Sunday, May 21, 2017

STEAM project: Windmills


On Friday we read The Boy Who Harnessed The Wind by William Kamkwamba and Bryan Mealer. This is a true story of a boy who created a windmill to bring power and water to his village.  

The children then created their own windmills from found materials, as the boy in the story had created his windmill from repurposed materials. While creating their windmills, the children used a variety of items such as cups, strips of paper, paper plates, tubes, paper towel rolls, tape, and scissors. Each child created their own windmill with the only rule: their breath, not their fingers, should power it. We also discussed how wind can provide an alternate source of power.  





It was amazing to see how the children used the materials, and worked through several strategies when their first was not successful. It was an excellent display of their growth mindset! Our kindergarteners continue to build their engineering capabilities through these STEAM challenges. What amazing work!
Friday, May 19, 2017

Spring is here... in a way!

We learned what an acrostic poem is this week, with a reading of the story Spring.


Everyone worked independently to sound out their words and describe what spring means to them!  Please check your child's Seesaw for a close-up of their poem.  


Speaking of spring, we are still keeping an eye on the forecast for Water Day.  We are not sure about next week, so it may be the last week of school.  We promise to give as much notice to our helpers as we can!  We know the children can't wait!

Readers Theater Part I

Many of our students finished off the week with a read-aloud of their Reader's Theater stories. Reader's Theater are scripts, often at a child's "just-right" reading level, that allow them to read and act as characters from short and often familiar stories.





Well done, readers!  We will finish with our Reader's Theater next week!


Friday, May 12, 2017

Happy Birthday!

It was time today to celebrate another awesome birthday in kindergarten.  First, we had a reading of one of our favorite stories Click, Clack, Moo.



We also got to celebrate with some fabulous Cupcake Wars!!




Creativity and design were paramount to the cupcake design...

After working hard on cupcake design, it was hands up as the judge made her final decisions!


Everyone won a special award--most creative, most "nature-like," most psychedelic, most "Spoonbridge and Cherry"-like and more!  And we even got to eat our cupcakes too! 

May Math: 3D shapes and Money

After exploring the attributes of 3D shapes and how they work last week, the students spent some time creating own from marshmallows and toothpicks.  


creating multiple 3D shapes

Starting with 2D bases to build up

We also began to look closely at coins--specifically pennies, nickels, dimes and quarters.



We learned that coins have a lot of information on them.  Ask your kindergartner to find the "mint" letter that tells you where the coin was made.  After exploring coins, we practiced making combinations of coins up to 30 cents.

Thursday, May 4, 2017

Minneapolis Institute of Arts Trip

We had a wonderful tour of the MIA today.  Our docent showcased several pieces from different continents that featured different animal groups.

Camel ceramics from Asia
Cricket cages and even a cricket tickler!
Grey heron in a piece from Europe
Totem Pole from Alaska featuring many animals--many children journaled about this piece!
Beaded mask from Africa with birds

Is it a panda or a mouse?  Lots of discussion around this great piece from Japan
Crocodile drum for Papua/New Guinea

Cheetah mural 
Elephant mosaic from Turkey
 During our scavenger hunt, it was clear that mammals in art are easy to find, but insects and fish require looking closely and often!  The students looked closely at many pieces, and found that the totem pole, cheetah and panda stuck with them with their rich colors and larger-than-life presence.  The trip was a great inspiration for the students' art and their continuing work on animal atlases.  Thank you to all our parent volunteers--we truly cannot do it without you!
Wednesday, May 3, 2017

C.A.R.E. theme: Collaboration

We worked with Mr. Thayer's preschool class to present the theme collaboration to the Lower School this morning.  At different points in the last few weeks, we conducted interviews as the Breck News Team, asking the question "what is collaboration?"  We heard lots of great insights and witnessed collaboration in action!  Our news video is featured below.

Great job, Breck News Team!

Friday, April 28, 2017

Math this Week: Subtraction and Addition

We had a blast working with number bonds, playing cards, and even bowling to help us practice our addition subtraction facts to ten this week.  We are really encouraging the children to think in addition as "part-part-whole" and begin to think about subtraction as "whole-part=part."  Creating story problems and playing games with subtraction and addition partners helps the children build their confidence, allows them to see the relationship between numbers and allows them to demonstrate multiple ways to solve a problem.

 
Creating story problems
 Using number bonds and subtraction equations to show their thinking

More pictures of bowling and playing card fun to come!  If your family has playing cards at home, you can ask your kindergartner to show you the "partners of ten" card game we play.  It is so much fun and really supports math fluency!

Thinking Routines: The Explanation Game

Throughout this winter and spring, our students have used multiple thinking routines to help make thinking visible.  We recently used a routine named "Step Inside" to help us understand Baby Bear's perspective in the Goldilocks story, and used a routine named "I used to think, but now I think" to explain how our thinking about this traditional story changed after reading several versions.  

This week, we used a new thinking routine this week entitled "The Explanation Game."  Using mystery boxes containing animals and pictures of landforms, the children worked in groups to name their objects and make connections between the objects.    




The idea behind the mystery boxes is that they would foster investigation as children looked closely at their objects, offer questions and explanations that could lead to connections between them.  After a rich discussion, many of the children made the connection between their animals and a place, leading us to look closer at a world map and find landforms.  Later this week, we introduced the app Barefoot Atlas and many children explored continents further for landforms, landmarks and animals.  This was a great launch for our animal atlas project, wherein the children will use a variety of resources (atlases, animal books, apps like Barefoot Atlas, Montessori Animals and more) to name and investigate a few animals for each continent.

Friday, April 21, 2017

The Three Bears Show

We had our terrific "Three Bears Show" today!

The stage
The players!

 Please check your child's Seesaw account for a link to video of our show!  We will be able to upload the video without a link to Seesaw next week, in case you have trouble viewing it through the link.

We also had tons of bear fun in the classroom too with some bear measuring and weighing.






Everyone took great care of their bears at snack...


and on the playground!
Happy Bear Day!