Friday, November 30, 2012

A Beautiful, Informative Day

Hello Kindergarten Families!

How are you?  This week just felt like it flew by.  Our field trip to the Blue Sky Reserve and Poway Lake was a really lovely experience.  Thank you to Leslie for coordinating it and for finding such a special place to visit and learn from.  

There were so many topics that correlated with the types of investigations we have been doing in class.  We learned about some new trees: the Western Sycamore and the Coastal Live Oak, as well as the term Elfin forest, which is the type of forest that we see here in the chaparral region.  ( I always thought that was a magical, literary term, not a real one!)  We also learned more types of plants and how they were used by the local Kumeyaay native american tribe.

Here are some of the things the children said that they learned:

Rowan:  I didn't know that some snakes could be light colored.
Evelyn: I was surprised because there is a little mouse that builds a home out of sticks. (Wood Rat)  I didn't really know that there's a real snake called a Rosey Boa.
Lukas: I learned that, I didn't really know that bark could look white in the sunlight, from a ghost tree.  (The native american name for the Western Sycamore)
Joshua: What I learned was the song "three leaves, let them be." (Poison Oak)
Kai: I learned that the bobcats paws are black.
Haden: I learned that snakes can slither out of their skin.
Mason: I learned that whenever skunks have tummy aches from eating beetles, they just go and eat a plant and it makes them feel better.  (Lichen)
Amelie: The bobcat plays at night.
Rachel Lee:  I did not know that lizards could do push ups.  The wood rat trick the foxes of what doors to come in, of their house, to try to eat the wood rat.
Mathis: I learned that there is an animal, and his feet is like a heart shape.  (Deer)
Demetri: I didn't know that the cage, the metal gate with the machine in it and then bobcats used to hang out there because they like the sound of the machine.
Brianna: I learned, I didn't know that the poison oak can let you itch.
Rachel: I learned the new poison oak song.  " Leaves of three, let it be."  
Lia: I learned lots of new kinds of trees and plants.  I learned about poison oak and the ghost tree.  
Preston: What I learned about is that the ghost tree seems really white in the sun.  

I hope these words and photos help your child tell you so much more about our day out in nature!  Have a fun weekend, Jennifer

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

We Are Off To The Reserve!

Hello Kindergarten Families,

I wanted to share the website of the Blue Sky Reserve with you so that you and your child can investigate more!  Right now we are reading about the field trip and we just learned all the Reserve's rules.

The students have been very interested in plants and trees.  Today Brianna and Kai found the White Oak.  It looks like we may see many Oaks tomorrow.  We can't wait!

Have a beautiful afternoon!  Love, Jennifer

Wednesday, November 21, 2012


Hello Kindergarten Families,

HAPPY THANKSGIVING WEEK!  I am wishing all of you a beautiful time full of family togetherness and laughter.  I am looking forward to knitting and making jewelry for a craft fair I will be apart of very soon.  Did you know that I make stuffed animals out of old sweaters?  ( I don't have many listings, but you can check out one on my etsy site: I can't wait to have time to get lots of projects done!  I also want to relax, read books and eat yummy food.  Jason's family is Japanese, so we always have sushi and other traditional Japanese food on the Thanksgiving buffet table.  I will have to figure out what dessert treat to bring for the big day- I am thinking tres leches cake...

I wanted to share some of your children's words on the topic of being thankful.  I know I am thankful for so much, and when I am busy or tired or feeling like I am getting sick, I have to remind myself of all of the things I don't want to take for granted.  It has been nice for the kids to begin to get in the practice of identifying things that they know they feel lucky to have in their life.

Have a lovely week!  Love, Jennifer

Evelyn: I am thankful for my parents because they take care of me. I feel thankful for God, too.  I am thankful for my brother because we almost always get along.
Lukas:  I am thankful for my dad because he teached me how to speak Swiss-German.  I'm thankful for my sister because she likes to play with me and she likes me to carry her. 
Malaya: I am thankful for love.  I am thankful for my sister because I like her.  I'm thankful for my mommy because she always tucks me in at night time.
Mathis: I am thankful to have a house, 'cuz then I could play in my house.  I'm thankful for my sisters because they play soccer with me.
Rowan: I am thankful that I have a house to keep me safe from the rain on rainy days.
Demetri: I am thankful for my brothers and sisters because they play with me a lot.
Lia: I am thankful for my sister because she gives me ideas.
Kayla: I am thankful for having a great family because I really like how they feed me every time that I'm hungry.  I love my brother because he's very cute and he really likes me and he does what I do.  
Amelie: I am thankful for coloring and why is I love to color.
Rachel: I am thankful for my fish because I take care of it. I feel thankful for my dog.  I am also thankful for my dad and mom and brother because I love them.   
Mason: I'm grateful that I have two brothers and sister and my dad and mom because I like doing stuff with them and playing with them. I feel thankful for my back yard, so I don't have to go in my front yard to play.  I'm thankful for my dad, my grandma and my family because they teach me Spanish a little bit.
Preston: I am grateful because I help my sister Addison everyday. I am thankful because I use my bed to sleep in and I use it for sleeping and to snuggle with my stuffed animals.
Kai: It's helpful that my mom doesn't let me eat candy all the time.  I'm really thankful that my mom and dad let me play out in the yard when I want to.
Haden: I am grateful for doctors to help us live.  I am thankful for the news so I can know what's happening in other countries.
Joshua: I am grateful to have a roof and a car to drive places.  I'm thankful for my sister because she always builds me legos when my dad buys them with me or I have a gift card for Target.
Rachel Lee: I am thankful for having Jesus in our hearts and protecting us from danger. I am thankful for my brother and my sister because, for my birthday, my brother gave me something special that I always wanted and I really like my sister.
Brianna: I am lucky because I have a family.  
Jennifer: I am thankful for having so much love in my life and being able to truely laugh each day. I am also grateful to be able to watch all of you amazing people grow.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Was There Color In The Olden Days?

Hello Kindergarten Families!

Today's weather was so different that it inspired the bar graph above!  What do you think, will it rain tonight?
It was interesting to hear the reasons for the students' predictions.  Speaking of interesting, today we had a very interesting discussion about color.  This began with us looking at our work and how we use color in it, but then it went so many places!  This often happens, because the students have so many ideas and theories and each student is so unique!  I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I am enjoying being able to listen to these students each day!  I will make another blog entry soon, with more of our work, but for now, here it is!  And here are a few of the pieces of work that the students were referencing...

Have a nice night, wet or dry!  Love, Jennifer

A monotone image I made to introduce our even and odd wall...

Sky and Cloud theory drawings and diagrams

How does color help convey ideas?

Evelyn: When you use color, it kind of looks realistic.
Jennifer: How did color help us in Lukas' work? (His diagram of how light moves to the earth)
Mason: Because we know which side is light and which side is dark.
Jennifer: Even on maps, do you see how colors show things?
Rachel: There's blue, there's green. The blue is meaning water, because I know water is blue.
Mason: And the whitish, dark orange is like the city.
Mathis: Color means like if you just draw something then it looks more real.
(We looked at the Venn diagrams people were making.)
Rachel Lee: The colors are meaning which one is outdoors or which one is indoors or the yes or no.
Jennifer: So what did color do to that work to make it more clear?
Kayla: You can know which stuff is which.
Haden: It means you can know what things are.
Evelyn: It's because it is so you can see where they are and what they are.
Lia: When it's far away, the color can show really what it is and then you can really know what it is.
Jennifer: Is there anything else you are noticing about the way we use color?
Rachel Lee: So that way it can be colorful and we don't have to just see gray, white or like black.
Kalya: We can use color to know what color we are.
Jennifer: Do you mean to tell each other apart?
Kayla: So, if we have only black or white or gray, we can't tell if it's anyone, or just you. And we have different hairstyles so we can know and we can tell who are you and who am I.
Jennifer: So color and differences help us tell things apart?
Evelyn: So you can see things darker, so you can see them better.
Jennifer: But light yellow sometimes catches my attention.
Mason: Color helps our lives so we can know if it's the olden days or the real days. Because there wasn't color in the olden days.
Jennifer: Do you guys agree?
Kayla: The olden days pictures really didn't have any color, so I don't know who are you and who am I.
Evelyn: In movies there was black and white.
Jennifer: Do you think people really came in black and gray and white?
Mostly said, “no”.
Mason: These days there are still black and white movies and color movies. Because they forgot when they were painting the picture.
Preston: The olden days there were no color because people knew who was who. They know because they did not look the same, they looked so different.
Kayla: In the olden days there wasn't any color.
Rachel Lee: Because the people didn't have color and they're still alive today, and they're gray and white, then we couldn't tell them apart,
Jennifer: Has anyone seen a gray and white person?
Mostly said “no”.
Malaya: I see Brianna is white
Jennifer: Is she really all the way white?
Haden: No, her hair is blonde.
Malaya: Here cheeks are kind of red.
Rachel Lee: It looks kind of like peach but it looks like a similar color like peach, but not really peach.
Jennifer: How could people have come with no color before?
Rachel Lee: It doesn't make sense to the other times. Like, even old days, every kind of day, it should be color so that way. 'Cuz it doesn't make sense to like other places, because then we never saw a black gray or white person before.
Joshua: I think people in the olden days, they didn't have any color because they probably had no colored shirts.
Jennifer: But we are talking about the color of their skin.
Joshua: I think they came in different colors of their skin
Preston: In the olden days color wasn't invented yet, only the color of skin was invented. But clothes weren't, didn't have color, But when colors were invented, then colors came.
Jennifer: I don't understand because nature has so much color and how could it have grown without color?
Lia: When they grow, they get color because water makes things get color.
Jennifer: So if nature was colorful, wouldn't they have had color in the olden days?
Amelie: If the colors not there, the land will be kind of- almost no body there and somebody alone if the nature was away. If all the plants were away, then almost there would be none people.
Jennifer: It's true, we can't live without nature and nature is colorful.
Demetri: Trees leaves and grass is green. Trees and leaves were always green.
Evelyn: Nature is colorful, so how would it not be created in the olden days?
Preston: Nature still had color.
Jennifer: So, our skin had color, but just pictures and films didn't pick it up?
Preston: In the olden days they didn't.
Rowan: I don't get it, because in the old days, if the leaves were black or brown, then they would just fall off a tree.
Rachel Lee: Because they are old. If they were brown or black, then we would think they're old plants that had died, but they are really not.
Amelie: Plants can't be black.
Jennifer: Should we research to see if any plants can be black?
(We have more research to do and theories to draw and explain!)

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

My new niece, baby Camille!

Hello Kindergarten Families!

I wanted to share some family photos, since the kids were so interested in my joining them to see the birth of my new niece, this weekend. The kids were so flexible and helpful while I was gone.  Thank you to Clara for being such a capable teacher!  Also, below, you will find a few videos the class has checked out together to learn more about trees!

Have a beautiful night, Jennifer

Tree videos:

A beautiful sun set on my drive up, right off Santa Clause Lane in Carpinteria, CA

My Dad, Mum and niece Aubrie at the San Luis Obispo train station, picking up my sister and nephew.

 Me, Aubrie and my mum.

My nephew and niece, Brenden and Aubrie.

My beautiful and yummy cappuccino
Have you seen how they make the designs in the foam?

My sister, Julii and my niece at the hospital on the big day!

Our family surrounding Julii and baby Camille after the birth!

Aubrie, Camille, Jul and Ron- a bigger family!

The new sisters!

8 pounds and 7 ounces, 20 inches long!
I can't wait to hold her a lot more next time I see her!

Thursday, November 8, 2012

A week full of questions

Hello Kindergarten Families!

How are you?  We have been busy this week with lots of interesting topics.  Here are a few...

Last Friday we planted the root view station that Lukas' family lent our class.  The kids were very excited.  We practiced following instructions and using the diagrams and steps to make this happen.  Even though the packages said that the carrots, radishes and onions would take 12-15 days to sprout, the radishes have seemed to sprout in 4 days!  It is exciting.  Keep checking out this interesting growth daily!

Our leaf and tree investigation is coming along.  Keep those leaves and tree artifacts coming in!  This week the students used the library books we got to look up their leaves and begin to document their types.

We have done more sound/ spelling practice.  Do you see how many ways we spell the sound "air"?  English is so full of rules to be broken.  We are having fun researching and laughing about the differences and similarities.

Also, this week my sister, Julii is having a baby!  I will be heading up to San Luis Obispo to be there for her and meet my new niece, Camille!  I am so excited.  Clara is so capable and is taking care of the class for Thursday afternoon and Friday morning.  (Thank you!)  This has made the students talk more about our family relationships.  When I wrote about this in the morning message, friends first guessed the word "niece" was the word "nice.  When I told them, they wondered what a niece is...  Below is a diagram that came out of the discussion.  The students were very excited to try to make their own family tree and identify all the relationship names we use for each person.

Another element to this was that the students want to talk about their own birth stories.  They wanted to ask you some questions about their birth story.  The types of questions they were curious about were: what time of day they were born, how long it took for them to be born, and where they were born.

Two other things that came up Thursday morning was the concept of a safety drill and Veteran's day.  The students want to ask you these questions:
What is our family safety plan?
What do we do in an emergency?
Who do we know that is a Veteran?
How does our family honor Veterans?

I wish you a beautiful three day weekend and I am hoping the family park day will be such a nice time of togetherness.  I am so sad to be missing this, but I am also so excited to meet my niece and have time with my family.  I will be excited to meet up for our next class park date soon!

Have a safe and fun weekend!  Love, Jennifer