Week 29: Back From Spring Break!

Mark Those Calendars

  • CANCELLED Parent Meeting THIS week: I sent an email out earlier this evening!

    SNACK: Jada’s mom, Amber, prepared all the fixings for the kids to make “donuts” using apples, dyed cream cheese, chocolate sun butter spread, sprinkles, fruit, pretzels, and more!

     The meeting we were going to have on Wednesday April 26th 6:30-7:30pm is cancelled. There’s nothing pressing to discuss in person and the sense I feel from everyone is that after a crazy first week back from school, we could all use a break. I emailed the few housekeeping items I had. Thanks for your flexibility!

  • Kinder Pod Performs for Community Sing! The kindergarten pod will be performing THIS Friday April 28th for the school. Click Kinder Sing Lyrics for Friday April 28 for lyrics to all the songs being sung!  
  • Community Snack Schedule:  This week is the Ramos/Paiyou 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 Martines family for snack last week!
  • Spring Fun Faire: Saturday April 29th 12:00-4:00pm. Room 7 is teaming up with Room 6 to run what we decided was a duck pond with prizes to be won!
  • Child-led Spring Conferences: Sign up genius coming soon for May/June!
  • Staff Appreciation Day: Thursday May 4th


    Art: Making pom-poms for our pom-pom rug!

  • Silent Auction: Saturday May 13th (adults only) at Shir Hadash in Los Gatos. Christina (art coordinator) will help children make a plushy sensory reading rug for
    our auction item and we need donations SOFT yarn in various ocean hues (blue and green). Thanks!
  • Staff Development Day: NO SCHOOL Friday May 19
  • Memorial Day: NO SCHOOL Monday May 29th
  • Other FUTURE Parent Meeting Dates: Wednesday May 24th, and Wednesday June 14th.


Painting Through Adversity

We read “A Splash of Red,” which was a biography about Horace Pippin, a differently abled painter in the 1800s-early 1930s. He was born in 1888 into a poor country setting, and drew with coal. His drawings won him a set of art tools in a contest he entered, which changed his world by adding COLOR to his work for the first time. He wasn’t able to follow his passion at first because he was the breadwinner of his family as the eldest son. But Horace still dreamed of his passion to paint and wished he could pursue it. He went off to fight in WWI and was shot in his dominant painting arm. Horace struggled to make a full recovery in his weakened arm, but

never did. Eventually, he taught himself how to paint, again, by using his left hand to hold his right hand. It took him 3 years to finish one painting at first. His life’s story, use of bright colors, and his never-give-up attitude inspired a surge in curiosity about painting, blending colors, creating landscapes, and more! Many children talked about the story and brought up his perseverance and how “I still like what he made even after his arm was hurt. It’s better than what I make!” I felt like we were in need of a painting lesson to boost confidence and remind them that he had to practice, just like everyone else. My painting background came into play as I taught children how to create these types of paintings through mini-lessons during Quiet Time or Exploration. They loved  and kept asking me to do it every day! It was a nice change of pace from all the drawing lessons 🙂

Weekly Highlights

  • Field Trip: Monday April 17 9:00-12:30 at the Youth ScienceInstitute/Vasona Park in

    Field trip to YSI!

    San Jose, CA to learn about Arthropod insects!

  • Skill Sharing: Many children have brought in toy items and it’s become a contest. The items keep getting bigger and newer and have created an imbalance in the system of power and social status within our classroom, solely based on toys being shared. So, we will STOP bringing in items and start bringing in SKILLS! Everyone is good at something and this spring is everyone’s time to shine. I discussed it with them and then asked the definition of a skill. They gave the definition you see below in the explanation. Then, kids raised hands to volunteer a skill they wanted to share. Take a look at the schedule so far! We will share every Friday, and Claudia shared her skills for us  🙂
  • Math: We continued work on composing and decomposing numbers with base 10

    Writing up strategies used by kids to compose numbers!

    blocks: 10’s rods, 1’s units (called “baby ones” or “cubes”), and the 100’s flat blocks. We talked about about numbers can be composed in multiple ways and different people might choose different strategies. We asked questions like, “How did you get 34?…. “How do you know it’s 34?”…”Can you show me your strategy?” Children had a few minutes to work, then we rang the chimes and shared the different ways they composed numbers. Goals: Understanding that the 10s rod has 10 ones inside of it, the one’s cubes are only representing ONE each, and that a larger number can have a combination of 10s, 1’s, and sometimes 100s.

  • Buddies: We played 2 group games of soccer and chaos tag. Then, they frolicked around the playground!
  • Earth Day Efforts: We read Peace on Earth in honor of Earth Day this weekend, and it inspired several kids to ask if they could pick up trash during exploration! We gladly obliged and encouraged their stewardship with trash pickers and bags 🙂
  • Weekly Kid Read-Aloud: Jada
  • Literacy: Phonics guessing game, handwriting, story workshop and sight words.


    Sight word and handwriting practice.

  • Author Visit: Ryan Higgins, author of Mother Bruce, Be Quiet, and Hotel Bruce visited D2! He read aloud Be Quiet and demonstrated some amazing cartoon skills by making a ‘toadephant’ that was a mix of a tiger’s stripes, elephant’s trunk, and toad’s body!
  • Story Workshop: Children were so inspired by the toadephant that for Story Workshop they made their OWN wacky creations and created stories around them!
  • Science: Ink transfer with gak and solar ovens (not as successful as we’d hoped with the rain!)
  • Art: Making more pom-poms for the sensory rug we’re auctioning for the Spring Fun Fair auction item!
  • Just-Right Reading! Each morning, parents can help kids choose leveled books totake 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.
  • Lady Bugs: Room 5 collected lady bugs from the garden and shared them with us. We went hunting, too! We examined them closely using out light table and some drew observations.

Field Trip: Youth Science Institute and Vasona Park

Read-Aloud Schedule

After hearing Ellie Luz read last month, many other children felt inspired to read to the


Dominic reading aloud, before break!

class, too. They begged me to create a sign-up and kept asking when they would read! So, we took time today to create this list, below. They chose where on the list they wanted to be (knowing the higher or lower they were meant sooner or later), but please talk with your child about when they’re scheduled to read and whether they’ll be able to prepare their book, by then.  If your child would like to go a little later on the list, in order to practice a book that he/she is comfortable it be ready to read it on his own, please let me know.

We talked as a class about read-alouds and how children prepared themselves to read


Jada reading aloud to the class this week!

for the class. Ellie Luz said that she practiced that ONE book both at school and at home with her family for a month. Genevieve said she practiced it at home a bunch of times and wanted to share it. Dominic and Logan said the same thing! I want to be very clear that this list is not about a list of books that they choose and I read aloud. This is the list that the kids asked me to put together, because they wanted to read a book to the class themselves. If your child’s goal is to do this, but he/she’s not ready right now, I can definitely have him/her go later! For children who aren’t reading yet but volunteered, too, they could simply do a picture walk (narrating the story orally based on each picture)! The last option is perhaps they can read with a partner, taking turns, or they can read a page and I read a page. The bottom line is that I want them to take as much ownership over this activity as possible 🙂 

What type of book?

Whatever book they want! From BOB books to picture books. It’s their choice of whatever makes them feel comfortable and CONFIDENT J

List of read-aloud dates and students:

  1. Ellie  3/23
  2. Genevieve 3/24
  3. Logan 3/29
  4. Dominic 3/30
  5. Jada 4/21
  6. Claudia 4/27
  7. Maddie S./Izzy 4/28
  8. Nakiya 5/11
  9. Pranav 5/12
  10. Tyler 5/18
  11. Maddie K.  6/1
  12. Sthanika 6/2
  13. Sadie 6/7
  14. Donovan 6/8
  15. Quentin 6/9
  16. Oscar 6/13
  17. Byron 6/14
  18. Nadia 6/15
  19. Cameron 6/16

Opted Out (for now?)




Author Ryan Higgins visits D2!


The kids loved having Ryan!

In the afternoon, the kids got to see a presentation by visiting author and illustrator, Ryan Higgins.  Genevieve brought in Mother Bruce a while ago, and children loved it.  I wanted to jog their memory a bit so, earlier that morning, I read another one of his books to the class.  The kids were then super excited to meet the actual author!

Ryan talked about how, as a child, he loved writing and drawing, even though he wasn’t the “best” in class at writing or drawing.  But, because he loved it, he practiced a lot and worked really hard at being an author.   This was a good point to make, especially as some of the kids still struggle with


Bella the seal, mermaid, princess fairy (with a crown on her bum!)

being the “best” or over-emphasizing/idolizing others who may be really good at
something.  Ryan also read his newest book, Be Quiet, which the kids also enjoyed listening to.

Finally, he did a short exercise where he asked kids to name some animals.  He then took three of those suggestions (toad, elephant, and tiger) and drew a hybrid creature that had the features of those 3 animals: The Striped Toadephant.  Taking suggestions from the audience, Ryan and the kids fleshed out the character, coming up with a name, occupation, where the creature lived, what it ate, etc.  It was a really creative exercise that we incorporated it into our own story workshop the next day after hearing a few of the kids request making their own silly creatures.

NEW! Friday Skill Sharing Schedule (9:00-9:30am)


Nadia shares her skills with a Cat’s Cradle Sting!

Children will have an opportunity to explain, demonstrate and field question/comments
on ONE (1) skill of their choice. Some have to decide WHICH SKILL because they thought of two. Those children have an (*) next to their name. They have 5-10 minutes each. You can discuss with them how they may want to show their skill, what props they might need, how they will utilize the space of our classroom safely, and help them prepare for this public speaking opportunity by rehearsing it with them. I will prepare the children to be encouraging, kind, and respectful audience members. Some children already told me what they chose as a skill. So that’s why some names already have a skill in parenthesis. If your child has not chosen a skill, yet, please help them choose and prepare before their debut! Please see the following sign-ups, this week’s in bold:

  • March 31: Cici (Flexibility), Genevieve (Art)

    Byron shares his prowess at the UNO card game!


  • April 21: Byron (Karate) and Nadia (Cat’s cradle)
  • April 28: Tyler (Dance moves), Ellie (Drawing), Logan (?)
  • May 5: Donovan (Hockey), Pranav (Gymnastics), Maddie S. (Gymnastics)
  • May 12:  Dominic (Basketball), Oscar (T-Ball) and Jada (Gymnastics)
  • May 26: Maddie K (Gymnastics) and Henry (Gymnastics)
  • June 2: Sthanika (_________) and Nakiya (Teaching reading)
  • June 9: Cameron (Gymnastics) and Nicholas (_______), Steele (Protecting)
  • June 16: Quentin (Running) and Sadie (Dance moves)

Science: Solar Ovens and Ink Transfer with Gak


A month or so ago, a few of the Room 7 kids playing outside during afternoon


The solar oven makers!

Exploration noticed kids from Room 12 making solar ovens outside our classroom.  Kids from both classes ended up working together to build an oven to heat up marshmallows.  It was a really enjoyable experience for our Room 7 kids that participated, so we wanted to set up this activity specifically for our class.

This week, the kids learned about the power of the sun and worked in teams to build their own solar ovens.  I explained the basic concept of how a solar oven worked by converting the sun’s energy into heat and then trapping that heat to “cook” something.  One child pointed out that a solar oven was similar to the leprechaun trap, except that we were “trapping” heat and not leprechauns!

The weather  did not cooperate…but we tried, anyway!

I then assigned teams of 2-3 students to work together as an engineering team to build their solar oven.  While we had unlimited access to cardboard pieces, aluminum foil, saran wrap, black construction paper, and tape, each team only got one cardboard box (the oven base).  So this was a great opportunity for many of the kids to work with new friends and practice communication and compromise.

The kids first tested marshmallows in their oven, and later got a ziploc bag of gak to heat up.  Unfortunately, Mother Nature wasn’t fully cooperating and it was drizzly and cloudy for most of the day, but that didn’t stop the kids from testing their oven and making observations about their marshmallow/gak!

Explain the solar oven as a convention and their challenge!


After the kids had a chance to “heat” up their bag of gak in their homemade solar oven,


The only time we will EVER write/draw on tables 🙂

we showed them an interesting property of gak.  We asked the kids to use washable markers to draw/write on the laminate tables.  When they pressed their piece of gak onto the markings, they discovered that the ink transferred onto the gak!  They could then knead the piece of gak to erase the image and start again.  The kids really seemed to enjoy this! Some discovered that their white piece of gak started to turn colors, and a few worked on scribbling and transferring ink to obtain the perfect hue for them.  Others preferred drawing elaborate rainbows and designs and watching the picture transfer to their gak


Exploring was fun!

piece.  And there were many that enjoyed writing their name or different words and discovering that it transferred backwards!

NOTE: Amber brought up the idea of using other types of ink or medium to test whether that transferred to gak (e.g. newsprint, sharpie markers, crayons, etc).  That would definitely make a fun science experiment for kids to do at home if they want!

The ink printing was so cool!

Christine also shared a science model using metal balls and magnets that represented how glue and borax reacted to form gak.  The metal balls were the “glue” and magnets were the “borax”.  I honestly don’t know that the
kids really made the connection of how this represents the chemical reaction between glue and borax, but many seemed to enjoy just playing with the magnets.

Next week, we’re going to go back to space and freeze dried foods, something we touched upon briefly from the NASA space day and field trip.  After that, we’ll move into activities around osmosis/diffusion, and that will take us to the end of kindergarten!

Demo: Using magnets and metal balls to show how borax (magnets) and glue (metal balls) interact to make gak!

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