Thursday, May 30, 2013

What's Happening This Week?

Hello Families!

There is so much happening, we aren't slowing down, even though it's the end of the year!  Here are a few little stories about what has been going on!  Have a great night, Jennifer

Wednesday's Reflections after Open Choice Time
What did you learn from today's open choice time?
What tips can you give now?

Rachel: I learned that using a small brush for watercolor can help you mix in for filling in quickly.
Evelyn: What I learned is when you're mixing colors on your pallet, you don't need to wash your brush.
Ethan:  I learned that 'other' is not a 'u' it's an 'o'.
Brianna: I got almost a lot of writing done, but I drawed first, but I still got a lot of writing.
Lia: What I learned today is how to spell the 'high', not the kind you are saying 'hi' to your friends, the 'high' in the sky.  It's h-i-g-h not h-i.  Because when I was getting feedback, Rachel Lee told me.
Mason: I did a magnet that way on the other side, left right on different sides, so it can stick to the paper. [To make a sign stand up]
Rowan: I learned at watercolor, that mixing you should use a small brush, and if you are doing a big space, you could use a big brush.

We have also seen many new poets emerge recently!  Below you can see four poems that were written by our students.  They are so excited to see others reciting their prose.

One of our songs and poems this month is Stand By Me.  
Here you can see the kids enjoying the music and the sentiment!  

We were also lucky to have Adriana, Evelyn's mum come to share photos and video footage from her time in the Peace Corps in Honduras.  It was quite interesting to see how people live in another country, as well as to see the landscape.  The next day the students took time to use atlases and write about what they learned.

And finally, we played a game today, that you might want to play at home!  It prints out rather easily and supports coin counting practice, as well as practice following a grid. This comes in handy while you are using an atlas, too, since places are listed using coordinates.  If you don't have letter dice, we used a number dice and made it so 1=a, 2=b and so forth.

(I am also including a harder game for you to play over the summer if your child is interested.  This makes for family fun and great practice!  I made copies of this game to put in each of your children's portfolios, which will go home with you at the end of school!)

Here is the link to this week's game...

I hope you each enjoy your night.  Happy Friday!  Love, Jennifer

Friday, May 24, 2013

POL practice preview and Buoyancy!

Hello Kindergarten Families!

Today was a fun day!  We watched our first person to practice their POL.  Kai was brave and was up for the challenge of showing how a POL can look.  The students were very impressed and it helped the others realize how it could look, and see that it is not TOO scary!

We also watched some very technical videos to look into the forces involved in what makes a cruise ship float.  These students were able to begin to understand some of the factors needed.  I am putting some videos here to look at as a family that I hope might be fun to continue the discussion.  It is a deep (no pun intended!) Concept, so we will continue to discuss and think about it all.  But part of the fun is learning that we are all learning!  Did you know how buoyancy works?

Here are some big words we looked into:
Buoyancy, Displacement, Archimedes
(I was going to out awesome photos of their journal entries, but my tired old computer just decided not to accept Internet, so I am stuck and need to get on the road north.  Please check these out on Tuesday!)

Please share any research and learning you do at home and enjoy your long weekend together!  See you on Tuesday!  Love, Jennifer

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Lots of ambitions for the rest of the year!

Hello Kindergarten Families!

How are you?  I am well.  I was able to have a quick visit with friends from Paris and Colorado, friends have known since junior high and college, so that was special!  It has also been pretty special in class, too!  The friends brainstormed a list of things they still want to learn about.  While we cannot do them all, I was able to group some into overarching categories.  One is 'how things work'.  Here are some of the questions they will hypothesize (through drawing and writing) and then we will investigate through videos and discussions, in the coming weeks.

How do people make shoes?
How are shirts made?
How do experts put books together?
What makes steam come from food?
How do seeds come our of flowers?

How do cruise ships stay floating?

How are waves made?

How do volcanoes work and why do they spew lava?

While we cannot deeply explore all of these, I think we will be able to investigate them and get the students on the way to finding answers.  Some may become great summer family projects, while others may inspire more research, science experiments and new questions!  I hope this is fun for you, too!

Another category that arose from the brainstorm were lots of questions about animals.  Here are the particular animals that they were curious about:  

Coyotes, Cheetahs, Horses, Deer, Bees, Dolphins, Sharks, Chickens

Our first step was to go through our non-fiction books in class to see what we could find, to help the researchers have books in an easy place to get started.  The students worked together to help decide if a book might have relevant information, making two piles, books we could use, and books about other topics. Next, they composed an email to you, asking fore more books.  
Thanks for sending in your books, already-keep them coming!

A third, exciting endeavor is highlighted in one of last week's reflection pages.  The students plan to create an informational video to share our school's social problem-solving processes with other classes.  I am excited to see how they are taking on the organization of the video more, this time, as well as what they decide needs to be shared.  Can't wait to see how it comes out!

In the social arena, I can tell these students are feeling how big they are getting!  Many of them have been trying out new ways to act, to see if this is a part of being big.  Some have been trying out whether changing the truth works, while others are testing rolling their eyes, expressions and voice tones to use attitude to show their feelings and power.  This has come about in many different ways and is very personal to each person. 

We have had many discussions on the topic of "acting in a way you know you will be proud of, even when no one is watching".  We are supporting the students to think about how their words and behaviors effect others and what others are 'reading'about them, by watching.  The class is also thinking about how each friend is learning and are trying to do their best.  Many students have tried a "do-over" concept and are thinking about how they can make changes in their first reactions to learn from their mistaken decisions.

Today we read a great book to continue to think about this.  In Kevin Henke's book, Lilly's Purple Plastic Purse, the main character  does some things out of her feelings of upset, anger and frustration, and then she has to figure out how this can be fixed...  If you are having these types of conversations at home, let me know if there are any great books, key words or metaphors that have helped your child connect to the power of our words and actions, as well as how to make a mistake and then fix it.

I wanted to leave you with a very special image, brought to us by Kayla and her family.  This is an image from their back yard!  So sweet to see 'spring' really happening in front of us!  Thanks, as always for sharing things from home to spread the excitement.  Have a beautiful night, Jennifer

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Our Exciting Day At The Dairy Farm!

Hello Kindergarten Families!

What a beautiful day at Oma's Farm!  We were so lucky to get this sunny, not too hot, not too cold kind of day!  Thank you so much to Leslie, Brenda, Brenda, Adrianna, Sandy and Valerie for driving us and making the day so special.  It really was!

I hope your child will tell you all about their experiences and maybe even some facts.  There was so much information and so much excitement.  Enjoy sharing it together!

Love, Jennifer

PS Remember, if you click on a photo, you can view them in a larger version!