Week 25: Rainbows and Leprechauns!

Mark Those Calendars!

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

    Kinders left ME a morning message read when I returned from sick leave!

    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 Hunter  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 Maxwell/Johnson family for snack last week!
  • Pod-Wide Spring Celebration: Friday March 31st before the potluck (time TBD)  Some fun activities we will have include visiting baby chicks, eggs-ercsise hunts, egg races, egg dying, egg decorating, and planting!
  • 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

    Leprechaun Trap Challenge: THIS Tuesday in Science!

    Wednesday June 14th.

  • Leprechaun Trap Challenge: On Thursday March 16th, we’ll be celebrating St. Patrick’s Day! In honor of this holiday, we’ll be doing a fun Leprechaun Trap challenge as an engineering project in science that week! Children will build traps during science on Tuesday the 14th. See details further down about materials to bring! 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 from 12:00-12:50pm, we’ll celebrate the coming of spring b
    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 do some 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!

Literacy: Leprechaun Letters!

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Weekly Highlights

  • Sub for Kate: Shalini subbed for me Wednesday and Thursday because I was sick.


    Campus Clean up!: Room 7 rallies to help the community!

  • Boys & Bathroom Agreements: It came to our attention that the boys’ side of the bathroom was being misused, again. They were peeing on the toilet paper roll on the wall, on the floor, in the sink, on the rug, weren’t flushing, bringing toys into he toilet, and peed in a firefighter’s helmet in the toilet. So, all 4 classrooms of boys sat down with teachers to discuss the situation. So far, it’s been better, but please continue having the talk with your children (especially boys) about bathroom agreements and expectations. Thanks!
  • Literacy: Handwriting and Letters to Leprechauns! Hopefully, they’ll swing by after getting the signal from our letters… 🙂
  • Science: Gak, salt water and buoyancy experiments!
  • Art: Rainbow paper craft and hidden messages using a white crayon and watercolor paint
  • 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:  We did differentiated addition with coins that required kids to recognize coins

    Practicing adding coins together!

    and then add their sums (A: sums less than 20 with nickels, dimes, and pennies, B: addition by 5s or nickels only, and C: sums with all coins adding up to odd numbers and/or numbers above $1 requiring use of the decimal point), as well as board games and kakooma. Children wanted to make a store to raise money for the classroom field trips and in order to do that they agreed that they needed to learn how to add and subtract money to run their store.

  • Buddies: We took turns in two groups playing steal the bacon outside and doing inside building choices with our 4th grade buddies.
  • Scales: As an open ended morning math activity during free choice, children worked with scales to answer the provocation -how can you balance the scales? They used

    Building: Cooperation and collaboration!

    foam blocks, rocks, and shells.

  • Sharing: We tried a different sharing structure, more akin to museum style. 5 children at a time sat at tables with shares and everyone has 2 mins per table to ask questions or give comments.
  • Friday Treat: A Magic School Bus Gets Planted episode for part of Quiet Time/Beginning of Exploration.
  • Friday Kinder Sing
  • Campus Clean-up: Kids used trash pickers and filled 6 garbage bags in 20 minutes! They took turns using the trash pickers and did an excellent job as stewards of the school and super helpers of Salvador.

Art: Spring Rainbows & Secret Messages!

Money: Adding coins!

Leprechaun Traps: Materials Needed!

images-13The kids will put on their engineering hats on Tuesday, March 14th and design and build their own leprechaun traps using recyclable materials.  These traps will be left out Wednesday afternoon, so that the leprechauns can “visit” the classroom in the night.  Who knows what the kids will discover Thursday morning!!
While we probably have enough recyclable materials for the kids to use, please feel free to look around and have your child bring in additional items.  Some items that may be useful:
– boxes, especially interesting ones that have unique flaps or pre-cut holesleprechaun-traps-2
– netting material, like the ones that hold produce/potatoes
– plastic/styrofoam clamshells
– twine/yarn/ribbons
– skewers/chopsticks/straws
– plastic containers/tubs
– fabric scraps (especially green/yellow colored)
– cotton balls/pom poms
– toilet paper tubes
– paper bag
-donations of tape (masking and duct tape) are always
Feel free to talk to your child as well as they often have some amazing ideas and suggestions!  If there’s any items that your child wants to use for their own traps (e.g. a special box), please make sure that it is somehow marked with their name or set aside separately.  Otherwise, the assumption is that all material brought in will be available for everyone’s use.
There’s no need to bring these items in before Tuesday, March 14th, though, if necessary, we can collect them ahead of time.

Campus Clean-Up: Practicing Stewardship

“Taking care of the things and people around us.”

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

Science with Christine: Gak, Buoyancy, and Salt Water!

Class Experiment: Buoyancy and Gak

Last week, when the kids had a chance to experiment with different materials and how IMG_3193they interacted with gak, there was a fair amount of interest in whether something floated or sank in gak.  We have previously discussed buoyancy and looked at some float/sink experiments with water, so it was great to see kids pulling from that knowledge source and creating experiments using gak as the liquid

Feeding on that interest, we conducted a simple experiment where kids hypothesize whether certain items would float or sink in gak.  The items we tested were a plastic toy, a small rock, a piece of dense foil folded into a square, and a piece of foil shaped into a ball.  We first gathered information about how those materials acted in water.  For each item, we did a body vote (we asked the kids to go to one half of the room if they thought it would sink and go to the other half if they thought it would float.)  They tallied the number of kids in each group.  A few kids chose to abstain from making hypotheses.


Body Vote: Picking sides for their hypotheses!

Kids then followed a similar process for making hypotheses on how those items would behave when placed in gak.  We observed that the gak was “thicker” (more viscous) than water and one of the kids explained that, last week, it took the entire recess period for a toy snake to sink from the top of a pile of gak to the bottom.  Thus, after placing the items into the container of gak, we let the container sit until after recess.

After recess, we analyzed the results.  We made the discovery that the items behaved the same with both gak and water.  If the items floated in water, they also floated in gak.

GUIDED ACTIVITY: How water affects Gak

We’re almost finished going through the various experiment ideas that the kids had IMG_3204proposed a few weeks ago around gak.  This week, we looked at “What happens when you put gak in water?”
To further expand on that subject matter and touch upon some of the learnings we’ve discovered already, the kids had a chance to explore the behavior of gak when it was mixed with water and also look at gak mixed with salt water.

Observations about Gak mixed with (plain) water:

  • It gets stringy.  It’s cold. It’s squishy. (Genevieve)
  • It gets soft. (Logan)
  • It gets less sticky.  It feels like jello. It turns the water to the color of the gak. (Nakiya and Maddie S)
  • It feels like poop. (Oscar)
  • It smells like pee. (Quentin)
  • It feels a little wet. (Henry)

Observations about Gak mixed with salt water:

  • It squished out all the water, I hate this feeling!  The salt’s going in my skin.  It IMG_3206separates the water. (Genevieve)
  • The color is getting lighter, the salt goes inside. (Nakiya)
  • Mine’s not sticky anymore.  (Donovan)
  • It gets harder.  If you press down on it, it looks like cells. (Claudia)
  • It gets harder.  (Maddie S)
  • It’s slobbery and it looks like a brain but it’s blue.  Not a good feeling.  (Ellie)
  • I see really, really light white in my gak. (Logan and Oscar)
  • Slobbery and wet, slippery.  It’s sticky, really sticky, gak is getting smaller in the water.  It’s slimy, it’s green on the table and blue in my hand (Maddie K and Cameron)
  • Squishy. (Dominic and Tyler)
  • Slimy (Jada)
  • It’s turning into blue water. (Byron)
Overall, this was a great exercise to help kids verbalize their observations and focus on details when making these observations.
Making Gak (continuation from previous weeks)
We’re continuing to take a few kids at a time to show them how to make gak.  They’ve really been enjoying having the time to explore the two ingredients and figure out how each ingredient affects the final properties of gak.
We’ve gotten through 75% of the class, and many have asked to do it a second time, so we’ll continue having this station until we’ve satisfied everyone’s interest.
Some opportunities for further studies:
  • Viscosity – kids noticed that the gak was “thicker” or “harder” than water.  We observed that things sank slower in the gak (compared to water).  There’s probably videos out there if we want to introduce this concept to their vocabulary.  We could also do some class experiments on this, such as bringing in liquids of different viscosity and timing how long it takes rocks to move through them.
  • Using the metal balls/magnets to demonstrate how glue and borax works (I think we’ve gotten through enough kids to be able to bring that in next time)
  • Osmosis – Especially since one of the kids mentioned how the gak blob looked like a cell, Christine thinks it would be great to talk more about how salt affects living cells in both plants and animals and Julie Olsen, our gardening parent, is very excited about this prospect!  Christine and I would love to do some version of the “how do plants grow in regular vs. salt water”.

(NOTE: Thank you Christine for always doing such detailed weekly write ups of the science experience!)

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