Last Day

We had a sweet end of the year celebration. Ms. Kailey came back to visit and lead our memory book celebration. She brought wonderful keepsake shirts that Otters were able to have signed by their teachers and peers. We also enjoyed a whole school slideshow of photos from the year and ate delicious cookies baked by the Otters. It was a bitter sweet good-bye. Have a wonderful summer and please keep in touch!

Meditation Stones and Author’s Share

We had our final meditation with Ms. Julie today! She presented each Otter with a bag of meditation stones. The students created four of the stones and Ms. Julie created a gem for each child. Each stone represents a different meditation concept that the Otters have practiced this year. Ask your child to explain what each stone means. Later in the day we had an author’s share where student authors were invited to share their latest story with the group.

Releasing Praying Mantises

We got to release our praying mantises today! We released them in shady areas around our Cedar Classroom. It was fun watching them explore their new habitat and find shelter.

Baking Cookies

Today we worked together to bake cookies for our upcoming memory book celebration. In order to bake the cookies we had to practice our recipe reading, ingredient measuring, and egg cracking. We had to make conversions and practice adding fractions in order to follow the recipe. We hope to see you at our memory book celebration tomorrow at 2:15. :)

Otter Ice Cream Store

We have been learning coin names and values, and practicing counting change. One of our favorite ways to practice counting money is by purchasing ice cream from our Otter Ice Cream Shop. In order to order ice cream Otters must count out the correct amount of change. Otters take turns running the ice cream shop too. You can invite your child to help you count change at home. He/she can help with purchases at the farmer’s market or grocery store. Some families choose to give their child a small weekly or monthly allowance to provide children with additional practice counting and saving money.

We have also been learning about geography. A couple of our Otter community members are moving this summer. One student is moving to Seattle and another to Australia. Several others are traveling to different cities, states, and countries this summer. For these reasons, Otters have been interested in learning more about states and countries. We’ve been finding places on the map and globe and learning the Fifty Nifty United States song.

Outside Day

We had a blast at Outside Day. We rotated to different outside centers, including painting the Pacific bench, beach volleyball, music with Mrs. Shelley, picnic lunch, bubble and chalk play, running through sprinklers, and reading outside. We also got to celebrate Tova’s birthday this afternoon. We wrote her birthday letters.

Visit with Ms. Kailey

We were thrilled to see Ms. Kailey and Baby Everly yesterday. We gave Ms. Kailey big squeezes and asked lots of questions about life with a baby.

Sharing

We look forward to our Sharing time every other week. Otters are invited to share a talent, story, memory, or special item with the class. Sharers practice using strong, assertive voices during their presentations and audience members are invited to ask questions.

Praying Mantis Visitor

We were excited to discover that a couple praying mantises escaped during their morning feeding today. We took the opportunity to carefully hold the mantises and get an up-close look at their anatomy and behaviors.

The Skeletal System & Amazing Brain

This week we started to talk about healthy bodies in the Otter class! There was a lot of interest in this topic recently and a lot of questions about our bones so we started our study by learning more about the skeletal system. We read some really interesting books and watched a couple videos about our skeletons, which included a very fun song that helped us learn some of the major bones in our bodies! We were so surprised to learn just how strong our bones are! Did you know that humans have the same number of neck bones as a giraffe? This fun fact amazed us!

We also created scientific illustrations of our skeletons and labeled the major bones in our bodies, in addition to working with a partner to measure various body parts to estimate how long certain bones in our bodies are. We then worked to organize our bones by length and tried to estimate how tall we each are by adding the length of our bones all together.  

In addition to having a lot of questions about our skeletons, we also had many wonderings about how we learn and create, store, and retrieve memories so we had a very special guest speaker, Mr. Mark, come in and help us better understand our questions about the brain! He showed us some really interesting videos that showed us how our brain works and sends and receives information from our body! It was definitely one of the highlights of our week!

Music with the Otters!

Recently the Otters have been really excited about music and we have been so lucky to get to practice using instruments, our bodies, and our voices to make music with Ms. Shelley and Ms. Julie during some of our wiggle time activities. Over the last three weeks the Otters have been working really hard to learn some beautiful songs Ms. Shelley taught us and they decided they really wanted to share them with their ELC friends! To do this the Otters decided they would like to put on a performance for the rest of the ELC classes and sing to their friends. They had so much fun and were really proud to share all their hard work and love of music with everyone who came to watch! Ask your student to share their favorite song with you at home and enjoy watching the video clips of their performance as a family!

Otters vs. Leprechauns!

This week the Otters were really excited about St. Patrick’s Day and wanted to celebrate by looking for evidence of Leprechauns in our classroom and around campus. They decided the best to do this was to practice the engineering design process that we learned earlier in the school year and engineer their own leprechaun traps!  

Students first created their own design ideas, which included coming up with a list of materials they would need, as well as steps for building their trap and a sketch of what it would look like. Students then created small groups and worked together to combine their ideas and made one collaborative trap that incorporated all their final designs! There was a lot of variety and creativity amongst the traps students created… All of them were very different! They can’t wait to see what they may catch over the weekend! Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

Literacy & Numeracy Practice

The last couple weeks the Otters have been working on some new literacy activities and reviewing double digit addition and subtraction in numeracy. We did this by practicing as a whole group, as well as working in small groups, and individually on a number of phonetic activities and new literacy games. We started by reviewing bossy e and r words and continued our practice by playing sight word games. We also have started using personalized book baskets for silent and partner reading in class. The Otters really enjoy having a variety of books to choose from, in addition to getting additional reading practice in small literacy groups each week!

We also practiced our numeracy skills in addition and subtraction and had a lot of fun playing a variety of games that helped us build on the strategies we learned for regrouping earlier in the year. One of the class favorites was a game called Climb the Ladder, where students worked their way up solving various addition and subtraction problems that started with single digit math problems and increased to three and even four digit math problems!  

Dr. Seuss Day

We ended this week by celebrating Dr. Seuss Day! Leading up to Friday’s festivities, the Otters participated in a variety of Dr. Seuss related activities in class! We read some of our favorite books written by Dr. Seuss and then wrote our own stories in the style of his writing! We also played a lot rhyming games and had fun thinking of real and nonsense words that Dr. Seuss could have used in his stories. We also did a fun expressive arts activity where we each drew and painted our own portraits of our class’ favorite Dr. Seuss character, the Cat in the Hat!

On Friday, in celebration of Dr. Seuss’ birthday and our love of reading, we had so much fun making our own Cat in the Hat hats, playing with oobleck, eating green eggs and ham, and many other fun activities! We ended the day by having a class read-in, where we got to snuggle up with blankets and pillows and read our favorite Dr. Seuss books with a friend! It was an AMAZING week!

Trout Release!

We had SNOWY weather for our trout release at Hagg Lake this week.  We enjoyed the quick school bus ride to Scoggins Valley Recreation Area.  We found a perfect release spot with some slower moving, VERY cold water.  Many of Otters shared that they were sad to say goodbye to the trout, but happy that they could finally swim free!  

After releasing all 500+ trout we explored the surrounding area and completed a natural habitat exploration. To do this, we split into three different groups and each tried to evaluate the park through the eyes of a different animal – We had a group of Squirrels, a group of Raccoons, and a group of Birds! We also looked for evidence of our animals and found a variety of things such as egg shells, animal tracks, bird calls, and scratch marks on the tree bark. To complete our natural habitat exploration, each group drew a map of the area and shared their findings with the other groups. Following this activity, we enjoyed eating at the picnic tables (while trying to keep warm!) before returning to the ELC. 

 When we returned to school we shared about some of the things that we saw and heard during the habitat exploration.  Finally, we wrote and drew about our experience after reflecting on our trip. 

Rights & Responsibilities, Numeracy Work & World Read Aloud Day

In the last couple weeks we have spent a lot of time talking about just and unjust actions, as well as learned about rights and responsibilities. The Otters spent a lot of time discussing what those words meant to them and we talked as a whole class about our ideas. We also did some small group work where we made posters for each word where we shared what each word looks like, sounds like, feels like, and why it’s important to us. We brainstormed a list of class jobs that we felt were responsibilities we, as Otters, should be doing at school as well. We are excited to start taking responsibility for those jobs starting next week, both in our class and in the Cedar classroom!

The Otters also have done a lot of small group and partner numeracy activities recently. We have been working on double and triple digit addition and subtraction with and without regrouping. We have had a lot of fun doing some whole group practice, partner work, as well as working on building individual numeracy skills.

 We also celebrated World Read Aloud Day, which was Friday, February 1st. We did this by taking a trip to the Pacific library and exploring the collection of children’s books they had. Mr. Mark also read us an inspiring story called, The Boy Who Loved Words, during our visit. The Otters were very excited that they got to take a tour of the library and each student got to pick their own book to check out and place in our own classroom library!

Peaceful Otters

This week the Otters began to talk about peace. Each day we spent time on activities related to peace that helped us define what it is and what it means to each of us, as well as a whole class. We each shared different ideas of actions that were both peaceful and not peaceful depending on the context or tone of voice used in speaking. We also spent time reflecting on what peace meant to us individually. For some it was taking a walk in nature and for others they shared ways they described peace, such as being kind, helpful, friendly, etc. Ask you student to share with you what peace means to them.

We also listened to the book I Am Peace, by Susan Verde and each wrote two pages for our own peace book. Another way we explored peace this week was by creating two different collaborative pieces of art. We enjoyed using our hands and watercolors on one of them and brainstormed ideas for adjectives that described peace in our classroom, which we then wrote inside the shape of a dove for another.

On Friday, we read and talked about Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and his dedication to peace.  We got to listen to some audio clips of this I Have a Dream speech and we talked about what we believed his dream was as a class. We also wrote down what our own dreams are for peace in the world and shared them with each other. In the next few weeks we will talk about just and unjust actions, as well as learn about rights and responsibilities. 

Welcome Back!

The first week back  following our winter break, we spent a lot of time reflecting on our 2018 year and talked about setting goals for 2019. We worked in small groups and discussed what goals were and each student worked to create personal goals for what they would like to accomplish in the next year. We also shared what we did over our holiday break and wrote a special winter break news report to share with the class.

We also started to explore why different seasons have different lengths of day and how the tilt of the Earth as it orbits the sun effects this. We began collecting data on weather and length of day before we left for break and when we compared how long our days are now to the days leading up to break, we realized they are longer now!

Another exciting thing that took place this week was the discovery of a mysterious find in the Cedar Classroom! Students observed multiple animal scat-like droppings on multiple surfaces outside, which we had never seen before and were very intrigued as to what they were and where they came from. Students collected data by counting the number of them they could find, while also documenting where they found them. They drew scientific illustrations and took pictures with digital cameras to help them document. We then looked at various animal scat reference pictures and hypothesized what we thought they were. Some students suggested that they may be raccoon or bat scat, while others thought they may be soggy wet blackberries that had been dropped by birds. By the end of the week, students voted on what they believed them to be based on our investigation and the majority of students believed them to be squirrel scat!

Salmon Release!

This week with the help of several Otter parents, we took a field trip to Rood Bridge Park in Hillsboro to release our salmon fry.  As part of our release preparations, we wrote poems and goodbye letters to the salmon.  After watching them grow from tiny eggs into swim up sack fry we have become quite fond of them.  Many students gave them good advice such as: “watch out for predators” and “there might be bait that looks good, but DON’T take the bait”!  Others wrote hopes and wishes for them such as, “I hope you will make a lot of friends” and “I hope you survive”!

To get to Rood Bridge Park we got to ride a school bus which was a new experience for some of us!  We took the salmon down to the boat launch which is on the north bank of the Tualatin River.  Next, we very carefully released the salmon in small groups and encouraged them to “swim free!”  Ask your student to tell you some of the ways we had to be extra careful when we were releasing the salmon.  (hints: the procedure with the cups and where we put our feet)

After releasing all 250+ salmon we explored the multiple trails at the park and completed a nature scavenger hunt.  We found things such as pinecones, a bird nest, animal tracks, animal fur, and, bushes with berries.  We felt bumpy trees and soft, moss covered stumps.  We listened to the wind in the leaves and heard many ducks calling to each other.  Several students even reported seeing evidence of bears and fairies!  

To complete our park adventure, we ate our lunches together and played at the playground.  When we returned to school we shared about some of the things that we saw and heard during the scavenger hunt.  Finally, we wrote and drew about our experience.  We all went home very tired that day!