Week 32: Field Trip and Fantasy

Alicia (lead teacher of the Oaks): It really was a spectacular week! In addition to all the dreamy fun, we just couldn't quite leave Chris Van Allsburg yet, so we read The Garden of Abdul Gazasi, Widow's Broom, Zathura, and Ben's Dream. We wondered which ones were fantasy and which ones were just fiction or another genre. We made our own quite brilliant comics. At the field trip, the children learned about the four stages of an insect's life, and got to see the stages in butterflies at the Wings of Fancy exhibit. The Oaks will return to this and research other insects as well.

Week 31: Amazing Acorns

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Literacy: We had a fabulous guest reader on Wednesday....none other than our very own M! He read A Bad Day at Riverbend by Chris Van Allsburg to us and handled the pressure like a pro. Continuing the Chris Van Allsburg theme, Miss Alicia treated us to a Read Aloud of Probuditi; it’s a clever story about a birthday boy and his very smart sister. Darling has five new sight words: ran, saw, she, soon, there.

—Christine, lead teacher of the Acorns Kindergarten class.

Math: Double digit number bonds, anyone? These kids are math wizards! We wrapped up our unit on addition and subtraction this week, and reviewed 10s frames. We’ve dipped our toes into our next unit... Numbers to 100! This unit is a big one so we’ll be in it for a bit.


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Science Thursday: Spring Fever

Hello All,

In science today we talked about spring and what we think of when spring arrives. We talked about animals and plants coming out of hibernation; we talked about renewal and rebirth; about flowers blooming; bees, wasp, and termite nests coming back to life; and all the stuff spring brings. We also talked about how nest building and nests coming back to life was a big part of spring and we sat and looked at a wonderful book Rachel lent me called Animal Architecture by Ingo Arndt, a German wildlife photographer, which is full of photos of wonderful nests built by all different kinds of birds, insects, and mammals. To top it off, since spring is about new plants growing, we planted one sunflower plant per child in our garden. 

Have a great weekend,

Olga

 
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Animal Architecture
By Ingo Arndt, Jurgen Tautz

Week 29: Reading for Fun

Reading gives us wings.

Reading gives us wings.

We also read Snarf Attack by local author Mary Amato. The children have thouroughly enjoyed reading this book and gotten many giggles from it. I believe we have a few of her Good Crooks series books in our collection that I plan to dig out. I also plan to purchase some more of The Riot Brothers series so they can continue reading! We had some good conversations about how funny Snarf Attack is and how we are working so hard to learn to read so we can read books like that on our own! 

—Alicia (co-founder & lead teacher of the Oaks)

We read Library Lil and learned about Hyperbole. We found many examples of hyperbole in our every day conversation (If I can't do one, I'll never be able to do any!). We read Bonk's Loose Tooth, from a series about a lovable monster named Bonk.

Library Lil
By Suzanne Williams

Science Thursday: Hair-Raising Physics

Hello All,

Today we put together our terrarium lesson from yore and our circuits lesson from last week and talked about static electricity and lightning.  We talked about how clouds get saturated with condensation and it rains, and when they become thunder clouds they become charged. 

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We rubbed our feet on the rug and got shocked when we touched metal and we drew lightning going from negatively charged clouds to the positively charged ground, or person, or other cloud.  We used static electricity to move some objects and lift some straws to show how negative and positive are attracted to each other. 

Have a great weekend,

Olga

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,

Olga

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,

Olga

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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.  

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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.

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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?

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We’re not sure…

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

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testing, failing, and trying again,

and building friendships.

It’s magical!

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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).

 
 
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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.