Friday, November 10, 2017

Peace Night, Family Day, Conferences

Hi folks.  Sorry I haven't communicated earlier.  I returned last week with much to do to catch up with my kids, their work, and my team, and I've been trying frantically to do al of the above.  There's a couple of big things coming up.

First, tonight is the performance of the IA play Rumplestiltskin, Private Eye.  The performance will be in the theater at 6pm.

Second, next Thursday is Peace Night from 6pm to 7:30pm.  We will be sharing our personal narrative publishings, and our personal flags and descriptions.

Third, on Friday, November 17th( the day before Thanksgiving break), we will be getting together with our family group, Connie's advising in the Pre-Walkabout, and Chris's advising in the Walkabout.  We will be doing some community service in the school, some fun activities together, and have a pot luck meal.  We are trying to keep it simple, so our theme for the meal is Soups, Sandwiches, and Salads.  There is a sign-up sheet on the door to my classroom.  Please discuss this with your child, and sign up(or have them sign up) for one.  Families are welcome to join us!  We will be eating around 11:30, and will be in the hallway between the library and elevator on the second floor.

Finally, fall conferences.  I'd like to go through the same preparatory process with kids for conferences that I usually go through.  I think its a valuable process in helping kids self reflect on their successes and challenges from their year so far.  My plan is to hold conferences the week of November 27th -December 1st.  I plan on getting a sub one day(yet to be determined), and hold conferences throughout the day while school is in session.  Any conferences that can't fit into that day will be held after school that week or at families' convenience.  I'll be flexible to meet your needs.



Monday, October 16, 2017

Bryan's Update

Hi folks.  I just want to give a update on how I'm doing and when I expect to be back.  First off, thanks to all of the thoughts of care and concern.  I really do appreciate it.

I am definitely starting to feel better, and have started some light exercise,  along with a lot of rest.  At this point I fully expect to be return after two more weeks, which was the original plan.  I hope to return on October 30th.  Remember, we won't have conferences at the end of this week.  I will send out a plan and schedule shortly after I return to work.  Please still support the book fair this week!  They always have an outstanding and varied selection.



Tuesday, October 10, 2017

DMNS Field Trip

Hi Folks!  The IA is still looking for drivers for Thursday's field trip to the Museum of Nature and Science.  If you can be a driver, please contact Kristie Edwards at if you can help out!



Sunday, October 1, 2017

Health Update

Dear Open School community,

I want to let you know about a health issue I’m dealing with.  About two weeks ago I started experiencing pain in my leg, which over time, got worse.  Last week I sought medical advice, and was diagnosed with a blot clot.  While this issue is treatable and should be temporary, I will be missing a period of work while I am recovering.
Currently, I estimate to be out four weeks.  Though I know this is not ideal, I am very pleased with the coverage plan while I am gone.  Kelsey McGuckin, a past Open School advisor, will be filling in for me.  Some kids already know Kelsey well, and she knows our program.  I will be working with Kelsey to create the curriculum that will be provided, and will meet with her regularly.  
This will also affect conferences.  I will not be holding conferences on the regularly scheduled dates: October 19th and 20th.  I will create a conference schedule when I return to work, and still have a fall conference for each student.  

Thanks for your understanding and support,

Bryan Zavada

Friday, September 15, 2017

Happy Friday!

Hi folks!  We've had a busy week, and we're starting to get into the rhythm of our routines of the day.

      In math, we reviewed, practiced and evaluated 2 different addition strategies. We're building our vocabulary and habits that allow us to talk, think, and act like mathematicians.  Kids received homework today in their Friday Folders, due Thursday of next week.  Next week we will continue to hone our addition skills, and learn some subtraction strategies.

     During our Reader's Workshop, we've continued to practice our writing to learn strategies, and discussed the importance of being mindful of how you think, of what your brain does.  We've learned the tracks in the snow strategy, a way of writing all over a text to record the thinking that one does when engaging with a text.  We've begun our read-aloud of Neil Armstrong is My Uncle, and Other Lies Muscle Man McGinty Told Me.  Ask your student about the characters in the story.

     During our Writer's Workshop this week, we've reflected on our trip, and practiced paragraph writing as we reflected on our experiences.  Students reflected on their constellation of support, wrote thank you letters, discussed paragraph structure and letter format.

     For our advising, we've been doing mindfulness activities, took the color personality tests, and designed a flag that represents our class community. Next week we will use the results from our color personality test to help us in the design of our personal flags.

Today was our first formal IA Choice Time, too. Ask your student what choice they made!  Remember, Monday is Back to School Night, from 5pm to 6pm in my classroom.

Have a great weekend,


Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Morse Park Picnic on Friday

Hi all!

Morse Park Picnic

This Friday the IA will be having its annual Morse Park picnic.  We will walk over to Morse Park at around 9AM, and return to school around 2PM.

Students should have:

  • comfortable walking shoes
  • lunch and something to carry it in(like a backpack)
  • water bottle
  • hat, sunglasses, sunscreen
  • optional: Frisbee, game balls for group activities
Families are welcome to join us.  You can walk over with us in the morning, or meet us at the park.

Rendezvous Reenactment

On Saturday and Sunday, September 16 and 17, there will be the 16th annual 1830's Rendezvous reenactment at The Fort, at 19192 Highway 8 in Morrison.  The event will be from 10:00am to 4pm on both days.  This connects well to our Pioneers unit last year, and demonstrates an amazing time in our country's development.  If you get a chance, check it out!  The admission is $5, and kids under 12 are free.



Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Assessment Day

Hi folks!  This is a quick reminder about our assessment day this Friday.  Your student will be coming in for about an hour at their scheduled time only.  Here is Bryan's schedule:

8:20        Gavyn
8:40        Augie
9:00        Lyla
9:20        Stella
9:40        Eleri
10:00      Orin
10:20      Zoey
10:40      Toshi
11:00      Ethan
11:20      Gia
12:00      Bodhi
12:20      Davis
12:40      Conall
1:00        Corben
1:20        Aman
1:40        Kael
2:00        Caius
2:20        Emerson
2:40        Brenna
3:00        Luci



Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Upcoming Dates in the IA

Upcoming Dates in the IA

Hello IA families!

It has come to our attention that we had an incorrect date on the board at our trip meeting.  We are NOT having our Back To School Night tonight.  Below are our correct upcoming dates.  Sorry about the confusion.

The IA Team

Monday, August 21st: Solar Eclipse
Friday, August 25th:  Modified Contact Assessment Day
Tuesday, August 29th Fall Trip Parent Volunteer Meeting
Friday, September 1st: IA Picnic at Morse Park
Monday, September 4th: No school, Labor Day
September 5th - September 7th: IA Buena Vista Camping Trip
Welcome back, everybody!  

September 18th 5:00 - 6:00PM IA Back to School Night

Monday, May 22, 2017

Almost there!

Hi folks.  We are in our last week of school, and we have some events to share about.

End of the Year Picnic
Wednesday, May 24th, 2017
11:00 to 11:30 – Tree dedication for Dana in the garden
11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. – Hamburgers, hot dogs and veggie burgers will be grilled and served.  There will also be watermelon, chips and a drink.  Come on out and fill up your bellies.  Once people have eaten they can play the picnic games we have set up (volleyball, soccer, paddleball, Frisbee, hula hoops, etc.).
12:30 p.m. to 1:15 p.m. – People will have the opportunity to play with the parachutes, participate in earth ball games and/or partake in the wet and wacky activities in the Lollipop.
1:15 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. – Water fight and slip and slides in the designated water area out on the field. Volleyball, soccer, badminton, Frisbee, 4 square, paddleball, etc. will remain set up for those who do not want to get wet.
2:30 p.m. – Big clean up of everything out on the field.  Popsicles to wrap everything up.
Last Day of School
Our 6th grade balloon ceremony is on Thursday at 10:30 AM in the field.  All are welcome to join us as we send off our 6th graders with this unique Open School tradition.
Dismissal is at 1 PM on our last day of school.

Friday, May 12, 2017

The Final Countdown!

Hi folks!  We are now in our final countdown mode, which means that a lot of fun activities are in store for us.  Next week, on Tuesday, 5th graders will be visiting their future advising groups for an hour, while the fourth graders(future 5ths) will host a visitation for our future 4th graders.

Wednesday is Downtown Day.  Each student will need $10 and a sack lunch.  They will also need to be dressed for the weather, and have good walking shoes.  We will provide tickets for any group that is taking the Light Rail, so students won't need any money for that!

Thursday is the end of year Band and Orchestra performance, at 6:30 PM in the theater.

Wednesday, May 24th is our end of year picnic, and Thursday, May 25th is our last day of school.  The 6th grade balloon ceremony is at 10:30 AM in the field, kinder graduation is at 11:00 AM, and dismissal is at 1PM.

End of the Year Picnic
            On Wednesday, May 24th we are going to have our all school end of the year picnic to celebrate the year and all that we have accomplished together.  The picnic will begin at 11:00 with a tree planting ceremony in the Green House in remembrance of Dana and the many incredible ways she touched all of our lives.  At 11:30 we will start serving lunch, which includes hot dogs, hamburgers, veggie burgers, watermelon, chips and a drink for everyone to enjoy.  Parents, grandparents and siblings are welcome to join us in this end of the year celebration, but please leave your dogs at home!  The following activities will be set up for people to enjoy once their bellies are full: volleyball, soccer, badminton, 4 square, Frisbee, paddleball, bubbles, jump roping and more.
            At around 12:30 p.m., people will have a chance to play with the parachutes, participate in earth ball games and/or partake in the wet and wacky activities in the Lollipop. Then People will have a chance to cool off on the slip and slides and in the water fight from 1:15 to 2:30 p.m.  Be sure to bring your swimsuit, a towel and/or a change of clothes.  Sunscreen is another important item to bring and/or wear to the picnic.  If people don’t want to get wet, they can play soccer, volleyball, badminton, 4 square, Frisbee, paddleball or hangout in the grass.  There will be a big clean up of the field at around 2:30 p.m. and the day will wrap up with popsicles for everyone.
            If you have any questions, please call and leave a message at #303-982-7056.  We look forward to a fun day of eating and playing together.  Cross your fingers for good weather!

                                                                        Rosie, Melody, Jacob and Benjamin

Have a great weekend,


Friday, May 5, 2017

Friday, May 5th

Happy weekend, folks!

      This week we are beginning to wrap up our year!  We wrote reflections of our camping trip, and thank you letters to parents or staff members that helped us on the trip.  We have also selected books to commit to for the rest of the year.  Ask your student what book they have selected.

     Next week we have quite a bit going on!  On Monday a guest author, Chris Paolini, will be coming to our school for an author visit.  We will also have a visit from a Jefferson County librarian, We will also be an audience for different 6th grade voyages throughout the week.  Finally, we will be starting a free writing assignment to end the year.

Have a great weekend,


Monday, May 1, 2017

Hi folks!  We had a great trip last week.  I hope your student told you all about it.  We are in the final homestretch for the rest of the year now.  As usual, though, the end of the year is filled with events.  Here are some:

Friday, May 5th:  Field Day
Monday, May 8th: Author visit-Chris Paolini
May 8th-12th: 6th grade voyage sharings
Friday, May 12th: JCOS Film Fest 6pm
Wednesday, May 17th: Downtown Day
Wednesday, May 24th: End of year Picnic
Thursday, May 25th: Last Day of school for students;  release at 1PM

Field Day Note

          The school year is coming to an end and it’s time once again for field day.  Field day will be held on Friday, May 5th and will follow this schedule:

Field Day Schedule
8:45 to 10:00 – IA
10:00 to 11:15 – Preschool, Kindergarten and ELC
11:30 to 1:00 – Clean up from the morning and set up for the afternoon
1:00 to 2:30 – Pre-Walkabout and Walkabout
                         (Capture the flag, volleyball, soccer, Frisbee,
                           tug-a-war & more)

            Please make sure your child wears clothes they can easily move around in, tennis shoes, sunscreen and a jacket in case it’s cold.  If you have any questions, please call and leave a message on my voice mail #303-982-7056.  You are also more than welcome to come join us and participate in field day.  We are looking forward to a super fun day.  Cross your finger for good weather.

                                                                                                Rosie and David

Growing and Changing

Today we will be sending notes home for our 5th grade growing and Changing curriculum, starting next Monday.  This is an optional curriculum for 5th graders.  Take a look at the note, and have your student return it as soon as possible.

JCOS Bee Club: This summer I will be starting a JCOS Bee Club, where I will teach students about honey bees and honey bee management.  Just yesterday, I installed bee hives in three students' back yards, and will periodically go through the hives, manage them, and teach kids about the art and science of beekeeping.  Students will be in full bee suits while working the hives.  The three hive for Bee Club are near school, in the O'Kane Park area in Lakewood, and the Ralston-Central Park area in Arvada.  If you are interested in your student participating, just let me know, and I will keep you informed of Bee Club days.



Friday, April 14, 2017


Family Fun Day

Thanks all for a fantastic Family Fun Day, especially Rowan and Emerson, who wrote the proposal.  I hope parents had an opportunity to get a glimpse of a typical day for kids at the Open School.

Next week we are preparing for two big events.  The Night of Exhibitions is Wednesday, and kids are working to finish up their posters for presentation.  Ask your students what they can do this weekend to help themselves over the weekend.  Can they draw a picture, find a map, chart or graph, find and print a photo? We will also be finalizing our trip preparations.  Check in with your student about the packing list. Ask about how tent set up was.

Have a great weekend,


Friday, April 7, 2017

     Hi folks!  I hope you all enjoyed the spring break with your kids.  We are wrapping up our school year and its hard to believe, but we're only seven weeks away from summer!  Thanks for all of the great conversations at conferences, too.  

     We still have a lot to do in these seven weeks, though.  We have completed our essays for our What Matters To Me projects, and are now researching for our second writing component, as well as planning our poster presentations.  I hope you can all join us for our Learning Expo on Wednesday, April 19th, from 5:00 to 6:30, where we will share our final projects.  

     You can visit science museums and interactive student led exhibits in classrooms in the elementary wing.  In the commons area, work from Pre-walkabout students will be on display.  Come and learn folk dances with Melody and end your evening by learning from our LEAP (9th Grade students) who will present projects.

5:00 - 5:30  Elementary Students will go to their classrooms to present their work
5:30 - 6:30 Families can tour exhibits in classrooms and the commons together
6:30 - 7:00 DOR Presentations (appropriate for 4th, 5th, 6th grade students and families to attend)

Folk Dancing with Melody - Please go with your child to Melody's music room at your scheduled time.
5:00 Per's Advising
5:15 Bryan's Advising
5:30 Molly and Jim's Advising
5:45 Jana's Kinder Advising
6:00 Mary and Ana's Advising
6:15 Kristi's Advising

This is an evening for families to spend together looking at and appreciating student work.  Please keep your children with you throughout the evening.  We hope to honor student work by speaking to students, asking questions, and learning together.

Trip Meetings

We have our mandatory trip meeting for our spring trip on Monday, April 10th at 3:45 in Kristie's room.  Our parent volunteer meeting is the following week, Monday, April 17th, also in Kristie's room.  Or trip is only two weeks away!

Downtown Day

The IA will be doing our annual Downtown Day on Wednesday, May 17th.  We are looking for parent volunteers to take a small group of students downtown for the day.  If you are interested in volunteering for Downtown Day, let me know.  

Have a great weekend,


Friday, March 17, 2017

Happy St. Patrick's Day

Happy St Patrick's Day everybody!  It was so fun to see everyone dressed up for our holiday today.

We have been working hard to prepare for PARCC testing and conferences simultaneously, while still trying to finish our What Matter To Me essay.  It's been a challenge to address all three thoroughly. Kids have been working hard, though, and we are all looking forward to the upcoming break.

PARCC Testing

On Monday we will start our math sessions of PARCC.  We will have two session on Monday, and two on Tuesday.  Please help your student prepare by ensuring that they are well rested, fed, and on time during these testing days.  We have a tight testing schedule and will need to start on time.  The rest of our testing sessions are after spring break.


Thanks to all for signing up for conferences next week.  We have begun our portfolio organization and reflections of work this year, but will continue to prepare next week as well.  Students will be driving their conversation at their conference, using a checklist/guide that we will create next week.  I look forward to seeing you all next week.

Day Of Dialogue!  Wednesday, March 22nd

Parents are invited, March 22! Every year the Walkabout puts on a conference about an important issue. We call this event a Day of Dialogue. This year the students planning the day are inviting parents to participate. This invitation is for all Open School parents. The theme is population, sustainability and human rights. The community is exploring how these three topics are interrelated. You will find a program in the weekly wire and posted on the front doors at school. Can't wait to see you there March 22! 

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Trip Meeting clarification!  

Hi folks, just a quick clarification on upcoming trip meetings.  The trip meeting for all parents is Monday, April  10th at 3:45 PM .

The parent volunteer meeting is Monday, April 17th at 3:45 PM in Kristie's room.

Our trip is to John Martin Reservoir State Park on April 24th through 27th, Monday through Friday.

Early Release on Friday

This Friday is an early release day.  Students will be dismissed at 1PM.  Please plan accordingly for your student!.



Friday, March 10, 2017

     Hi folks!  We are quickly approaching spring break!  The weather continues to improve, and conferences are right around the corner.  Thanks everyone for signing up for a conference for your student!

     We are also approaching the PARCC testing schedule.  We will be taking the math sessions on Monday, March 20th and Tuesday, March 21st.  The Language Arts and science sessions(5th grade only) will be after spring break.  Please make sure that your student is well rested, well fed, and on time during these days.

 Spring Trip Meetings

     We have a mandatory trip meeting for our spring trip on Tuesday at April 10th at 3:45 in Kristie's room.  We are also having a parent volunteer meeting for any parents interested in joining us for our spring trip.  This meeting is on April 17th at 3:45 in Kristie's Room.  If you are interested in being a parent volunteer, let me know as soon as possible, as we are currently trying to determine our vehicle needs for the trip.

Day of Dialogue

     The school is planning a Day of Dialogue on March 22, to which parents are invited! You can see the Weekly Wire for the day's program. The community will be exploring the relationship between human rights and sustainability. As a part of this curriculum, HawkQuest will show a Bald eagle, an owl, a falcon, and a free-flying hawk in the school's gym. JCOS will pay a fee for this curriculum and would like to invite families to donate money to help cover that cost. Thank you!

Have a great weekend,


Friday, February 24, 2017

February 24th

Hi folks!  Happy Friday!  Winter has returned briefly to Colorado, but we are getting ready for spring anyway.  We are finishing up our research for our What Matters To Me project, and will begin to discuss drafting our essays next week.  During our Reader's Workshop time, we finished our read-aloud of When You Reach Me, by Rebecca Stead.   We have begun a unit on inferring, and have been reading picture books to introduce and practice our inferring strategies.  Kids are also about half way through our second round of science classes.  Check in with your student about what class they are currently in.

Next Week

Conference folders will be out in front of the office next week.  Sign your student up for a half hour conference on March 23rd or 24th.

Our advising group will also be hosting Community Circle next week. Feel free to come and join us on Friday at 2:30 in the library.

Have a great weekend,


Friday, February 3, 2017

       Hi folks!  It's Friday again, and another week at the Open School has flown by.  This week kids have proposed their topics for their next big project, the What Matters To Me project.  Students are studying a topic of societal importance.  They will research their topic, and then write a five paragraph essay trying to convince others of the topic's importance.  Kids have come up with some rich topics, too!  Some have chosen topics that relate to animal rights(animal abuse in zoos, puppy mills, wild animals as pets), some have chosen topics that relate to common diseases(Muscular Dystrophy, cancer awareness), some have chosen directly human-related topics(sexism, homelessness, 3rd world countries, and some have chosen environmental topics(deforestation, audio ecology).

       Next week we find resources for us to learn more about our topics.

Have a great weekend,


Friday, January 27, 2017

January 27th, 2017

Hi folks!  Another week has flown by at the Open School.  This week we have been working on monitoring for meaning through reading texts about bumble bees.  We then created mini-posters on the life cycle of a bumble bee, which we shared at Community Circle, and then turned into a hallway display.  Come check them out!

Science classes are in full swing, too.  Each 4/5 advisor is teaching a different science class, and 4th and 5th graders will have the opportunity to take two of them.  Per is teaching Newton's Laws of Physics, Kristie is teaching Plant Science and Food Chains, and I am teaching Geology.  Ask your student about their science class.

Also, students have two homework assignments.  The color personality survey was due yesterday, but some students still have to turn it in.  The What Matters To Me Brainstorming is due on Monday.  Support your student in completing these if they have not, as we are doing work with them next week in school.

Have a great weekend,


Ukulele Concert!

Please join us for our ukulele concert
February 9th at 4:30-5:00
In the JCOS Theater

Jump Rope and Hoops for Heart

 Friday, February 3rd is our Jump Rope and Hoops for Heart event.  All the money we collect for this event goes to the American Heart Association and is used to help fund potentially lifesaving research into heart and blood vessel disease and stroke, our nations #1 and #3 killers. If you are going to try to collect donations, please start doing so now. All donations that you collect should be turned in to Rosie or David on or before Friday, February 3rd.  Hearts for our memory wall should also be turned in to us, as well.

          Everyone is welcome to join us in this fun and very worthy event.  Thanks for participating and we’ll see you down in the gym on Friday, February 3rd. 

Jump Rope and Hoops for Heart Schedule:
8:40 to 9:10 – Preschool
9:10 to 9:50 – Molly & Jim’s Class
9:50 to 10:30 – Mary & Ana’s class    
10:40 to 11:20 – Jimi’s Kindergarteners
11:20 to 12:20 – Walkabout & Pre-Walkabout
1:05 to 1:45 – Kristie’s class & Bryan’s class
1:50 to 2:30 – Gabi’s class and Per’s Class
2:30 to 3:00 – Preschool & Jana’s Kindergarteners

Friday, January 13, 2017

       Hi folks!  What a great turnout we had for Peace Night last night.  The IA had some great Pioneer artifacts to share, a great reader's theatre presentation, and mindfulness centers.  I love getting to see some work from other parts of the school.  We even had a reporter from the Lakewood Sentinel come to experience this special event.  These are the moments that I am reminded of what a unique and exceptional school I get to be a part of, as a teacher and parent.
       Our Pioneer projects are officially over.  We have begun a unit on monitoring for meaning during our reading block.  Next week the 4/5 classes will be starting our science rotations.  Per, Kristie, and I are each teaching a science class.  Students will get the opportunity to take two of these classes in the upcoming months.
      Have a great weekend, and don't forget that we have no school on Monday, as it is Martin Luther King Jr. Day,


Friday, January 6, 2017

     Hi everybody!  I hope you are enjoying the snow and last couple of days of winter break.  It's hard to believe that we are at the half way point of our school year, but here we are.

Pioneer Artifacts

      Please be sure to bring in your Pioneers artifact on Monday, January 9th with your paragraph description(You've been working on it, right?)  You may type or write your paragraph.  Please make sure it is your best work, whether typing or writing. I found it helpful to draft my paragraphs before doing a final draft, and being a sloppy writer, I chose to type my paragraphs.  

Peace Night    

 We will be celebrating Peace Night on Thursday, January 12th, from 6pm to 7:30.  Join us for a special night to elevate our value of peace education.  Come and see student work across all levels and how our students are engaging in peace education.

Marade March

     Come march with us!  This year the Open School has attained a bus for taking students and families to the Marade(Martin Luther King Jr. march and parade) on January 16th.  Elementary students, with a parent, are invited to take the bus to the Marade, and march together. The bus will leave JCOS at 9AM, and will return to school no later than 1PM.  There is no charge. Please let us know by Thursday, January 12th if you intend to ride the bus.

You may inform us by emailing Bryan Zavada at, or you can sign up at Peace Night.  Hope to see you there!