Week 23: Valentine’s Day Party & The Planetarium Field Trip!

Mark Those Calendars!

  • D2 Space Odyssey Mission in Rm 7: Amber (snipit@ymail.com) is planning an

    D2 Space Odyssey Mission on Monday March 20, 2017! Join us!

    AMAZING all day space exploration and training for our 22 little astronauts, but WE NEED YOUR HELP! She sent an email about materials and volunteers she needs and is in desperate need of parent helpers! Are you available Monday March 20th for part or all of this space mission Odyssey OR as NASA would call it an, “Extended Duration Orbiter Mission” Day?    See details later in blog below!

  • Community Snack Schedule:  POST-PRESIDENT’S week break is the Fierro 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 Guiang family for snack last week!
  • D2 Family Board Game Night: Friday March 3rd 6-9pm
  • Parent Meeting: Wednesday March 22nd
  • FUTURE Parent Meeting Dates:  Skipping February (short month, too many conflicts), Wednesday March 22nd, Wednesday April 26th, Wednesday May 24th, and Wednesday June 14th.
  • Leprechaun Trap Challenge: On Thursday March 16th, we’ll be celebrating St. Patrick’s Day with a fun Leprechaun Trap challenge! Children can build traps at home or bring materials from home to build them during exploration at school. Then, we will test how well they work by leaving them overnight on Wednesday. Should be fun!
  • St. Patrick’s Day: NO SCHOOL Friday March 17th (staff development day)
  • PSC Meeting: Wednesday March 15th 6:30-9pm
  • Board Meeting: Thursday March 16th 6:30-8pm
  • The Spring Green Feast: On March 31st, we’ll celebrate the coming of spring by

    Sign up for an item to bring!

    having a fun GREEN feast of all green foods provided by the bounty of the earth. Sort of like Stone Soup, everyone brings in an item to make salads, and that item also serves as a side dish for kids to choose from. Please view the sing-up genius HERE and feel free to add anything else ‘green’ you feel might be appropriate! We’ll talk about baby animals, ask Jolan to share her baby chicks with us, if possible, and even do some planting and revamping of the compost leading up to the big day. The Green Feast is to remind us of the wonderful gifts and mysteries of nature’s goodness 🙂

  • Kinder Pod Performs for Community Sing! All families are welcome to join us on the last Fridays of each month for the sing. However, the kindergarten pod will be performing Friday April 28th for the school. Click here to see all the dates and who’s performing!

Field Trip: De Anza College Planetarium


D2 Space Odyssey Mission Countdown!

  1. She’s in need of 25 each of the following items for the mission’s success:


    Spice Jars

  2.  Cereal boxes, one for each kid. Not huge ones, small to medium size.
  3. White and black pipe cleaners
  4.  Solar space stickers &/or scratch art paper with sticks.
  5.  Medium size smooth river rock
  6. Silver glitter (2 or 4 varieties)
  7. Spice jars (15 total of the spice island brand jars with lids or jars that are equivalent.
  8. Mission control center – who has ideas or can help build one?
  9. Plastic containers (see her email)
  10. Volunteer parent to run the AV stuff (music, lights, projector etc.) during activities.
  11. 3 to 6 of the large plastic containers from Coffee Mate or Starbucks, seen below

Empty plastic containers needed!

The Schedule For Our Space Mission Launch Day!

unnamed-16On Monday March 20th, our astronauts in training will coming wearing white, blue or any NASA or American inspired clothing. They will check in at 8:30am, sign their name with the commanding officer (attendance) and pick up their badges and gear and will be guided through the exciting careers, cool technology and some history that space frontier travel has to offer our young cadets. Amber is hoping for a guest speaker(s) and parent volunteers to help guide this portion of the lesson.  “I have some material for this portion. However, I am happy to accept more ideas too.  If parents wants to help with this part, let’s meet ahead of time to create, talking-point, cue-cards together before the event.”
We will take a recess break then come back to enjoy a “Press Conference Luncheon” unnamed-17(Snack inside the classroom) by 10-10:30 a.m.  They will get to learn about how, what and taste the foods that astronauts eat in space.  Christine will host a mini lesson on states of matter, “freeze dried & plasma-like food”!  How cool is that?!
We will then get into a theatrical portion of the play day.  Kids will attend mission control center, go through astronaut training exercises, take the pledge & oath and get ready for our count-down blast-off, and climb inside our shuttle! We will watch a short video on vortex math /space. “I’ll need a parent volunteer to handle all video, projector, music and lights for the duration of the activities from 11-12:30 pm. While we are enclosed and acting out inside our make shift shuttle (which is just an easy up, made to look like a shuttle), I’ll need a parent volunteer to roll out bubble wrap, turn on the hazer (water vapor machine) and black lights, because our first stop, is the moon!”
We will get out and search for moon rocks.  Moon rocks will be the river rocks, spray painted with glow in the dark paint and moon facts written on them.  Ahead of this day, we will create the rocks and encase these fact finding messages in a crusty shell around the rock using baking soda and pop rock concoction.  The day of, the kids will hunt for one rock each using tongs (fine motor skill activity) and they will get to dissolve the moon rocks crusty shell in a bucket of vinegar to unveil the secret moon fact written on it.  We will share the facts with each other.  This is a take home gift.  (If a parent volunteer would like to assemble those crusty fun finds with me ahead of time, that would be kind.)
After that we will climb back in our shuttle, for our second mission around our solar unnamed-20system, which will be watching a guided projector activity on the ceiling of the easy up, about our solar system.  We will venture back to earth, climb out and play solar planet Simon says to test their knowledge of what they learned about the planets. A parent volunteer is needed to set up this scene by changing up the room by rolling up and putting away the bubble wrap and setting out Simon says game pieces.  Cue cards will be read by Teacher Kate or a volunteer and they have to figure out which planet to land on when the recognize the facts about that particular planet. Then, around 12:20pm – Kids will break for lunch.
Upon returning, there will be several activities… They will be given scratch art paper or paper with solar planets stickers to map out where and how our solar system is laid out. These can be laminated later as place mats! An out of this world art station to be set up.  Here they will create using the spice jar, a Nebula galaxy, as a take home memento. One or two volunteers unnamed-18would be appreciated here to help monitor them pouring colored water and glitter into the cotton ball layered jars, as well as hot glue gun the lid on.

There will be bio lab boxes set up to try out, two to four kids at a time at this station.  This is their chance to mine for rocks and test out what it’s like running a mini bio lab. Another station to be set up called Stargazing for letters and number search.

Other various themed activities will eventually guide us to a movement break out doors between 2ish-2:50 pm for pick up.   Is there a parent who can pre-test and then run the water rocket activity on the day of the event (March 20th) for this activity?  This will occur about 2 pm outside. I do want the kids to be totally surprised, so MUM is the word!
Amber is always open to suggestions and comments and she appreciates all your help! Thank you to those few who’ve responded already  🙂

Amber Martines, C.R.S., G.R.I.

408-505-5580, snipit@ymail.com

Weekly Highlights

  • Newly Organized Atelier Space: The pod teachers came in over break to purge and organize the center space between our classrooms. Please, feel free to check it out and encourage your children to respect the space. We will go over agreements in each classroom and then, again, as a whole pod next Friday at Kinder Sing. Thanks!
  • Valentine‘s Day Potluck: We had a small Valentine’s Day potluck Tuesday February 14th at 12pm. Children brought in healthy RED or heart themed foods (pink counted, too, though!) and we exchanged valentines, together.
  • NO MORE Mud Puddles! Aside from some kids coming back from both recesses
    covered/caked with/bathed in mud from chest to feet (some with no change of clothing), there’s a sanitary issue. We recently found out that several of the large mud puddles children were playing in have been contaminated by dog poop. Several witnesses saw at least 5 dogs choose their spots and owners didn’t fish for the logs…So, please, tell your child that mud puddles are off limits!
  • New Clean Up Agreement Cont.: I keep anything left on the floor after transitions or

    Thank you Graham family for printing out our Go Noodle Awards!

    found after school in my office, until Friday. On Friday, I give back what I collected that week. They missed the space themed toys and huge 3×3 foot box of motorized gears.  This turned out to be a very effective strategy, though, and they’re picking up much better!

  • Book Clubs! We now have added a new club, making 10  book-clubs up and running, so far. The NEW Star Wars book club started this week! The kids are super jazzed about it and are asking to bring in related books. I said sure! 🙂
  • Literacy Prompts: What or who do you love? What do you love to do?
  • Science: Gak making and experiments!
  • 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:  February calendars, subtraction and addition practice, Kakooma, and math games.
  • Math Stations: Children played different games and practiced computation skills with subtraction and addition.
  • Buddies: We snuggled up together and watched a Magic School Bus Episode “Wet All Over” together on the water cycle and rain (since we were rained in all day!)
  • Phonics Word/Picture Match Game: Children loved playing this game and sounding

    Some serious NASA themed group building play!

    words out. It was a challenge for a few, but really wonderful practice and fun for most!

  • Fill-In-The-Blank Phonics Stamps Game: A mystery for which letter is missing. I put this out as an exploration choice and children liked it, but we will use it as a more focused literacy activity during literacy stations next week!
  • Sharing: Several kids brought in special items they wanted to share including more lego models (like Tyler’s cross bow!), as an extension of our science discussion on models.
  • Field Trip #7: We visited De Anza College Planetarium on Wednesday February 15th at 11:30 a.m. to see the Magic Tree House Show: Space Mission! Click HERE to see a short clip of the video we watched 🙂
  • Some New Videos: Between the terribly rainy weather and the holiday of Valentine’s Day, we watched videos and sang songs – 5 Little Hearts,  I’m a Little Valentine, H-E-A-R-T Song, Apples and Bananas, some new GoNoodle videos (like Can’t Stop The Feeling), and on Friday the whole pod watched 3 Curious George episodes on recycling, worms in the garden, and plumbing and water conservation.

Free Form Art In Kindergarten Has Evolved!

Valentine’s Day Potluck

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Science with Christine: GAK

GUIDED ACTIVITY: MAKING GAK (Christine) (2-3 kids)

fullsizeoutput_6146This was similar to the playdough making, where kids had the chance to experiment with a glue and borax solution and determine the optimal ratio to make the best gak for them.

Some of the science concepts explored:
  1. States of matter, specifically looking at how gak’s property and state changed when frozen.
  2. Scientific method, focusing on the testing and experimenting portion based off of questions previous asked by the kids.
  3. Understanding the Ingredients of gak and how they affect the final properties of gak
When we had our whole-group gak exploration activity a few weeks ago, many of the kids requested to learn how to make gak.  So this week, I took small groups of kids to show them the process. Before starting, Christine shared two examples of gak that she had made and asked them to observe any differences – one was a lot more slimier/gooey while the other was firmer (“it feels more like jello!”).
She then showed them the ingredients of gak – glue and borax solution.  The kids had, within reason, full access to both ingredients, so that they could determine how much of each ingredient to add while observing how each ingredient affected the properties of the final gak product.  All of the kids really enjoyed the ‘aha’ moment when they added the borax solution to the glue (the points of contact immediately react and turn into gak).
After a few iterations, many of the kids did seem to discover how to adjust the ingredients accordingly (“It’s too slimey, we have to add more borax!”).  We would use the sample gak as a reference for the kids that wanted a particular consistency of gak.  A few kids also tried to recreate the exact type of gak as their friends (“How many pumps of glue did you add in yours?” “I don’t remember, maybe 3?”).  We got through seven kids this week and will continue to work through the remaining kids over the next few weeks.


We had two trays, one with water and one with a saturated solution of Borax.  Kids used standard glue bottles and squeezed glue into the water and into the Borax solution.  They can then observed the difference.  The glue in the water dissolved away, while the glue strands in the borax solution turned into strands of gak. Kids LOVED this station and happily repeated the experiment over and over with Andy, trying to understand why the glue reacted that way when it hit the solution.


Christine started working through the list of experiment ideas that the kids proposed.  The first one we started with was, “What happens if you freeze gak?” Christine had gak already frozen that the kids could observe and play around with.  She also had regular gak, so the focus of the observations would be on how frozen gak and regular gak behave, differently.

She also wanted the kids to have the opportunity to take gak and freeze it, which we did! These were the results:
  • We had already-frozen gak discs available for the kids to observe and play with.  Before bringing it out, we asked the kids to hypothesize how gak would behave when frozen.  A few answers we recall include “it will turn into ice cubes”, “some of the gak will be frozen, but not all the gak will get frozen”, and “it will get really cold but still be gooey.”
  • We also had room temperature gak so that they could observe differences.
  • Many enjoyed breaking their frozen discs into small pieces and trying to thaw the individual pieces.  One child built a house using frozen gak pieces and room temp gak as the “glue”.
  • There was a lot of exploration around the concept of heat transfer – after touching the gak, they would come to me “Feel my hand!!  It’s so cold!”.  Others mixed their frozen gak with their room temp gak and discovered that the frozen gak made their room temp gak feel cold.  Many kids tried to thaw their gak by putting it outside in the sun.
  • The kids also had access to the freezer next door and could create their own experiments around freezing gak.  I worked with the kids on recording their experiment and results/observations.  One child tried to mold her gak into a “snowball” and freeze it.  When she returned to check on her snowball, she discovered that the gak had oozed and flattened.

After the winter break, we’ll continue with our gak exploration and experimentation, maybe with the whole “What happens if you add ____ to gak?” question that many kids posed.  Will send out more details as it gets closer.

Hypotheses For Frozen Gak…

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