Last Day of School

We had an amazing last day together! We got the opportunity to hold and observe our praying mantises up close. We were so surprised how well they gripped onto our hands and how little we felt them. We were able to see their barbed front legs, their compound eyes, and watch them jump. Then we released them into our butterfly garden. The Whales put on a performance of a well know story, "Caps for Sale." As a class, we clean and organized the classroom materials. The group enjoyed scrubbing the shelves and the tables with shaving cream and this left them sparkling clean. 

In the afternoon, the whole school community enjoyed a review of our incredible year together with a slideshow. We enjoyed reflecting on all the memorable moments we have had. Our favorites were Doctor Seuss Day, the pumpkin patch visit, and outdoor day. It was hard to say our goodbyes but we know that we will never forget each other and the fantastic community we created.

Thanks to everyone for making this a great year! Have a great summer!

Outdoor Day

Our annual school-wide Outdoor Day was a huge success! We got to play on the sand volley-ball courts, have a music-making session outside, see Plumber Dave's race car, run through sprinklers, explore with bubbles, go on a scavenger hunt, paint the Pacific bench, and more. 

Optometry School Visit

On Monday, we went on a field trip to Pacific University's Optometry school to learn more about light and how our eyes work. Our trip was filled with learning about eye anatomy, experiencing optical illusions, and even seeing a real brain! We learned that there is a hole in our eye (the pupil!) that light enters our eye through allowing us to see. 

We felt like real optometry students in the lecture hall, anatomy classroom, and the clinic lab. Taking a closer look at an eye was fascinating, we even saw a contact lens sitting on the eye! Many of our questions were answered on the trip; we had been wondering why it is painful and bad to look directly at the sun. It is because ultraviolet radiation from the sun can burn our eyes, just like it does our skin when you get a sunburn. Thank you Dr. Horn for teaching us more about light, vision, and eyes! 

Beekeeper Presentation and Insect Study

The Otter class was invited to participate in a Beekeeper presentation! A community member's family has numerous beehives and are knowledgeable about bees and bee colonies. This was very interesting and informative. We were able to learn about the structure or the bee box, observe a live drone bee, taste freshly collected honey, and hold some beekeeping tools. We learned that the bee colony is made up of a queen, worker bees and drones. The beekeeper explained how the bees communicate through movements that specify which direction and how far food or water is. 

Our class is still caring for and observing praying mantises. We have noticed how large they are getting and also that their color is changing from light brown to green. We have noticed that their appetites have grown along with their size! 

Also our caterpillars have moved into their pupa stage of their life cycle. We have transferred the chrysalises into a butterfly enclosure with the expectation that they will emerge as butterflies next week.

Special Birthday Celebration

We celebrated a special friend's birthday this afternoon. The class gathered to listen to a birthday story. We presented the birthday boy with special birthday cards and shared a yummy birthday treat together. We ended the birthday celebration with a dance party. Happy Birthday Day friend!

Spring Celebration of Learning

We had an exciting and fun celebration of learning. The Otters really enjoyed sharing all of their art, numeracy, science, and writing projects with their loved ones. Thanks to everyone for making it a memorable evening!


Last week, we learned about circuits! We learned that there are three essential components of a circuit: it must be a loop , there is a power source, and there is some sort of material allowing the electricity to flow through. 

We explored a variety of different types of circuits. We practiced creating circuits on the SmartBoard, as well as using a battery and wires to light up a small light bulb. The light bulb was able to light up because electricity from the battery flowed through the wires and into the light bulb! It took steady hands and practice, but each Otter was able to create a closed circuit and light up the bulb. 

We had great fun making flying saucers and funny noises using snap circuits. We followed close instructions to ensure our closed circuits had electricity flowing the proper ways and amazing things happened! 

Insect Project

The Otter class has been working hard on their final insect project. The students have learned about different insect's body parts, adaptations, habitats, life cycles including complete and incomplete metamorphosis, and predators. Using the information they have learned, each student created their own unique insects. For the last two weeks, they have been writing and illustrating a book to describe their insect in each of these areas. On Friday, they sketched and sculpted their insects out of modeling clay. The complete insect project will be on display at the Learning Celebration on Wednesday, May 25th.


May 13, 2016

On Monday, the Otters began exploring light. We learned that light is a form of energy that we can see and is made up of tiny particles called photons. We did a movement activity where became photons ourselves! As photons, we travel in waves but only in straight lines. Some Otters practiced this concept on the SmartBoard! It was exciting to learn that we can see objects because photons bounce off of objects and into our eyes. 

We explored different types of objects to see which ones light can pass through. We discovered that light can pass through transparent and translucent objects, but no light can pass through an opaque object. It was fun to have the lights turned off in the classroom and explore with flashlights! 

Since light cannot pass through an opaque object, a shadow is formed! On Thursday, we went outside and built structures while studying the shadows by tracing them. The Otters had interesting observations and experiences with angles of blocks. One Otter noted that if the block was tilted one way, the shadow looked like a triangle. If the block was turned a different way, then the shadow looked like a parallelogram! This made us wonder about the ways shadows can be changed. We observed that moving the opaque object changes the shadow, but moving the light source will also change the shape of the shadow. On Friday, some Otters traced their shadows during outdoor learning at 10:40 a.m. We returned to the same spot at 1:40 p.m. and our shadows had completely changed! Our light source (the sun) had moved in the sky, which changed the shape of our shadows. 

Otter Update

Here's our week at a glance... 

We started our unit on light this week.  More information to come. 

We were excited to discover that more praying mantises emerged from their egg cases this week! We are estimating about 150 mantis nymphs altogether. This week in Writer's workshop we began our "Create an Insect" project. We started the project by researching and taking notes on different insect characteristics and adaptations.  Students are working individually or in teams to showcase their knowledge of insects.  They are using their knowledge to create their own insects that have all the characteristics of a true insect. On Tuesday students brainstormed, sketched and created mind maps. Today they began creating books about their specific insects.  At the culmination of the project students will have created an entire book about their insect, complete with illustrations using different art media, and a three-dimensional model of their insect. These projects will be on display during our Celebration of Learning later this month.

Math groups- This week one of our math groups is working on discovering all the ways to make ten.  They are using remeda materials to create and write addition equations. They are using digital cameras to document their equation creations. They will compile their photos to create a class number poster to document and share their learning.  Another math group is learning how to solve equations with missing addends. They are using poster boards to create giant equations, and then working together in teams to determine the missing addends. They are also exploring number equations using water color paints. A third math group has been playing multiplication games and determining missing addends in two digit equations.

Math Board Games

This week during centers we have been designing our own math board games. Several students have been so engaged with their board game creations that they choose to keep playing the games during outside learning time 

Ladybug Larva

Last week we found ladybug larva in our outdoor classroom! We did some scientific observations. 


Last week we wrote timelines containing important events from our lives. This week in writing we are beginning to write expository texts about praying mantises. 

Praying Mantis Oothecas Outside

We were delighted to discover three praying mantis oothecas (egg cases) outside in our butterfly garden. We are excited to watch the nymphs emerge from their oothecas and observe how they interact with our natural world. 

Praying Mantises

The Otters have been learning and caring for praying mantis egg cases or oothecas for the past 4 weeks. At the beginning of this week, the class was delighted to discover that tiny praying mantis nymphs have hatched from one of the oothecas. We spent this afternoon studying, sketching, and discussing praying mantises. We were able to learn about the 3 stages in a praying mantis life, the ootheca, nymph, then adult stages. Some of the children discovered that a couple of the praying mantis nymphs have already molted because of the thin, dried evidence left on the side of the terrarium. We will continue our study of Praying mantises and other insects into next week.

Author's Celebration

The Otters shared their poem collections today. We held a celebration to congratulate their hard work on poetry. We enjoyed a special treat and special time with our family members. 

Birthday Celebration

We celebrated a special friend's birthday today. We read a birthday story and shared fruit popsicles.


The Otters learned about rhythm in poems and how to count syllables in words. We read several earth day haiku poems and learned about the specific format that haiku poems are written in. As a class we brainstormed a list of things that we think of when we hear the word "earth." Using that list of words, we created a class haiku. Then the Otters got in small groups to write their own haiku poems. At the end of writer's workshop, we gathered as a group to share our poems.

Incredible Builders

The Otters have been collaborating on amazing structures. Using their imaginations and their building skills to make houses, spaceships and factories.