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Spring and Space

Tackling space for our theme always presents some interesting challenges for me. I like when kids can experience and touch our science topics directly, and that can get a little difficult when we're talking about planets, galaxies, and black holes. I gave the kids a design challenge this last week to make a Moon or Mars lander that could safely bring two marshmallow astronauts to the ground. They had a paper cup, a piece of cardboard, 8 paper straws, 3 index cards, 3 rubber bands, 10 miniature marshmallows, tape, scissors, and glue. Watching them talk, design, test, and modify their landers over two days was satisfying. It might not have been NASA, but they definitely showed some grit as they worked through the process, and many of their landers successfully went from the second-floor porch all the way down to the parking lot (not too bad considering the original challenge was to be able to drop it from one foot off the ground).

Morgan's PK and K Class

* Welcomed the baby chicks!

* Worked on self-help skills for outdoor gear and worked on helping each other.

* Explored shaving cream, play dough, and water.

* Found many worms, woolly bears, and bees outside.

* Worked with chalk, markers, paint and crayons to create lovely pictures.

* Read many stories, listened to puppet stories, then recreated their own stories.

* Had our second mini courses for the month of April!

* Planted zinnias for the butterfly garden on Baker Ave!

* Helped the big kids create a small solar system.

* Talked about what other signs of Spring we have seen and who's started flower and vegetable gardens at home.

* Worked in our writers' notebooks!

Tracy's 1st-3rd Class

In math, our first grade class was working with Fact Triangles for addition and subtraction facts while our third grade class used Fact Triangles for multiplication and division. The second grade class is working on identifying pentagons, hexagons, quadrilaterals, and other polygons. They are also developing the language to describe the vertices, parallel lines, and other attributes of these shapes. Our third grade class is working on placing different fractions on number lines and finding equivalent fractions.

In our literacy block, we had our debates this past week. Everyone is getting much better at identifying facts versus opinions, and we talked about how we can sway an audience by creating compelling arguments. They were all very supportive of each other in the process and identified strengths of each debater. We finished the week with some Earth Day themed AdLibs that helped reinforce the different parts of speech while allowing lots of silliness.

Theresa's 4th-6th Class

The big kids are putting the finishing touches on their debates. The students are debating Apples vs Pears, Pizza vs. Spaghetti, Gum vs Lollipop, and Corn vs. Mac And Cheese. The kids have all written "Statements of Greatness." They are also trying to predict what their opponent will say, and prepare a rebuttal. These are being done by hand, not on the computer, just to make sure that we are keeping up handwriting skills. That said, it is a lot harder for many of our students! They have become quite proficient users of technology.

In reading, the eldest kids are reading non-fiction selections. This week, we focused on fire, including the Great Chicago Fire, and the role of fire in the ecosystem.

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