K/1st: Week of 4/29

This week in Alpha…

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Peas in a pod (thanks Ms. Andrea for capturing this pic)!

Around the World in 60 Days…

We traveled to Asia, Earth’s largest continent, this week. We found the oldest and deepest lake (lake Bikhal in Russia), the highest mountain Sagamatha or Mt. Everest, the Gobi desert with its last herd of wild bactrian camels, and a sea that has not a living plant or animal and 10x the amount of salt in the ocean – the Dead Sea – all unique to Asia. And that 4.75 billion people live on the continent. That’s 4 billion one hundred-seventy-five billion more than North America!

The first of our primary countries of discussion this week was China whose culture developed so many important inventions…paper making, fireworks, toothbrushes, gun powder, bronze, silk, and kites to name a few. We opened up Ms. Eliza’s chinese painting kit to discover the Four Treasures of Study …brush, ink, paper and ink stone. Other “treasures” include a brush holder and a brush-rinsing pot.

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Throughout the week we experimented with the ancient techniques of brush painting and sumi-e first with bamboo and panda bears

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And then with sakura ~ cherry blossoms!

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Alphas expressed themselves so creatively with this new found skill!

On Tuesday, Cara (Lucy’s mom) joined us to share their family’s Iranian heritage. Lucy wore traditional clothing handmade by her Great-great Aunt in Iran as they laid out this beautiful celebration table called Haftseen for the celebration of Nowruz – The Persian New Year. We learned that everything on the table carries meaning for the celebratory thirteen days.

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Seeb (apple) representing beauty

Seer (garlic) representing health

Skerkeh (vinegar) representing patience

Sonbol (hyacinth) representing spring

Samanu (sweet pudding) representing affluence

Sabzeh (sprouts) representing rebirth

Sekeh (coins) representing prosperity

Sumac for it’s gold color representing the sunrise

Egg representing fertility

Fish representing life

Mirror for reflecting into the future

On Thursday, Pao’s mom, Natasya, came to share about Malaysia! There was so much to learn about this lush, beautiful country. We heard that being so near the equator it’s tropical climate keeps it warm most of the time, monsoons are part of the cycle of life there and houses are built on stilts. We love sharing the rich heritage and cultures of our families!

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On Wednesday, we had a team challenge to create an art form used in Asia for meditation and transformation ~ Mandalas. We learned first what radial symmetry is, when we see it in nature and how it inspires Mandala art. Teams were given baskets of different materials and negotiated among themselves how to create a collective vision or art piece. Afterward, we reflected on challenges and shared appreciations for how our teams interacted. We then took a tour of all the tables and joined together once again to share appreciation for things we noticed in other table team’s creations.

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Alpha Teams explore their resources…

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What if we try this…

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…or this…

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7 Continents Show & Tell…

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South American bird whistle

wooden clogs from Europe

hand-carved giraffe from Africa

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a mother’s trip to Africa

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an 11 year-old cousin’s illustration of a Chinese dragon

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a cartouche pendant from Egypt

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& more beautiful Matryoshkas

This week’s Reflections…

Our social emotional focus this week was on taking responsibility for our relationships by being truthful. We took time to reflect on how our table teams worked together. We were able to express how it feels when our ideas aren’t acknowledged or tried: people talked about how hard it is to contribute when voices in the group get harsh. We talked about things each of us could try to do better next time. We also celebrated the work we accomplished and the unique role each table mate played. Our community felt like their table teams were on a great track.

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This is our last week with our Travel Buddies who helped us to reflect on the skill of perseverance…with P&P, soccer practice and how sticking with something even when it’s hard can make us better at doing it! Willow, Garciano, & Bunbun will be sharing their experiences next week!

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This week in Math…

Ms. Kim’s group…

This week we really dug into math patterns. We had to use a lot of place value knowledge, and knowledge of our 99 Chart in order to solve some crazy number puzzles. Once a student figured out a tricky pattern, they became the “expert” and was the go-to person to help explain how to find the pattern (and it was never the same person twice!).

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Alphas played “5 in a Row” to practice our number chart skills.

Ms. Eliza’s group…


Now that we’ve explored different types of units, we’re measuring with standard measurement. At the beginning of each of our math meetings we discuss what different math vocabulary means in relation to what we’re doing that day. In this unit we’re exploring with greater depth what the words measurement, height, width, length, etc. mean.

We teamed up to create Measurement Monsters. We recorded the height, width, and length to learn how to measure in inches.

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Which is the best tool to use…ruler, yardstick or tape measure?

We then measured each other and compared heights, lengths and widths of different parts of our bodies. In our circle we’ve been creating double digit word problems for each other to solve.

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This week in Language Arts…

Ms. Eliza’s group…

We started out our week sharing the animals and pets we wrote about over the weekend. In Writer’s Workshop on Tuesday we wrote about things we like. On Thursday we wrote about things we didn’t like.

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We took time to review vowels and vowel sounds and to make words with the moveable alphabet using short e and o sounds. We did a short assessment of how we’re doing with our handwriting by writing all the lowercase letters of the alphabet and WOW did our Alpha’s amaze us!!! Everyone is writing so beautifully and confidently!

Ms. Kim’s group…

Whew! We got a LOT done this week! We did some awesome word-dissection, we wrote, we shared, we read, and shared reading with Ms. Eliza’s group!

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Earlier this week we read a Japanese folktale about a little one-inch boy named Issun Boshi. For our STEAM challenge, Alphas had to imagine how Issun Boshi could use some items the teachers left out for them: a sea shell, a crayon, a tin can, a measuring cup, a mandarin orange, a fake flower, and a paperclip. Then they diagrammed how these common objects could be used for new purposes! We took no photos, but we had loads of great ideas: The flower was everything from a sun shade to a cozy bed…the can was a home, a pool, and a cannon for the orange…the shell was a bedroom and a telephone – the crayon, well that seemed to inspire quite a few swords – which we think could well be MIGHTIER than one – with this creative bunch!

In other news…

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Some jobs require double aprons!