Voice Visit

Ms. Kerry (aka Henry’s mom) has been coming to our classroom every week to help with our numeracy centers. Last week, the Otters went to see Ms. Kerry in her classroom upstairs for a voice visit.  First, we discussed where our voice comes from and how we can feel our voice by touching our throat when we talk or make noise.  Next, we played a game called voice or no voice.  We made different sounds and voted weather or not we were using our voices to make those sounds.  After that, Ms. Kerry showed us that clapping our hands is a lot like what our vocal cords are doing when we talk or make noise.  When we clap very hard, our hands hurt.  When we yell really loudly, our vocal cords hurt.   We learned about different ways to take care of our voice.  Ask your student to tell you about taking a voice nap.  Finally, we worked in small groups with graduate students to use our voice in different ways.  We enjoyed spending time with the “big students” and learning so much about our voice.  

Stone Soup

Last week Ms. Kailey read us a version of Stone Soup and we spent some time talking about what community means to us.  We shared about the different communities that we are each a part of besides our school and town.  We told about the activities we participate in such as Girl Scouts, swimming, gymnastics, soccer, dance and many, many more.  We discussed the ways that we build community with friends new and old within those activities as well as how we can contribute to each community in different ways.   

On Tuesday, we had our annual ELC Stone Stoup celebration.  We spent the morning cutting vegetables with our friends and adding them to the large bowl that would be poured into the community soup pot.  All the while we chanted: “Bring what you’ve got, put it in the pot! We’re making Stone Soup!”

As it neared time to enjoy the soup together we gathered in Creative Play with the Dolphins, Sharks, and Whales to listen to Mr. Mark read Stone Soup.  After the story, we joined all of our friends in the Atelier to eat together.  While not every student loved the taste of stone soup, every student enjoyed contributing to the making of stone soup and celebrating the ELC community together. Many students began referring to stone soup day as “the friendliest day of the year.”

Boomwhackers

This week we were visited by four Pacific students who taught us about sound waves and pitch.  We felt vibrations of sound waves on a drum, a guitar, and on our own neck. The students introduced us to instruments called Boomwhackers.  Each one was a different color, different length, and produced a different pitch. We hypothesized why each one made a different sound.  Many of us decided that the pitch produced by each Boomwhacker was dependent on the length or distance the sound waves had to travel.  

Each of us got to play a Boomwhacker during a group presentation of Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star.  When we all played together we were able to hear the different pitches within the song. We ended the activity by writing why we love music and taking a group picture.  It was a very fun experience!

Gyotaku

With the arrival of our 500 salmon eggs, we have started observing the beginning stages of the salmon life cycle.  We have discussed the many different species of salmon and seen how the mature adults differ greatly in color and size.  On Thursday, Ms. Kailey taught us about the ancient Japanese art of fish printing called Gyotaku.  She brought a real salmon so that we could make our own authentic fish prints.  We were amazed by how cold the fish was and how it was both firm and squishy at the same time.  The eyes of the fish were especially fascinating to many of us.  To see a video explaining Gyotaku, go the Watch & Listen tab above. 

Monarch Butterflies

This fall we have been studying the life cycle and migration of the monarch butterfly.  There is a group called Journey North that tracks the migration of the monarch from Canada to Mexico and back.  The Otters are currently participating in a symbolic migration.  We have created and sent a class butterfly along with individual paper butterflies that will journey to a classroom in Mexico this fall much like the monarchs do.  In the spring as the monarchs leave Mexico we will receive a package with paper butterflies that will symbolize their journey back north to Canada.  To see our class butterfly and our participation dot on the map, check out the link below.

http://www.learner.org/jnorth/maps/symbolic_fall2017.html

This week as we wrapped up our monarch study, we made paper monarchs and took them on a migration walk to the park.  We discovered that we would have to walk to the park nearly 3,000 times in order to travel as far as monarchs do during their migration flights.  We were amazed that they make such a long, perilous journey every year.  Ask your student to tell you some of the dangers that monarchs face along the way. 

Pumpkins!

This week we were all about pumpkins!  We worked in groups of 3 to estimate the height, weight, and circumference of pumpkins that grew over the summer in the piazza.  We used place value to solve problems that revealed a mystery picture…which turned out to be a pumpkin.  We wrote cinquain poems about pumpkins, colored zentangle pumpkins and started our own pumpkin drawings.  On Friday, we measured and opened our pumpkins to count the seeds.  We worked with our groups to find the most efficient way to count seeds.  Most groups decided that it was best to group seeds in 10’s so that we could skip count by 10’s and not lose track of how many we were counting.  At the end, we looked back at our original estimates and compared them to the actual number of seeds to decide if our estimates were reasonable (close) or unreasonable.  Finally, we packed up our boots and headed to the pumpkin patch with our families. 

Tie Dye

Last week we spent a few days preparing for the ELC’s annual Tie Dye Day.  First, we took time to look through some examples of folding and dying.  We studied the different ways to fold our items as well as the various techniques for applying the dye.  Some of us even practiced different ways to fold with pieces of paper. We thought about the designs and colors we’d like to see on our items.  Next, we made predictions by drawing and writing about how our finished items would look.  Then, we carefully folded and tied our items.  Finally, it was Tie Dye Day!  We could barely contain our excitement.  We felt so lucky that we were the first class to dye.  We got extra help from parents, and MAT students including Ms. Kailey and Mr. Sam.

On Monday Mr. Mark brought us our completed items.  We were so happy with our results!  Most Otters agree that Tie Dye Day is one of our favorite ELC traditions

(*special note to parents: The Otters have been reading the blog together on Monday mornings.  You may notice in this blog I highlighted the sequence of events by using words the words: first, next, then, and finally.  This is something we will be focusing on in writing.  Ask your student to tell you about their day by using some sequencing words.  Other great sequencing words are: earlier, at first, before, as soon as, after that, eventually, later on, in the end, in conclusion.)

Skip Counting & Goodbyes

This week we practiced skip counting by creating our own clapping rhythms.  We also spent more time outside skip counting with whole body movements.  We counted by 5's, 10's and 100's.  Next week we will take a skip counting walk.  

On Wednesday, we said goodbye our friend who moved on to a brand-new adventure in another school.  We painted a class mural for her and made her a poster that shared all the things we love about her. 

Centers

This week we started having centers for literacy and numeracy.  We practiced different skills at each center.  During numeracy, we played games and completed activities that involved comparing numbers using place value.  We also went outside to play leap frog and skip count!

During literacy, we did a lot of writing: we wrote responses to a book called the Best Friends Club, we practiced penmanship, we created an alphabet for our classroom, and we wrote our sight words in shaving cream! 

Week 3

As we continue to build our classroom community and get to know each other, we have started a tradition called Person of the Week.  Our friend was invited to share something with the class each day of the week and was interviewed by the class on Friday.  We found that even students who have known each other for 4 years can still be surprised and learn new things about their friends. We look forward to learning more about each other each week. 

We continued numeracy work by discussing and showing different ways to represent a number.  Students worked together to create visual resources to post near their table groups to show the ways they best like to represent numbers.  The 5 most used ways included: written form, expanded form, tally marks, number line, and drawing base 10 blocks.  When surveyed, drawing base 10 blocks was by far the favorite. 

Another focus this week was the difference between gross and fine motor movements.  We walked to Roger’s Park to practice our gross motor movements such as running, jumping, and climbing.  In the classroom, we started coloring mandalas to practice the fine motor movements involving hands, fingers, and wrists.

The Otters Make a Mark

This week our focus was on creativity and the artist within each of us.  We read The Dot by Peter Reynolds which shares the story of a girl who does not see herself as an artist until her teacher challenges her to “make a mark” and sends her on a journey of creativity and self-discovery.  After reading the story we used different mediums to create dots each day.  We used watercolor paints, tempera paints, chalk on paper and chalk on the sidewalk.  We also watched a video with a dot song created just for International Dot Day – check the Watch and Listen tab to see us singing along.  On Friday, we celebrated International Dot Day which is named for the book we read and is celebrated by students in 169 countries around the world!  One student summarized the theme of The Dot and Dot Day by saying that it shows us to “see how your imagination can take a blank piece of paper and turn it into a masterpiece.”  We concluded Dot Day by having a gallery walk  to admire our masterpieces and all of the unique ways that we could create with just a dot.  It was dotastic!

Welcome Back

This week we spent time getting to know our classroom and reconnecting with friends old and new.  In our classroom choice time we explored building with Rigamajig and Quadrilla.  We made Love Rocks, leaf rubbings and wrote letters.  Our favorite class activities this week were buddy reading and painting our names.  Outdoors we enjoyed seeing the growth of plants in the Piazza and having the space to run free in the Outdoor Classroom.