Friday, April 18, 2014

Getting ready for Earth Day... and other great things!

Hello Families!

This week ended up having some things that weren't planned, but it was still a special week.  Let me share a few of the concepts that we are investigating...

I stayed up for the Blood Moon, since I was fascinated by the fact that we don't have them that often.  I shared my photos with the kids and Clare's dad sent in some photos, too!  This discussion really made the students think about the placement of all objects involved (sun, moon, earth) and how the light was interrupted.  It was neat that some of the photos also included mars, which the students also liked.  This lead to another element they want to investigate: how the moon changes it's form from being full to crescent.  We will investigate this more soon!  Here are some of my photos from that exciting night!

Earth day is coming!  When the class saw this on the calendar, the students shared many ideas about how we take care of the environment and animals.  After a few different discussions and brainstorms, the class has decided to create flyers and signs, which they would like to send out with parents, friends, neighbors, etc.  They hope that by giving these out to as many people as possible, their signs and flyers will begin to be up in different stores and neighborhoods all over the San Diego area.  (Stay tuned on how you can help with this!!!)  Here are some of their work, which they are not finished with yet!

Mathimatical Flexibility:  We try to work with ten sticks and Unifix cubes to see how different quantities are made (14 is made up of a ten stick and four ones) , and to do simple subtraction problems (20-12).  This week, the students noticed how pivotal their knowledge of the ten friends are.  For instance, they are discovering that in making 18, they can look at their two ten sticks and know that they just take two away to get to 18, because of their understanding that 2 and 8 work together to make a ten bundle.  You can support your child to be quicker with this connection by playing games that help them remember the ten friends' relationship (6 and 4, 5 sand 5, 2 and 8, 1 and 9, 3 and 7).  A popular one is still ten friends go-fish, which many friends said they wanted to ask you to play this weekend!

Obstacle courses!  The students watched a video of a Rube Goldberg type machine where cause and effect are highlighted.  We used this to think about how our obstacle course track could become even more elaborate and creative. The class met with their junior high buddies to create their own possible chain of events.   I wonder if this will inspire any exciting home projects!  Do any of you parents have a background in creating these types of machines? If so, please email me if you want to share!  Also, please email me if your child begins working on creating something like this at home! ***Please watch this video without your child first, as I stopped it before the end, so that I didn't' show the kids the excitement the creators had over the fact that their final machine worked after only 3 takes: there was beeped out profanity, but if you stop it when the final machine ends, the kids will never know!

Here is a second video to watch with your child!  I am sure you can find lots more videos, and maybe make some more as a family!

We ended our week by reflecting on mistakes.  Our morning share on Friday was to share a mistake you made this week and either a) how you reacted or b) how you wish you reacted.  Many friends shared about all of this.  We often perceive mistakes as bad or terrible and so want to cover them up or not discuss them.  Since these students are learning how to react to mistakes and how to handle them gracefully, or they are learning to gauge the level of upset that needs to connect with a given mistake, I felt this was important to highlight.  It helps us to make this type of discussion or share consistent, since we all often think about and perceive our own mistakes as humongous!

At one point this week, when we were talking about lying and how it makes us feel, I said, "Raise your hand if you have ever told a lie" (So that the students could see that all of us grapple with the decision to change a story or try not to take accountability for your actions).  Patrick looked at me and said, with amazement, "Jennifer, you have your hand up!"  I think it is important to share your childhood stories of moments that were not only the successes, so that these children understand that even though we are adults, it doesn't mean we are perfect.  It also helps the students to know that they are not alone in having a hard time negotiating these tough decisions!
How did you react to a mistake this week?  
Would you want to have a do-over?

Well, I hope this helps you know the many things the students are thinking about at school.  We will be continuing these topics next week, as well as:
*new story problems
*animal research
*continuing to read more fact books
*investigating more spelling words
*Write more stories
*Investigate how the moon phases work

Have a lovely weekend! Love, Jennifer

PS Aren't these park day photos nice?

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