Week 16: Wants vs. Needs

Goodbye to Guido

img_9534Many of you have heard either from other parents or from Matias himself that the Prados family has officially left D2. Juan and Guido have already started at their new school and though they are happy, obviously they will be sorely missed here at D2. We were expecting Guido to stay until break, but it was much easier to transition quickly instead. I didn’t tell our class, yet, because I knew they would take it pretty hard. I wanted them to enjoy their joy and anticipation of the holidays a little longer and explain in January when we returned. However, the office has already filled the empty enrollment spot and the student will be coming, soon. So, you may tell your children the news or confirm it with them if they’ve asked, and let them know that we will be discussing as a class on Monday how best to say goodbye to Guido, now that he’s gone (i.e. card, video, poster, making him a gift, etc).  He was with several children from TK until now, for 1.5 years! So, I know the kids will want to do something special for closure sake. We will miss you Prados Family and we wish you the best of luck Guido!

Mark Those Calendars!

  • Field Trip #4:  Wednesday December 14, 2016. We’re taking the  Light Rail to

    Art Enrichment: Christmas trees!

    Christmas in the Park in San JoseAlso, 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 Stitt and Johnson  Family. Please, use the snack signup genius here to sign up for a week to bring snack. Let the Snack Coordinator  Kudsana (kkizaraly@yahoo.com) know if you need special accommodations or are unable to fulfill your commitment. And a BIG thank you to the Ramos 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: THIS 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 with Steel’s dad Alex and hoping to go 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.
  • A Thank You From Angela Henshall: As you know, George’s mom, 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 has REALLY benefitted from it! Angela expressed that she has received all she needed, now, and there was no need to collect more. A heartfelt thanks to everyone who pitched in and thank you Angela for your hard work and investment. It takes a village!

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! 

Amber (Jada’s mom) 2 kids
  1. Jada
  2. Genevieve
  3. Maddie K.

Julie (Sadie’s mom) 4 kids

  1. Sadie
  2. Claudia
  3. Donovan
  4. Nakiya

Akiko (Nadia’s mom) 2 kids

  1. Nadia
  2. Maddie S

Mercedes (Ellie’s mom) 4 kids

  1. Ellie
  2. Steele
  3. Dominic
  4. Cameron

Trevor -Quentin’s dad 4 kids

  1. Quentin
  2. Nicholas
  3. Byron
  4. Sthanika

Christine (Henry’s mom) 2 kids

  1. Henry
  2. Tyler
Angela (George’s mom) 4 kids
  1. George
  2. Pranav
  3. Oscar
  4. Logan

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.

Weekly Highlights

  • screen-shot-2016-12-11-at-9-23-44-amNEW Bathroom Agreements: We discussed these at kinder sing as a whole pod. Unfortunately, children have been abusing the bathroom space by peeing on the floor, pushing all the soap out of dispensers onto the flor, unrolling all the toilet paper onto the floor or clogging toilets with it, flushing toys down the toilet and flooding the bathrooms, writing on the mirrors or soaping up mirrors, and other inappropriate behaviors. We were running poor Salvador ragged and it was so unfair and disrespectful to everyone in the pod! So, teachers had to come up with some new rules. Please review them with your child.
  • Art Enrichment: We explored making holiday trees with cardboard, string, foil and img_0230sharpies, and decorative materials.
  • Finger Knitting: Doreen, Maddie S.’s mom, taught us how to finger knit using popsicle sticks, yarn, and a toilet paper roll!
    The children loved it
  • Buddies: We made holiday cards and then had free play in our classroom and outside. The next time we will see our buddies is in January!
  • BUBBLE SPACES – A Body Safety Reminder: 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 51ui8ihmrrl-_sy446_bo1204203200_curiosity emerged with some children crossing body boundaries when other children said no. So, we have since read Personal Space Camp by Julia Cook and talked every day about our personal space bubbles.  We practiced personal space bubbles in line, on the rug, and during games. They learned that the bubble can be bigger or smaller depending on the situation and who we are with, but no matter what we never want to “pop” someone’s bubble space. 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 ! Each morning, parents helped kids choose leveled booksto take home and practice reading with children. Please be sure to return the books and put them in the proper bins!
  • Santa’s Tracker Coding Games: I found this website google offers that has some fun

    Coding fun!

    holiday themed learning games for children in “Santa’s village”. During exploration, children played some of the games that I previewed like I Spy, coding, and more. They had a blast!

  • Homelessness Unit: We continued exploring the topic of homelessness this week. Children talked about wants vs. needs and saw several videos to help them get a better idea of what a need truly is. Our definition is that a need is something you have to have to survive. A want is something that would be nice to have, but we don’t need it. It is my sincerest hope that this particular conversation helps parents as your little ones are excitedly anticipating upcoming holidays!
  • Math: We discussed the calendar and marked off our own December calendars we

    Math: Addition practice and counting on

    made. We looked carefully at the calendar numbers and compared our own. I asked children to match their numbers and if anything was flipped around, they could fix it quietly and show me later.  It’s typical for this age for kids to have reversals and many were able to self-correct when they compared their calendars to the large calendar in class. We also played a new game called Connect Four in pairs or alone using 2 different kinds of dice. We used 1 die with numbers and 1 die with dots to reinforce counting on – identifying the number they see on the number die and then using the dots die to count forward from that number (rather than starting from 1 all the time). Children rolled the dice and added up the numbers. Then, they mark off the sum on the paper. First person to get 4 circles in a row won!

  • Science: We explored the ingredients that make play dough and also the idea of salt dough and completing circuits (an extension of the Christmas lights and batteries

    Taste: Experiencing Herbs!

    experiment). Additionally, our continuation of exploring the sense of taste included crushing, smelling, and trying 9 different herbs. Kids opinions: Oregano –  “that smells like pizza sauce”, basil-“it’s pho”, mint – “that smells like toothpaste” and they were surprised to find mint is in toothpaste, rosemary – many liked it a lot , sage and rosemary  – said they were common around thanksgiving in mashed potatoes and gravy, cilantro – half liked it and half didn’t, noticed it’s in salsa, parsley and cilantro – often served as garnish and learned that’s because it also helps with digestion, Tarragon- “tasted like black licorice”

  • 1-on-1 Reading: I continued taking kids 1-on-1 to practice reading and work on
    sight words during Quiet Time. It’s been going well so far! I can take about 2 kids a day.
  • Light Rail Presentation: For our Christmas in the Park Field trip, we will be taking the Light Rail. So, Rosie came to visit

    Rosie teaches us about the Light Rail!

    us and showed a 15 minute informational video on public transit safety as well as a short presentation with visuals to explain what the kids could expect. She prepared us well for our field trip this Wednesday and left us coloring books and other goodies!

  • Handwriting: More practice with Handwriting without Tears and writing letters with curves and lines.
  • Double Bubble Map: We used our double bubble map to compare and discuss WANTS


    vs. NEEDS in our conversation about homelessness. I showed pictures of various items and children would talk about why their arguments for the items being wants or needs and then vote on which way to sort them.

  • P.E.
  • Cooking: We made edible dreidels with pretzel sticks,marshmallows, hershey kisses, and chocolate frosting!  Thanks Arielle!

Social Awareness: Discussing Homelessness

What do we know? What do we want to know?

What changes our thinking?

2016-12-06-09-56-10Last week, we began talking about homelessness. It was so interesting what children thought about homelessness, what causes it, where they see it, what they wondered about. If you’d like to refresh yourselves with their ideas, please see last week’s blog HERE.

This week we discussed WANTS vs. NEEDS. I started the week by showing them various pictures – a house, candy, TV, iPad, food, water, cell phone, etc.  Children identified the object and then could verbally say “WANT” or “NEED”. When there was a lot of disagreement, we discussed both opinions. Then, we voted. I was very impressed with children’s ability to argue their points and others’ ability to hear them out and respectfully disagree with counter points or see things in a new way. It was very interesting how we began the week with TV and cell phones as a want/need (there were a LOT of arguments as to why it was purely a need). The argument was made that you needed a phone to call for help in emergencies, so that shifted into the need category. Many children said they needed certain things to help them unwind or relax after school or to play games, because “play is really important for kids!”  Other kids said things like, “Well, if I didn’t have _______ I would still be able to live, so I don’t think it’s a need.” I had one girl say, “We THINK we need stuff, but you actually don’t need very much to survive.” Another boy chimed in, “Yeah, like you can’t have a TV if you live on the street because there’s nowhere to plug it in and you have a pay for electricity.” Others said you’d spend money on food before you’d spend it on a TV. So, the TV moved over to the WANT category. Some said that you could live without food but you needed water. So, we talked about how your body is mostly made of water needs, but that food is made of calories that give give your body energy to function.  If you don’t have food, then your body will start using stored fat, but when that runs out it will start to use other tissues as “food” and you could die of starvation. So, that shifted our conversation to ‘what will keep us alive’ versus ‘what we like to have but don’t need to survive’. We also watched several videos about needs vs. wants and read some books that made us think more deeply about wants and needs:

  • The Teddy Bear by David McPhail – this book led to a very interesting conversation img_0244about whether we really need the items that bring us comfort and who needs them more. We asked ourselves if after we throw something away, is it still ours? Or if we lose it and someone else doesn’t know and throws it away and someone new finds it, is the bear still the little boy’s? I asked about whether kids believed the bear was a want or a need. If it was a need, did the little boy need the bear more or the homeless man? We talked about how the boy gives the bear back to the homeless man when he sees how emotionally important it was to him and whether we would do the same. Later, I put up a bear and family to sort on the double bubble map of wants vs. needs, and they put the bear in the wants category, but said the story we read about the bear was different (so in adult language, they realize that decisions can be circumstantial).
  •  The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein – My favorite quotes about the Giving Tree came from two children who said, “We should call it the Gimme Tree, cuz he’s got the Gimmies for sure.” and “Well, the little boy said before he was too old to play with the tree and climb her branches, but when he needed something he had no problem going up there. He only comes back when he needs things to take and I don’t think he will ever really be happy.” The class also thought of new titles for the book – The Taking Boy, The Boy and The Tree, The Gimmie Boy, The Gimmie Tree, etc.
  • Should I Share My Ice Cream by Mo Willems: This piggy and elephant book reminded us img_0263of the struggle we have sometimes to be generous and share things or give of ourselves to others. It was also Genevieve’s FIRST time reading aloud to the group!
  • Wants vs. Needs GetWise Video: This helped us to differentiate wants and needs a little better, which helped us figure out our double bubble conundrums.
  • The Berenstain Bears Get The Gimmies: This helped children to rethink the way they interact with adults. We discussed how sometimes we only think about what we can get from the adults and people around us and we forget to appreciate them instead of just take from them.

 Science- Molecules, Miscibility, and Density–Oh My!

img_0184We continued talking about molecules and approached a new topic: play dough! We began
by looking at the “wet” ingredients of oil, water, and salt, and talked about their immiscibility (when molecules literally repelling each other and the substances can’t mix). Then, we asked what they thought would happen when we mixed in flour:


We had a clear cup with salt, water, and oil, separated in layers.  We asked the kids whatimg_0187 they thought might happen when we mix flour in.  We added the flour and showed them how it makes first a paste and eventually dough.   We explained what is happening at the molecular level using spaghetti noodles. “Think of flour molecules as dried spaghetti noodles (which technically is made of flour!).  Flour molecules are big and long because they are made up of a lot of atoms (e.g. as opposed to water, which just has 3 atoms).”
Then we demonstrated, “When flour is mixed with water, the flour molecules get sticky and mushy, sort of like cooked spaghetti noodles.  A big sticky web is formed and everything is all tangled together.  Other molecules such as salt and oil and air get trapped in the big tangled flour molecules.”
We had both the uncooked spaghetti noodles as well as the cooked ones for the demonstration so children could see the difference.img_0190
GUIDED ACTIVITY #1: Making play dough- Christine
We had 4 ingredients available for them: Salt, flour, oil, and water.  The kids needed to determine the proper ratio of the ingredients to make the ‘best’ dough for them.  There was also an opportunity for them to determine the role each ingredient plays in the final dough (e.g. can you make dough with just oil and flour?  Is there a difference in texture between dough that has salt in it and dough without salt?)

GUIDED ACTIVITY #2: Play dough as a conductor -Sheila

We had two circuit boards that were set up to help demonstrate how playdough conductsimg_0191 electricity.  One of them uses an LED light and the other uses a buzzer. You can guess which was more popular! They already saw a very basic circuit with the Christmas lights and 9-volt batteries, so some were able to follow the wires to see see how the circuit is created.  But most figured it out through trial and error. Kids tried to determine whether different shapes of playdough work better (e.g. what if you make a long skinny noodle vs. a short fat noodle).   We talked a little big afterward about which component of the dough was the conductor (salt), but we’ll drive home that point next week.

OPEN EXPLORATION/STORY WORKSHOP – Kate: 2016-12-06-11-03-29

We had a lot of play dough available in the 3 primary colors and each was scented differently.  Kids needed to use their color interaction knoledge to make the play dough into secondary colors.  We had a bunch of random tools and containers, glitter in salt shakers, and plastic animals as well. Though we encouraged kids to create characters from the play dough and think about a story line, there were so many new tools that this time was more a focus of experimenting and exploring.

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:

  1. Please send an SOS email out to the class on the yahoo group, CCing me.
  2. After sending the email, please call through the emergency sub list, below.
  3. 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)

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One thought on “Week 16: Wants vs. Needs

  1. Pingback: Week 17: Holiday Wrap Up! | Kate's Rm 7 Kinder Class: Exploring Who We Are 1 Day at a Time!

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