Monday, March 3, 2014

Investigating Japan, Silk, Balance and Much More!

Hello Kindergarten Families!

There were many fun moments this week.  I hope you enjoy reading about it.  We are now investigating the different countries that are along the silk road after our beautiful concert on the subject.  

We "went to" Japan this week.  The students were interested in facts about how rice is grown, how tea is grown and collected, how many volcanoes are in Japan and the fact that it is made up of a bunch of islands.  The students journaled about this, so please take some time this week to check it out.  If you look up more info and your child writes about this, bring it in to class for them to share!

We were also able to have a guest speaker come in.  Alicia, our second grade teacher, has spent the last two summers teaching in China, and she was able to visit a silk making factory last year.  Alicia showed us more about the process of taking the silk fibers and making them into fabric.











As we continue to understand the parts of sentences and what makes our language work, we investigated descriptive words again this week.  This week we played a simple game to practice this.  Some friends are still trying to identify the different types of words, and this game helps them see if a noun or verb or adjective works in the blank. This is a very simple game to play at home.  It is fun to see how descriptive words can totally change the meaning and the imagery in a simple sentence!











We are also testing different ways to balance in construction. We began by looking at our bodies and what we do to balance.  We asked the people who were balancing to share where it felt hardest to hold, and where the weight seemed to be placed.  Then we also discussed what we noticed and how we might build a similar structure.


This center piece is pivotal and is holding the four sticking out below it.  Without it...

 Our challenge was to figure out a strategy to get these two pieces to stay on out at the end of the four below...

 The students worked in small "think tank" groups to help us test possible options.  The students were trying to achieve the same challenge: to get the two end blocks to stay up.  We were excited to see what works and doesn't work, so that we could learn from both.  We now know more about stability and the students are talking a lot about weight, placement and length of the protruding part.

More soon on this!  
We are going to continue challenges like this to help us understand more about structural stability and balance.




Our most recent story problems were tricky for the group!  This week we investigated strategies  and different students shared the steps of how they might solve the problems.  Many students felt more confident after this discussion.  The students shared some important tips, too!  Stay tuned for a reflection page on this. 





I hope you have found a time to check out your child's portfolio recently.  Each of their story problem diagrams or illustrations are special.  It is neat to see how they show their thinking and the steps they took to solving the problem!

Have a great day, Jennifer


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