A typical scene on my block.
The other day, I had my writing group over for dinner so they could discuss my new book The Boy Who Loved Birds, which I am still considering erasing forever. It was one of those perfect evenings in Minnesota – pleasantly warm with a gentle breeze, all blossom and fragrance and birdsong and green, green, green, green. My back yard bumps right out onto park land, so from the table on the patio, you look out onto a green slope and a green field and a tangle of woods and a swollen creek with a charming footbridge arching prettily over the water. If you look up idyllicin the dictionary, I’m pretty sure it says Kelly Barnhill’s goddamned patio.
Anyway, somewhere between the tortellini and the wine and the orange popsicles, a scene unfolded before us – familiar enough to me, but my comrades were stunned by it. A troop of shirtless boys – a couple with hand-torn strips of cloth tied around their heads in makeshift headbands – came tramping down the hill, passing by the yard and heading over to the fallen down willow tree by the water’s edge. The boys in my neighborhood call it “The Fort” or “The Village”. The girls call it “The Fairy Tree”. Obviously, the girls have the correct name, but we try not to make the boys feel bad about it.
Two of the littler girls trailed behind. To the untrained eye, it looked like they were tagging along. For those of us in the know, it is clear that they are there to a.) be in charge and b.) collect evidence for future tattling, blackmailing or politicking. They stopped on the hill to roll down it – boys and girls together. When they got to the bottom, they stood as if this was the most normal way possible to travel downhill, and proceeded to march across the field.
“Hey kids!” I called out to them.
“Hey Kelly,” the kids called back. Or some of them did anyway. My son ignored me entirely. They tramped by and disappeared into the green.
My writing group turned to me.
“You live in a damn Norman Rockwell painting,” they said.
“Is it like this all the time?” they wondered.
And the thing is? On my block, yes. It is like this all the time. Kids wander this way and that – from back yard to tangled wood to alley to bridge to riverbank to field to garage to basement to somebody’s kitchen to back yard and back to the field. They travel on bikes, on scooters, on roller blades, on skateboards and on foot. When the field floods they bring out paddle boards or kayaks. Sometimes they try to wrestle giant carp swimming in the shallow waters covering the grass. From time to time, parents will text or call with the whereabouts of this child or that child. If I am looking for my son, for example, I’ll check with the parents across the street, and if they don’t know, I’ll ask the parents next door to them, and if they don’t know I’ll check with the family down the block, and if they don’t know, I rely on the fact that I can call out really really loud (it’s one of the perks of being a former singer – I project) and eventually my son hears me and comes home.
The kids here. They run wild. It is good that they run wild.
“Do you want to just tell your kids that they’re not allowed to grow up to be messed up? Do you tell them look at what we have provided for you! It’s perfect!”
Unfortunately, even the most idyllic childhood doesn’t rescue us from having our own dark nights of the soul. Pain – physical, emotional, spiritual – is inevitable. We were born broken. We will die broken. We will be broken along the way. However, I like to think that this little kid paradise tucked into Minneapolis will give them something special as they muddle their way through the perils of childhoods into the skins of the men and women that they will become. I hope that the wild children that they are right now remains an essential part of who they will be. I hope that, even when they are old, that their souls are still muddy, grubby, grass-stained, sweaty, hard-muscled, bright-eyed, and still utterly, utterly wild.
One of the benefits of the feral childhood – because, let’s be clear. That’s what they have. Sure they brush their teeth when they are told and do their homework on command and clean their rooms when under duress and come in for dinner after only the seventh or eighth warning, but they are farfrom domesticated – is that they have this opportunity to claim the world that they inhabit. This is a powerful thing for a child – something unavailable to them when they’re at school or baseball practice or church or grandma’s house. When they roll down the hill and tramp across the field, there is no rule that they do not negotiate and agree on among themselves. There are no clocks or watches. There are no gold stars or percent marks or work books. Heck, there aren’t even shirts half the time.
In the green world, there is only now.
In the green world, there is only us.
Here are my hands, the children say. They belong to me.
Here is the grass, their voices shout. It belongs to me as well.
Here is this stick. It was made for my hands. Here are my arms. And my muscles. They were made to wave this stick around. There is no truth but motion. There is no rule but play. There is no reality outside of myself and this stick and this mud and this tree and this water and this green. This is the only world that matters.
Here is this field they say. It belongs to us. Here is the creek. It also belongs to us. And so does the sky and everything under it. How good – how very good it is to be THIS boy. And THIS girl. This very one.
There is no greater thing on earth than a child in motion. Bless you, my children. Bless all of you. May you own the world forever.
Childrens literature, parenting, parenting is poetry, peter pan, raising kids
Congratulations are extended to our scholars who met their AR goal for the first 9 weeks. These students will be recognized at our Awards Ceremony on this Monday, November 7th along with our other scholars that will receive awards.
1st Grade: Zaniya Copeland, Jackson Conrad, and Aharii Thomas
2nd Grade: Carson Williamson, Ezirah Smith, Akeelah Stancil, Miranda Gutuza-Moye, Treasure Hart, Jakyra Harper, Nikkolas Solise, Jahmad Savage, Gabriel Lohner, Samiyah Wilkins, Rich...ard Raschka, Andrew Suggs, Patrick Lohman, Kalia Vereen, Evan Deminski, Sha'Dymond Bryant, Cameron Jones, Arlecia Smith, Jaylin Spivey, Journey Bobbit, and Taylor Langley
3rd Grade: Anthony Williams, Westley Johnson, Montae Savage, Imani Whitley, Elijah Taft, Clarence Gilliam, Tamora Andrews, Zion Artis, Kenneth Dixon, Zylin Jones, Karajhi Davis, Charmaine Dixon,
Myron Phillips, Jayla Rogers, Kierra Ross, Shad Savage, Ja'liyah Woods, Aaliyah Ward, Taj Cobb, Faith Hay, Nashiya Frank, JBreyon Gilliam, Keaston Jordan, Aniya Barrett, Teyana Gorham,
Esmeralda Gallegos, Jordan Godley, Zyla Morning, Mesah'iah Peele, Adam Taylor, Akeelah Williamson, La'Kirah Beale, Cecilia Crawford, Aniyah Dawes, Fatou Diokhane, Elijah Holland, and Taylor Walker ,Jayci Garn, Stephanie Reyes, Algier Suggs, Brooklynne Evans, Che'Nazeya Gooding, Lynwood Harmon, Jamari May, Shaun Tyson, Cedria Dupree, Lauren Rushing, Zion Whitaker,
Cailey Brown, Zy'myah Waller, Zykieria Cherry, Danazia Moore,
Nevaeh Moye, Trinity Bizzell, Jamaya Doe, Natazia Barfield, Chris Cash, Tamya Forbes, Christian Butler, London Smallwood, Tyler Alford, Desiray Miller, and Adrian Rendon-Barona
4th Grade: Milan Smith, Amire Stanford, Rahkeem Williams, Orianjene Bradley, Andrea Poole, Dy'lan Simpson, Nishta Vishwakarma, Micah Crandall, Neha Patel, Xzavier Brown,
De'Marrion Wiliams, Tiheen Bell, Xiya Carter, Laila Dixon,
Roemello Knight, Teresa Vargas-Palacios, KeMarrion Williams,
Kedrick Rogers, Nayonna Carr, Rashad May, Kemoni Staton-Cohens, Brianna Barnes, Jy'Rique Williams, Shawn Winder,
JaQuell Clemmons, Isaiah Godley, James Gowans, Desiree Coles,
Malek Hadwan, Jordan Vereen, Zy'miryah Bell-Taylor, and
5th Grade: Jake Webb, Xaria Ferebee, Chastity Jones, Dontavious Roberts, Harmony Webb, Morgan Whitehurst, Emily Cash, Tyden Garn, Arianna Bayliss, Shaliah Jones, Katrina Wu, Mariah Chavis,
Stephen Bartley, Nazia McCotter, Nizerr Purvis, Angel Solise,
Amire Smith, and DeAndre Williams
The following scholars are our top AR point getters per grade level. They will be treated to a pizza party on this Thursday. Congratulations! 1st: Zaniya Copeland (Anderson) and Jackson Conrad (Kraft) 2nd: Richard Raschka (Hill), Treasure Hart (Bynum) 3rd: Karajhi Davis (Eason), Algier Suggs (T.Smith) 4th: Kemoni Staton-Cohens (Nelson), Nishtha Vishwakarma (Hawkins) 5th: Tyden Garn (Bullock), Emily Cash (Bullock)
Congratulations to our K-2 students that received all S's for the 1st nine weeks.
Gessiah Midgette, Jimya Harris, Robert Newell, and Hayden Shears
Jordan Daniels ,KiNylah Redmond, David Cotto, Tavaros Daniels, Jaria Valentine, Christian Arevalo, Trinidee Smith, Eldra Whichard,
Arianna Campbell, Kassidy Coleman, Aleyah Dixon, Antonio Harris Jr., Chase Morris, Kristal Pena, Lucio Jimenez-Sastre, Zakari Wiggins, Ze’Mari Langley, Aaliyah Thaggard, Ava Jones, Naomi Bryant, Adisynn Dove, Joshua Bullock, Taylor Johnson, Amira Joyner, Iyana Martin, Alani Cox, Jakhyrie Miller, Caroline Walker,
Jackson Williams, Kaijon Hollis, Janae Brown, Syncere Foggs,
Annaya Durham, Jaydenn Graves, Jazziya Langley, Kenya Roberts,
Bryson Taylor, Noah Soloman, Zimir King, Maraji Lawrence, Lovonah Mason, Tyler Stevenson, Amyah Roseboro, Carter Brown, Paige Bynum, Jayden Cross, Christian Cutler, Eriyahnna Green,
Madison Jenkins, Michael Joseph, ZyAnn Land, Zikeyahnnah Lassiter, Kimorah Lawton, Harmonii Newton, Jayden Ross, Nyshawn Shaw, Kyasia Taylor, and KeNiyah Tyson Anderson
Kamiyen Coleman, Ta'Kiah Carmon, Hsham Alakwa, Dakota Blow, Kai’dn Arrington, Kalani Cabantan, Kylah Brown, Savannah Carter
Jackson Conrad, Aalah Everett, Zoy’Rihanna Joseph, Samari Kilpatrick, Aharii Thomas, Zaccai Lee, Jada Tyson, Kent Washer,
Josiah Branch-Waller, Mya Blunt, Bre-Asia Brown, Gabriel Chavala,
Zaniya Copeland, Aaron Cox, Malik Evans, Lei’lani Locke, Jasulynn Rogers, Steven Simpkins, Aamir Armstrong, DaQuan Barnhill, Ariana Crane-Cogdell, Ariyana Dixon, Jazmine Edwards, Davionna King, Gia Langley, Jaylin Owens, Joshua Smith, Zanuri Washington,
Ta’Niyah Austin, Tyjere Clark, Christina Cutler, Kamille Edwards,
Christopher Hewitt, Korey Little, Dymiracle Tyson, A’Miya Williams,
Jaheem Williams, Antonio Brown, Jaetron Carter, Jeremiah Gowans, Sanai Green, Gregory Mann, Arianna Martinez, Leah Phillips, Danae’ Ratliff, Nasir Savage, Santonio Warren, Jada Jackson, Zen Laveau, Mokenna Akins, Daysia Atkinson, Noriyah Brown, Aleyah Grottini, Tamiyah Harris, Jayanna Martin, Raqkerra McCotter, Aiyanna Miles, Adrian Williams-Bullock, Zi’Kyeria Smith,
AriYannah Brooks, Milana Gilbert, E’meriah Boone-Williams, Kayona Bryant, Tykece Hilton, Juelz Waller, Jaquan Barnhill, Yannis Dewitt, Jamaron Baker and Olivia Canady
Jaylen Bond, Miranda Gutuza-Moye, Jakyra Harper, Treasure Hart, Jahmad Savage, Ezirah Smith, Maddison Taylor, Jerome Williams, Carson Williamson, Jahleel Barrett-Prayer, Yihiem Gibbs, Amelia Outlaw, Kamaja Anthony, Madilynn Hunter-Newton, Richard Raschka, Patrick Lahmon, Alana Rosales, Destinee Coles
Mirna Khalafalla, Kayden Harrell-Smith, Adrianna Gray, Gabriel Lohner, Kylie Jones, Aquil Burden, Jordyn Gee, Makayla Jordan,
Jayla Phillips, Arlecia Smith, Cameron Jones, and Carmen Spruill
Congratulations are extended to our Grades 3-5 students that made Honor Roll (All A's) or Principal Lists (A's & Bs)
Third Grade Honor Roll (All As)
Westley Johnson, KaRahji Davis, Cecilia Crawford, Esmeralda Gallegos-Lucaiano, Cecilia Crawford, Esmeralda Gallegos-Lucaiano, Cailey Brown, Lauren Rushing, Algier Suggs, and Jordan May
Third Grade Principal’s List (A's and B's)
Raya Hurwitz, Tamya Johnson, Elijah Taft, Clarence Gilliam,
Joshua Jones, Natalya Lora, Jayla Rogers, De’Ashia Williams, Ja’Liyah Woods, Nehemiah Bunn, Jada Collins, Detric Everett,
Jameshia Freeman, Travis Spruill, Aniya Barrett, La’Kirah Beale,
Taj Cobb, Fatou Diokhane, Jamare Fortune, Teyana Gorham, Keaston Jordan, Adam Taylor, Taylor Walker, Johne’ Williamson, Trinity Bizzell, Cedria Dupree, Brooklynne Evans,
Jayci Garn, Che’Nazeya Gooding, Lynwood Harmon, Jamari May,
Keyli Reyes, Zaccai Shackleford, Zy’myah Waller, Cindy Wu,
Natazia Barfield, Christopher Cash, Jamaya Doe, Tamya Forbes,
Jordon Lovett, Ky’lihya Peele, Jordin Powell, and Davian West
Fourth Grade Honor Roll Students (All A's)
Amir Stanford, Nishta Vishwakarma, Desiree Coles, Kylie McDuffie,
Brianna Barnes, Tayjuan Brunson, Isaiah Godley, Rashad May,
Kemoni Staton-Cohens, Jy’Rique Williams, and Shawn Winder
Principal’s List (A's & B's)
Orianjene Bradley, Xiya Carter, Makayla Columbus, Micah Crandall,
Laila Dixon, Allyria Griffin, Neha Patel, Teresa Vargas Palacios, Andrea Poole, Zymere Reid, Dy’lan Simpson, Taquone Barksdale,
Nysha Best, Philzahni Daniels, D’Nasja Freeman, Justin Hopkins, Raekwon Staton, Brooke Streeter, Jaquell Clemon, Javon Doe,
Larissa Jackson, Tiana Wilson, Malak Almogannahi, Tahseen Ayesh, Shaniya Howard, Clarrissa Jackson, Jalen Roach, Nasir Gardner, Andrew Larranaga, Deshanti Morris, Michael Newell, and Noah Scott
Fifth Grade Principal’s List (A's and B's)
Xaria Ferebee, Chastity Jones, Kiyan Vaughan, Harmony Webb,
Morgan Whitehurst, Ariana Bayliss, Emily Cash, Tyden Garn,
Shaliah Jones, Zoey Kelley, Sakai Mathis, Avani Washington, Mariah Chavis, Maggie Barton, Stephen Bartley, Alyssa Jones,
Katrina Wu, Miracle Harris, Kennedie Little, AJ Smith, Angel Solise,
Christiana Anderson-Hardy, Elijah Carroll, Shymirah Harris, Nakyla Lennette, and Dykerra Williams
First Grade Newsletter
Reading : nonfiction text with written comprehension
Math: word problems , making new shapes using other shapes. Determining if an equation is true or false
Spelling long vowel with a CVCe pattern
Science/Social Studies: Animal needs, Neighborhoods and how they change, Thanksgiving
Writing: narrative and informative papers
Second Grade Newsletter
- Literature: Characters’ Response to Events
- Informational: Main Idea and Authorś Purpose
- Writing: continue Narrative Writing
- Topic 3 & 4: Adding Fluently Within One Hundred using Different Strategies
- Using timeline to show sequence of events
- Contributions of important figures, events, traditions, and cultures
Points of Awareness:
- Continue to review the 3 Rś (Be Responsible, Respectful, and Ready to Learn) with your child.
- Encourage more positive behavior at school.
- Motivate your child to read 20 minutes every night and ask comprehension questions (e.g. Who, What, When, Where, Why, How questions),
Third Grade Newsletter
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Fourth Grade Newletter
For the month of November Fourth Grade will be focusing on Elements of a Story/Text and Context Clues in E.L.A as students will learn how and be able to describe a character, setting or events with emphasis on the character’s thoughts, words or actions. Students will also study how to determine meanings of words and phrases in a text. In Math, Fourth grade will focus on Multiplication and Division while gradually building within the skills using strategies that include basic operation and real world word problems for rigor and in depth understanding. In Science, Fourth Grade will focus on Energy, Light and the Earth through analyzing, compare and contrasting, determining patterns and evaluating how each are related in one form or another. Finally, Fourth Grade will focus on being thankful for all of the important people, places and things they have in their lives at home and here at Lakeforest Elementary School.
Parents we love having your support and encourage you to reinforce what is being taught and modeled here at schools so that your precious child can grow academically, socially and emotionally. Some of the ways that you can do this is by reviewing homework with your child each evening and communicating with your child’s teachers through signing nightly agendas to also include some notes should you have any questions/comments or concerns to share with your child’s teacher. Strategies used in school can also be promoted at home such as RUNNERS in Reading and CUBES in Math, this can definitely strengthen their practice and will allow you to see if they are utilizing the steps that will enable them to do well. Another support would be praising your child when they share grades that reflect their hard work and even their grades are not where you think they should be, encourage them to keep focused and on the right track. Finally become involved in the Positive Behavior Intervention and Supports Program within the school by discussing the RIBBITS rewards received and how they may earn more. Fourth Grade believes that each student is capable of working to meet their fullest potential and with sharp focus on their success being both at school and at home, we believe they will their success will be clearly met.
Fifth Grade Newsletter
This marking period in Math 5th grade will begin with Order of Operations and Numerical Expressions. For the remainder of the nine weeks we will be tackling Fractions; adding, subtracting, multiplying, and dividing with both like and unlike denominators!
We will kick off Science with Force and Motion! For the first few weeks we will explore the relationship between force and motion and understand how they both work.
In ELA, we will continue with Nonfiction Text Structure and learning how to determine a certain type of text by identifying “signal” or key words that are characteristic for that text as well as knowing what type of graphic organizer accommodates the text structure.