Friday, November 20, 2015

Happy Thanksgiving!

Hello Families,

How are you?  I am so excited to share so much of our week, and also so excited to have a week off to read, relax, paint, sew, crochet, draw, mix potions, study yoga and learn new things!  My list of things to do is long and fun!  (Except for the getting my wisdom teeth out, which I hope will be as painless as possible!)

This blog post has a lot of student words, because they had so many great moments to share.  I hope it's fun and not too word heavy.  I always find how they explain things so fabulous to listen to!

Thank you for enjoying this with your child, and I hope it gives you some ideas for home extensions and ideas.

Our Class Name!

You may remember we have been involved in the process of choosing words to represent ourselves as a class name.  See the below brainstorms we did last week.

As you can see from the above image, they began crossing off names they didn't agree with, explaining why.  The right bottom three were crossed off for the overarching reason because we don't do these things all day (mostly we don't sing all day).  When a friend suggested taking off Caring Counters, some said again, that we don't do this all day, but Olivia felt that she didn't want Caring to be off the list.  I asked the group if Caring was a word they strongly identified with and so that was circled as needing to be a part of the name.  At this point we looked at the list and saw that Investigating and Making were also on the list multiple times.  The group felt that these three words were it, and so we didn't end up having to vote anymore off, but combined the three!  The group has named themselves The Caring Investigator Makers!

And it is true, these kids are caring, inquisitive and curious and making or creating pretty much all the time, so it's an exciting name they have chosen for themselves!  :)  I am so excited that their process felt so natural for the group and it became an overwhelming unanimous feeling instead of a debate or with torn feelings!  That doesn't always happen, and also shows how this group of children have come together so nicely!

Building Sideways?

The students tried out different structural balances that could stay up, but also lean outward or even become an arch. This was a practice in trying to see how far it could go before it would fall down...  This is something to keep testing at home, if you can!

There are also a ton of cool Kapla block images on the internet, that could open another can of worms.  You can also google Keva, or City Blocks, too.  (These sets make great gifts if you have a budding builder at home!)

We will continue to discuss what works and why as we continue exploring this work!


We looked at how a Venn diagram helps us collect information.  This is our next type of survey!  Many friends get so into surveys that they begin taking surveys at home and in their neighborhood.  What type of questions could you ask?

Story Project!

This work is so fun! The kids are sharing so many stories, and Clara and Nancy and I are trying to collect as many as possible!  I can't wait to show you this work as a part of Exhibition Night.  We have investigating all the elements of story and this week's work around setting was so neat for me. When we began to take ideas for out list of settings, one friend suggesting a "windy"  setting, and that got us into thinking about all of the ways we describe a setting and the differences that make that setting become a different experience.  So this list became a list with three topics!

After we created this list, the group got into small groups on another day to use the list to create combos that would foster an interesting story.

Here are some of their ideas.  Do any of these ideas stimulate your family to tell a story using this recipe?  :)

Reese: dragon cave, midnight, tornado
Analee: winter, snowy, Austria
Kale: zoo, tornado, running late
Faeyt: forest, tornado, night
Leah: stormy, midnight (without a moon), at the zoo
Mason: hotel, hurricane, 2:30
Sienna: beach, no moon night time, windy
Alyzabeth: dark, cold, forest
Brian: time to wake up, wet rain, house
Parker: midnight, cloudy, at the zoo
Gabriel: New Zealand, night time, rainy
Gabe: midnight without stars, zoo, tornado
Olivia: hurricane, midnight, park
Joshua: zoo, flood, midnight without moon

Stories are being created everywhere!  Here are just a few examples from this week...


We are finishing up all the students in the class!  This week we interviewed our new students.  If you would like to see more on this, please check out the binder where all the interview are kept as a memory!  (These will eventually end up in each student's portfolio so that you can remember everything your child said at the beginning of their Kindergarten year...)

Analyzing Songs and Poems:

I wrote a page on this topic, and how at the end of the month we also discuss the meanings behind what we have learned.  Here are some more words that they shared about two other songs:

We All Sing With The Same Voice, by J. Phil Miller and Sheppard Greene

Leah: They might help us know what they look like and name like- so we know the people that're singing the song.
Sienna: The message is harmony- they all have the same voice so it blends together so the poem is about harmony.
Reese: And it's telling us what type of people they are and what they like to do- what they do like and what's the same about them.
Alana: Some people live on the beach, and some people live on Texas Ranch.
Grace: Some people can live in different states, but they can still sing the same song.
Jennifer: Can they be the same?
Sienna: They can't go all the way the same.
Jennifer: But what kind of same can they have?
Sienna: They both like TV and like to read.

Dancing In The Moon light, by Shermon Kelly
Caleb: It makes you feel like you wanna dance because there's lots of music in it.
Kale: It makes you feel happy.  About dancing in the moonlight- that makes me happy.
Gabriel: The idea of Dancing In The Moonlight can be warm sometimes.  If you were dancing out there.  Inside my body.  Since my body would be producing warmness.  It's dancing out with my friends.
Alana: So, ti feels like that you're dancing in the moonlight with your Mom and Dad ad that feels good 'cuz you get to spend time with your Mom and Dad.

Will your family dance in the moonlight during this week off?  ;)

Math Concepts:

We have passed the half way mark to 100 days of school!  The kids were excited to realize this.  Our end of the day calendar ritual has really been helping them to connect to place value and what the numbers that make up double digits really mean. Here's the example of the 51st day of school...

The estimation jar continues!  Here are some of the friend's work involved in checking to see if the quantity that is their guess is truly the number they mean.

Here are the notes from their math talks this week.  I love noticing how they think and explain their thinking! (A box = 4, and x marks the spot! :)

What are you thankful for?

Since it is Thanksgiving, we talked about things that we feel lucky to have.  We also talked a bit about how gratitude and thankfulness mean similar things.  Here are the kids' words about what they are thankful for!

Caleb: I'm thankful for my car that my Mommy bought me and my truck that came with a key.
Gabriel: I'm thankful for TV and I'm also thankful for myself and a door and a lot of things.
Faeyt: I'm thankful that my Mom gave me a corner.
Alana: I'm thankful for my Mom and my Dad and I'm thankful for my water.
Reese: I'm thankful for having a house and for getting milk most everyday for dinner and for having a family and a lot of stuff.
Joshua: I'm lucky to have bears.
Analee: I'm thankful for family and friends.
Alyzabeth: I'm thankful to have a dog name Sculley and she's a girl. I'm lucky that I have a big sister and big brothers.
Mary: I'm thankful for helping my grandpa stuff the turkey.
Leah: I'm thankful for Thanksgiving because I'm gonna go to my daddy's mom and daddy's house.
Kale: I really like how my sister got me a new pencil that is Toy Story.
Olivia: I'm thankful for my family and my friends.
Grace: I have two stuff that I'm thankful for. I'm thankful for a girl letting me have another puppy because she was being nice. And because someone has a lot of horses so I can feed the horses.
Kellan: I'm thankful for having a cat that's named Sophie and I'm also thankful for havng a two story house.
Mason: I'm thankful for my house and my friends and my family.
Sienna: I'm thankful for having a puppy and I'm thankful for having a little sister and I'm thankful for that my mom and dad are gonna take me to Sea World on my birthday.
Gabe: I'm thankful for God making plants and animals and humans.
Parker: I'm thankful for my dad letting me go to the toy store.
Brian:  I'm lucky I have, well, a ball of sand that I got from a long time ago. It's too special for me.  Everybody's lucky because they can speak this language.  I'm lucky because I have a toy holder.
Rachel: I'm thankful for Analee being my friend.  We are making pixie dust out of chalk.  I'm lucky that I have a house, because some people don't.  I'm thankful for my Dad giving food to poor people.

I am thankful to have such dedicated families and students who love learning and who are so caring and excited about life!  It is lovely to come to school each day to work with all of you!  Wishing you a week full of memorable moments!  Love, Jennifer

PS I will end you with some images from my experiences in France, since I can share the images we looked at this week, as they are mine and not borrowed off the internet!  Remember each week we "go" somewhere together, and from the song, "We All Sing With The Same Voice" we went to a "Texas ranch" last week and to "Southern France" this week! (We flew through Paris, so stopped for a peek before getting on the train south...) I hope this stimulates you to look up interesting places in the world over vacation.  Maybe the family story you write will be taking place in one of these "far off lands"!  Enjoy!
(These were taken in Biarritz, Toulous, Paris, and little villages in the south of France, near Nice)

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