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.
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!
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.