Science Thursday: Electricity!

Hello All,

Today we talked about circuits. First, we discussed how incredibly dangerous outlets and electricity can be and then we went on to discuss what a circuit is and what the components are.  We talked about how an open circuit has a flow of current and how a closed one does not and hence won't work to power something. We looked at how an outlet works and how a light switch works from an old outlet and light switch with the back sawed off. The Acorns each drew open circuits and then used Snap Circuits to make circuits to light a bulb or run a fan.

The Oaks also heard how both the heart and brain have electric signals and also went further into circuits by learning about simple and parallel circuits. The Oaks also made circuits with Snap Circuits including a series (simple) and a parallel circuit.

Have a great weekend,


Science Thursday: Silver Oaks Rocks

Hello All,

Today was all about rocks, we talked about the rock cycle that produces the three main types of rocks igneous (from fire), sedimentary (layered) and metamorphic (changing).  Along with rocks we talked about mineral and how they make up most rocks as well as bones, spoons, and pencil lead. We also talked about how geodes and fossils are formed. 

We watched as soil and dirt settled out of water to learn what sediment is (to relate to sedimentary rock)  and we are trying to make crystals out of borax to show how minerals  in geodes are formed.  To top it off we looked at a bunch of rocks and tried to identify some.  It was great to see the rocks kids brought in and they were all very excited to look at each others' rocks.  The kids were all given parts of thundereggs to take home.  

Have a great weekend,



Week 26: Writer's Workshop

Both groups enjoyed Writer’s Workshop this week.  The Kinder-2nd graders have completed the Launch and are now confidently sketching and writing stories.  As writers, we know that we are never done; I am reminding a few children about this each time we meet.  We can add to the picture, add to the words, or start a new piece.  The children are adding more detail to their drawings as they are writing their stories. Each time we meet, at least two children are offered the opportunity to share their work with the group.  

The 3rd and 4th graders have completed the unit Breathing Life into Essays. The children are pushing their thinking by extending their thoughts with phrases such as, “For example…," “This makes me realize…,” “This gives me the idea that….”  We explored our Seed Idea for an essay, or our thesis. We’e asking ourselves, “What exactly do I want to say?”  Next week, we’ll begin to put it all together.  

The Writing Process.jpg

Differentiated Math

Alicia (lead teacher of the Oaks): In math, the Tori practiced the “subtract from 10 strategy” (a mental math strategy for 2-digit numbers) and practiced adding three 1-digit numbers. We then talked about equal groups and spent time focusing on the math language that sets us up for multiplication. For example, three groups of 5 equals five groups of 3.


The Ellipsoids practiced mentally adding 1s and 10s to numbers within 100. They also practiced taking some from one number to make the other number 100 in order to mentally add numbers greater than 100. M practiced drawing models to solve pre-algebraic word problems. He also developed his mental math strategies for adding and subtracting numbers to the thousands and mental math for multiplying and dividing a two digit and one digit number

Under Construction

In the playground, the Oaks and Acorns are always busy; digging, hauling, shoveling, balancing and sliding.

What exactly are they making?


We’re not sure…

But we do know that they are; collaborating, negotiating, and planning,

IMG_1518 2.jpg

testing, failing, and trying again,

and building friendships.

It’s magical!


Science Thursday: Climate Change

Hello All,

Today the Oaks and Acorns had a joint science class.  We talked about natural climate change throughout time and how the earth started out really hot and eventually cooled.  How we have Ice Ages and periods like now cyclicly.  We also discussed how animals that can thrive in the Ice Age can have a hard time during interglacial times like now. We also discussed how the Mammoth and Saber cats went extinct due to a change in climate and human predation. I brought up two current examples of animals having a hard time due to climate changes (polar bears in Russia, and seals in Canada).


The kids were then tasked with making their own puppets of animals that might be having a hard time due to changes in their environments. These could be real life animals, imaginary animals, or helping animals that were trying to save those having a hard time. The kids did a great job with their puppets, and I believe had a great time. Hope you enjoyed the creations they brought home.

Have a great weekend, Olga

Week 24: Stormy Weather

Alicia: We launched a new Severe Weather Events unit by reading Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs. It is one of my favorite tall tales about extraordinary weather events! The children brainstormed different severe weather events, even reaching to weather events on other planets. Today, I posed a research project that will culminate in us filming the children reporting on an extreme weather event in front of a green screen. We overviewed the project and brainstormed questions that we would want to answer in our research. 

Tsunami Alert!

Tsunami Alert!

In Spanish, we continued asking "Que tiempo hace hoy?" which literally means what weather makes today? (that was a hit!). Our answers (please excuse my English keyboard and lack of punctuation):

Esta nublado, Es una tormenta, Nieva, Hace sol, Llueve, Hace calor/frio

The children can sing Que Llueva independently now and are almost there with De Colores! We read an Elephant and Piggie book in Spanish (another great hit!) and finished dressing our little people for our favorite estacion.

Valentine's Day Plans


Hello all! 
We are starting Economics in social studies. As part of that we are opening a Valentine’s Day store. On Valentine’s Day the kids will spend their money at our store to purchase paper, stickers, glitter, ribbons, etc. in order make Valentines.  They will make one for each student and then we will exchange them. So no need to make them at home....we are on it! 

— Annette

Today, we made wallets to keep the money we are earning by doing jobs for the school, such as stacking chairs, tidying up the library books or generally helping out.  I framed this by reminding the children that we’re all on the same team, and a good teammate helps out the team.  The children will have an opportunity to spend the money on Valentine’s Day when Annette will set up a store with all sorts of fun bits to buy.  

— Christine

Science Thursday: To the Moon and Back

Hello All,

In science today we discussed why we see different phases of the moon, how the moon orbits the earth and how we see its lit side at different times.  

After discussing the moon's phases we talked about how the moon was formed and how  moon and earth rocks are similar. We also discussed how the impact of the planet that made the moon also tilted the earth. We used different colored Play-Doh balls to demonstrate this great impact.

The Oaks also got into how the tilt of the earth - and the way that the sun's rays hit the earth - account for why we have seasons and how the southern and northern hemispheres have their summers and winters at different times.



Week 22: Good Times

This week, the Oaks read chapters 1-5 of The Invention of Hugo Cabret by Brian Selznick. They defined: “agitated,” “rickety,” “diligently,” and “decrepit.” They made predictions, and started a character study in their new reading binders. We discussed the symbolism of a clock, which is central in the novel. The children thought a clock might symbolize time, hard work, and thinking.

— Alicia (lead teacher of the Oaks)

Science Thursday: The Poles

Hello All,

Today we talked about the differences between the Arctic and Antarctica; the weather differences and what animals live in each area. We also discussed how these animals keep warm. How marine animals use blubber to keep warm and how land animals use fur or how each uses a combination. We also did an experiment to see if blubber is buoyant and if it can help animals stay buoyant by putting rocks into bags of vegetable shortening to see if the rocks still sank. We also looked at fur and how animals have guard hairs and an under fur and what each is for. If your child came home with some fur, it is from a mink coat someone was throwing away that I thought the kids would enjoy having.

Have a great weekend, Olga

Celebrating Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Last week, Christine brought in a box of eggs. The children sat in a circle on the rug while Christine showed them the eggs and asked for their observations. The children noticed that some of the eggs were brown, some white, some large, and some small. One had freckles. Then, she cracked the eggs and swirled them around in a bowl. Could we tell which ones were the white eggs and which were the brown? No, said the kids, they’re all eggs.

One child asked, “Do people still feel that way?” She was referencing the racial clashes of the 1950s and 60s that we’d read about in the book. Sadly, I said, some people still do feel that way, although not as many people as when I was your age.
— Christine

Next, Christine gently explained that in the past, people were separated according to the color of their skin. White people did not share their drinking fountains, restaurants, schools, or movie theaters with Black people because they considered themselves to be superior. The Acorns were horrified, the Oaks, exasperated. Then the children heard the story of Dr. King’s life, his work, and his death. It was a serious lesson about hate, and a beautiful lesson about the power of love.

I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character.
— Dr. King Jr.