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Building From Loose Parts

We have a few swings and a sandbox that are fixed points on our playground, but everything else is up for discussion. Depending on the moment, the kids may move some of our big chunks of woods to make a path through an alligator pit or use one of our bumpy sleds as a toboggan to travel down a snowy slope.

This week they were all about rearranging the slides to make the ultimate sliding experience. It took team work to move the various parts and some engineering to figure out how to secure them in place. There were a few different designs, and they made some ground rules about how to use them safely (ducking being a crucial part of making it work).

Once it was in place one student said, "Hey it's like the water cycle!" "Oh? How so?" Soon everyone was chiming in, "That's precipitation at the top!" "Then the water is going underground into a cave." "No that's when the water drop gets swallowed by an animal." "Maybe that's when the water is traveling into the ocean." "Then they're evaporating back up to the top to start it all over again." They were narrating their play as the whizzed down and around, reviewing vocabulary from our theme time and reveling in their creation.

Morgan's PK and K Class

* Worked on the number 19

* Learned about the letter Oo and met Ozzie Octopus

* Used playdough/uncooked spaghetti and Cheerios to make different creations. They made plants, hedgehogs/porcupines, Spaceman, etc.

* Mixed primary colors to see what colors would be created

* Played alphabet and math bingo!

* Traced our hands to make octopuses and used cheerios as the suction cups!

* Enjoyed being outside and playing construction site in the sandbox and digging for diamonds in the mud

Please check (and empty) folders regularly. Thanks!

Tracy's 1st and 2nd Grade Class

In math, both groups have been working with polygons, and we have been building our geometry vocabulary with words like parallel, vertices (aka corners), and right angles. Everyone is working on the ability to sort shapes by different rules. Our red group continues to develop their understanding of time and fractions. We regularly use the class set of clocks or paper shapes to help us make these concepts physical. The blue group is continuing to develop a solid understanding of centimeters and inches with lots of practice measuring things.

In writing, many of the children have finished their animal diaries and are working on "About the Author" pages. We have been working on contractions and when to use apostrophes. Everyone is looking forward to sharing their work at our publishing party on April 13.

Theresa's 3rd - 5th Grade Class

The big kids have been having lovely recess times. They have been organizing themselves into games, building fires, creating slides, and so much more. Recess has had a lovely vibe.

In math, the 5th graders have a solid understanding of fractions and finding common denominators. They know how to add, subtract, multiply and divide fractions. I have been giving them the official, calibrated tests from the textbook company, and I am pleased to say that they are all doing well. 5th grade seems to be the right time to start some testing. The 3rd graders are just about done with the whole year's curriculum! I am looking for new books for them to finish out the year with.

In writing, the kids are working on history projects. They are to have a solid draft by Tuesday. We will then work on revisions and edits. Every day, our kids are doing the difficult, but essential, work of making sense of history. They are digging deep in books and primary sources, asking the hard questions, and learning a lot about how people have fought for civil rights.

In reading, we are finishing up "The Confidence Code," and "Hidden Figures" and beginning fictional stories. We did not read every chapter of the Confidence Code, but it inspired a lot of interesting and important conversations.

Theme: Erosion, Deposition, and the Water Cycle

Like most of our units we started by checking in to see what we know. Many of our kids know the basics of the water cycle and are familiar with the idea of erosion. We dug a little deeper with Did a Dinosaur Drink This Water?, The Drop in My Drink, and The Magic School Bus: Wet All Over. Each of the children made a "Where's Water?" mini book. We also read How Hugh Bennett Saved America's Soil and Ended the Dust Bowl. Everyone did some experiments to see how water travels (or doesn't travel) up various materials. Ask your child about their findings.


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