Holiday Letters Are On Their Way!

Students at KIPP Academy of Opportunity in South Central Los Angeles had a blast during Letter Opening Day #2 this past Tuesday! The smiling faces and weeks of anticipation make each opening day just as exciting as the first. It is amazing to see letters of all shapes, sizes and colors, differently tattered by the postal service. They were so thankful and excited! Thank you for making each of my students feel unique and special this holiday season.
All 109 of my sixth graders received letters from pen pals far and wide. For some context, we put up a US map in our classroom and students pinned the location of their scientist on the map. Some students had no idea how far Boston is from Los Angeles, or what LA stands for besides Los Angeles. For our 13 international pen pals, we have a world map on its way and I can’t wait for students to see how far your letters travel from!


In 6th grade science we have studied cells, genetics, body systems, adaptations, and are now working on energy. Below is a picture from a cell model students collaborated on during class to review our cell unit.

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We are using the engineering design process throughout each unit to learn iteration, begin to think like scientists and learn how to problem solve! Below is a picture from our Marshmallow Challenge Day 1, which resulted in a lot of broken spaghetti and frustrated 11 year olds! We are really working on the last step of the design process: to look back and learn. My students like to turn their work in and be done with it…they don’t like it at all when I ask them to fix it or reflect on it and try again. We continue to talk about the fact that your first idea is probably not your best, and your first try may not solve your problem or be correct, and that is ok! Any mention or anecdotes about perseverance, determination, or iteration are highly encouraged in your next letters!


In other news, students worked all of quarter one to earn a field lesson where we visited Loyola Marymount University. For many students, this was their first time on a college campus. They asked great questions and really enjoyed being there. I have seen much mention of your colleges and universities in your letters, and students have started asking questions such as: “Where is Notre Dame?” or “Is Princeton hard to get into?” or “What’s NSF?”. I am proud of their curiosity, and know that their early exposure to a highly educated pen pal is getting them dreaming big for college! Keep the talk coming about how great college is, and what your college is like, because they are starting to realize how different one college can be from another.

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We wish you a restful and rejuvenating holiday break, and hope you will be excited to know almost all response letters are on their way to your door!


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