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Classroom Updates

Jasmine Kindergarten News from Ms. Diana:

The time change has touched us, every single one of us, adults and children,  and we all displayed tiredness and the need for a place to rest or play without any disturbance. During the past week most children were seeking the “quiet corner” where they wanted to be by themselves.

We started our spring circle with verse and song that call on to the new plants, flowers and sunny weather.

Magnolia Kindergarten News from Ms. Heidi:

After the frenzy and exuberance of Mardi Gras, we have entered another season of waiting. Many people call this “Lent.” If you remember, Advent was also a season of waiting and of joyful anticipation for the return of the sun and the birth of a special baby. Lent can be a more introspective time of waiting and reflection. We know  that something big is coming (Spring!  Gardens! Animal babies! Passover! Easter! the Equinox!), something that the whole Northern Hemisphere can anticipate. During this time, many people are inspired to clean their houses, to get rid of old belongings, to clean their yards, or to put in new plants and gardens. There is the hope of being able to begin anew.  Some people like to “give something up” at this time of year, while others  set new intentions or make goals or resolutions.  I think a caterpillar is a good symbol for this season. It begins life as a clumsy and earthbound creature. It eats and eats and eats. When it can eat no more, it makes a chrysalis and must go through a period of darkness and quiet before it triumphantly transforms into one of the world’s most beautiful and magical beings, a graceful butterfly.

Everything renews itself in the spring. This season gives us the chance to renew ourselves as well. How will you transform during this season?

Grade 1 Main Lesson Book

Grade 1 News from Ms. Contento:

This week the first-grade students made breakthroughs in many ways! I could see how students are becoming more confident in their math skills. This past week students solved addition and subtraction problems and wrote them in their main lesson books. During the morning circle, students rhythmically count by twos, threes, fives, tens, and are starting to learn their fours and elevens. This will help them with multiplication next year! 

This coming week students will be learning the addition and subtraction facts. This will require the use of memory forces. All addition facts up to 10 as well as all the doubles (i.e., 6 + 6, 7+7, 8+8, 9+9) should be known by heart by the end of first grade. I am going to go through a series of step by step instructions to help them memorize the addition and subtraction facts. I am also going to introduce some math games that will reinforce these facts in a fun way during their math practice time. 

I am also seeing great progress with the children’s reading skills. The reading class on Monday and the daily reading activities in the morning, are giving my students many opportunities to practice reading and sounding out words.

Grade 2 News from Ms. Mullen:

This week we different ways that long vowel sounds can be found in words. We focused specifically on A and E. We made word lists and looked for patterns. The children heard stories of Amma, a living saint who is known for giving hugs to millions of people without tiring. They also learned about Ammon Hennacy, a pacifist social worker from the early 1900s who opened a house of hospitality in Salt Lake City and worked to help those who had no voice. 

Grades 3 / 4 Update from Ms. Flores:

We wrapped up our math block on Friday. The students continued their practice of reducing fractions and adding uncommon denominators. We did not go any further than this as far as fractions were concerned. I felt they really needed the practice in order to solidify these new concepts. In the fall, we will have our final fraction block in which they will learn how to multiply, divide and work with improper fractions. Aside from our practice with fractions, the class learned how to do two and three digit multiplication problems. I have also been giving the students large number dictations and having them read numbers into the billions off the board. They seemed to really love this challenge!

This week we begin our first zoology block. The class is so excited to dive into our study of animals! As part of this block, each student will be required to complete an animal project.

Grades 5 / 6 News from Ms. Nelson:

MAIN LESSON: BUSINESS MATH - This week we focused on media and advertising as a multi-billion dollar business aimed at trying to influence people to spend their money on various products and services.  As part of this process, the class learned about the power of Photoshop and the many ways images are manipulated in ads - as well as the negative effects on body image that some young people experience as a result.  There was quite an outrage expressed by the class about this, much to my satisfaction.  Hopefully some of you had fruitful discussions with your child about viewing advertisements critically as a result.  The students later discovered the artistry that goes into food advertisements - we even learned that our own Ms. Kasia was once an assistant to a food dresser!  They found the many of the ways the food is prepared to be photographed or filmed was gross yet fascinating.  Several said they would never look at an ad the same way again, which was of course my intention.  In addition to this, the class practiced writing checks and receiving deposits to their virtual bank account, all while keeping their register current.  On Thursday and Friday, the students presented their own advertisements, either as a 60-second commercial or a print ad, to the class.  We then gave each student feedback about what elements of the advertisement worked for us as the audience, and we noted when we were "tricked" by the student.  [Redacted]'s print ad, for example, actually had some fine print, written lightly in pencil at the bottom of the page, letting us know that his "sale" was ending in five seconds.  The class loved [redacted] cleverness!

Grades 7/8 News from Mr. Pauzolis:

This past week, we began our journey into Human Physiology, and the study of life itself! We began by learning about what happens when we sleep, and then began discussing the body's largest organ: our skin. We discussed the structure of skin, its many layers and their functions, and we learned about natural flora that live on our skin and why it is so important that we properly care for and protect this important outer layer of our bodies. This naturally led to our discussion of the blood that flows beneath, and we broke blood down into its components and the function of each. This segued our exploration into the circulatory system and the human heart! Our study led to many fantastic questions about the function of our bodies, and led to interesting and thought-provoking discussions about how dreams work, the power and politics of stem cells, and how our blood manages to refresh itself. (Which, as we all know, is through the magic of wind turbines and solar power! Just checking to see if you're reading this!) 


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