K/1st: Week of May 8th

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Thank you ALL for such a special Teacher Appreciation Week!


We LOVE our new totes (and all that was in them) and LUNCH was not only delicious, but soooo relaxing; what a wonderful treat!


What’s Above Us this week…

This week the Alphas learned more about our star. Because of you awesome parents out there – they already knew A LOT!

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Alphas were shocked to learn that the sun contains 99% of the matter in our solar system. This led to a discussion on matter (we reviewed the 3 states of matter from our study of water and added a new one – plasma!) and learned about mass as well.

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We learned that, just like our planet, the sun has an equator. We demonstrated how many Earths would fit across the sun’s equator by placing a 9’ line of masking tape on the red rug (representing the sun’s equator) and adding 1” earth stickers across. We worked on this project during transition times throughout the week and we still haven’t made it across! I believe we’re at ~91.

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We learned about the types of energy that come from the sun: infrared, visible light and ultraviolet. Alphas were reminded of the importance of wearing sunscreen to protect our skin from the ultraviolet rays. And, we made sunscreen.

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Coconut oil only has an SPF of 7 (at max), but we didn’t want our Alphas handling strong chemicals. We tested our sunscreen by placing a sunscreened handprint on a piece of black construction paper and setting it outside for a few hours. Even though the sun was not visible on this day, we found that it still managed to bleach out our black paper to a grayish tone – except for where we had applied the sunscreen!

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Next we set off on an art project! We cut suns out of cardstock and applied gobs of red, yellow and orange paint. We laid a plastic sheet over it and went to town pounding, pressing and smearing the paint all around.

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The results were incredible!

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Our next project was inspired by a mission to bring light to people in the Philippines who live where they lack access to – or cannot afford – electricity. You can learn more about the Liter of Light cause here.

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We began with cardboard boxes and traced water bottles on the side that we wanted the top of our box to be. Next, we drew a viewbox. Finally, we painted!

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After our paint dried we filled water bottles and dyed the water different colors.

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We stuck them into the holes on the top of our box and, voila! When we peeked through our viewholes we saw cool patterns of light – even colors – projected on the inside of the box. Similarly to rainbows, water makes light slow down and bend in all directions. For this reason, Alphas were instructed to be sure to apply sunscreen whenever they visit the pool.

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We even found time to work on our rocket designs this week!

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The table teams worked together beautifully and made their Alpha teachers very proud.

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This week in Math…

What’s going on in Ms. Kim’s Group

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Playing “Guess my Number!”

We made 10 bars and unit cubes. “How many can our Alpha class make?”

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“2 groups of 100 is 200…4 groups of 10’s is 40…and 9 unit cubes!”

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What’s going on in Ms. Andrea’s Group

We began the week by connecting two of our major units of study: coins and time. We saw that that are 4 quarters in both, an hour and a dollar. Next, we set nickels beside 5-minute increments on an analog clock.

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We spent (pun intended) lots of time counting coins this week! The Alphas are catching on to the concept nicely!

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On Wednesday we all went shopping! Each Alpha was given two quarters and asked to select an item from our store to buy. We all took turns being cashiers – writing receipts and giving change when necessary.

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We finished off the week – as we do – by practicing solving story problems and working on our fact fluency. We played a new game called Race to 100 that proved very challenging to most. Fortunately, the challenge lay in the rules and not in solving the addition number sentences!

This week in Language Arts..

What’s going on in Ms. Andrea’s Group

Photo fail! Soo sorry – we were so busy working on finishing up our books, and completing the final week of guided reading groups along with our structured phonics curricula – that I missed any chance to pull out my phone and “snap” a photo! This will be a priority for next week as we focus on completing our author study with the McDuff series (focusing on the beginning/middle/end of stories and character traits) and sharing the rest of our fabulous books.

What’s going on in Ms. Kim’s Group

This week we talked about how author’s take highly emotional events in their lives and then turn them into fictional stories. We talked about times people hurt our feelings or times we were really scared, then read the story The Red Balloon about a lonely boy who made a friend out of a balloon.

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Just when things were as bad as they could get, something wonderful, amazing, and magical happens that rescues the boy. Alphas knew this was impossible, but it was wonderful anyway. We wanted to take real-life emotions and and create characters whose problems are solved in a fantastical way.

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Inspired writers!

In Other News…

At the end of the year we find that we are stronger and braver to share our ideas and opinions and we are so proud of how far we’ve grown this year. These new skills can also mean we face lots of different ideas and opinions that don’t look like ours and that creates conflict. In order to continue building our community, we have to figure out a way to get through conflict. It can be really hard to be respectful when you get frustrated and sometimes people get so frustrated that they invade our personal space. We talked about how we can take care of our personal space and ways to remind others to respect it. WE talked and TALKED! Our class had so much to say and so many ideas, we had a little snack-time chat about experiences we’ve had when we felt disrespected or someone got into our personal space.

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Travel Buddies!

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This week in Monday Lab…

This week we had a tough challenge to build a hollow sphere. Alphas came up with some inventive strategies using a mold, and special folds, and multiple strips of paper.

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In honor of the moon, we made moon-mochi!

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We learned how a famous, self-taught artist, names Henri Rousseau used perspective in order to give depth to his jungle paintings.

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