K/1st: Week of 5/6

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What a beautiful way to begin Teacher Appreciation Week!

Thank You, Alphas!

Around the World in 60 Days…

This week we traveled to the “land down under!” Alphas learned that Australia is not only a continent, it is a country! It is also an island. We mapped its climatic features and figured that water might be a very important resource for people living there, because so much of the continent is desert.

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Alphas already knew some special creatures that call Australia “home,” but we learned why Australia is home to SO many unusual ones! It turns out that back when Australia broke off from Gondwanaland, any creatures that could not fly away, just remained in Australia and evolved in their unique way without the influence or predation of other creatures.

Alphas were tasked to make a poster of an Australian Animal with their table team. Each team had to choose one animal. They had to to come to an agreement – which might mean compromising (it might be a good idea to have several animals you like, in case your favorite isn’t everyone’s favorite). Then you will have to design and illustrate your poster…together!

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“Green Table, what creature did you choose?” “We worked on a wombat.”

A dingo…

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a platypus…

a koala bear…

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& a cassowary

Alphas knew that Africa was the birthplace of humanity, so how did humans in Australia get there?

It turns out, the First People who traveled to Australia some 65,000 years ago, were able to by virtue of the fact a LOT of water was locked up in ice. This meant that the islands in Oceana were bigger and the span of of sea was smaller between them! Scientists believe that the first Australians might even have been able to see land from island to island all the way to Australia!

Alphas learned that when resources are scarce communities tend to be smaller. People tend to protect their resources and they might want to keep them secret. Wise elders would create maps of resources for their clans and pass this knowledge down. The Aboriginal people are the oldest continuous culture of people in the world! Alphas learned that their stories, called “dreamings” are not simply origin stories of how things happened, but are a continuous act of creation. Each clan adopted a totem that held special meaning to them. In the 1970’s an art form, Aboriginal Dot Painting, was created to honor the ancient clans, totems, and maps – but only with the elders’ permission. We Alphas don’t have permission to use any of their animals or maps, but we can honor their art form and OUR animals (according to artists in Australia). So we tried our hand at making our own dot paintings!

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7 Continents Show & Tell…

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Mt Fuji fan from Japan

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A colorful elephant ornament from India…

A possum from friends who went to Australia…

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A wombat…

treasures from India…

Ms. Kim’s sari is sooooo long!

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Ava’s Australian Monarch Diagram and Documentation of Flora!

This week’s Reflections…

At the end of our table team challenge this week, we were to give our table mates an appreciation. At Circle Time the next morning we asked each child to share what their table mates said about them. Out of 17 students, only 2 could remember what nice-things their friends said about them. We talked about how interesting it is that we can so easily remember how bad things are and fail to remember the nice things that happen in our lives. The next morning, when we were working on our STEAM project, we took a very brief break to meet with our table team to to let each one know that, “No matter what else might happen today I know you are a ______(fill-in with your favorite appreciation) person.” Or tell them something else more specific, and this time, try to remember!

There will be a test on Monday :)

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This week in Math…

Ms. Kim’s group…

This week we tested our knowledge of 2 digit numbers with the game “Mystery Behind the Mask!” We played even MORE adding, subtracting games, and rather than face mutiny, we played another round of “Guess my Number!”

Math puzzles are cool…

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Hide your eyes…

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WE did it! And Leo was able to correctly help students undo some mistakes they made to their boards by telling them which 2-digit numbers were still viable! How is THAT for knowing their numbers?!

Ms. Eliza’s group…

We spent part of our week reviewing solving logic problems and playing games before taking our End of year Assessments….

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The pizza fraction game…

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Race to a Dollar

This week in Language Arts…

Ms. Eliza’s group…

For our literacy and writing workshop this week we explored what friendship is. We read The Sandwich Swap, a story of two best friends who have an upset and find their way through it.

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We wrote a list of friends…

“I could fill this whole journal with the names of all my friends!”

Then we wrote about one of our friends, the things we do together and what makes them special. We also learned the sight word friend, played phonics games, and made cvc words to add to our journals.

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Ms. Kim’s group…

We revisited what goes into “publishing” our work in Alpha. At the end of Q2, we published a book that we wrote together. This Quarter we are going to publish our own writing. Alphas have been writing short memoirs in class from the questionnaires they filled out for their P&P. This week, they have been rewriting some of them with corrections – adding punctuation, changing upper/lowercase letters, and (some) spelling. We wrote our author’s bio pages too! They almost made Ms. Kim faint when she asked what they would like to work on when they were done and they said “MORE WRITING!” We have come a long way.

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Final draft…


Inspired by the Malaysian stilt homes we learned about last week, our challenge this week was to design a stilt house using these materials…paper bags, popsicle sticks, straws or spaghetti and tape. Getting a strong foundation for the house to stand on the stilts created a bit of experimenting…our Alphas are good engineers and accomplished that goal with some very creative designs.

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In other news…

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Planning our End of School Alpha Party!!!!

Many hands make light work

On the Playground…

chillin’ on the roof of a tent…

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& trying to stay cool in the Jungle of Nool!