Classroom Updates

Jasmine Kindergarten News from Ms. Diana:

We baked bread and made soup, we painted Valentine’s Day hearts, we joined in circle games and journeys, and watched a puppet show created by Ms. Diana on Friday. 

Our children’s imagination is growing more and more and during free play we are witnessing the construction of incredible cities, castles, magical lands, restaurants..., etc. 

The coming week is filled with celebrations and the children are already excited about Valentine’s Day, the festival of friendship and love. Please feel free to send any cards or treats on February 14, although it is not required. On Friday there is also a book sale, so please stop by the library at drop off. 


Sweet Porridge

THERE was a poor but good little girl who lived alone with her mother, and they no longer had anything to eat. So the child went into the forest, and there an aged woman met her who was aware of her sorrow, and presented her with a little pot, which when she said, “Cook, little pot, cook,” would cook good, sweet porridge, and when she said, “Stop, little pot,” it ceased to cook. The girl took the pot home to her mother, and now they were freed from their poverty and hunger, and ate sweet porridge as often as they chose. Once on a time when the girl had gone out, her mother said, “Cook, little pot, cook.” And it did cook and she ate till she was satisfied, and then she wanted the pot to stop cooking, but did not know the word. So it went on cooking and the porridge rose over the edge, and still it cooked on until the kitchen and whole house were full, and then the next house, and then the whole street, just as if it wanted to satisfy the hunger of the whole world, and there was the greatest distress, but no one knew how to stop it. At last, when only one single house remained, the child came home and just said, "Stop, little pot," and it stopped and gave up cooking, and whosoever wished to return to the town had to eat his way back. 

- Grimms' Fairy Tales


Magnolia Kindergarten News from Ms. Heidi:

We think it may have been the coldest forest Kindergarten we’ve had, or at least at seemed that way, with no golden sun to smile upon us. There was a point when we wondered if we should lay all the children down on the metallic safety blanket that is the bottom half of the awesome picnic blanket Nicole made us, and cover everyone up with the top part of the blanket while we told stories or sang songs. But as Will and I were debating this (Frances was running the children into a frenzy to keep them warm), we felt two drops of rain and our hearts sank. That ended the debate as we figured the safest and warmest place we could be if it started to rain would be under the shelter. Thankfully, it didn’t rain (snow?) on us, and by the time we got back to our base camp, most of the children were begging to take off their coats. Although I would have loved to wear ALL of their discarded coats myself, we wisely made them keep on all their layers.


Our Last Week: The children took on roles in the story of the Polar Bear Son, both in puppet shows and in a play. They will have another chance to act it out next week. We have a sweet valentine adventure in our circle, in which we prepare for and attend a Tea Party given by the King and Queen of Hearts. The bare branches of January’s nature tables have burst into bloom with all sizes of hearts made from fabric, felt, lace and paper. The play stands are sporting pinks, purples, and reds, so the play room especially feels like a valentine you can walk into. I tole the children that during the month of February, our kindergarten is known by the name of “The Magnolia LOVE Kindergarten,” which sounds really corny as I write it out now, but the children were impressed! Their eyes grew wide with wonder, as they looked around at each other and at all the pink and red surrounding them. We have been able to use the name change to our benefit as we address little behaviors that aren’t appropriate in the LOVE Kindergarten…


Our New Week: It will be a festive week, as we continue to prepare for our Tea Party of Love and Friendship. The children are having fun lavishly decorating their golden boxes. These will hold the valentines they receive from each other, and will go home Thursday afternoon for them to share with you. During the week, we’ll make and deliver valentines for some of our friends in the neighborhood. There is Officer Willie, who looks out for us when we walk by Martin’s or play in their parking lot; Ms. Beth, who makes delicious treats for us at the “sweet shop;” the construction workers building the houses on the corner; Mr. John, our friend who unlocks the tennis courts for us; and the King and Queen  who live down the street.


Grade 1 News from Ms. Contento:

In the first-grade mathematics curriculum, the emphasis is upon developing a basic understanding of the four processes of mathematics: addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division. Because these processes are the foundation for all operations in mathematics, It is important that they are introduced slowly and pictorially so that children have a true understanding of what is involved in each of them. The approach which we use is imaginative and artistic because children respond more fully to such an approach and remember more easily what they learn. By appealing to their imaginative faculty, we reach the part of them which is most conscious at this age.


On Monday I told a story of the four gnomes: plus, minus, times, and divide. Using this imagination I will introduce a series of stories that will emphasize each of these symbols and help the children understand these processes. 


Grades 3 / 4 News from Ms. Brown:

Last week in Main Lesson, I was able to tell the students two new myths from Norse Mythology, and based on the classes discussion afterward, the students are definitely beginning to decide right from wrong, and grapple with a world that at times can be so unjust.  I spent a lot of time editing each student's rough draft, and worked closely with them individually, to recall the myth and summarize its plot.  I am very proud of all of them, it seems the myths and stories we are presenting keep getting longer.  I am especially proud of the 3rd graders, whom have elected to write their own summaries with the 4th graders.  After reading the rough drafts, we reviewed capitalization rules.  I also introduced simple sentence structure, specifically SVO: subject, verb, object.  We drew a simple sentence tree in our Main Lesson books and worked in groups to write two sentences, with the addition of adjectives and adverbs.  We will continue to identify the parts of speech with simple sentences this week in Language Arts.


The Mighty Oaks played a great game on Saturday!

Grades 5 / 6 News from Ms. Nelson:

MAIN LESSON: GEOLOGY - On Friday we reviewed what we knew about how fossil fuels are made and deposited.  We will review what occurs at an oil refinery on Monday.  The students also completed the last part of the writing (just a few sentences) on the Rock Cycle.  They strove to finish their drawings of this if they had not already done so.  To conclude class, I discussed gemstones, particularly diamonds.  The class learned about the Mohs Hardness Scale, which has diamond, the hardest natural substance, as the highest number - 10!  We also discussed the fact that diamonds are actually pretty common, but that they have been assigned a high value by cultures around the world, particularly our own.  In order to assign a specific value, we use 4 "C's": carat (size), clarity, cut, and color.  I showed them a simplified jeweler's chart of these and then (after a brief intro about how important the ring was to me) passed around my own engagement ring for the students to look at and "evaluate".  I appreciated the great respect and care with which each student treated it.  I concluded by discussing the "curse" of the Hope Diamond, which appears to have been fabricated in some newspaper articles from over a hundred years ago.  The lurid tales of death associated with the stone did drive up its value and make it famous, though!  As I mentioned in the parent meeting, I have been restructuring the work we have been doing to accommodate so many absences in the class.  As a result, more assignments will be done by the group.  Those students who have not completed the Rock Cycle writing, or the drawing of the same were encouraged to work on this over the weekend.  The writing on the Tectonic Plates will have a rolling due date based on whether the student was present in class or not.  I have included the latest notes, Rock Cycle writing, and some cool pics below.  If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me.


Mr. Pauzolis' class worked on their loom projects in handwork

Grades 7/8 News from Mr. Pauzolis:

We are still in our Explorers & Biomes block and my absence this week allowed ample time for the kids to work on their research projects. Molly has told me that she has given them every opportunity and resource available to do their work. We will have to focus on catching up a bit when I return, but hopefully this time was used wisely by all of the children to help complete their work. Don't forget, their research paper rough drafts are due on Monday!


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