Building Leprechaun Traps:
Science, Engineering, Art, and Literacy come together!
Letters and Leprechauns!
Last week, we brainstormed ideas that children wondered about regarding leprechauns.
We wrote them down on the board. Later, students wrote letters to the leprechauns asking them all the questions they had. This week the Leprechaun Clan of O’Doole, McCleary and Green responded! Every day, they left us a new note in rhymes and riddles.
The children were well primed after Dr. Seuss week and truffalla word families work to decipher the meaning of the poetry they gave us. The kids put on their engineering hats with the goal of trapping them and asking more questions in person! Students designed and built their own leprechaun traps using recyclable materials, with the goal of including at least ONE simple machine.
Slideshow of the Engineering/Decorating Process
What are “Simple Machines” to Kindergarteners?
- Wheel & axel
The Leprechauns’ Mischief
We read their rhyme and talked about safety agreements for entering the classroom, how
to share whatever treats or things they left for us, and later one about how to help clean up the space. When we walked in, there were streamers on the ceiling, glitter on the floor, books that made pathways, green leprechaun glitter all around, gak poured into a pool, and almost ALL the building toys had been played with! Structures were left under tables and around traps.
They found little ladders and signs left by the leprechauns all around their traps! The leprechauns also gifted us cookies, chocolate gold coins, clover plants and purple flowers for the fairies, because they told their fairy cousins to come visit (since they had so much fun!) We looked and looked, but alas, we didn’t trap a single one! We gave them a run for their money, though, almost trapping 19 according to their letter to us. Additionally, they left a letter answering ALL our questions we wrote to them, last week. After having fun, and exploring the remains of their “party” on Wednesday night, we had to work together to clean up after them! Byron repeatedly said, “The leprechauns should have to clean up their own mess! That’s not fair!” He wasn’t wrong and many agreed! But what can you do? We cleaned it up, anyway! Later that day, each child wrote a reflection about what surprised them the MOST about the leprechauns’ visit!
Slideshow & Video of the Early St. Patrick’s Day Discoveries!
Unexpected Scientific Fun!
In the afternoon, we had an unplanned adventure where some of the kids chose to work with the 1st graders on another engineering challenge – building a (solar) oven that could melt a marshmallow. All the kids received one marshmallow and had access to recyclable cardboard/plastic materials, aluminum foil/trays, and other random art supplies. A few kids seemed confused at first about “oven-making” (“Where are we getting the electricity to turn our oven on?”) until they realized that they were trying to capture the sun’s heat.
- One child immediately went and got a skewer, put her marshmallow on it, and then ran out into the sun holding the skewered marshmallow up in the air so that it could catch the sun’s rays.
- One group of kids built a “pretend” campfire using paper materials, stuck their marshmallow on a skewer, and then “roasted” them over the fire.
- There were numerous kids that teamed up with some of the 1st graders from Room 12 to build an oven. It was a really good team-building opportunity to work with a new group of kids.
Mark Those Calendars!
- D2 Space Odyssey Mission in Rm 7: Amber (firstname.lastname@example.org/(408) 505-5580) is planning anAMAZING 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! PLEASE COME TO THE CLASSROOM TOMORROW at 11am. We are excited for 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: This week is the Ho 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 or are unable to fulfill your commitment. And a BIG thank you to the Hunter 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, andWednesday June 14th.
- PSC Meeting: Wednesday March 15th 6:30-9pm
- Board Meeting: Thursday March 16th 6:30-8pm
- Field Trip: Tuesday March 28th at AMES Research Center which ties in nicely to the space unit we’re doing. Because of traffic we’ll need to leave as close to 8:30am as possible!
- The Spring Green Feast: On March 31st from 12:00-12:50pm, we’ll celebrate the coming of spring 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!
- No school on St. Patrick’s Day: On Friday 3/17 the staff had professional
development day, thus it was a 4 day week
- Leprechaun Trap Challenge: On Thursday March 16th, we celebrated St. Patrick’s Day! Our Leprechaun clan had to return to Ireland for St. Paddy’s day, so we think that’s why they came early 😉 In honor of this holiday, we engineered fun and effective Leprechaun Traps. The STEAM challenge was to create traps that had at least ONE simple machine and would decoratively entice the leprechauns inside the trap. Then, we left them over night on Wednesday and the leprechaun clan of 21 VISITED! See details, above!
- Irish Soda Bread: Thanks to one of Joan’s parents who brought some in and shared it with us!
- Animal Visitors: Sheila (Claudia’s mom) brought two different types of frogs for the kids to see!
- 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: Writing design plans for leprechaun traps, making signs for their traps, and
writing reflections on the what was the most surprising aspect of our visit from the leprechauns.
- Story Workshop: Children made their story workshop stories with the loose parts cart and we shared all but 5 this week, on Wednesday via power point. Children have 10 seconds to look at someone’s work, then say what they think it might be. After, either I or they read their story and explain what the parts represent. They have time for 1 minute of questions or comments. So far, everyone has been warmly received and supported!
- Science: Engineering leprechaun traps and learning about 6 simple machines. They chose one to add to the trap.
- Art: Decorating leprechaun traps with various green materials!
- 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.
- Monday and Thursday Treat: The Leprechaun’s Gold movie and The Night before St. Patrick’s Day read-aloud video (since I lost my voice), along with two other read-alouds How To Catch A Leprechaun and Happy St. Patrick’s Day Curious George.
D2 Space Odyssey Mission Countdown: The Schedule For Our Space Mission Launch Day!
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.
Amber Martines, C.R.S., G.R.I.
Story Workshop & Sharing