End of the Year Reflections

As this school year is coming to a close, PCS students are reflecting on their year and looking forward to what is to come.  As a community, it is important to address the transition to the next grade, refocus on this year’s classroom community, and reinforce the expectation that learning will continue beyond the last day of school.  Good endings leave students with feelings of pride in their growth, a strong sense of themselves as capable learners, and excitement about the learning communities they’ll build during the next school year.  We spend considerable time preparing for the beginning of the school year. This makes sense, because good beginnings set the tone for the whole year’s learning. It’s equally important, though, to spend time planning for the end of the year. Good endings leave children with feelings of pride in their learning, and that prepares them for another good beginning the following fall.  

Early Childhood


Lower Primary

Upper Primary

AuthorAshley Millerd

All Are Welcome Here

Above all we need, particularly as children, the reassuring presence of a visible community, an intimate group that enfolds us with understanding and love, and that becomes an object of our spontaneous loyalty, as a criterion and point of reference for the rest of the human race.
Lewis Mumford

We work very hard at PCS to plan and execute learning opportunities, projects, field trips and events that create a sense of community.  We want each child to feel secure, nurtured and supported by the environment, each other, and us. And, we want family and community members to feel welcome to join in, learn along with us and celebrate. Everyone brings divergent interests, abilities, cultures, and families. Each one of us arrives with a rich background of experience that enriches our community. By demonstrating our loving acceptance of everyone’s backgrounds, experiences, and viewpoints, we create an environment that says, "All are welcome here." At the same time, we are modeling just how we want children to be with one another. The goal is to celebrate individuals while creating a sense of community. Thank you to everyone who helped make our GROW event a successful community gathering. Whether you painted faces, danced to Brady Rymer, baked or made sandwiches, or just sat on a hay bale all day chatting with a friend, the energy was contagious. We felt it and are certain the children felt it too.

AuthorAshley Millerd

Early Childhood

This was an exciting week for Early Childhood students as they welcomed new guests into the classroom. Upon the arrival of about fifteen ladybug larvae, EC scientists closely examined their tiny visitors. Using magnifying glasses, every detail of the larvae were taken in. Observational drawings were created taking the color, the shape, and the number of legs on the larvae into consideration. In their larvae stage, ladybugs look extremely different from their adult stage. Scientists will continue to observe the ladybugs as they progress through their metamorphosis. With a little patience we will soon have full grown ladybugs that will be released into our garden to eat aphids and keep our plants healthy.

During our EC Morning Meeting we played a game in which students practiced their number recognition and counting skills. It was impressive to see the respect exhibited as each child took a turn drawing a card from a deck a determining which number they had chosen. They patiently waited for their friends to deduce whether they had chosen a “6” or a “9,” a “3” or an “8.” Once the number was ascertained and confirmed by peers, mathematicians gave their grass seed the allotted number of squirts of water. Compassionately, the students made certain that both Megan and I were given a turn to play too. So lovely to see our Community Values in practice!


Kindergarteners came back to school Monday morning to discover so many things growing in the garden! Hints of red radishes popping up out of the soil, teeny tiny yellow squash, hints of strawberries, and lettuce...lots and lots of lettuce. They also discovered the tendrils on the sugar snap peas and identified a problem when they saw one tendril grabbing onto another plant! Being the true problem solvers that they are, many solutions were immediately proposed: "Cut the tendrils off!"  "Put up a sign that says, 'no grabbing allowed!'" And, our gardening experts came forth to explain, in amazing detail, how to create a trellis for them to climb up with posts and string. "It's like a jungle gym for plants!"  "Those little guys need those tendrils to grow!" We were able to harvest a few radishes and have a taste. We will be graphing our taste test results as the harvesting continues.

Our "Take a Chance" garden has inspired more wonder and inquiry. While at Sang Lee Farm a while back, Jamie asked, "What would grow if we just planted a lot of these vegetables right in the ground and we didn't' use seeds?" And so, we put on our scientific thinking caps, made more hypotheses, and set up our experiments. Things we are trying to propagate from the food source this week: carrots, onions, pineapple, lettuce and sweet potato.  If you can send in any of the following items, we can keep going with this exploration. Thank you!  Garlic Head, Tomatoes, Seed potatoes, Ginger Root, Celery, Lemongrass, Bean Sprouts, Avacado, Basil, Cilantro, Turnips.

Other things happening this week:

  • Cleaning out the fish tank
  • Unloading wood for the garden fence
  • Field Trip to Quogue Wildlife Refuge
  • Happy Birthday Micah!


Lower Primary

This week in Lower Primary, students continued working on their weathering, erosion and deposition projects with their groups.  They spent time collecting natural materials outside to use to “paint” their pictures.  One group collected yellow flower petals to use for the sun, while another group used sand to create rocks on their drawing.  Careful planning and collaboration was evident as I was able to witness groups talk through each step and decision that was made.  Each day I am in awe as I observe Lower Primary students use their community values to create successful working relationships with one another.  

Lower Primary students have been learning about story elements all year long.  From setting, characters, problems and solutions to what usually happens at the beginning, middle and end of a story.  For many weeks, they have inquired about writing their own fiction story.  After reviewing all of the elements, students began their first fiction story that includes one of the earth changes that we have learned about.  We began the writing project by using a graphic organizer to frame their ideas and now they have begun taking their notes and formulating sentences.  I am so impressed with their imaginations and the storylines that they have created.  

Our field trip to Quogue Wildlife Refuge was wonderful!  The students in Lower Primary enjoyed getting outside and learning about plants and animals native to Long Island.  Using their senses they were able to discover so many different animals as we walked the trail.  Ask your child what their favorite find of the day was!

We want to give a big thank you to Robyn for coming in and helping Lower Primary bake cookies for Grow!  We look forward to seeing you all at the event on Saturday!

Upper Primary

"Education is a social process; education is growth; education is not a preparation for life but is life itself." John Dewey

This week Upper Primary went on their first ever trip to the city. In addition to the connections students made to their curriculum, the social lessons gained during this experience seem to be endless. Having the courage to take on such an endeavor without the familiarity and security of a parent took a tremendous amount of courage and trust. Heading into the city on a public bus, catching a midtown bus and then navigating through a busy museum was a huge responsibility. Students proved their ability to be both accountable for themselves and reliable to their peers over and over throughout the day. Relationships among the group were strengthened as cooperative interactions and discourse took place as students walked through the exhibits. On the return trip home, Upper Primary students showed that they have the capability to deal with unpredictability when they had to change Jitney busses not once, not twice, but three times. Understanding that some situations are beyond our control and being able to go with the flow and trust in others is a life lesson that eludes many.

Even with an entire day in the Museum of Natural History it is a nearly impossible feat to see everything. With our limited time, we were very purposeful in choosing the exhibits saw. We began in the Rose Center for Earth and Space with the Big Bang and walked through the 13 billion year history of the universe. From there, we focused on Earth. Students connected with exhibits that helped explain how the Earth evolved and even found a Geological Timeline similar to one they created back in their classroom. We also visited the extraordinary Fossil Halls, where students gasped at the sight of the museum’s latest addition, the 122 foot long Titanosaur. In the Spitzer Hall of Human Origins students were able to get an up close look at the history of human evolution. This was a favorite part of the day for many. This day encompassed so much. What was especially lovely about the day was that while many have been to the museum, some many times, on this visit students were able to connect with what they were seeing on a new level.

Authorsharon cook

Early Childhood

Ever present in the Early Childhood classroom at PCS is play. Whether it be climbing, jumping, or running out on the playground or building, drawing, or creating in the classroom, children are constantly learning through play. They are learning about how their bodies move, how to balance, and how to work with others. They are learning problem solving skills, how to compromise, and how to be compassionate. Play engages the whole child. This week, Early Childhood students were immersed in a game of “Animal Hospital” which spanned over several days. Children delighted in taking on different roles while caring for the animals in our animal basket. Bandaids were created with paper, markers, and tape. The light table was transformed into an operating table. Marbles became medicine. The big trucks morphed into ambulances and medical delivery trucks. And thin shape sorting blocks turned into credit cards. As they happily played their minds worked to form solutions to issues that arose and their bodies worked to manipulate their materials.

Also this week, Early Childhood students began to learn about ladybugs. By reading various non-fiction books, students learned how many legs ladybugs have, why they have two sets of wings, and how ladybugs help our garden by eating aphids which can harm plants. Later, Early Childhood artists began creating representations of ladybugs using rocks. By layering pieces of red tissue paper onto rocks using glue, the rocks were transformed. After the red was dried, paint was used to create a ladybug head and a ladybug’s quintessential black dots.


Back in September, you heard us talk quite a bit about the “first six weeks” which is a deliberate practice that gives a community time to establish routines, introduce values, and come together as a community before academic learning begins.  Meanwhile --  the last six weeks of school can often seem quite the opposite and more like an avalanche. It most classrooms the end-of-year pace seems to increase as teachers feel compelled to rush through the remaining curriculum and teach to the last second while simultaneously preparing for culminating events. And yet, it is just as important to end the school year slowly, with intention and care and to honor the community you have become.

At PCS, we are conscious of the end-of-year climate and make conscious decisions several times throughout the day, and the week that help us remember what we are here for and to remember what is important. 

In kindergarten, we have been slowly spiraling back to September and revisiting our favorite songs, chants, stories and recess games. We are looking at the hundreds of photographs taken all year and remembering visitors, field trips, projects and more.  And, each child has been meeting with me one by one to peek back at their writing or numeracy skills when they walked in the kindergarten door for the first time and comparing it to what they are doing now. We are slowly and deliberately celebrating how far each child has come, rather than racing to the end. Showing children how to reflect like this and self-assess is empowering, builds self-confidence, and brings us back together as a community in a new and exciting way as we celebrate all the learning. 

Through this reflective process, Kindergarteners have also realized the power of voicing your Hopes and Dreams.  Most of their September Hopes and Dreams have come true. We have gone on field trips, celebrated birthdays together, done some cool science experiments and even played football.   Beautiful things happen in Kindergarten when you learn to be quiet and still and let the children do what children do best. And just this week, many kindergarteners, without prompting, started talking about,  drawing, painting and writing out a new hope and dream for the school year – even though there are only 18 school days left! They have learned that a hope and dream is like a little seed that, when voiced and shared with others can grow into a reality.

Next, Kindergarteners will reflect on all their social learning and think back to the day we created our class agreement -- something that was put in place so that our Hopes and Dreams could become realities. We will ask ourselves how we did, and think of ways we can continue or even do better going forward. After all, the lessons learned this year, whether academic, social, or emotional don’t get left at the door when school ends, rather we want our PCS children to carry everything outside our walls and keep going. 

Some of the things kindergarteners said they learned to do better: 

  • We learned to clean up better and quicker so that we can go outside for more fresh air.
  • We got better at sitting on the rug without rolling all over the floor – or each other.
  • We learned to make apologies of action. "I'm sorry, is there anything I can do to make it better."
  • We learned that it feels great to be included, and we should look for our friends who might feel excluded. --  But also remember that sometimes people just need a little time to themselves.
  • We figured out how to use glass jars, beakers, and test tubes and not break them. (well we did break some but not too many - and not recently)
  • We love the way our cubby area feels when we line up our boots neatly and wipe everything out once in awhile.
  • We don't have to ask a grown up help all the time. If we think about it for a minute, we can usually figure out how to do something ourselves.
  • We learned that simply smiling at someone or using their name can make them feel so great.

We started the school year with hopes and dreams and are ending it with hope and pride. In between all the reflecting we have been coming together to enjoy some of our favorite playful times, block building, running in the grass, free draw, and clay and been out for the children to enjoy.

Finally, THANK YOU  so so much for the beautiful birthday surprises. The kids were so excited to celebrate my birthday in school. We made an apple pie and had a dance party – two of my favorite things Making memories. Building a community. 

Lower Primary

This week Lower Primary expanded on their knowledge of weathering and erosion and learned about deposition.  After experimenting with weathering and erosion, Lower Primary questioned where the eroded rock went after being carried away by wind, water, or ice.  As they explored deposition, they entered into discussions on how the moved soil, sand or rock could have an impact on our earth.  As we reflected on the constant changing of the earth, students in Lower Primary charted the benefits of deposition, as well as the harmful effects it could have on our earth.  Then, to demonstrate an understanding, students created a visual representation of weathering, erosion and deposition using natural materials.  Working in groups, students began by creating a rough sketch of how weathering, erosion and deposition could link together and be presented.  Next week they will continue creating their visual representations! 

Through poetry, writing, art, and hands on experiments, Lower Primary has been immersed in weathering, erosion and deposition.  By expanding their learning to all areas of study, students are able to gain a rich, more meaningful learning experience.   Children learn in a variety of ways.  While some need hands on experiences, others learn best from reading information.  By exposing children to a subject in a variety of ways, they are able to better instill the information and obtain a more clear understanding.  It is exciting to witness children come back from their weekends and explain to others that they saw erosion and deposition at a sand dune!  Taking their newly learned knowledge outside of the classroom and applying it to their everyday lives is what we strive to achieve.  

The science fair was a great success.  Lower Primary enjoyed learning from their peers as they observed each display.  Many students were instantly inspired and wanted to try out the projects on their own. Great job to those Lower Primary students who participated!  I was blown away with the amount of time and effort spent on their experiments.

Upper Primary

This week we had the first ever PCS Science Fair. For about six weeks students brainstormed, planned, and executed a project of their choosing. During this process each student learned something new. Upon the culmination of the project, I believe the greatest enlightening the students received was what they learned about themselves. When the projects came into school they were excited to share the information they found and the displays they created. As a community we came together and formulated questions that would help us learn more about what our friends had done. After sharing their own project with the group, students were asked to provide constructive feedback on both their peers’ projects and their own. Students respectfully spent time at each project, carefully reading and reacting. This was done in such a mindful and thoughtful manner. They took this responsibility very seriously. After rotating through each display, students shared one thing they really liked about each project, including their own, and made a suggestion about how to improve it. Later, we sat together and shared our personal reflections about the process of the Science Fair. It was beautiful to hear students empathize with one another as friends shared the struggles endured and elation felt while doing their projects.

As members of the PCS community, Upper Primary students are well versed in the inquiry based type learning that is promoted by participating in a Science Fair. For homework and during class time, students were asked to further reflect on the process of the Science Fair. Their answers showed that while there was scientific knowledge gained, the biggest take away from the whole process for many was what they learned about themselves as learners. The maturity and self-awareness of my students continues to amaze me. Perhaps the best way to capture what the students learned is to read in their own words their responses to the following questions:

Why do you think it is important for students to do projects like this one?

  • “I think it is important because you are not only learning, but you even get to pick what you are learning about. I also think it is fun to make predictions and see if you are right.”

  • “To understand organization and time limits. It also helped with creativity and responsibility.”  

  • “To try something that is challenging, then you feel so proud when you do it.”

What was the best part of the Science Fair project process?

  • “The best part for me was when I had all of the information and was just laying the data out. It was not only fun, but when I laid my data out, it inspired me to think of new ideas.”

  • “Taking my time to think of a project that really interested me, because then I was very excited to get started. It is good to be excited about what you want to learn.”

  • “When I was just finished and I looked at my whole project for the first time and realized how hard I had worked on it.”

What community values came up in the process of the project? When?

  • “A value that came up a lot was perseverance. When my data was too similar, I did not give up. Instead, I tried again at double the speed and my results came out better.”

  • “Responsibility, perseverance, collaboration, and patience.”

  • “I used responsibility to remember to do the project and I used perseverance to get through the project”.

  • “I used honesty and respect while sharing and talking about the projects with our class.”  

What did you learn about yourself as a learner through the process of doing your project?

  • “I learned that I work better when I know I have a lot of time to finish something. I started at a reasonable time, and I was less stressed. Also, since I had so much time, I was able to put my best effort into my project.”

  • “I learned that I can focus under stress and that I am really understanding of people's comments. Listening to my friend’s advice can help me on my next project.”

  • “I learned that I am good at explaining new ideas that I am excited about to people.”
AuthorAshley Millerd

Early Childhood

This week, Early Childhood set out to make their own paper using the beautiful colors we see out in nature this time of the year. The first step was to gather recycled paper and tear or cut it into small pieces. Then, Early Childhood students went outside and carefully picked off the flowers from plants growing alongside the school’s parking lot. Yellow dandelion flowers and purple phlox petals were added to the small pieces of paper. The flowers and paper were mixedwith water and churned up in the blender to create a pulp like mixture. The mixture was then added to a large bin filled with an inch of water. Next, it was time to form the sheets. Students took turns gently submerging a wooden frame with a screen stretched across beneath the pulp. Upon lifting it back out, they were left with a thin layer of the pureed ingredients atop the screen. Lastly, students flipped the frame over atop a piece of felt and sponged the excess water out. All that was left to do was wait for it to dry.

While the intention was to allow the colors from the plants dictate the color of the paper, we found that though the hues of yellow and purple from the flowers added accents to the paper, they didn’t have much influence on the overall color. When the paper was dry and I was removing the first sheet from the felt, I realized that some of our pieces were inadvertently tinged green from the green felt it was dried on. Upon seeing what had happened, I let out a sigh of disappointment and an exclamation of “oh no!” When the students came over to see what the fuss was about and saw the color, they were delighted! “It’s green!” they shouted with a sense of awe on their faces. What I perceived as a mistake, they perceived as a lovely surprise. When all was said and done we produced a pile of our own paper. Some tinged green and some all white but all beautiful paper that incorporated our natural surroundings!

Thank you to Heather and Colleen for coming to our classroom to celebrate Mason's birthday and Gavin's birthday with special stories and snacks! Happy birthday Mason and Gavin!


The first kindergarten—the children’s garden—conceived by German educator Friedrich Froebel in the 19th century, was a place where children learned through play, often in nature. At PCS, we try very hard to make sure this concept doesn’t erode or get replaced by rows of desks and worksheets.  But this isn’t to say that literacy and math skills are not necessary, it’s just that you won’t find our kindergarteners sitting at desks filling in worksheets day in and day out. Rather, the literacy and math lessons are integrated naturally in response to the children’s interests. Natural and real world opportunities present themselves all the time if you know how to look for them. This week our Kindergarteners read the back of seed packets to read instructions for how deep and far apart to plant each seed and took rulers out to practice this real world application of measuring in the garden.  Creating lists of everything needed to grow a plant provided an actual and practical application for organized and purposeful writing. Worksheets and workbook pages are gently sprinkled in to allow for more practice and individual accountability, but the children work on these at their pace, choosing the pages they want to tackle next, thus giving a sense of ownership and accomplishment. 

Lingering, watching and listening to what the children are doing and saying is what guides the day and hints at what the next entry point for each child could be.  One child might need more running and tumble outside while another might be deep in thought turning the pages in a book, yet another is intent on finishing every single page of their math workbook. Honoring each child’s needs is what helps them to grow and what gives them an appetite for more. We are always watching for those moments when a child seems to have a feeling of stick-to-it-ness or grit. Whether it is building with blocks, creating a game outside or working quietly through a book, when we see a child immersed and in their zone, this is when we have to leave them alone to figure things out. When children seem to be “bouncing off the walls”, or “fidgeting in their chairs” the solution is not to ask children to sit still rather, we have to remove the walls and take away the chairs. In kindergarten at PCS, mastering puddle jumping and hole digging is just as important as learning letters. 

The end of kindergarten is a time when children are literally ‘taking off’ with learning, craving more and more. And, as if on cue, the outdoors responds with one of the most stimulating seasons. A season of digging in the dirt, rolling in the grass, jumping in puddles, smelling the rain, tasting the first herbs in the garden, tickling chins with dandelions, discovering insects, and seeing all the opportunities for new growth and learning.

With so few days left to the school year, please let me know if you would like to come in to build, play, dig, cook, or just be with the kindergarteners. We would love to have you. Perhaps you have a project in mind? Let us know! We would love your help in the garden.

Lower Primary

This week Lower Primary students continued their study on changes to the earth by learning about weathering and erosion.  Weathering is the breaking down of rocks and minerals by physical, chemical, or biological processes, while erosion is a kind of change that happens when wind and water move rocks and soil.  First, the students had the opportunity to explore several pictures of rocks and minerals that have been affected by weathering.  As observations ensued, conversations developed and Lower Primary students were engaged in meaningful discussions about the greater effect that weathering has on our earth.  Students began a cause and effect project that allowed them to gain a deeper understanding.  Many students created pictures and diagrams to show the cause and effect of weathering, while others chose to write down their thoughts and ideas.  To explore erosion, Lower Primary students had the opportunity to be involved in an erosion experiment.  After learning that water can play a key role in erosion, students implemented their new found knowledge on a mineral rock.  They studied and recorded the rock before erosion took place.  Then, using a hose, each student had the opportunity to spray the rock.  When the experiment was complete, the resulting rock was left with a large hole.  Discussions then began and students were fascinated to think about the larger picture, erosion happening on our earth and the impact that it could have.  

Our S.T.E.A.M. engineering challenge of creating a shelter that can withstand an earthquake is now complete.  On Friday, Lower Primary students had the opportunity to put their designs to the test as we created an earthquake table and simulated an earthquake.  The structures that were created by the students were very well designed.  Each was required to have four walls, 15 centimeters or more in height and width, and a roof.  As students began to shake the earthquake table, we found that many of the shelters fell over.  We talked about how to make a solid base or foundation that would provide extra support during an earthquake.  Lower primary students came up with several ideas on how to improve each shelter.  They worked together to problem solve and find solutions.  

Other exciting explorations include:

Multiplication in math group B

Subtraction with regrouping in math group A

Spanish with Johanna

Lunch outside in the sunshine

Early morning Tai Chi

Soccer in Wellness

*Reminder- If your child chose to create a science fair project, the tri-fold display board is due on Tuesday, May 17th.  Students will be presenting their project on Thursday, May 19th from 2-3pm.  

Upper Primary

Converting abstract ideas into a concrete form can be a daunting task. However, it is not surprising that Upper Primary students approach such tasks with little hesitation. They are natural thinkers. Natural explorers. Natural investigators. They do not enter into a new study with a need to know it all immediately. They have cultivated an appreciation for the sense of wonder. They appreciate the process. They appreciate how it feels to figure something out on their own. They celebrate when they learn something new, and share it. They, themselves, become teachers. This is learning. Authentic learning doesn’t flow in one direction. It takes collaboration, communication, and creativity. In-depth understanding and true learning comes from being accepting of not knowing where your journey will take you. True learning is being okay with feeling uncertain, trusting yourself and pushing through to get to the understanding. Upper Primary students navigate their studies in their own way, in their own time, because no one’s learning path is quite like anyone else’s.

For the past two weeks students have been researching and conceptualizing the abstract idea of geological time. To help make this idea more of a concrete one, students created geologic timelines across a wall in the classroom. They divided off sections of one billion years, and then determined what 10 million and 1 million years would convert to on their scale. Next they added eras and time periods. Slowly but surely they began placing evolutionarily meaningful events in Earth’s history onto their timelines. Mapping out geologic time in this way paints a clearer picture, allowing students to understand not only when things happened but also how they are interconnected. Next, students will be looking deeper into how evolutionary events correspond to other types of events during the history of life; how extinctions affect the evolution of organisms that survive the event; and how geologic changes influenced evolutionary events. What is lovely about all of this is that we will have a greater respect and understanding of the exhibits we will see at the Museum of Natural History. While students may have previously visited some of the same exhibits we will be touring through, they will do so now with a greater appreciation for what they see and an understanding of each exhibit’s place in time and what important events it connects to.

Below is a link to pictures from our visit to Sylvia Hommert's studio on Shelter Island. This week Sylvia will join us at PCS as we create our own art using Sylvia's method. 


AuthorAshley Millerd

On Appreciation

“All day long everyone in the whole wide world walks around carrying an invisible bucket.  You can’t see it, but it’s there. (...) You feel very happy and good when your bucket is full, and you feel very sad and lonely when your bucket is empty. (...) A bucket-filler is a loving, caring person who says or does nice things that make others feel special. (...) When you make someone feel special you are filling a bucket. (...) But, you can also dip into a bucket and take out some good feelings. (...) All day long, we are either filling up or dipping into each other’s buckets by what we say or do.”  -- From: Have You Filled A Bucket Today, by Carol McCloud, Illustrated by David Messing.

Every moment matters.


Yet most children (and many adults) don't realize the importance of having a full bucket throughout the day. Every interaction in a day either fills or empties your bucket. And, everything we say or do to other people fills or empties their buckets as well.

It has been a week of bucket filling at our little North Fork Community School. Beginning with the heartwarming Teacher Appreciation brunch and continuing all week long through social media posts, cards, small gifts, and smiles…so many smiles.  As the week progressed, one thing became abundantly clear. As buckets filled, they overflowed into other buckets and those into others and so on. 

Too often it seems awkward, contrived, mawkish and even disingenuous to openly praise or express appreciation - But only because we are not very fluent in the language of positive emotions. Oddly, we are often more experienced at expressing negative emotions – reactively and defensively, and often without recognizing their corrosive impact on others until much later, if we do at all.

Heartfelt appreciation is a muscle we have to build, one word at a time, one person at a time, one child at a time, one smile at a time.  

How many buckets will you fill today?

AuthorMiranda Milligan

"Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It's not." - Dr. Suess

To help foster an attitude to care a whole awful lot about our planet, PCS students and staff took a field trip to Iron Pier Beach in Jamesport and participated in a beach cleanup with the help of The Group for the East End. Children have a innate sense of wonder and respect for nature. It's beauty, simplicity, and complexity captivate students of all ages. There is an instinct to protect the world around us and take care of our planet. It is an instinct that is all too often outgrown as other things in life override the inclination to conserve and value our earth. Solidifying a reverence for the environment at a young age raises the likelihood of youth blossoming into citizens who are mindful, compassionate and respectful of where we live. It ensures that this generation of children will continue to care a whole awful lot. And our planet is going to get better. It is.

AuthorAshley Millerd

Early Childhood


Kindergarteners had a very busy week building and installing the garden beds. Thanks to a crew of parents and kids who came after school to build and more a few dads who came Friday to install the beds, we are ready for our soil delivery! Even our Upper Primary buddies got into the action and helped us to finish building the fourth bed. Kids always love handling power tools, and these tools provide many opportunities for lessons on safety, proper handling, power, and efficiency. That fourth bed will never fall apart it has so many screws! Saying thank you over and over again doesn’t seem quite adequate to acknowledge all the support we have received to get this garden growing. But I will continue to say it. Thank you to Connor’s and Cyrus's dads who spent most of the day Friday digging and drilling holes so the beds could be sunk and leveled. Be sure to take a walk out front to see. The children would love to show off their hard work.

Do you believe in magic? Five and six-year-olds do, and the same magic that brings things from the tooth fairy and gifts from Santa Claus is at it again in our ‘Take a Chance’ garden. The children were so excited (biggest understatement ever) to discover some of the things we planted are sprouting!  Learning to distinguish between fantasy and reality is an important developmental step that children make in the kindergarten year. Children at this age can be very clear about what is real and pretend in some situations, but still engage in magical thinking in others. Honoring a child's imagination and allowing them the time and space to create their own understanding is important. Too often adults step in and try, without too much success, to convince children of the "truth.” Remember to keep the magic alive whenever you can! 

Acting it out, using counters, drawing a picture, just knowing it in your head, or writing an equation are just a few of the ways kindergarteners are learning to solve math problems. The children realized they could turn the taped off garden plan in the classroom into a ten-frame which helped them to solve many word problems and see a group of ten. 

Lastly, every Friday we are trying to incorporate a cooking activity into our day. With the help of Upper Primary, we mixed and baked chocolate chip granola bars which will be frozen and saved for our bake sale at the GROW event in May. We will continue to do this every Friday until the end of the year. We would love to have your help. If you can’t come in, perhaps you could consider sending in a recipe with the ingredients. We are open to anything that can be easily stored or frozen. 

Lower Primary

Lower Primary students explored volcanoes this week.  Rich background knowledge and discussions evolved as the volcano topic was introduced.  To further expand on their prior knowledge, Lower Primary students studied the parts of a volcano.  They learned all about the magma chamber, vents, layers of ash and lava, ash cloud and volcanic bombs.  To show their understanding, Lower Primary students had the opportunity to draw and paint their own diagram of a volcano on a canvas!  They also learned all about how volcanoes are formed and that the Ring of Fire is the result of plate tectonics, which they had previously studied during our earthquake study last week.  

After exploring and researching volcanoes, Lower Primary students then began to connect their newly found knowledge to how volcanoes affect the earth.  Volcanoes can impact the earth in many ways, and even form new lands.  Students learned that the Hawaiian islands are a result of a hot spot occurring in the middle of the Pacific plate.  We also studied the effect that other volcanoes had on our earth, some taking out towns or destroying land and forests.  Encourage your child to reflect on all they they learned this week about volcanoes!  

Lower Primary is so excited to announce that they raised $275.00 for the Riverhead Foundation for Marine Research and Preservation!  Earlier in the year, students worked diligently to research local sea animals and create a field guide.  After the field guide was complete, Lower Primary reached out to our community and sold several copies.  All of the money that was raised will now be donated to this amazing organization.  


Upper Primary

“What children are capable of at a particular age is the result of a complex interplay among maturation, experience, and instruction. Thus, what is developmentally appropriate is not a simple function of age or grade. What children do is in large part contingent on their prior opportunities to learn and not on some fixed sequence of developmental stages.” Duschl, R. A., Schweingruber, H. A., & Shouse, A. W. (2007). Taking science to school: Learning and teaching science in grades K-8. Washington, D.C.: National Academies Press.

This week’s activities revolved around hands-on experiences with minerals. It began simply by exploring them with our hands and eyes and noting differences and similarities. Students learned that rocks are made of minerals and that minerals are made of elements. Students came to the realization that not all elements are minerals while identifying the five common characteristics of minerals. Later in the week, we delved more deeply into differentiating among minerals. Students participated in a lab experience that provided opportunities for classification and scientific analysis techniques for mineral identification. Students worked with partners to decipher between mineral’s color, luster, streak, hardness, fracture, cleavage, and other special properties. After performing tests on each mineral and recording the results, partners worked together to determine the mineral names of their samples. Students carefully compared the properties of their samples to the properties of minerals listed on a Mineral Identification Chart. We ended the week making natural paint from hematite. After our investigation into the properties of minerals, focusing on the mineral’s hardness and streak, it was decided that hematite would be the most suitable choice to use as a pigment.  Students took turns using a pestle and mortar to grind a small piece into a fine powder, which was then mixed with egg yolk to create egg tempera. Everyone had an opportunity to tryout the mineral paint and enjoyed creating Zentangle patterns. There was a lot of talk and questions about cave paintings and thoughts about if they were created using similar minerals, which perhaps is something we may have to explore!

AuthorAshley Millerd

Early Childhood

This week Early Childhood students furthered their knowledge of worms. After reading Wonderful Worms by writer Linda Glasser and illustrator Loretta Krupinski, EC naturalists were intrigued by worm tunnels. They discovered that the tunnels the worms make are essential for a healthy garden. The tunnels allow a plant’s roots to grow with less obstruction. Worm tunnels also serve as excellent passageways for water to flow through to provide a natural irrigation system. Worm searching is a popular activity during outside play and upon overturning logs and tree stumps to find the worms, students can often see the squiggly lines and trails that are the worms’ tunnels; the tunnels from a bird’s eye view. To get a more complete cross-section view of these tunnels, students collected soil, earthworms, and compost material for the worms to eat, and placed them in a glass jar. A lid with air holes was placed on top. The sides of the jars were covered with black paper to keep the worms happy in a dark environment. So that the worms are not disturbed, writers spelled out “worms at work” on the outside of the jars. EC students have peeked at their worms and have gotten a clearer picture of the tunnels that worms create.

In an artistic expression of these worm tunnels, artists used a brush to drip rubber cement on watercolor paper to create a maze of worm pathways. Once the rubber cement was dry, students added watercolor paints on top of the cement. It was interesting to see how the paints resisted adhesion to the rubber cement. Lastly, once the paint was dry too, the rubber cement was gently rubbed off to reveal a bright white worm tunnel contrasted against a beautiful array of color. To magnify that contrast, black pen was used to outline the tunnels. Their artwork will be on display in the Early Childhood classroom.

A special thanks to Liz for helping us to add worms to our Can-O-Worms worm bin this week. More on this in next week’s blog!


WELCOME TILLY! We are so excited to welcome a new member to our Kindergarten community; Tilly Ferran is no stranger to PCS, and we are so happy to have her back.

While waiting for this crazy April cold snap to pass, kindergarteners revisited  The Curious Garden by Peter Brown a story we read last week about a boy who took a chance and planted a garden where no one else did (aka The Highline in NYC). Rereading texts over and over, especially if they become a favorite, help children to build comprehension skills. Things they didn't hear or realize the first time around, suddenly become clear. And discussions become much richer when children actively participate in 'book talk', anticipate what will happen next or even make connections to their lives, the world around them, or other books we read.  Part of the daily practice in Kindergarten is to listen to proposals made by the children, discuss each one, and decide which proposals to accept, table for another day, or reject altogether. When one of our kindergartners proposed this week that we plant a "Take A Chance" Garden in kindergarten - we went with it. We are now watching closely to see if the Lego we planted grows into a Lego tree if the jellybean sprouts a jellybean plant, and sincerely hoping the chocolate chip produces dozens of chocolate chip cookies. Do you think the sponge will grow into a SpongeBob? Stay tuned. Our Take A Chance garden is going to be a fun and engaging way to introduce our young students to the Scientific Method. And, since most children this age still believe in the tooth fairy, Santa Clause and other 'magical' happenings - you just never know what might happen! 

Lucky us to have Lucy Senesac as a Master Gardener assigned to our school through Edible School Gardens. Lucy got her start with agriculture at Cornell Cooperative Extension of Suffolk County in Riverhead, but never really got her hands dirty in the field (literally) until she started WWOOFing in New Zealand where she worked on ten different farms in six months! When she is not busy running the CSA at Sang Lee Farms or a stall at a the Riverhead Farmers Market, she is working side by side with children educating them on every aspect of gardening, farming, sustainability and healthy eating. "Farming means more than food:," says Lucy. "Gardening is about us working in harmony with nature to create and sustain more life to come."

We are not just growing a garden at PCS; we are raising a future generation of East End farmers; good soil and great things are ahead for our PCS children!

We are fortunate that the only requirement asked of us to stay eligible for the many mini-grants offered by Edible School Yards is to attend each one of their monthly meetings. Please check out this link to Edible School Gardens for a schedule of meetings and to purchase tickets to their April 17 Moveable Feast. All proceeds go toward the mini-grants and keep Lucy at our school. Please let me (Sharon) know if you can attend any meeting. I can not make all of them, so your help is greatly appreciated. THE NEXT MEETING IS TUESDAY, APRIL 19.

EARTH WEEK - The week of April 18
If you would like to come in to do a special earth friendly project with the class - please let me know! The whole school will be heading out to do a beach cleanup Wednesday morning, April 20.

SPRING BREAK - Week of April 25

Lower Primary


This week Lower Primary students studied earthquakes and their effect on the earth.  Students learned about the different kinds of slip faults that can cause an earthquake.  To explore earthquakes further, students learned about the magnitude of an earthquake at the focus and epicenter and created watercolor paintings to show their understanding.  Lower Primary students also had the privilege of using a seismometer!  As they explored, they learned that a seismometer measures the distance, length and intensity of an earthquake.  We decided to try and simulate an earthquake of our own to see if the seismometer would detect our movements.  They seismologists sat very still and observed a low reading on the computer, then they all stood up and jumped creating a high reading on the computer!  It was fascinating to witness the graph spike as the students simulated an earthquake.

In our latest S.T.E.A.M. challenge, Lower Primary students are required to create a house that can withstand an earthquake.  The house must have 4 walls.  Windows and doors are not required.  The house must have a roof of some kind.  It must be at least 15 centimeters tall and 15 centimeters wide.  The purpose of the challenge is for students to build a structure that can survive at least 90 seconds of shaking without significant structural damage.  Lower Primary students will be given a variety of materials that they can choose from.  After assessing the materials, students will make an informed decision on which materials they believe will work the best.  

In math this week, Lower Primary students wrapped up their coin unit on Monday by creating a class store.  They worked together to transform the classroom into a working store, including a checkout area as well as different sections for shopping.  They began by coming up with a plan, creating price tags and assigning each other with different responsibilities.  When the store was officially open for business,  students practiced their counting coin skills to purchase items around the room.  Later in the week, students in Lower Primary were immersed in geometry.  They studied both flat and solid shapes and learned their names.  While some students learned about how to count the faces on a 3D shape, others expanded on that and also learned about the edges and vertices of a solid.  

Upper Primary

This week was all about rocks in Upper Primary. Students started the week researching the distinctions between the different rock types (igneous, sedimentary and metamorphic).  We looked at images and watched videos of natural wonders such as magma cooling and forming new crust in Hawaii and a river running through the Grand Canyon carrying sediment away to be deposited somewhere else. We talked at length about the ways in which rocks form and what can alter and change them. Students were immersed in the rock cycle during a game about rock formations and transformations. They began the game as one type of rock and as the game proceeded, they followed directions to undergo changes (such as heat, pressure, weathering and erosion) to then become a new rock type, magma or sediment.  

To further investigate the sorting that happens as sediment deposits into layers that eventually form sedimentary rock, we conducted our own experiment.  We went outside and collected materials like pebbles, sand, and dirt. We partially filled a container with the materials and filled the rest with water. After giving it a really good shake, students quickly placed it down and watched as the sediment fell. They noted the organization of materials and arrangement of how they settled. Students conducted observations at different times; once immediately, one 10 minutes later, another 2 hours after and then finally one 24 hours later. Students were impressed to see the level of sediment rise at the bottom of the container as the different materials piled up on top of each other and seemly sorted themselves in a very organized fashion. All the while, the water gained more clarity and became increasingly less murky.

At the end of the week we sorted rocks by categorizing them by factors like color, texture, weight and overall appearance. Students tried to decipher if each rock sample was metamorphic, sedimentary or igneous based on the information gathered throughout the week. The amount of knowledge students gleaned this week was impressive. Their written explanations and conversations proved deep learning. Students were able to take what they learned and apply it to make informed conclusions about their observations.

A special thanks to Sean Tvelia for the donation of rocks and minerals and allowing us to loan the deposition tubes from SCCC!

AuthorAshley Millerd

Early Childhood

After reading the book Wake up, It’s Spring by Lisa Campbell Ernst, students realized that both plants and animals are emerging from their winter’s slumber. In the story, worms, ladybugs, and rabbits, are warmed by the sun and reminded by their friends around them that it is time to get moving! Artists then used the story for inspiration and created their own illustration of different forms of life celebrating their awakening for spring time. Then, Early Childhood students took the lead from the characters in the book and got outside this week for lots of movement and natural explorations using all their senses. Digging in the garden with shovels, sticks, and hands yielded lots of worms and helped to prepare the soil for the seeds and seedlings that are soon to come. Thanks to a grant, PCS received a Can-O-Worms worm bin that we assembled in our classroom and will use to further our study of worms and help produce nutrient rich material to fertilize the garden.

Using tissue paper, bark, and glue, children made an artistic representation of a spring flower. Fine motor skills were strengthened as students tore paper, applied glue, and carefully placed each element down. In another classroom activity, students used tweezers to pick up dried beans and place them into small pots. To add the challenge, each pot had a number assigned to it. After recognizing the number, children were able to practice one-to-one correspondence as they counted each bean that was placed. Their precision was impressive to watch!


This week it was all about the kinderGARDEN. Coins were sorted and counted from our interactive donation box, and totals tallied from the kinderGARDEN GoFundMe page. We had enough to purchase all the lumber for our raised beds!  THANK YOU to Shamus's dad who came in after school to cut all the wood to size and to Micah, Kai and their mom who stayed after school to help with the effort! There was a lot of lifting and carrying to do but...to coin an old phrase...many hands make light work for sure.  

We did not allow the rainy days this week to delay our progress. Instead, we measured out a 4' x 10' rectangle to visualize just how big one raised bed will be. Guess what we found out? We could plant ten kinderGARDENERS in one of our beds to truly have a kinderGARDEN.

We read The Curious Garden by Peter Brown. A book about the HighLine and the children were fascinated - so be sure to visit it on your next trip into the city. One of the pages talks about plants popping up in the most unexpected places and having the power to burst through anywhere. Without prompting, the children started finding plants that were doing just this as we were walking outside. Making connections between literacy and the real-world is a comprehension strategy teachers intentionally use all the time, but when it happens serendipitously - it's pure magic.  Another idea conveyed in The Curious Garden is the 'if you build it they will come' theme. Again, kinderGARDENERS made connections and decided to go on a secret mission. With the perfect window to spy on daily activity; they are watching carefully to see if other members of our school community naturally gravitate to the garden area as we keep on doing what we are doing. 

One of the most productive days this week was when we took apart the existing garden, clearing the way for what is to come. It took a lot of upper body strength and teamwork to pull the posts out but in time, and with the help of some of our Upper Primary buddies - we got the job done!

A HUGE thank you to the Verderber family who welcomed us into their nursery with open arms. I am so proud of our kinderGARDENERS who, for two days, rehearsed the presentation they would give to solicit a donation of soil for our beds. We even practiced ahead of time how to appropriately and respectfully respond whether it was 'yes' or a 'no' answer.  Much to our surprise, Joe Verderber said he would be thrilled to not only donate all the soil but - Verderbers will deliver it as well! We just have to let him know when we finish building our beds, so we better get going!

We have a mission this trimester to get this garden up and running, but we can't do it without your help. Look for emails for raised bed building days, planting days, and eventually - we will have to build and install a fence. 

Many workbooks are beginning to come home as children work through at their own pace. Those children will be moving into math journals where they will be using the foundational skills established so far to solve more open-ended problems.

Please share our GoFundMe page with everyone you know. We still need tools, a wheelbarrow, and materials to build a fence.

Lower Primary


The testing of the rover landing pods turned out to be a great success.  Throughout their creative journey I was able to witness collaboration at it’s finest.  Not only were teammates helping each other, but I was able to observe others who had success pass on their knowledge to those who were struggling.  Lower Primary students also displayed a great deal of perseverance.  Creating the landing pod was no easy task.  I witnessed numerous trials and errors and never once saw the students feel defeated.  They simply went back to the drawing board and made adjustments, as an attempt to better their design.  A few groups determined that their original designs would not work, no matter how many adjustments were made and they were forced to start again.  They worked diligently to complete their designs in time and as the time ticked on, they showed even more determination and collaboration.  I am so proud of all of their hard work and dedication to our last astronomy S.T.E.A.M. center.  We would like to give a big thank you to Cynthia and Kai for bringing us the eggs for our testing!  

As we expanded on our discussions of earth’s changes, students in Lower Primary learned about droughts and floods this week and their effect on the earth.  We began a drought experiment to put our research to the test.  Lower Primary students dug up soil and plants and placed it in a container.  We heavily watered the soil and took note of what the soil and plants looked like.  They also made predictions about what they believed would happen to the soil and plants if they were no longer given water.  After three days without water, the students have noticed changes already.  Ask your child to explain the experiment and the changes that they have observed!  

Upper Primary

This week students worked cooperatively while investigating the Earth's spheres and identifying interactions among the spheres (hydrosphere, lithosphere, biosphere, and atmosphere). Students were challenged to think creatively about the parts and processes of these systems. Through discussions, nature walks and researching, students began to build an understanding of how Earth's spheres interact with each other to form an overall complex and connected system. Students recognize that the lithosphere, hydrosphere, biosphere and atmosphere make up both the living and non-living components of our planet. Students can describe each individually in terms of its properties and features, and recognize their interactions that drive Earth's processes.

We delved into the layers of the earth this week, learning about both their composition and structure. We read about the layers, wrote about them and sketched them. We also had a hands-on investigation of Earth’s structure in which students created representations of the Earth’s layers, students began with the core, and then added the outer core, mantle, and crust. Each layer was represented by a different color of playdough and varied thicknesses. Different colors were also used to represent the continental and oceanic crusts. Once finished, the models were cut in half, revealing the layering of Earth’s interior. Students labeled their model before putting them on display.

 As a class, we are creating a mandala to represent the Earth’s layers. Each artist designed and colored one twelfth of a circle. Inspiration came from all we have learned about the Earth’s composition and structure. Each piece of this artistic representation is unique and beautiful. Together it will be quite the masterpiece.


AuthorShannon Timoney

Early Childhood

Outside this week, Early Childhood naturalist were busy finding worms aplenty. This pursuit of worms turned out to be an inadvertent way for students to demonstrate and continue practicing many of our Community Values. Great compassion, collaboration and respect were shown when students took the initiative to “rescue” worms on the pavement of the parking lot and find them a suitable home in the soil or sand. Patience and perseverance were required when explorers were digging in the garden soil or overturning tree stumps on the playground to find worms and examine them closely. Responsibility came into play when the time came to go inside. Despite the yearning of many to bring worms into the classroom inside a pocket or a gently closed fist, students came to recognize that it was their responsibility to take care of the worms and this meant returning them safely to their home.

Throughout the week, students have been checking in on the Bald Eagle nest in Washington D.C. (thank you Joe for sharing this!). Amid their adoration of the baby Eagles, they also marveled at the Eagle’s ability to create such an elaborate and beautiful nest out of sticks, twigs, and other natural items. We read the book Not a Stick by Antoinette Portis in which a piglet has turned a stick into wondrous things like a fishing pole or a paintbrush and then set off to collect as many sticks as possible. So far we have used the sticks to build the letters in the alphabet that use only straight lines. Students have ambitions to use the sticks to create an Early Childhood nest.  

Early Childhood ushered in the new season of Spring through art. Artists used pinecones in an unusual way to depict the colorfulness of this time of the year. Upon turning the pinecones upside-down, we noticed that the bottoms of the pinecones resemble the petals of a flower. By painting the petals with bright colors, and painting a circle in the middle with a contrasting color, we were able to create a bright bouquet of flowers!


Spring is here, daylight is getting longer, the weather warmer, and the energy level in Kindergarten is rising! In anticipation of being outside a lot in the immediate future, Kindergarten used this week to do some spring cleaning in the classroom. Everyone worked collaboratively to clean out the fish tank, organize and sort books in the library, wash the cubbies inside and out and even rearrange the furniture. It has been my pleasure to listen to proposals made by the children and then help them come to fruition. Back in September, we started with a dress-up, pretend play area which, by midyear, transformed to a slightly more sophisticated work/play area with a light box and manipulatives. Just this week, the children explained that they did not have enough room at the tables (aka growing!)  and so - we rearranged a bit, borrowed a table from another room, and set up a new work area. Listening to, watching, following, and honoring the children takes patience, and it is often tricky to cast our 'grown up' ideas of how something should be done or look aside. However, when we do, the rewards are great, and we learn so much from the children.   

Math explorations had us doing more sorting and organizing. Why is it important to sort and organize? How do mathematicians do it? When do they do it? Moreover, how is sorting used in the real world? Kindergartners looked at a variety of objects, came up with vocabulary to describe the attributes of objects, and then created sorting 'rules'. Counting all the change collected so far in our interactive donation box provided a real world application for sorting and counting all the coins. 

Don’t miss this opportunity to involve your children in some spring cleaning and organizing at home. Even simple tasks such as putting silverware away in the right spot or sorting socks can turn work into play. Be sure to ask them what their sorting rule is and remember to keep expectations child-friendly.

Here are a few things kids can do to help with spring cleaning at home:
REMINDER: PCS Yard Sale is on the calendar! 

Curate artwork - Kids are prolific creators, but how many things can be hung on the fridge? Encourage kids to review their artwork and choose the standouts to showcase or store. 

Tame toys - What is broken? What is outgrown?

Cull Clothing - Season switches are the perfect time to take a good look at wardrobes.

Collections - Kids are natural collectors; managing collections provides early lessons on personal responsibility and organizing. 

Stuffed animals - There are veritable zoos in most kids’ rooms. How many do they need out all the time?

Dress up clothes - Why do costumes have such long shelf lives? Put some music on and have kids try on all the items in their collection. Pass on the pieces that are outgrown. 

Art and craft supplies - Bins and drawers full of broken crayons, dried up markers and pens that don’t work? Sound familiar? For me, it was always three drawers in the kitchen. Something we do in the classroom: Grab a doodle pad and bring all the supplies to a table. Ask your child to have fun drawing and doodling while making quick decisions about what’s worth keeping and what’s not. 

Sports equipment - Most equipment are used for one season and may still be in great condition afterward. However,  a whole year goes by before it is needed it again, and children grow out of it. 

FINALLY - Kindergarten is taking on the PCS GARDEN! With the help of a grant from the Josh Levine Memorial Foundation, AND a GO FUND ME page, we are purchasing lumber to make 4 large raised beds, acquire soil, and build a new fence. A HUGE THANK YOU to Shamus's dad who stepped up right away to help with this project. ANOTHER HUGE THANK YOU to Shamus's mom and Lucy Senesac, our Master Gardener through Edible School Gardens, who have donated all the seeds.  WE NEED HELP SAWING, HAMMERING, BUILDING AND GROWING! STAY TUNED FOR ONE DATE COMING SOON TO BUILD THE BEDS AFTER SCHOOL. (we're watching the weather). DO YOU have a connection so we can get soil donated? How about fencing? Here is the link to the Go Fund Me page - please share it with all your friends. Of course, anyone can always go to the PCS website to make a donation as well.  Be sure to put for the kinderGARDEN in the comment section. THANK YOU! FEELING EXCITED AND GRATEFUL! 

Lower Primary


This week, Lower Primary students were faced with the question, How does the earth change?  As they reflected on this question, meaningful discussions evolved and students became passionate about their thoughts and ideas.  We discussed that changes to the earth can be very slow and take many years to even notice, while others can come fast and impact the earth greatly.  The students generated a list of several natural disasters that can happen in an instant and effect the earth.  Going forward, we will continue our research and discussions on these disturbances and hone in on each one to gain additional information.  

Although the astronomy unit has ended, students in Lower Primary have one more S.T.E.A.M. project to complete.  This week, students began designing and creating a landing pod for their rovers.  The rovers will be “released” on Mars and need to land safely from a distance of 2 meters.  The rovers will need to land right side up, carrying an egg that represents people and supplies.  If the egg does not crack and the rover lands right side up, students will have completed the challenge successfully.  

In math this week we continued our exploration of counting coins.  Students were exposed to a variety of games and activities this week to practice their coin counting.  Next week we will be setting up a store in the classroom. Encourage your child to count coins at home!

Upper Primary

This week Upper Primary was introduced to the concepts of plate tectonics and continental drift. Students learned how this theory, which explains the position of Earth's continents, was first established and about its supportive evidence. During the course of their explorations about continental drift, students discovered that at one time in Earth’s history, there was only one supercontinent, called Pangaea, and that this single land mass broke apart to form the seven continents on Earth today. Utilizing fossil evidence, records of soil composition and the continents’ shapes, students attempted to rearrange the continents to recreate the landmass of Pangaea which existed 250 million years ago. Students viewed a cross section of the Earth noting is layers and identifying their composition. They learned that the Earth's crust is composed of a number of individual plates that change shape and position over time due to the convection currents in the mantle. Students researched about the geophysical evidence which indicates that the face of Earth's surface has changed significantly since its initial formation and that the plates on which the continents are located are in constant motion. They discovered that the movement of the plates is responsible for the formation of ocean basins, mountain ranges, islands, volcanoes, and earthquakes. Students tested out the three types of plate boundaries: convergent, divergent, and transform. Using clay, students simulated the four actions that happen at these boundaries to see what happens as plates push, pull and slide toward, away and past each other. In small groups, students worked together to document their observations. The images students captured were compiled to generate a stop-motion film showcasing the movements and what resulted from the interactions.

You can view the Plate Boundaries stop-motion at the link below: