October Morning Exploring Tubs

October is already half-way over, and I haven’t yet shared the October Morning Exploring tubs! There are some FUN thematic activities this month!


Tub 1: Students choose a number card. They then build that number in a ten frame using pumpkins. Read more about why the concept of the ten frame is important: https://mdelwiche.edublogs.org/2017/10/24/terrific-ten-frame/http://


Tub 2: Students us a die or two dice to roll a number. They then build that number on the spider web mat using tweezers and flies…eewww! With this activity, students are not only strengthening their fine motor skills, but they are practicing several math concepts including addition and number sense.


Tub 3: Students identify a number on the candy jar and then fill the jar with that number of candy corn. Besides building fine motor skills, students are recognizing numbers and demonstrating both one-to-one correspondence and number sense.



Tub 4: Students count the number of pumpkins in each container and record their answer. This activity reinforces counting as well as number writing.


Tub 5: Students match a number to the correct ten or double ten frame and then clip the cards together. Squeezing the clothespin strengthens fine motor skills. Students are also identifying numbers, counting, and demonstrating number sense.


Tub 6: Pokey Pins! Students use a push pin to poke holes along the outline of either a ghost or a pumpkin, making this fun light-up design! This activity works on strengthening fine motor skills.


Tub 7: Students pick a pattern card and then use tweezers to make the pattern. They are working on AB, ABC, ABB, AAB, and AABBCC patterns.


Tub 8: Each student has a number book with teen numbers. They use a hole punch to punch that number of holes on each page. This activity demonstrates number sense and one-to-one correspondence and strengthens fine motor skills


Tub 9: Students use links to measure Halloween themed items. They record the number of links long each item is on the picture card.

Mornings are delightfully busy in kindergarten!


Sensory Table Fun

Students had an opportunity to see what is inside the October Sensory Table today…

colored pasta!

The children immediately wanted to know how I made the colored pasta. I told them I would share the recipe here on the blog so that they can make it at home.

For our independent activity during reading centers, I hid spiders with pictures on the back in the pasta.

Once students unearthed a spider, they were to say the name of the picture, like “fan”.

Next, students identified the vowel sound in the middle of the word. They then recorded the vowel on their worksheet.

Check back for more sensory table fun soon!


Storyteller Michael Katz Visits Lower School

We enjoyed a visit today from famous storyteller, Michael Katz. Mr. Katz has been visiting Laguna for more than ten years to share his gift of storytelling. It is always a wonderfully entertaining time when he performs!

“Michael Katz has been a storyteller since 1984 and has been featured at such illustrious locations as the openings of both the Los Angeles Getty Center and the Disney Concert Hall. Michael is the host of the radio storytelling program Katz Pajamas heard on NPR station KCBX FM. He is one of the founding members of the national touring theater company BOXTALES, and was the founding Artistic Director for the Flying Leap Storytelling Festival in Solvang, California.

Michael Katz

Michael tells stories which weave together both the comic and the profound using his own highly energetic, animated and interactive style of storytelling. Michael’s stories include multicultural folktales, myths, original stories and personal narratives. Michael has performed at theaters, concert halls, festivals, school assemblies, and libraries throughout the U.S. Because of Michael’s extensive research of stories, his repertoire is so vast he can find the right story for almost any event.” (from www.storytellermichael.com)

Mr. Katz told three stories today. Here are the first two. Enjoy!

Students in grades two through four have the very special opportunity to engage in several workshops with Michael, where they will learn the art of storytelling. Thank you, Mrs. Brace, for organizing this very special opportunity!

Swooper Citizens: Determination

As part of our month-long look at the character trait of Responsibility, we explored how the trait of Determination relates to Responsibility. Determination means to make up your mind about doing something.  We began the class by discussing what happens when students tried doing something that was too hard at first.  Do they give up or did they try harder? Many students shared about learning how to ride a bike without training wheels. After lots of practice (and a few skinned knees) they were able to successfully ride a two-wheeler!

To put students to the test, they participated in a Braincercise Challenge called Scissors/Straddle/Together.

That was really challenging!

Then we showed the students a video clip that very clearly shows exactly what determination is…


Finally, students listened to the book Sally Jean, Bicycle Queen.

“I can pop a wheelie, I can touch the sky,
I can pedal backwards, I can really fly!

Sally Jean was born to ride. And her bicycle, Flash, is just about her best friend. But one day something terrible – and wonderful – happens. Sally Jean grows. Suddenly she finds herself too big
for Flash. What’s a Bicycle Queen to do? Finally, by collecting old bicycle parts to make a new bike – and giving Flash to a young friend who longs for a bigger bike of his own – she rides

With exuberant art that’s just the right match for Sally Jean’s new found freedom, this joyous text celebrates growing up, learning new skills, and giving back to the community.” (Amazon)

This week, we plan to create situations where students will need to practice diligence. Stay tuned!

Five Senses

Our unit on the Five Senses is wrapping up, but not before we squeeze in some last minute senses learning! Last week, students were asked to create a musical instrument using any items they had at home. Students were asked to “think like an inventor, be a problem solver, use your imagination, and have fun!” They were given a planning sheet where materials and ideas were recorded and a blueprint was sketched.

Once students brought their instruments to school, they were invited to share the process they used to invent!

Students also brought their instruments to music class, where they played a listening game.

Students even had an opportunity to play their musical instruments!

I love how this project integrates learning at home to school to music class!

Lane Farms

We had a wonderful field trip to Lane Farms. The weather was perfect, and the pumpkin patch was near empty for most of our time there. Mrs. Lane even had a scavenger hunt for us to do! Look at all the things we found:

We saw a donkey.

Students took turns driving the tractor.

The students played “Scarecrow Says.”

We went took a hayride!

And, each student chose a pumpkin to bring back to school.

We will be using these special squash to help us with a quick learning unit on pumpkins where the students will record their information in these pumpkin books.

Happy fall!

Welcome Engineers!

Today we hosted the Middle School Intro to Engineering class as part of our project-based learning unit that revolves around the Magnet Wall. The kindergarten “clients” met with their engineer team.


They explored the magnet wall together, discussing pieces the wall lacks.

The Engineers took notes and made specific measurements.


Here are some preliminary ideas.

Big ideas! We will travel to the Upper School in a few weeks to check on the Engineers’ progress. Wait until you see the new STEM Lab where all of the pieces will be created.

Magnet Wall

A few years ago, our Middle School Engineering instructor and I developed a project-based learning unit that revolved around a newly installed Magnet Wall. If you haven’t seen or heard about Magnet Walls, read on!

From the Kodo Classroom: (https://kodokids.com/outdoor-magnet-wall)

“The Magnet Wall was developed to provide a hands-on, minds-on, open-ended means for experiencing Newton’s Laws of Motion.

When it comes to motion, Newton’s Three Laws summarize everything you need to know about teaching young children about how things move.

I. Every object in a state of uniform motion tends to remain in that state of motion unless an external force is applied to it.
II. The relationship between an object’s mass m, its acceleration a, and the applied force F is F = ma. Acceleration and force are vectors (as indicated by their symbols being displayed in slant bold font); in this law, the direction of the force vector is the same as the direction of the acceleration vector.
III. For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction.

In other words…
1. A moving object will keep moving in that direction until something physically pushes on it. So if the ball is rolling down the ramp and collides with something, its motion will change.
2. It takes more force to accelerate massive objects. If you placed a bowling ball on the ramp, its mass would be greater than the force pushing up from the ramp, which would cause the bowling ball to push the ramp down and probably hurt everyone’s feet. So don’t use a bowling ball! If you used a wooden ball on a ramp the forces pushing on the ball, coupled with the mass of the ball would make it move forward. If you used a tiny marble on the ramp, its small mass would cause it to accelerate down the ramp quickly, because it has much less force than the other forces at work.
3. The third law refers to action and reaction pairs. My force is pushing down on the floor as the floor’s force is pushing up on me. So goes the same for the ball. It is pushing down on the ramp, and the ramp is pushing up on it.”

What a fun way for the kindergarteners to explore Newton’s Laws of Motion! In the coming weeks, the kindergarten students will become the clients of the Middle School Intro to Engineering class. The Kindergarteners will pitch an idea for a new piece for the Magnet Wall that our wall is lacking. The Middle School students will then work to create, build, 3D print, etc., this piece. They will also come to find out that kindergarteners change their minds a lot, ultimately sending the MS Engineers back to the drawing board!  I can not wait to see what ideas come to fruition!

A Kindness Service-Learning Project

As we are wrapping up our month of practicing the character trait of Kindness, Mrs. Vanetti and I decided that we needed to create a special service-learning project where the students could demonstrate how simple acts of kindness can bring happiness. We found Project Linus- a national organization that looks to provide love, a sense of security, warmth and comfort to children who are seriously ill, traumatized, or otherwise in need through the gifts of new, handmade blankets and afghans, lovingly created by volunteer “blanketeers.” Blanketeers!? We are now blanketeers!!

Mrs. Vanetti and I visited the Project Linus website (www.projectlinus.org) and selected the blanket pattern to best suit our needs…the No Sew Fleece Blanket!

Our Room Parents prepared the fleece ahead of time, making us ready to knot the fringe today.

The fabric is all ready to go!


The students worked together to make the knots.

Together our blanketeers made eight fleece blankets to donate to Project Linus!

Coding with Bee Bots

The kindergarteners were introduced to Bee-Bots today.

Bee-Bots are easy-to-operate and friendly little robots that are a perfect tool for teaching sequencing, estimation, and problem-solving. (https://www.bee-bot.us/)

Here are the commands the Bee-Bots can follow.

Today, students chose a letter card and then had to create a code for the Bee-Bot to follow to get to a picture on the mat that began with that particular letter.

Here is a video that shows the activity in action.

Now that the students have been introduced to Bee-Bots, they will use these fun coding robots to practice identifying rhyming pairs, reading CVC (consonant-vowel-consonant) words, solving math equations and more! In a few weeks, the kindergarteners will begin to develop their own Bee-Bot mat with their Third Grade Buddy during out STEM Buddy Program. Stay tuned!