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Classroom Updates

Updated: Oct 23, 2018

Acorn Nursery News from Ms. Jan:

We had another busy week with the children as we enjoyed our time outside and inside as well.  We continue to water and care for our seedling plants each day and are learning that living plants need care and nourishment every day if they are going to live and thrive.  Some of our plants, especially the parsley, didn't look its best when we first planted it in the garden bed.  Now we are observing so many new shoots and sprouts from the plant as the dried and wilted old pieces die and we remove them from the plant.  It is so exciting to see our plants doing so well.  The weather was so beautiful one day that we rearranged our day to be outside all morning, all the way until snack time.  Ms. Stacy came down to our classroom on Wednesday with bread dough and we all got to put our hands into and on it!  Ms. Emery and I were the helpers of hand washing, both before and after the children did the kneading.  This is such a valuable experience in so many ways.  As I continue to read articles about children not having the strength to hold a pencil when it is time because of so much electronics usage and not exercising the fine motor, I appreciate the value of this even more.  The smell of the bread baking in our room and the halls was so pleasing and ALL of the children (and teachers) enjoyed the delicious bread.  We continue to anticipate Halloween with our fun circle and plans for a special day when it arrives.

Magnolia Kindergarten News from Ms. Heidi:

We have begun planting our gardens, as we finally finished “grubbing” and successfully added the beneficial nematodes to the dirt. Two weeks ago, we took  our two wagons and two rakes one of our morning walks, in search of pine straw. We successfully filled the wagons and enjoyed spreading the pine straw all over the muddy areas of our play yard. The children have also found other ways to use the pine straw. They are swishing them as wands, tying them into knots, and turning them into birthday candles for their sand delicacies. We can always use more, so if you have any pine needles in your yard and don’t know what to do with them, we would love to have them.

Olivia (our German foreign exchange student intern) brought her family to school on Wednesday, along with some beautiful gifts for the children. Olivia introduced each child to her brothers and parents, and then we all participated in our morning circle together. The children asked her family questions, and then Olivia gave every child a special hug. It was hard to tell her goodbye, but I suspect she will return as soon as she can…Her parents have sincerely invited all of us to visit them, so get your passports ready!

Grade 1 News from Ms. Contento:

We had a wonderful week in first grade! We finished up our math block on Monday and are continuing the "Number" stories and activities throughout the year. Students are counting to one hundred in our morning circle and counting skip counting by two’s. Students are practicing writing their numbers every morning on small chalkboards. They are also practicing all the letters we have learned up until this point. Students are learning a new poem called “The Elf and the Dormouse”, by Oliver Herford. The new song we are learning is “Tis a Gift to be Simple.” We have been painting with primary colors to create secondary colors and creating many wonderful creations with the beeswax. I have switched our gardening time to Fridays at 11:00. We weeded our garden with the second-grade students and will start preparing the garden for planting next week. Your children are very excited to start planting all kinds of vegetables and flowers!!

Students listened intently to “The Raven” by the Brothers Grimm. This is a very complicated fairy tale, with many twists and turns. My students were able to retell this story in great detail. This is the beginning of reading comprehension in first grade. They retell the sequence of events, the main characters, and the supporting details. From this story the children drew an elegant “Raven” in their main lesson books and using their best handwriting wrote an “R”. We also included a “House” from the story for the letter “H”. 

Next week we will review “R”, and “H”. I will ask the children to think of words that start with these letters and I will tell a story based on these words. The new story this week is “The Frog Prince.” From this story, students will draw a Princess for the letter “P” and a Kingdom for the letter “K”. Please do not tell your child what is coming. I would like it to be a surprise. 

Grade 3 / 4 News from Ms. Flores:

The class continued their study of major grains. We completed our work with wheat and, on Friday, we finished our study of rice crops. The class seemed to really enjoy learning about how rice is grown in water and how it has to dry before being packaged. We talked about the ways it is harvested and how people used to use their feet to separate the kernel. After our review, students are asked to write four sentences about the information in their composition books. Once I have read it, the student is asked to write it in his/her main lesson book with careful attention to line creation and handwriting.

We had an amazing trip to the farm this weekend! The children were in high spirits and joyfully took part of all aspects of our trip - especially our afternoon swimming breaks! The class participated in feeding and milking the cows, making butter around our nightly fire, several hayrides, visiting a sugar cane field and chewing on the sugar cane, harvesting sweet potatoes of all shapes and sizes and trying new food. Lots of fun and learning! Huge thank you to the chaperones for all their incredible work! They went without breaks for the weekend and stayed so present through everything. This could not have happened without you all! The students did seem quite tired toward the end of the trip. If your child can stay home tomorrow, I would recommend it. If s/he is coming, it will be a really chill day.

Grade 5 / 6 News from Ms. Nelson:

This week, we continued our explorations of energy in the form of light and heat.  The class learned that energy (heat) moves from areas which are hot to areas which are cooler in order to establish balance.  They also learned that some metals are more efficient at allowing this heat to move through them in a process called heat conductivity.  This was tested using a device with spokes of five different types of metal, each tipped with a ball of beeswax.  Later in the week we experimented with friction (we passed a guitar string through a block of ice and it stayed whole!) and then used the same concept to create a static charge by rubbing balloons on our hair.  We also learned some basics about atomic structure.  The last two days were filled with our first group experiment.  The students were divided in half, and each group explored the amount of static charge that could be built up when rods of various substances were rubbed with materials such as fur, silk, cotton, and nylon.  On Monday, we will analyze our results.

Grade 7 / 8 News from Mr. Pauzolis:

This past week, we closed out our exploration of platonic solids by learning the form for the 20-sided icosahedron and the pentagram, the latter of which hides the shape of the pentagon and which led us to the creation of the dodecahedron! This last shape was the most complex of the five platonic solids. Any lack of precision will lead to a shape that is imperfect and which will result in a failed dodecahedron. Many students had to re-do their initial basic shape multiple times, but celebrated when they succeeded! Most of the students still need to complete more than one of their final, fully-colored and illustrated platonic solid models. These are turning out to absolutely beautiful, and I cannot wait to see everyone’s completed efforts!

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