Christmas in the Park is around the corner!
Mark Those Calendars!
- Field Trip #4: Wednesday December 14, 2016. We’re taking the Light Rail to
Christmas in the Park in San Jose. Also, our class has sponsored a tree to decorate! Jen and her family helped trim our tree! (For info about field trip norms, please refer to my email from break.)
- Community Snack Schedule: This week is the Ramos Family. Please, use the snack signup genius here to sign up for a week to bring snack. Let the Snack Coordinator Kudsana (email@example.com) know if you need special accommodations. And a BIG thank you to the 5 families who kindly volunteered last minute to help us last week – Thank you Kizaraly, Graham, Carroll, Kerbey, and Guiang Family!
- Holiday Exploration Pod Party: Fun filled activities in every K/TK classroom for kids in class on Thursday December 15th 10:30-12:30pm.
- Pajama Day & Movie: Friday December 16th
- Early Dismissal Day: Friday December 16th
- FUTURE Parent Meeting Dates: Wednesday Dec 14th, Wednesday Jan 25th, Skipping
February (short month, too many conflicts), Wednesday March 22nd, Wednesday April 26th, Wednesday May 24th, and Wednesday June 14th.
- Winter Break: December 19th-January 6th…right around the corner!
- Field Trip #5: We are working on going to the Second Harvest Food Pantry in January as an extension of our homelessness unit. Details to come once we have worked out a date for the trip with the site.
- Donations for Angela Henshall’s Projector Project: Angela spent a lot of time, effort, and financial resources ($161.08!) to attach the projector to the ceiling and wire everything correctly – and the classroom is REALLY benefitting from it! The collection envelope is on the window, as you walk in the door. Please give back if you can! We only have $40, so far. Tis the season for giving! Thank you!
Field Trip Chaperone List for Wednesday 12/14: NOTE: Please do not share the list below with students, as children are assigned to carseats but assignments are subject to change. Thanks!
Julie (Sadie’s mom) 4 kids
Akiko (Nadia’s mom) 2 kids
- Maddie S
Mercedes (Ellie’s mom) 4 kids
- Maddie K
Trevor -Quentin’s dad 4 kids
Christine (Henry’s mom) 2 kids
Reminder: Protocol for pick-up on Wednesdays:
• I will not be there for check-out. Other teachers do not typically stay, either, because yard duty is responsible for children after 12:30pm. I was staying until children were used to the lunch/recess routine.
• Parents/Caregivers: You are responsible for finding your child on the playground/blacktop, if he/she has not yet come back to the silver benches. Please, return to the classroom. There, he/she can grab his/her lunch. No sign-out required.
• After care kids: After care kids will go straight to the atrium from the double doors inside the gate AFTER the 1:10pm bell.
- Art Enrichment: We explored water color with lazy Susan plates!
- Buddies: We did a fun partner art project and made a buddy quilt. Then, we played on the playground, afterwards!
- Body Safety Reset: It’s natural and developmentally appropriate for kids to be curious about their and others’ bodies. However, it was brought to my attention that some inappropriate curiosity emerged with some children crossing body boundaries when other children said no. So, we talked several times about it this week and we will read a couple books next week about body safety. Hopefully, this will help to remind friends to respect each other’s bodies. Please help my efforts by talking with your child about appropriate ways to use his/her body in class, respect body boundaries of others, and to speak up or tell a grown up if he/she experiences any uncomfortable behavior. Thanks!
- Just-Right Reading Begins! Each morning, parents helped kids choose leveled books
to take home and practice reading with children. Please be sure to return the books and put them in the proper bins!
- Homelessness Unit: We started exploring the topic of homelessness this week. As we are in the midst of the holidays and kids have made mention of their experiences in seeing homeless people or have wondered why they homeless are homeless, I thought it was a good time to explore!
- Math: We discussed the calendar and made our own December calendars this week and crossed them off! (Note: Don’t worry if you see reversals. It’s typical for this age and kids will self-correct when we compare our calendars to the large calendar in class.) Children had 4 different choices for types of calendars based on level of difficulty (from tracing all numbers, to tracing 2-9, to tracing only 1 and 31 but writing everything in between, to writing all the numbers themselves – many took that challenge!) Later in the week, we had math game stations!
- 1-on-1 Reading: I continued taking kids 1-on-1 to practice reading and working on
sight words during Quiet Time. It’s been going well so far! I can take about 2 kids a day.
- Handwriting: More practice with Handwriting without Tears and writing letters with curves and lines.
- Phonics & Spelling: Finger spelling CVC, CVCC, and CVCV words and sight words in salt with children. After a while, they began happily taking turns giving letter clues on the alphabet poster and running the station by themselves! (Note: below is two separate examples from two different times during the game!) This was a great informal assessment to gauge letter recognition progress, sight word knowledge, and ability to blend sounds to say words.
- Double Bubble Maps: We tried our hand at double bubble map comparisons, first as a group comparing strawberry ice cream and chocolate cake and then individually (comparing whatever they wanted). This activity is preparing us to discuss WANTS vs. NEEDS next week as we talk about homelessness.
- Story Workshop: We based our new stories on the density and immiscibility lesson, from Tuesday.
Social Awareness: Discussing Homelessness
What do we know? What do we want to know?
What changes our thinking?
This week, we began talking about homelessness. In the beginning of the year, a child very innocently but matter-of-factly said that the reason people are homeless is mostly because they’re lazy and won’t get a job. “They could find money on the street and save it and get one. I find pennies all the time!” This stayed with me, because after discussing it with that child and asking others, my suspicions were correct: This child was not the only one holding this idea. And as we know, there are a thousand ways for someone to reach rock bottom and not every way ends with a lack of purpose. So, I hoped to address this as the holidays approached. The holiday season is a time of compassion, empathy, and giving. I thought this might be a good time to learn more about the homelessness and then give the kids an opportunity to help the community with a little philanthropy to show them that even at this age, they can feel empowered to make a difference.
When asked what they knew about the homeless I wrote down a lot of information! Many kids commented that they saw a lot of homeless people on the way to school or nearby stores they frequent with parents. Some said they gave money to them. Others said they didn’t give money because they might spend it on something bad for them (they didn’t say what). Children had a lot of information to volunteer about what they knew or thought they knew regarding homeless people.
We first started by writing down what they knew being homeless was:
- When you don’t have a home – this led to a discussion about what a home is (see below)
- You eat garbage
- You might not have food
- You live in other people’s houses or make your own in the woods, on the road, or on the sidewalk
- You don’t have a phone- “And that’s important for emergencies!”
- Don’t have money
- Homeless people take pets
What is a home? (Single bubble map)
- A place to keep your stuff
- Where you live
- Has food
- Protects you (shelter)
After showing them some pictures of homeless people on the street they added the following to the list of what they thought:
- They make signs – to show how they feel or what they need
- We see homeless people on the way to school
- They have carts (for clothes, food, blankets, and money jars)
- They live in tents or under bridges
I asked them if they had ideas why someone might be homeless and they came up with this first list:
- No money means they have no house
- They spent all their money on 1 thing and now they ran out
- Something happened to their house and it broke down or got destroyed
- They can’t pay their bills and get kicked out
- Robbers broke into the house and took all their stuff and trashed the house
After seeing this video HERE about a single mother named Eve and her two kids going to a shelter to live until they got back on their feet, they came up with one more reason to add to the list:
- They lost their job and couldn’t get another one
Drawing our homes and what’s most important to us in them: Using visuals, I asked them how many lived in apartments or houses. Then, I asked them to draw what their houses looked like with at least 5 important details. In words below, I asked them to describe what they loved most about their home. We will build off this activity by looking at our drawings and words and discussing wants vs. needs next week using a double bubble map and post-its.
Science- Molecules, Miscibility, and Density–Oh My!
We continued talking about molecules and density, and approached a new topic: immiscibility! Miscibility is the ability of substances to fully mix or dissolve together when combined to make a new (homogenous) liquid. When something is immiscible, the molecules literally REPEL each other and the substances don’t mix (i.e. oil and water). Depending on the density of the substances you are combining, some will float or sink as they repel.
THE CLASS EXPERIMENT: Immiscibility and Ocean Currents
OPEN EXPLORATION/STORY WORKSHOP – Kate:
Science – Taste Stations’ Explorations!
We are exploring taste and the 5 general classifications kinds of tastes: sweet, sour, bitter, salty, umami. We used this video-CLICK HERE-to demonstrate what happens when food touches the taste bud receptors. However, there may be one more flavors that are still up for debate among scientists, and the experiments we had reflected children’s ability to identify tastes without certain other sense helping them:
- 1 -The Blind Fold Challenge: Can you taste two different kinds of the same food and identify which is which without seeing? (See recording sheet HERE)
Raisins, golden vs. brown
Grapes, red vs. green
Peppers, Red vs green
- 2-The Nose Knows Challenge: Can you taste the chopped up foods your seeing as well without your sense of smell? (Used nose clips)
Onion vs Jai-mica
Potato vs Apple
Sweet potato vs pear
Melon vs strawberry
- 3- Let’s play the 5 flavor game! How do you classify the powdered/granule tastes you are smelling and do you know what they are?
Sweet – sugar, sugar water
Salty – salt, salt water
Sour – lemon crystals, lemonade
Bitter – turmeric, unsweetened cocoa and tonic water
Savory – parmesan cheese, veggie broth
(see article for verbiage discussed: http://www.livescience.com/17684-sixth-basic-taste.html)
- 4-Baby Food Challenge: Identify the flavors
Emergency Parent Sub Protocol:
You are responsible for finding your OWN sub. Do not expect Deepa, our classroom coordinator, to handle that. Also, parents are not allowed to pay other parents for shifts (because it’s volunteering). Instead, you may swap shifts or offer to cover for someone else on another day. Please follow the steps, below:
- Please send an SOS email out to the class on the yahoo group, CCing me.
- After sending the email, please call through the emergency sub list, below.
- Follow up with me regarding who I can expect in your place or tell me if no one has responded. I plan activities based on the parent support available for each shift. Your absence can completely throw off curriculum plans. Please be responsible and respectful with your shift. Thank you!
- Jennifer Coscarart (Tuesdays 2nd shift & some Thursdays)
- Doreen Stitt (Tuesdays 2nd shift & some Thursdays)
- Akiko Fukuhara (3rd shifts) 408-614-9793
- Angela Henshall (Thursday 2nd shift)
- Christine Ging (always around Thursday morning, though I may be in Rm 12)
- Lonnell Graham (408)-836-0385
- David Ramos (408) 393-4456 (Thursdays after 1pm)