Poetry Slam

This week the Otters have become poets.  We have been counting syllables while reading and writing haikus about spring.  We have written concrete poems in the shape of things we love.  We have practiced recognizing beginning word sounds while reading and writing alliteration poems.  On Friday, we were invited to the Whales classroom for a poetry slam.  Ms. Ellie shared with us about how poetry readings began in coffee and tea houses the 1960’s.  We wore black and used snaps instead of claps to show our appreciation without breaking the mood.  Ms. Ellie talked to us about the strong emotion of poetry.  Next, we spent some time writing poems about things we do not like.  Many brave Otters and Whales read poems aloud to the group.  The poetry slam ended with the Whales sharing oatcakes and (decaf) tea with us.  We had so much fun!  The Otters will be continuing to write poetry for the next few weeks and will then be bringing home a book all of the poems they have written to share with you.

Trout Release

The Otters took our first field trip on a school bus and it was magical.  Even the constant rain could not dampen our excitement. The big yellow school bus took us to Scoggins Valley Creek at Henry Hagg Lake.  We scouted the area for a release spot that had all the requirements for trout fry: gravel, slow moving water and vegetation.  With a few heartfelt goodbyes, we released the trout carefully into the creek.  After releasing the trout we took time to hike around and explore the area.  One group counted 15 different kinds of moss!  We enjoyed our lunches under the bridge and the Otters main topic of conversation focused on how much fun it is to go on a field trip.  One student summed it up by exclaiming "this is the best day I've ever had at school!"  We returned to the ELC wet and tired to write reflections and share thoughts about our trip.  While there were many mentions of the trout and the water, the school bus ride was definitely the winner of "best part of the field trip".  

Dr. Seuss Day

We had a fantastic day celebrating Dr. Seuss last week!  We participated in many activities that were familiar to the Otters : painting feet, making oobleck, eating green eggs and ham and reading many, many Dr. Seuss books.  We talked about our very first times celebrating Dr. Seuss day and found that it was still enjoyable even after 4 years.  

100th Day of School

Today we celebrated our 100th day of school!  We built lego structures out of 100 legos, we estimated which jars held 100 items, we discussed 100 things we would like to have and 100 things we would not like to have.  We also took pictures using an aging app and wrote about how we would celebrate our 100th birthday.  These pictures kept us laughing all day!   

Money, Money, Money

Ms. Kimberly has been teaching a unit on money during our numeracy time.  We are learning to identify the names and values of coins.  This includes recognizing the pictures on the front and back of coins, as well as features of texture and color.  We have been examining a collection of state quarters and the relationship between the picture on the quarter and the state it represents.  We also watched a fun video about how money is minted.  Ms. Kimberly has created so many fun stations for us to engage in money exploration.  One of our favorite stations is a game called Money Bone!  


After a little technical difficulty, we are back to updating the blog.  A few things the Otters have been up to lately include: new building pieces for the Rigamajig, presenting to the Whales about salmon migration, viewing the plans for the outdoor classroom, impromptu plaid day, and the arrival of trout eggs.  


Awesome Otters

You may have noticed lately that when the Otters write the daily message that we hang in the ELC lobby, they have been signing it with "Love, Awesome Otters".  This is an appropriate signature for the Otters these days as a lot of awesome things have been happening in our classroom.  The awesomeness seems to be bookended by the arrival of our salmon eggs and the hatching of the first egg this week.  In between these exciting days we have gone to the pumpkin patch, tie dyed, and got to share our hard work in the classroom with families during the Celebration of Community.  We also thoroughly enjoyed the costume parade on Halloween and were happy to see so many family members and Pacific faculty, staff and students in the halls cheering us on.  We were happy to celebrate two of our Otter friends' birthdays last week...three if you count the hatching of our first salmon egg.

The Otters have been increasing our writing stamina on a daily basis.  While we continue to write creative stories during Writer's Workshop, we are also working on personal narratives, writing observations, taking notes while watching a salmon documentary, and writing to explain our problem solving in math journals.  We enjoyed a few days of pumpkin related numeracy: estimating the number of seeds, weight, and circumference of our pumpkins and eventually toasting the seeds we so diligently pulled out of each pumpkin.  One Otter was overheard saying: "This is such a fun, disgusting job!"  

We have been having a lot of fun in music with Ms. Shelley.  We have learned several new songs. One song includes sheet music so we can sing the words and play the music notes.  The most exciting song is called "I Let Her Go-Go".  We have been singing the song for about a month, and last Friday we had the opportunity to teach the song to the Whales.  It was so much fun! 


This week patterns seemed to be involved in everything the Otters encountered.  We have been spending time reviewing skip counting by 2's, 5's and 10's and being able to recognize these patterns on a 100's chart.  We looked at several sets of items and numbers and made statements about which ones didn't belong in the set and why.  Next we made our own "Which One Doesn't Belong?" slide show and shared our drawings with our classmates.  We worked our way into recognizing the relationship of 3 numbers in a "fact family" or equation.  

On Wednesday we took a walk to the Forest Grove Post Office to mail the letters we wrote last week.  On the way back we stopped to work our way through the paths on the labyrinth.  We stopped to collect leaves that we will be sorting, describing and categorizing this week.  

We were also lucky to have Ms. Shelley make time for us to have music on Thursday this week.  We have been learning a new song and have our own books where we can read both the music notes and the words for the song.  

As we work into adding more details in our writing we have been focusing on parts of speech. This week we had a lot of fun listing and acting out verbs.  We also continue to work on building community through group play.  The sunny weather gave us a chance to play a few games in the outdoor playground.  The Otters enjoyed a lively game of Duck, Duck, Goose and a running relay.  In the end, it appeared that both the running and the cheering were equally enjoyable.  When the weather didn't cooperate, we spent some time revisiting the Creative Play area which most of us haven't been able to enjoy since last year.  

Numbers and Writing

This week the Otters spent a lot of time writing.  We shared our stories from writer's workshop with our classmates.  Some of us practiced using the SmartBoard to present our writing.  We also received some special writing materials from Ms. Ellie that we used to write letters.  We will walk to the post office this week to mail those letters.  Don't be surprised if you find one in your mailbox!

We also spent a lot of time with numbers.  We estimated the number of seeds in several different sunflowers.  Next we worked in small groups to remove the seeds and decide on a strategy to count the seeds.  After finalizing our counts we came back together to share our findings and discuss which strategies worked best as well as whether or not our original estimates were reasonable.  We also used dominoes for several activities to challenge our ability to find one amount in several different ways. 

We Love a Mystery

Mysteries seemed to be a theme in several of our activities last week.  We toured the Pacific library and got to turn the handles in the compact shelving area to reveal books and more books in between the shelves.  We revisited the mystery boxes and made several of our own.  We counted tree rings in the outdoor playground and then created our own tree ring art to tell about ourselves.  One new experience for many Otters was our outdoor relay race which involved running and sequencing the days of the week.  A few favorite activities were: making Get Well cards for Cadel, making paper airplanes which held coins on as cargo, and buddy reading on Friday.  

Building Community

The Otters spent last week singing, dancing, learning, and creating together.  During Numeracy we explored reasonable estimates through estimation jars and measuring our friends. We read several stories together each day and started Writer's Workshop.  We got reacquainted with all of our outdoor spaces which included picking many raspberries and grapes in the Piazza.  Building continues to be a favorite activity during classroom choice time.  Several Otters built instruments and formed a band.  We finished the week by planning and sketching sidewalk chalk drawings and then completing the drawings on the sidewalk in front of the ELC. We look forward to more sharing opportunities together and music with Ms. Shelley on Friday's.  

First Day

We had a very busy first day of school in the Otter classroom.  During classroom choice time, building was a big favorite with both the Rigamajig and the marble run.  We spent time outdoors in the Piazza building with blue blocks, eating grapes and playing in the music garden.  We also traveled to the outdoor classroom where we threw frisbees (mostly over the fence) and got a little muddy.  We wrote letters to previous teachers.  We made collages by finding the letters in our name and pictures of things that tell something about us.  We also got math journals and wrote some numbers that tell about who we are.  Mostly, we spent time enjoying each other and delighting in the first day of school.