied the European Explorers that first came to what is now present day California, including Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo and James Cook, just to name a few. These explorers were looking for a better route to Asia from Europe through the "Northwest Passage". They also wanted to use California as an intermediate port between Europe and Asia for trading.

The website for BRSSD general music is






We recently started a new unit about energy called “Energizing Everything.” Your child learned how things need energy to move and that energy can be stored in many different ways. We saw examples of cars powered by gasoline, people, springs and even food! Your child built a rubber band racer to test how the energy put into the racer impacts how far the racer goes. We solved the mystery, “Can a car move without gas?”

You can support this week’s learning by watching another example of people-powered vehicles with your child ( http://www.safeyoutube.net/w/ySj ). You might ask, “How does this car have the energy to go? Where did the people get their energy? What other vehicles get their energy from people?”






Reader’s Workshop

  • We started reading Lois Lowry’s Number the Stars as a class! We spent the first day gathering background knowledge about the time period of this historical fiction novel and students shared what they knew about World War II.

  • We previewed text features and made predictions about the story.

  • Students pondered the question “Would you risk your life for your best friend?” A question the main character, Annemarie, has to answer.

  • We read the first few chapters and dove into some details of the book, practicing discussing the book using evidence from the story.

  • This unit of Reader’s Workshop is going to help prepare students to write a literary analysis essay for our next Writer’s Workshop unit. We will dive deeply into themes, character analysis, metaphors, and allegories, to help us understand the complexities of a story.

Writer’s Workshop

  • We continued to develop our opinion pieces this week.

  • Students crafted their counterarguments and continued to collaborate and develop their writing.

  • We will celebrate next week as a fifth-grade group and will begin to transition into our next unit, Literary Analysis.


  • We began the week reviewing the division strategies we have been practicing and re-familiarizing ourselves with the concepts we had been working on before the break.

  • We explored how digits shift when we divide whole numbers by decimals and students learned a new strategy to help them tackle these kinds of problems.

  • We looked at how we could apply our new strategy to help us divide a decimal by a decimal.

  • Students collaborated and practiced using our content-specific vocabulary to explain their thinking to one another.

Social Studies

  • We began our unit on the 13 colonies this week!

  • We learned about the four major states in the New England region.

  • Students practiced taking notes and pulling out keywords and phrases.

  • We compared and contrasted the two major groups in New England, the Puritans, and the Pilgrims.





Upper-Grade Music with Mr. Fish:

Please see the latest updates about music anytime on Mr. Fish's website!



English Language Development

English Language Development: Content Standards

The English–Language Arts Content Standards for California Public Schools (1998) and the Reading/Language Arts Framework for California Public Schools (1999), both adopted by the State Board of Education, define what all students in California, including students learning English as a second language, are expected to know and be able to do. The English-language development (ELD) standards are designed to supplement the English–language arts content standards to ensure that English language learners (EL) students  develop proficiency in both the English language and the concepts and skills contained in the English–language arts content standards.

The Common Core State Standards will work in concert with the EL standards to ensure a comprehensive instructional program for all students.

California ELD standards