Monday, October 31, 2016

Happy Halloween!

Enjoying the sing-a-long

We had a wonderful day full of fun, treats, games and more!

Making autumn lanterns

Playing Halloween Bingo

Eating very yummy monster treats!

Thank you to our parent volunteers!  So much fun!

Friday, October 28, 2016

Pumpkin Elevators

S.T.E.A.M. is an important area of focus in our Lower School this year!  What is STEAM? This graphic from Education Closet explains it well:

We kicked off our focus on S.T.E.A.M. this year with a question: How can you make a pumpkin elevator?  Every partner group started with a tray of found materials and tools (thank you to Mrs. Jones for the photos and help this afternoon!).

The inquiry, trial-and-error, and conversation between children was inspiring.  So many children tried something, then tried something else when it failed.  Partners listened to each others' ideas, offered their own, and worked in collaboration.  Some children had ideas right away and some children explored the materials to find inspiration with what they had to use.  

Please stop by our lockers and take a moment to see the diverse ideas and creations made by the kindergartners.  A few partners are even eager to come back to their elevators and tweak them on Monday morning.  

 The pictures above the lockers capture the students' thinking and their processes--and the process of inquiry was truly the focus for this afternoon!  Well done thinkers!

Readers Workshop: What Can I Share?

During Readers' Workshop this week, we explored different ways to share our stories.  After spending time independently reading, partners turned elbow-to-elbow and shared their favorite part of a book, or a really interesting part, or a part that taught them something.  Our goal was to make connections to text in different ways.

The reading partners do such a tremendous job taking in what their partner is saying, and really getting engaged with their text.  Next week, the students will make connections between their texts and their own experiences.

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Math Workshop: All about Numbers to 5

We began thinking about numbers to 5 this week.  While it seems simple to practice writing numbers to 5 and counting sets up to 5, we have been exploring the idea of breaking (decomposing) numbers into parts, as well as thinking about all the different ways we can create numbers.  Some things we worked on in our stations included...

Partner games thinking about part-part-whole...

Matching number symbols to quantities...

And creating Halloween math stories for our math journals.

Next week, we will delve deeper into numbers 6, 7 and 8.  One of the wonderful things we have thought about is how we can tell stories with numbers and how numbers are an everyday part of our lives.  So cool!

Walker Home Visit

We had a wonderful visit to the Walker Senior Home this morning.  A big shoutout goes to Ms. Anderson for working so hard with our students to put a little sunshine into a dreary day for so many residents at Walker!

Singing our class song "Humpty Dumpty"

The children's songs included "You Are My Sunshine," "Every Thing I Feel the Spirit," and "All Things Bright and Beautiful."  Our class song "Humpty Dumpty" was a big hit too!  After singing, the children handed out homemade Halloween cards to the residents.  We will be back in the spring for our May Day sing-a-long!
Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Murphy's Landing

Today we went back over 100 years in time to Murphy's Landing in Shakopee.  We played games from 100 years ago, collected eggs and fed chickens and more.  It was a long morning and we learned a lot! 
Playing "Oats, Peas, Beans and Barley Grow"
A old shop featuring spices, canned goods, dishes, nails and more.
Learning about life without electricity and plumbing
Feeding the chickens
By the Minnesota River
Thank you to our parent volunteers!  It was a nice morning to be in the fresh air and experience life long ago.

Growth Mindset

This week, we began a conversation about our brains.  We learned that they are like a muscle and get stronger every time we use them, even when we make mistakes or when we try something new!  We listened to the story Everyone Can Learn to Ride a Bicycle by Chris Raschka and made connections between the story and times we have tried again and again to learn something new.

Everyone brainstormed a way they can talk to themselves when something is hard.  Some ideas were "I will keep trying" and "I will try again and again."  We also watched the short video below.  During the year, we will stop and revisit the idea of how we can affirm out growth mindset and remind ourselves that mistakes are the first part of learning!

Thursday, October 13, 2016

Daily Five and More

It's almost the end of another busy week!  We explored some more word building choices today with our daily five.

Maker Space

We also started a "makerspace" in our classroom!  A maker space is an area for children to tinker and build, fail and try again while putting together a thought or an idea--or simply seeing how things might work together.  Here is an interesting take regarding the value of maker spaces.  We like to explore and create with recycled materials and so are in dire need of clean, recycled materials--caps, egg cartons, yogurt containers and lids, paper towel rolls, you name it!  
Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Our First Biobuddy Visit

We had a great time with our middle school Biobuddies today!  To learn more about our five senses, each pair felt, tasted, looked at, listened to and smelled their mini pumpkin.  

Then it was time for us to get weighed and measured individually so we can begin to chart our
growth throughout the year.

Some biobuddies even lent a hand in shoe-tying!

We will see our buddies again in a few weeks for an exploration of the skeletal system!