Week 20: Happy Lunar New Year!

Mark Those Calendars!

  • Progress Reports Sent: They were officially due Friday January 27, 2017, and I sent them out img_1741Thursday, January 26th. Please check your email for the PDFs. Hope
    you enjoy your child’s learning journey!
  • Field Trip #5: Monday January 30th we are going to the Second Harvest Food Pantry in San Jose, for a tour, as an extension of our homelessness unit. We’re dropping off the homelessness kits the kids made at Cathedral of Faith across the street, afterwards. They’re so excited to contribute and help those in need!
  • Our Rug Is Mended! Thank you to Julie Olsen who bought the material needed to fix our rug during her shift. The edges were fraying and the rug was unraveling everywhere. Now, it looks great and the kids sure do appreciate it!
  • Crazy Hair Day: Friday Feb 3, 2017
  • Community Snack Schedule:  The week back from break is the Ramos family. Please, use the snack signup genius here to sign up for a week tobring 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 Ho family for snack last week!

    Art: Our artful ode to the solar system display!

  • 100th Day Celebration Party: Kindergarten will celebrate the 100th day of school
    together in our pod on Tuesday February 7th! Details to come 🙂
  • Sub for Kate: I will be absent Friday February 10th, so there will be a sub.
  • Board Meeting: Wednesday February 15 6:30 PM – 9 PM (Discovery 1, Rm 2)
  • PSC Meeting: Thursday February 15 6:30 PM – 9 PM (Discovery 1, Rm 2)
  • FUTURE Parent Meeting Dates:  Skipping February (short month, too many conflicts), Wednesday March 22nd, Wednesday April 26th, Wednesday May 24th, and Wednesday June 14th.
  • President’s Week Break: No school February 20-24th

Second Harvest Food Bank Field Trip Carpool List

Please do not share this with your children, yet, as it is subject to change based on a myriad of variables. We don’t want disappointed little ones!

  1. Trevor (Quentin’s dad) 4 kids –Quentin, Nicholas
  2. Kudsana (Nakiya’s mom) 2 kids-Nakiya, Logan
  3. Colleen (Cameron’s mom) 2 kids-Cameron, Jada
  4. Nicole (Genevieve’s mom) 2 kids-Genevieve, Donovan
  5. Julie (Sadie’s mom) 4 kids-Sadie, Maddie K., Sthanika, Pranav
  6. Mercedes (Ellie Luz’s mom) 4 kids-Ellie Luz, Maddie S., Oscar, Tyler
  7. Akiko (Nadia’s mom)  2 kids-Nadia, Claudia
  8. Alex (Steele’s dad)  4  kids-Steele, Dominic, Byron, Henry

Homelessness Care Kits


Assembling the last of the kits for Monday!

Thank you for all those who helped contribute to the kits becoming a reality. We have over 20 kits, now, and children will drop them off at Cathedral of Faith on Monday, post-Second Harvest Field Trip. They truly enjoyed assembling all the kits and it was clear that they cared about putting them together, nicely. We had a solid group of at least 13 child volunteers from class, who wanted to help on Friday after Kristel Fritz brought in all the extra items necessary to make more kits. We checked all the kits for toothbrushes and toothpaste, and made sure they were as equally filled’ as possible. A BIG thank you to Jenell Carroll for spearheading this cause and helping us pull this project together. It was truly a team effort between her leadership and our classroom community’s willingness to help. Now, the kids have a wonderful hands-on memory of helping others and, after Monday, also seeing the difference their efforts can make! It’s all about empowerment and advocacy 🙂

Weekly Highlights

  • Goodbye to George: Our good friend George Henshall has left the school, as of this

    Goodbye George!

    week. Please share this news with your little one. He was a wonderful addition to our community and we will miss him, so! Children will make a good luck card for him AND Guido (we’re a little behind!), this week.

  • Parent Meeting: It went very well!  Click here for the minutes. (Just scroll down to “Downloads you may want” and it’s the last bullet point, called Parent Meeting Minutes.) We discussed how things were going post-break for children, how the curriculum was received by the class, the upcoming field trip, some typical 5-6 year old attitude changes we noticed, and the topic of ‘best friends.’ I highly encourage you take a look!
  • First Community Sing! The whole school gathered outside on the black top for our first monthly Community Sing. All families are welcome to join us on the last Fridays  of each month for the sing and the kindergarten pod will be performing Friday April 28th. Click here to see all the dates and who’s performing!
  • Progress Reports: Though they were due Friday 1/27, I finished them all and sent them out Thursday evening! If you have any questions, comments, or concerns,

    The First Community Sing!

    please email me.

  • Lunar New Year Celebration: The kinder pod had a GIANT celebration, as well as a parade that the school came out to see! It was very exciting.
  • Science: We talked about the sense of smell with mystery boxes Amber brought in on Monday. On Tuesday, we made models with Christine using legos and foil and also played with the idea of buoyancy as children made boats and discovered how much they could hold before they capsized. Super fun!
  • Word Search: Several kids asked if I would provide word searches, so they tried their hand at a space themed one.
  • ABC Mouse: Children as a whole group played online word family match games,

    Word family tile match game!

    rhyming games, and letter recognition games, as well as some math games surrounding the 100s chart and number recognition/matching, and addition.

  • Just-Right Reading! Each morning, parents can help 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!
  • 1-on-1 Reading: From now on, I will take emerging and beginner readers (Fountas & Pinnell level A-G) 1-on-1 to practice reading and work on sight words during Quiet Time, and both mid-range readers (H-K) and high readers (L-N, and above) will go with TK teacher Carol for guided readings group 1-2x a week. I also read 1-on-1 with children who ask during exploration, as well.
  • Math:  Kids learned the Subtraction Rap I made and practiced subtraction equations.
  • P.E
  • Art: Christine helped us make light up solar system ornaments with finger lights, paint, paintbrushes, Q-tips, and plastic ornaments. We hung them in the Art Center along with our beautiful suns we made two weeks ago. Take a look sometime!
  • Visiting Reader: This is a school wide event where participating teachers go to different classrooms to read to the students. Darlene came and read 4 books to the kids while I went to Jolan’s class. (see photo below)

The Lunar New Year Celebration!

(Indoor photos courtesy of Maddie K and outdoor photos courtesy of Maddie S.)

img_1433Gung Ho Fat Choy! (Happy New Year!) Many students wore the traditional color of good luck, RED, on Friday! We’d read about this important holiday and children also watched a traditional dragon dance and another video explaining the holiday. The whole pod was decorated to celebrate this festive occasion. Children could make dragons, streamers, lanterns, play games, fans, look at traditional Lunar New Year artifacts and even tasted traditional dishes served for Lunar New Year. At the end of the day, the children received the traditional red envelopes (called lai see) with a special coin and lucky money inside. I managed to find a wonderful book called Sam and The Lucky Money that’s about a boy who receives his own lucky envelopes on the Lunar New Year Day and decides to give the money inside to a homeless man he runs into with no shoes. It was very touching. It was a nice connection to our study of homelessness, compassion, and wants vs. needs.  The kids had a blast celebrating!  See photos below.

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Science with Amber – Mystery Smell Boxes!

Amber brought in 8 boxes with mystery items that the kids had to guess. They had to guess what the smells were, whether they were good or bad smells, and whether the smells were edible or inedible objects. They split up into a boys and a girls team. It was VERY exciting and at times…smelly! The kids had extreme reactions to certain smells. It was very funny when they found out what exactly the smells were. After talking about our nose and how the smell travels from our nose to our brain, they watched an episode of The Magic School Bus about smell, that really helped to solidify the idea of the sense of smell. It even referenced smell molecules and the kids got a very concrete idea of the relay system that happens when smells go in the nose and take a landing. Since they studied molecules earlier this year, they understood right away what was going on in the episode. I loved watching their excitement over it all! Thank you Amber!

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Science with Christine – Models and Buoyancy

Sadie’s dad shared a bit about how he uses models in his role as a mechanical engineer.  img_1437From a science standpoint, models are usually used to convey information and help others better understand science concepts.  From an engineering standpoint, models are used more to prototype and test possible solutions.  Christine thought it helped kids understand more some of the fundamental differences between science and engineering.  The kids also enjoyed getting a mini-lesson on pulleys with the Lego ferris wheel model he brought in.

Guided Activity #1 –  Building Models with Legos or Aluminum Foil. 
We had both types of materials available for the kids to build a model of whatever they wanted, though we encouraged them to “research” using the library.
Some observations:
  • img_1463

    Making a lego model of a ship with a cool backstory!

    With the foil, there was a lot of “research” going on.  One child created a model of a stuffed otter (see picture of the stuffed otter and the foil model).  Many others used books to figure out what they wanted to create.

  • A few kids preferred using cardboard and tape to build their model (of a beach scene).
  • Christine was hoping that, by using foil, the kids would be encouraged to focus more on the detail and shape of the item they were modeling vs. using color to characterize their models.  We did let them use sharpie markers towards the end and a few kids enjoyed drawing in details (one child created a model iPad and drew in all the apps).
  • One child created a human model of one of the characters in the Magic School Bus.  She moved the arms and legs to match the pose of that character on a particular page.  We then briefly played a game where Christine did a pose and she had to match her foil model to that pose.

Making a model of a row boat from a picture.

For now, Christine was thinking this was the last activity she would do with science models, though we can certainly revisit it again. There is interest in creating/building with recyclables materials, so that might be something to consider for the future.

And, of course, bringing in the legos are always a hit.  The kids loved it.  One thing Christine noticed was that there were a few kids/groups that were mostly using specialized pieces vs. building something with the lego blocks.  So, they would have a baseplate with a cannon on it and then, when asked to describe their model, say, “And that’s a cannon.”  To encourage them to do more ‘actual’ building, we could have a station with a specific engineering challenge (e.g. use just basic bricks to build a pyramid/cube/sphere)

Guided Activity #2: Testing Buoyancy (Aluminum Foil Boats).

The kids used foil to create boats to hold plastic animals, glass beads, and beans.  Last


Experimenting with how much can go inside the boat before it sinks!

week, a few kids discovered that they could get playdough to float by putting it in plastic yogurt containers (and subsequently discovered that the containers sank when you put too much playdough in).  So this was a follow-up to that interest and an introduction to the concept of buoyancy.

Some observations:

  • Before going out, I asked the kids about things that floated.  A few kids said tinfoil floated.  Once outside, Christine used some foil to make a very dense foil square and asked the kids if it would float or sink (“Float!”).  They were surprised when it sank (“Is there a rock in there???”).  One child then spent the remainder of the time trying to re-create “sinking foil.”  He started with trying to match the shape of Christine’s foil square, but was not sucessful.  “I think I need to use a smaller piece of foil.”  We

    Everyone trying out their boat models!

    don’t know that he was successful, but it was very interesting watching his process as he played with different variables trying to get his foil to sink.

  • Christine had yogurt containers available for the kids to see a sample shape of a boat
    that worked.  A few kids wrapped the containers in foil and claimed that they had created a boat that floated!  We then encouraged them to create a boat using only foil.  Some tried to create their boats freehand, while a few discovered that you could use the plastic containers as molds and make a yogurt-shaped foil boat.
  • One child saw one of the yogurt-shaped boat and stepped on it, smashing it.  He appeared very surprised that it had flattened and then excitedly went to tell another child about how he smashed a boat.  I’m assuming the surprise came because the foil boat looked more “solid” and he hadn’t expected it to just crumble.
  • Once again, a large bucket of water was dumped and the kids enjoyed watching the “river” flow down the sidewalk.  There’s definitely potential to do curriculum on rivers and how they flow and shape the earth.
What’s Next?
For next week, we’re going to start gak and talk more about states and properties of matter.  They’ve had exposure to this material at the Halloween kinder-pod playdate, and they’ve already played with gooey playdough, so this will be a good continuation of that.  Christine does want to also continue explorations of buoyancy, specifically how the same material can both float and sink.  Thank you Christine!

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Emergency Parent Sub Protocol:

We all get sick and so do our kids! 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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