This week in 3rd grade, we engaged in several close readings of the text, Day of Disaster, The Eruption of Mt. Vesuvius, 79 AD, by Lauren Tarshis. This texts asked students to imagine themselves as a visitor in Pompeii before, during, and after the eruption of Mt. Vesuvius. Our week-long work with this text introduced students to important ways of working with informational texts as well as cycles of teaching and learning that featured a significant amount of reading, writing, and discussion. As our culminating activity, the students synthesized information learned in the text, and stepped back in time to write their own first-hand account of being a survivor during this disaster. They each crafted letters describing what the experience was like for them, drawing upon the text as needed to support the details in their letters. Enjoy these pictures of the students drafting their letters, with the Day of Disaster text close by for reference!
Currently, the 3rd graders are learning all about Ancient Rome in their classroom, so in art class we learn about Ancient Roman art, mosaics in particular. The buildings and floors of old Roman buildings are covered in mosaics of all kinds. After viewing some of these amazing pieces, the students, create their own. From meticulously cut triangle pieces put together to create a sun, to loosely placed squares creating a turtle, the students are learning patience and order as they create their own stunning mosaics. As the mosaics are being completed, we are turning our creativity to the annual collaborative piece that each class has the privilege of working on for our Celebration Gala. The 3rd graders will be playing with color, combining color and adding highlights as they create their own heart which will be combined with the other student’s hearts to create a whole piece of the art.
The current buzz in second grade is…the math contest! Students were introduced to a few problems last Friday and since then every single student has chosen to participate! To see this initial excitement and desire to take risks and grow as mathematicians is an immediate reason to celebrate!
Several of you have inquired how to facilitate math discussions at home. First, I’d encourage you to allow your child to tackle the problem on their own. They should have private think time for a couple minutes and apply any strategies they know to use first. Encourage your child to be comfortable with the uncomfortable. Then, as you step in to guide their inquiry, you can approach it as:
“What do you know about the problem?”
“What are you asked to find out?”
“What strategies can you use to demonstrate your understanding?” (strategies: picture, numbers, words, tallies, etc)
Then, once your child begins to grasp the question more, follow up with questions like these to promote inquiry further and deeper:
“Explain your thinking.”
“Prove your answer/tell me more…”
“Describe the strategy you used.”
As your child is exposed to more of these contest problems, you will start to notice their ability to work through problems: thinking through strategies out loud and persevering using different approaches. This is “productive struggle” and a great indicator that they are growing their mathematician mind!
Landscape artists come in all styles. From abstract to realistic artists, from Van Gogh to Kirchner, we are learning there are all different ways to see our amazing world. Second graders are currently learning about Hundertwasser and creating an art piece inspired by his love for curvy lines, spirals, architecture, the created world and lots of color. In keeping with this study, the second grade class will also be creating a collaborative piece, inspired by Hundertwasser, to be sold at our annual school Celebration Gala. Look out for this color-filled whimsical piece.
First Grade is buddied up with the 5th graders and our focus this month is on the core virtue of courage. We have had some great conversations about what courage is and how it plays into our everyday life. The kids worked on a Google Slides presentation with their buddies that explained what courage meant to them. They were encouraged to use images, stories and examples. This is a great activity to build relationships with their buddies while given some creative freedom to express their learning in their own way. We are almost finished and I will send them along to you as soon as they are all completed. The kids had a great time and it was amazing to see how they explained their views of what courage was!
In reading and writing we have been continuing our exploration of non-fiction. An important piece of learning is remembering to give kids an authentic audience from which they can gain feedback and knowledge. We do this in writing with partner work as well as guests and teachers. In reading, we spent time in the second grade classroom this week showing off our non-fiction expertise. The kids were tasked with sharing their reading and comprehension skills by teaching the second graders how to read non fiction. We practiced stopping to ask questions of our audience, as well as how to gain information that is not in the text by noticing and observing the pictures. The kids were so jazzed when we left and gained a new perspective for reading aloud. I loved hearing the rich conversations that were buzzing in the classroom.
Playing with clay and learning about Ancient Greece, gives our 1st grade artists an opportunity to create food vessels in the style of Greek Fish Plates. Creating the fish plates, involves not only learning a bit about Greek pottery and how to draw fish, but also how to handle the clay as an artist’s medium, how to “slip and score” so the clay attaches to itself, and the process of creating, waiting for the firing process, and then adding the glaze and firing the pieces again. This project connects art with their classroom unit, and the student’s love for working with clay makes it a favorite.
In Kindergarten we had the most amazing outdoor experience on Thursday. With all this incredible snowfall, we rallied and went on a snowshoe adventure in skyline park. So many parents offered support to help make this outdoor experience possible! I’m so grateful for this loving, involved crew of families. We observed the snowfall, listened to the winter sounds, hiked up the hills, and coordinated our bodies to work with snowshoes. Our very own, Heather Schock, brought hot chocolate for all! We have used this experience in our final Narrative Writing piece in the classroom. Such an incredible celebration of experience and learning. Happy winter adventuring. In our Core Thematic time we are studying the Human Body. We are so excited to investigate a giant cow’s heart and have a discussion on how the heart works.
Kindergarten artists have been hard at work creating some whimsical drawings for their collaborative auction piece. Drawing from their imagination, then adding bright liquid watercolor, each student created their own design. These designs will then be put together onto a large canvas. Look for a bright whimsical sun when you come to view all student created artwork which will be available at our upcoming Celebration Gala.
In addition to the Gala art, the kindergarten class will be learning about perspective and design as they learn how to draw a castle. This project is connected to their classroom fairy tale unit. The castle drawings require patience, attention to line, and learning how to create depth perspective. When the drawing is completed, paying attention to detail such as brick design, window, door handles, flags, and so on, the students add watercolor paint and to turn then castles into bright cheery place like those you may find in a fairy tale!
This week in Jr Kindergarten, we are learning about how to have a mindful body and heart. During our Mindfulness Monday with Miss Banni we learned about the many feelings we experience everyday and how to recognize those feelings. We learned that our heart feels many different emotions and all of these emotions are what makes us special and unique. In learning how to connect the feelings we have to how it makes our hearts feel, students are better able to cope with frustration and to show compassion and empathy towards others. On Monday, we colored in a heart with different colors to represent the various feelings we have had over the past day or two. Each student then explained which color meant what emotion they had experienced. It was wonderful to watch the empathy that unfolded between the students as they listened to one another’s stories! We look forward to learning more about our heart, feelings and emotions from Miss Banni next week!
PK students are back at work creating fun painted papers and learning about collage. As they study about Antarctica and the life lived in that cold world, in art class, we are reading about and creating fun penguin collage pieces. This project involves the fun process of creating a sunset/sky background in whatever color or style each student wants, then learning the basic shapes of each part of the penguin body. In this project, the PK students get to practice their drawing, cutting, gluing and creativity as they assemble their penguins. Each of these adorable penguins turns out so differently, showcasing each student’s individual personality. They will be hanging on the hall wall in a week or so, come check them out!