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"Wow" Moments

"Tracy! It's a chemical reaction! It really is! A chemical reaction!" shouted one excited kindergarten student.

"Wow! How can you tell?"

"It's bubbling. That's a gas. It's turning from a solid into a gas!"

I was so tickled to hear this student using the vocabulary we had been practicing in our read-aloud's and discussions about chemistry. He was literally jumping up and down as he did a series of tests to try to figure out his "mystery powder."

When I'm teaching science, I have a few goals. I want to introduce children to key concepts and vocabulary. I want them to gain familiarity with some scientific tools (using thermometers, eye droppers, microscopes, etc.). I want them to understand the scientific method and how to design an experiment. But at the top of my list, I want them to be excited about science, to feel that "wow" moment and to ask lots of questions.

Morgan's PK and K Class

* Read counting, alphabet, Halloween, and Fall books.

* Practiced cutting, gluing, and ripping to develop their fine motor skills.

* Played alphabet and number Bingo. The children got to take turns being the bingo caller! This was very exciting for them because they had to make sure their voices were loud and clear.

* Learned some new fall and Halloween songs and finger plays.

* Learned about symmetry. We used white paint and folded our papers in half to get neat pictures on both sides of the paper!

* Explored a fetal calf! The children thought it was interesting how we have many of the same body parts as a calf. With Theresa's help, they were able to look at it closely.

Tracy's 1st - 3rd Class

In math, our first and second graders worked together to highlight the important parts of number stories (aka word problems). We identified words that indicate if we are adding or subtracting and talked about underlining the numbers to help make sure we use the correct information. The third graders practiced a month's worth of elapsed time problems as they calculated the daylength in October. Over just a few weeks, we're losing an hour of daylight! All of my kids helped to teach Morgan's class how to play Race to 100 with tens blocks and two dice.

In writing, we are making a class set of story elements that can help us get inspired to write. The children made cards for characters (ex: a fishing fish, a new kid at school) and setting (ex: a crystal underwater cave, a very very tall mountain). They also started writing about specific character(s) they want to include in their next story. Next week we'll be thinking about the problems and challenges that make a story interesting.

In reading, we have been working on finding the syllables of a word and using those to help us figure out how to say or spell that word.

Theresa's 4th - 6th Class

In math, each of the classes is finishing up their first unit. The fourth graders have been working on operations and place value. Our fifth grade class is focusing on volume. The sixth graders are working on data, graphing, and fractions. They are all going to be taking tests this week to assess their understanding of that first unit, but I don't want everyone to stress. By taking tests regularly, we can work to develop some studying and test taking skills while decreasing any anxiety around tests.

Each student wrote an essay or paragraph last week about where they would like to go for a class trip. They needed to come up with multiple arguments for why their field trip would be a positive experience for the class. They also started new daily grammar practice books.

In reading, we are working on summarizing chapters. They are developing their understanding of the concepts of main ideas and supporting ideas.

Theme: Utopia Tours and Chemistry

We finished up our utopias last week and shared our reports and dioramas. It was wonderful having our community come out to support their hard work. I appreciated the thoughtful questions and comments of the adults, but I also appreciated the chance for kids to really look at the work of the other students.

We are studying chemistry for the rest of the month, and I have asked everyone to keep an eye out for chemistry in their lives. We talked about everything from cooking to sparklers. Please help them to notice the chemical reactions happening around them and look for those "wow" moments.


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