News from Lower EL West
Greetings and Happy Spring, at long last! I'd like to
share with you some feedback about our transitioning from team Sue and Lucy to
team Sue, Christie and Lisa. It certainly has been a smooth transition due to
the fact that Lisa, Christie, and Susan have been, and continue to be, your
children’s teachers. Christie has graciously agreed to work with me Tuesday
through Friday; Lisa has increased her hours as well and is with me on Mondays.
Our classroom continues to be a peaceful, enriching environment and Lucy is
sending me pictures of her family and the beach. Susan continues to have
notebook news on Wednesday afternoons and presents cultural lessons on
Thursday. I'd like to thank all of you as well for your support during this time
We have been busy and have enjoyed some special events:
Fair: Again, I'm so pleased and proud of
the children’s ability to present their projects to their peers, classmates,
and parents. They enjoy this experience,
and develop self-confidence as well. Lower El and Upper El students visited
each other's projects as well. They were all very respectful and supportive of
one another. My thanks to all that helped make this happen. The cleanup crew of
Luis's dad and Ariel's and Adriana's
dad was a gift. They quickly set the classrooms back up again and made life a
lot easier for all of us.
Henderson's fundraiser was a huge success. With Liz Henderson's help and
guidance, Sarah presented her idea to Margaret and discussed this with our
class. Sarah’s request for volunteers to bake was met with a show of many hands
and quickly written names on the sign-up sheet. Christie had a wonderful idea
to collect money for the cookies etc.: She likened it to a farm stand where
people followed the honor system, and donate what they wanted. Then, all parents could enjoy the Science
Fair, and not have to monitor the table.
It all worked out well. The baked items were delicious and $170 was
raised. The check was sent to Animal Adventures in Bolton, Mass. This is
where Lucy and I adopted the Degues from.
Lastly, the additional space using Susan Hershey’s classroom seemed to
afford us the needed extra room to show all the projects and enable everyone to
walk around more freely to enjoy this wonderful annual fair.
Day was a warm site to see. The smiling faces of both the children and their
guests illustrate what a special event this is. Those whose families were able
to attend enjoyed the bustling, fun morning as well. In the afternoon, we set
aside some time for other students to share pictures, mementos or stories about
their Grandparents who were not able to attend.
Thank you to
Carolina, Briana's mom, for coming to share information about Santo
Domingo. Briana and Paula helped
translate for us and others in the classroom spoke Spanish they knew as well.
We learned about the climate, animals, schooling, types of flowers and trees,
and we all shared a special lunch. Carolina brought in bananas, avocados and a
dish called Poco de Pollo. It was
delicious! Some children had more than one serving. Staff members as well have
enjoyed Carolina's cooking. I have
enjoyed two meals brought in and can't thank her enough.
Beach Day was
fun! Christie created a tropical
paradise complete with leis and other decorative items. Various children made palm trees, a tiki
shack and tiki lights, and there was music. Towels came out quickly and most
donned bathing suits or beach apparel. The music was enticing and a lot of
people got up to dance. It was a
wonderful opportunity to have some fun and it is a favorite.
Crazy Hair Day
was added on this year by Upper El and we gladly joined in the fun. There were green wigs, crazy hairdos,
different colored hair, and other interesting hairdos.
Lastly, we had
two visitors when Matt introduced us to his beautiful, big puppies. Thank you
to Christine (and her husband) for carrying them in. Anchor weighs 18 pounds
and his sisters is close behind. So cute. These pups are going to good homes
and they will be a great addition to any family. I wish it was mine.
We have been
classification of frogs, birds, and reptiles, Time Line of Life activities;
measurement, memorization of multiplication facts, symmetry, congruency of shapes,
and place value work
Language - dictionary work, comprehension
stories, and review of capitalization rules
Stanford testing for third-year students
Picnic at Look
Time is flying
May Toddler News 2015
to come and go quickly but gave us a little taste of spring which supported our
discussion of the season. We read stories, made daily observations of forsythia
branches over the course of a week and viewed plants and branches under
magnification. Several of our stories mentioned the rain in spring time. Our
rain stick made some of the stories read come to life. The children had the
opportunity to try it on their own. As we were getting ready to go outside,
some of the children realized we didn't need snow pants, boots or mittens
anymore. You could see their happiness to finally play unencumbered. Everyone was
delighted to be able to finally use the sand box. One day, all the children
were in it at once. Food prep continued to be a popular activity. We added
melon cutting and potato peeling. During one of our group gatherings, we
prepared a pineapple for snack. The children were able to use several of their
senses during this activity. As the
whole pineapple was passed around, we noted its weight, texture, smell and at
the end, tasting was the best part. Currently we are trying to root the top to
make a new plant. In previous years, the class planted flower and bean seeds in
late April but due to the later onset of spring warmth, we waited until this
month. We will do our traditional beautification of our entry area and will
begin preparing our large outdoor pots to transplant the herbs we have been
caring for all winter indoors.
May holds a
wonderful tradition of taking a special day to honor our mothers. We hope all
moms have a wonderful and relaxing Mother's Day.
The end of
May can be very sunny and warm at our outdoor time. Please apply any sun screen
before coming to school. Sneakers are still the best shoes for school. Open
shoes allow the wood chips to get inside making their feet very
Spanish with Paula, Abril, 2015
We were busy with animal vocabulary during the month of April. Each level (Lower and Upper El) did some
illustrating and some writing for their animal projects. The year is quickly
coming to an end! Looking forward to a
very busy May in preparation for the fiestas!
TODDLER— A little bit of fine tuning with my schedule has
allowed me to spend a bit more time in the toddler classroom chatting away in
Spanish. I usually arrive for story time
and stay for playtime before lunch. The
children have begun to repeat words here and there en espanol.
CHILDREN’S HOUSES— We talked about the difference between
wild and tame animals and sorted plastic animals into those two categories. We practiced their names in Spanish. The children enjoyed creating animal puzzles
as well. We played a game of animal
lotto to practice more animal names.
After the April break, we practiced food vocabulary with the
ever-popular Raton game. The children
also got to vote on whether they liked (me encanta) or disliked (no me encanta)
the foods we used for the Raton game. On
to more food practice in May!
KINDERGARTEN— The kindergarteners have created a clothes
vocabulary list for their Spanish folders.
We had fun “dressing” animals in people clothing and discussing the
clothes vocabulary. We also created an
animal vocabulary list (pets) for our folders and talked about pets we had (Yo
tengo) and pets we would like (Yo quiero). After April vacation, we went on to
food vocabulary. The children are quite
comfortable writing words en espanol and their folders are chuck full of
LOWER ELEMENTARY — Level One students have been busily
learning the Spanish version of “Old MacDonald Had a Farm”. They have illustrated a book of the animals
in all of the verses. We also wrote
about the colors of these animal using two colors. We hope to sing not only to Lower El, but to
Upper El and Kindergarten as well!
students created a rainbow forest for their study of forest animals. We reviewed pet and farm vocab and then it
was on to this new vocabulary. The
students also wrote about their forests and presented them to our Spanish
class. The Level Twos are working on the
poem “La Ranita” for the spring. We are
well on the way to memorizing the poem.
The children are looking forward to creating a ranita project and
presenting to Lower El.
Level Three students have been
working on a story about pets (Una Mascota para Mi). Their reading skills are coming right
along! This level also reviewed pet,
farm and forest vocabulary before going on to jungle animals. They wrote three paragraphs about three
different jungle animals and illustrated each page. We learned how to make comparisons in Spanish
UPPER ELEMENTARY—Levels three, four, and five have been
studying animal vocabulary this month. After a review of pet, farm, forest and
jungle, the various levels went on to new animal vocabulary and projects.
Please see above Lower Elementary description.
Level Four— The
vocabulary for sea animals was our new vocabulary at this level. After completing vocabulary lists for our
animal vocabulary review, we wrote one for sea animals. Each student chose a sea animal to write
about. We wrote about their color, where
they lived and what they ate. We
reviewed how to write comparisons in Spanish and proceeded to compare our
animal to other sea animals. We also
wrote a sentence using our preposition vocabulary. After illustrating their pages, the children
read to our Spanish class. We are also
working on a story about friends (Mi Amigo).
Slowly but surely, our reading and comprehension is improving.
Level Five— My
level Five student was able to complete almost all of the review animal
vocabulary pages independently! We then
went on to desert vocabulary. In
conjunction with this vocabulary, we practiced demonstrative adjectives
(Ese,esos, esa,esas,este,estes, esta, estas).
We also reviewed colors, comparisons and prepositions for our writing
project. We have slowly been reading and translating that whale story! We often get side-tracked with other reading
and writing. Every little bit of reading
and translating will help!
Level Six— For
the first time in quite a while, my Level six students have successfully read
and translated more than half of our reading book, “El Viaje a Mexico”. Congratulations! We are reading about a chapter per class now
and I really would love to finish the book by the end of the year—a first for
Paula!! My goal for this level of
Spanish is to foster as much reading independence as possible. We are striving to use our resources
(notebook, reading book, and dictionary) to complete our class work without the
aid of a teacher!
JUNIOR GREAT BOOKS WITH PAULA/LOWER ELEMENTARY
Level One students have been working on the African folktale,
“The King of the Frogs.” They enjoyed
creating the different sounds which the frogs made at night until someone
approaches. Their art work showed the
frogs doing as the pleased. They drew a
picture of the god “Mmumi”. Interesting
interpretation of their idea of a god!
We created a poem about noisy and quiet as a class. The children also made crocodile puppets in
honor of the new king “Mamba.”
Level Two students have been discussing friendship in our
West Indian story “Anancy and Puss and Dog and Friendship”. We formed a vocabulary list. We wrote about
whether Puss and Dog should try to be friends and who was the better friend! The children have been working hard on using
information from the story to back up their opinions. We have been examining
different parts of the story to see if we could come up with clues about
friendship. The children did a great job
reading this story, which is written in a “funky” dialect!
Level Three students have been working on the folktale, “The
Fisherman and His Wife.” We have formed
a vocabulary list. We have practiced a
little “note taking” as we read about who was being fair or unfair in the
story. We discussed the theme of
greed. After April vacation, the
children began their own stories about what they would wish for if they found a
flew by! We really enjoyed the few good
days we could get outside and are looking forward to more in May.
We want to
thank everyone who came to the Science Fair to see our work and enjoy the
evening together. Your interest and enthusiasm made it easy for the class to
demonstrate their projects and showcase their knowledge. Any stage fright quickly vanished in front of
such an attentive and appreciative audience.
And to have so many relatives come in and share Grandparents’ Day was a
special bonus this month.
continues with division and with area work. Some students are exploring nets in
geometry and calculating surface area of different types of prisms and
cylinders. This work calls for the integration of many math skills and enhanced
habits of mind, particularly perseverance and concentration. Geometry based word problems bring an
additional level of complexity. In
addition, some students have begun learning to frame mathematical terms in
are still in the Literature Circle novels they were in March, busily responding
to the reading either through discussion or written work. Our new read aloud is The Jacket and
it is affording us a great deal of material for thought/discussion about the
nature, origins and extent of prejudice as the main character explores his own
mind set and that of his family when a jacket appears to have been stolen
(which it wasn’t).
to work on short stories through which we study inference, mood, word choice,
characterization and sequencing.
until the Spring Performance we are juggling rehearsals and an increased work
load as we look forward to moving up to a new level next September. Fifth years will be taking Stanford tests –
results will arrive home during the summer vacation – and books are arriving
for summer reading. We look forward to
the Teacher Appreciation Dinner, Spanish Fiesta, Look Park and, alas,
retrospect, most of the whole year has flown by!
Upper and Lower Elementary Art
Hello everyone I
hope that you enjoyed your spring vacation. In art, we have been busily
preparing for the Spring Production auction. Both the Upper and Lower
Elementary classes have been working on collaborative art projects. Each Elementary class is repurposing a
child’s wooden puzzle into a “one of a kind” art piece. We started this project by sanding and
applying several layers of white acrylic paint to each puzzle piece in order to
create a neutral base on which to work. In
keeping with this year’s school wide theme of heritage, each student was tasked with the assignment to design an
individual puzzle piece that reflected their family heritage, philosophy or
traditions. The students are using a variety of materials to create their
designs such as paint, markers and glitter.
Each puzzle consists of twenty-four pieces and on the left over pieces,
the children are designing a section that we will all work on together. Once
all the pieces are complete, the puzzle will be reassembled and glued into
place. The idea being that we bring all these unique elements which represent
us as individuals and combine them. They
in turn are what make up our school community and “family” if you will. Each
puzzle will incorporate the line from our school song, “We’re All Family Under
One Sky” and a picture hanger will be attached on the back of this art piece so
it can easily be displayed. We are in the process of completing these projects
and are busy putting all the final touches in order to have them ready for the
Spring Production so they can be auctioned off. Below you can see the works in progress. That’s all until next time.
NEWS FROM CHILDREN’S
SUSAN AND DONNA
we were away for February vacation, Chinese New Year began. Several years ago, there was a family with
two boys in my class from Taiwan. Their mother was fluent in English, and she
was also eager to share her family’s culture with her sons’ class. Thanks to her, I have stories and decorations
to share with my classes today. Chinese
New Year began (this year) on February 19 and lasts for fifteen days. We have been learning about the origin of the
New Year’s observance, about some of the traditional customs, and about how
some Chinese-American children celebrate the New Year. Did you know that the color red and the noise
of the fire-crackers are used to scare away the monster who preys on innocent
victims at the end of each year?
Children receive gifts of money in red envelopes? Oranges
are considered good luck? The
celebration ends with the Lantern Festival?
the upcoming weeks will not be bringing us so much snow, and I will be able to
continue with the space curriculum I have planned. We began with a look at some concepts that
are important to know about before a study of space. First, we explored the concept of “gravity.” We jumped up – and came down. We rolled a car on a ramp – it went down, not
up. We rolled a car off the edge of a
table – it fell down. Gravity is a force
that draws everything towards the center of the earth. Without it, we would all float out into
space. Next, we talked about matter and
what it is, and the three states that all matter is – solid, liquid, or
gas. We compared these to our earlier
lesson of land, water, and air.
If you happen to be outside with your child
after dark, look up at the sky – talk about what you both see there. We will be learning a bit about space in
general, but will mostly be focusing on our solar system. We will learn about the sun (what it is like
and what it does for us). We will make
booklets of the planets. We will talk
about how earth is different from the other planets. And, we will “explore” the moon. I am excited to share this interesting
subject with the class.
Looking forward to an early spring…
April has come and gone in a flash. The children returned
back to school after a restful vacation.
I was thrilled to see their smiling faces on Monday morning and we have
had a great start for the remainder of this school year.
It seems we are finally all much healthier and the coughing
and sneezing in our classroom has mostly disappeared. We have had another whole class hand-washing
demonstration to remind ourselves of the proper way to get rid of those pesky
germs. No more sickness I hope!
Grandparents Day was wonderful as always. The children did a fantastic job showing what
they do in school and what they have learned this year. It is very gratifying
to see them spend time with their grandparents and to see that special
bond. We even had great-grandparents
visit this year!
Looking ahead: May is
full of new and exciting activities. We are practicing our songs for our Spring
Performance and are crafting a quilt for our Raffle on Spring Performance
night. Each child will be able to decorate his/her own patch for our classroom
quilt. The project will surely turn out
very nicely. I know you will love it!
During the next several weeks we will be doing an activity
called “Special Friend for the Day”. I
will be sending home a form for you to fill out together with your child. After you return the form, each day a
different child will be chosen to be the “Special Friend” and the other children
will be asked to find out who the special friend is. This is a very exciting
and meaningful way to celebrate each child’s uniqueness.
We are also looking forward to our fieldtrip to Lupa Zoo on
Wednesday, May 27. The children will love this trip and it should be a lot of
fun for everyone. We will be sending
home information shortly. Please remember to return the permission slip with
envelope as soon as possible. We could use another chaperone or two, please
call the school or send me a note if you would like to join us on that day.
Thank goodness for a
break in the weather - hopefully! It
certainly has been a nice change during recess not having to wear winter gear.
This time of year, the children are hard at work
demonstrating the many skills they have mastered, as well as building new
skills and abilities. The three year olds are busy repeating the necessary
Practical Life activities (scooping, pouring, tweezing, stringing, scrubbing,
etc) and are also sharpening their senses with the Sensorial activities
(building the Pink Tower and Brown Stairs, distinguishing smooth and rough,
etc). These activities are helping to build their concentration and develop
organizational skills. The four and five year olds are typically strengthening
their phonetic abilities, beginning to blend sounds, or are reading at various
levels depending on their individual readiness. The oldest five and six year
olds are leading the way throughout the entire classroom. Many of them have
individual projects which they have self created (for ex. writing journals from
chapter books, push pin continent maps, drawing flags of the United Nations,
and writing "silly sentences" strips several feet long). It is wonderful
to step back and observe your children at their finest!
We've been working on important Grace and Courtesy lessons
during our group activities. Recently, the children learned how to properly
shake hands, make eye contact and say "Hello or Good Morning" to each
other. Also, we practiced how to formally introduce ourselves to one another.
We will continue these types of activities for a couple more weeks.
received the notice regarding the quilt we will be making for the Annual Spring
Performance. This year’s school theme is
Heritage and we have been discussing this along with nationalities. Each child will be creating a quilt block
which I will then put together as a quilt to raffle off the night of the
Performance. After I have everyone’s
paper or email back stating what nationality you would like to represent your
family, I will start their individual flags for the quilt.
I hope all the grandparents enjoyed their visit in the
classroom. It was a pleasure seeing the returning families and meeting the new.
Thank you for taking the time to see your grandchildren (and
great-grandchildren) in action. The children love to show off all that they
Lastly, thank you to Andrew Banker’s
father, Brian for giving a wonderful presentation to our Children’s House
Classrooms on “Doctor Visits” and what to expect during a visit. For example we learned what a stethoscope is
used for (the children loved listening to each other’s heartbeat), how to check
your knee reflexes and they also enjoyed looking into another child’s ear with
Brian’s help. Along with the many
questions the children asked Brian, this was a great experience for us all!
Coming Up Next – EARTH DAY