Friday, April 26, 2013

Getting Ready For Exhibiton

Hi families,

The students have planned so much for our Exhibition Night!  We are working on lots of little details.  Here is a little sneak peak into a few of our preparations for the big night!

Today many students took their turn sewing with Jennifer to create the bag for our story game to go into.  The students first learned a bit about how a sewing machine works so that they would understand what they are doing to create the bag, and to keep everyone safe in using this machine.  Each student is working the petal to drive the machine, while I guide the fabric through the needle.  The students began to see the pattern involved in the seams, most not even needing me to tell them when to stop, by the end!  For those of you in the know, we created princess seams so that our bags will be durable and look nice.  We can't wait to share the game on the big night!

I was lucky enough to be taught by awesome women: My mum, grandmother and aunt!
Now I get to pass on the excitement!

And finally, the expression wall greets me each morning and I love it!  These students are such characters!
I am writing a page for you about this, so stay tuned!  

This activity helped us think about character development and the students brought up a great question of how much character emotion is the right amount.  I appreciated their thinking because sometimes we may appreciate dramatic moments, and other times we are just not feeling the story because we feel there is too much "drama".  These children amaze me in the depth of their thinking and their ability to share their opinions, while thinking about others' ideas.  They are learning so much from each other.

Can you tell which character emotions these students are acting out?

Have a beautiful weekend with your creative thinker!  Love, Jennifer

Thursday, April 25, 2013

How Do You Clean A Penny?

Hello Families! 

This week we continued our investigation of coins by learning some facts, and by doing an experiment.  I hope your child was able to share some penny facts with you, and or that you looked up more facts together.  They were pretty excited to have the official name of a penny.  Did you know it before this week?

Wednesday, we investigated ways to clean pennies, since some are shiny, and others are not.  As with any experiment, we began by sharing predictions and thinking about why the different cleaning agents might work.  Many of them thought about the properties of things like soap, salt or vinegar to help educate their prediction.  

Next we used these dull, old pennies to try out three ways of cleaning: with water, with soap and water, and with salt and vinegar.  With the salt and vinegar test, we did a separate test to see what happens if we rinse off the solution, as well as what happens when we leave the cleaning agents on.  As you can see at the bottom of this post, the outcome was interesting!  It is a fun experiment and one which leaves us thinking about the properties of these metal coins.  I hope this inspires you at home!  If you do more with this, comment here, or email us photos!

Have a great night!  Love, Jennifer

Almost two hours after the test:  

 The morning after the test!

Story Feedback Discussions- Sharing Our Thoughts

Hello Kindergarten Families!

We have been having so many deep-thinking discussions that I have been wanting to share with you.  My days without a computer were so hard for me because I have been wishing to share all this with you!  So I will try to catch up on my backlogged list of things to do.  

This blog post is sharing some of the discussions we have been having specifically about the students' stories.  I really hope you will take the time to read it all!   I was fascinated by their ideas about the word fat and the concept of being uncomfortable with a story that has a monster in it who would make people fat.  As we often do, we had some time to think about it after our first discussion and the second discussion brought up more ideas.  These students are becoming so capable of identifying different angles to a problem and thinking about others.

On top of all this, we are getting so excited about Exhibition Night!  The kids' work is so special and their game is going to be pretty fun to play.  I can't wait for each of you to enjoy the night with your child!

Have a beautiful evening, Jennifer

April 16th-18th, 2013
Story Feedback

Feedback for Lukas:
Jennifer: What really worked for me was that you used the word powerful, so that I felt that I could really tell more information about the rocket, because you used a descriptive word.
Lia: Why did, in the beginning, it said it was going to Pluto it said you past Mars, and I didn't really get it.
Lukas: Because Pluto is the 10th planet and Mars is after ours, so that's why we said it past Mars, because he past it and didn't land.
Jennifer: Lukas, I was thinking that we don't know why the astronaut is going to Pluto.
Mason: Did the astronaut want to get something special or weird and creepy at Pluto?
Lukas: So the astronaut is going to bring stuff back, but not weird and creepy. It's more like Pluto rocks and stuff like that.
Lukas decided to share this information in his story.

Feedback for Joshua's Story:
Ethan: I didn't understand because why did the monster make people fat.
Alicen: You think you could change the part where he jumped in the hole and Johnny ran away because it sounds like he ran away because he jumped in the hole.
Mason: Why, when the monster jumped on the cliff, I heard two jumping on the cliff. It happens too often, I don't really hear that in books, I just want to know why.
Brianna: You could change the fat part because it's kind of inappropriate for me.
Joshua: When I'm done with it, you don't have to read it.
Alicen: My mom says it's unappropriate for me and my sisters. Because my mom doesn't like people saying that they're fat.
Jennifer: But does this mean we can't write a story that involves the word fat?
Joshua: Somebody doesn't have to get forced to do that.
Mason: If you use a word fat of people, then it makes it unaprprpiate if you say fat of people. Because you're talking about people, that makes them feel bad, but when you're talking about made-up people, that just don't really live, it's fine.
Jennifer: Would you feel uncomfortable reading a story about made up people calling each other fat?
Ethan: But this is the difference, if somebody's around you fat, and you're just reading a story of a person that is fat, you have to ask them if it's okay. We don't want to make the person feel bad, if the person is fat, then it would hurt their feelings.
Amelie: It's not so scary.
Rachel: Maybe you could say, it's not so fat, it's kind of fat, like it's kind of fat and kind of not fat.
Lia: I think the fat part shouldn't be in the story because it makes me uncomfortable to hear the word fat.
Jennifer: Why does the word fat make us uncomfortable?
Brianna: Because it kind of feels kind of mean, when you have a baby or something and they say you are fat and it kind of hurts your feelings.
Rowan: Maybe it would be okay, if he was just pretending.
Katie: (she would be okay) Because no body is fat.
Mason: Like no body's fat in this class.
Katie: Yes.
Jennifer: What is fat anyways?
Katie: When you eat a lot of pizzas.
Mason: When you're fat, your tummy gets really big.
Katie: Let's just say if somebody eats a lot of donuts, it would make them fat.
Jennifer: Why does it make people feel so bad to be called fat?
Lukas: Because some might not like being fat.
Demetri: It could hurt your feelings.
Jennifer: Why?
Lia: Because they might not want to be fat, even if they are fat. I wouldn't feel really good that someone called me that, because I don't really like when other people call other people names.
Mason: Sometimes when people call people names, the name that they put for people is a bad word.
Jennifer: Why do you think they do that?
Mason: Maybe they didn't learn so much about good.
Jennifer: Why would people call people names? Who has called a name? (Many students raised their hand)  Why did you do it?
Lia: Because I was mad.
Preston: Because one time I was mad at someone.
Rowan: I called my brother a name when I was trying to be silly.
Ethan: I was just trying to have fun with my two sisters and I just called them a name and they just got angry so they called me a name.
Here, the class agreed to think about why a monster making people fat story might make us uncomfortable.  We will talk further after everyone has time to think.

April 18th, 2013
We revised the story and the idea of including a monster that makes people fat.  Joshua explained that his monster makes people fat at first and then people teach him not to be mean.
Malaya explained that she doesn't like when people are being called fat.
Evelyn: I feel comfortable reading the story because it teaches you a lesson to be nice to people.
Jennifer: So it's worth it?
Evelyn: Yeah.
Brianna: You could just not have that parts.
Natalie: Then if you wouldn't say that part it wouldn't make sense.
Mason: I'm not comfortable, because when everybody reads that book, I'll be hearing 'fat', all the time.
Joshua: There's not gonna be fat in every page.
Jennifer: Do you think the reader might learn from the book and not use the word?
Many say, "Yeah."
Kayla: I don't think the word fat is good, because mom says it's a bad word.
Jennifer: Why is it a bad word?
Kayla: Because if I say, "You're fat", she kind of gets a little mad.
Joshua: You're not gonna be saying it to people in real life.
Mason: When I asked my mom if fat is a bad word, she said it is medium.
Malaya: My mom thinks fat is uncomfortable for us, because it's only if you're healthy or not.
Jennifer: If this book is going to give such a powerful message, do we not write it because of the word fat? The story line is that the monster does something mean and then learns not to. He's gonna have to be mean in some way to learn not to.
Malaya: Your story is really special, but people could still think it's not a good word for little kids.
Brianna: Maybe he can change the fatness mean and do something else mean.
Jennifer: But the something else mean, might still make you feel uncomfortable.
Amelie: I think you just can leave it.
Lia: Now I'm okay with the word fat in the story, because I heard the story out loud, because at the end he's going to be nice.
Jennifer: And the story might make us think about what words we're choosing.
In the end, some friends still aren't sure if they would like a story with this topic, but most of the students did feel as though they would like that it would be teaching a lesson.  

This was a powerful discussion because as authors, we are realizing that we have to think about our audience and the message that our words and illustrations will put out into the world.

Feedback for Rachel's Story:
Evelyn: What I can't understand is that in the beginning of the page, you said it was a unicorn and then on another line you're saying it's a horse.
(Rachel realized that she meant 'horse', all along.)
Rachel Lee: You said that the unicorn was beautiful but I don't know what that means.
Lia: I like that you put the part beautiful because it helped me know more about the unicorn.
Amelie: Maybe you could say, like, does it have something on it, which color.
Kayla: Did you use one day to make it, did you do a lot of work in one day?
Rachel: Yes, two days.
Jennifer: My suggestion is to tell us more about how the owner acts and feels.
Brianna: I like it, but who's the owner?
Jennifer: It sounds like Brianna and I want to know more about the same thing.

Each author left these discussions with more ideas or sometimes a clearer understanding of their book's plan.  The students have been capable of using a constructive tone in their questioning and sharing of feedback. They have also gotten adept at using specific language so that they can explain their thinking or perspective!

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Happy Earth Day!

Hello kindergarten families!

Growing up as a child of hippies, I wanted to share some things that are important to me. There are so many ways to help the environment.  I encourage you to investigate as a family and commit to a few ways you will try to lessen your footprint this year.

Each year I try to choose something I feel I can do, to be more environementally aware.  ONE SMALL STEP AT A TIME!  This year, I am focussing what goes in and on my body.  Not only are processed food not great for your body, but they often come packaged in lots of food for the landfill as well! This may sound odd, but our purchasing choices make a statement, so I am hoping to be supporting more small businesses, and less corporations.  If you want, ask me about the products I have found!

Here are a few ideas:

Carry a reusable bag and try not to purchase bottled water. THIS CAN REDUCE OUR USE OF SINGLE USE PLASTIC!


Buy honey!  BEES HELP POLINATE 75% of our produce, KEEP HIVES ALIVE!

Here is an interesting video for more info.

If each if us begin with one focus, we can slowly become a better model as a community. I hope you don't mind that I wrote here, and I would love for you to add comments to share what your family has  done to help the environment!

Have a beatiful night, Jennifer

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

A Special Day At The Bird Sanctuary

Hello Families!

We are so lucky that Leslie found this little gem of a field trip.  The space was a cozy size and most of the birds were perching instead of caged, so the students were able to see and interact with them in an intimate way.  Even the students who had mentioned being unsure of being around the birds were courageous   Almost everyone wanted to hold a bird.  We were able to observe them, learn more about how the program helps exotic birds, to feed the birds and the coi in their pond.  After this special time, we were able to go to the beach.  The sun came out for us today, so that the ocean was a great view while we had our sack lunches!

Thank you to Leslie, Amy, Susan, Raquel, Sandy, Ans, Kate and Kristina for driving so that this trip could take place.  I hope you enjoy the stories your child shares as you look at these together!  Love, Jennifer