Swoop into Kindergarten

life in kindergarten at Laguna Blanca

Eating the Alphabet

On Tuesday we had the amazing opportunity to visit the organic garden at Pacifica University as part of our plant unit. We were greeted by Marshall, the coordinator of the garden. He started the tour by showing us a bush that attracts butterflies. He encouraged the children to use their sense of smell to identify the smell of the plant, which smelled like a pumpkin! Mr. Marshall also mentioned that butterflies have super long tongues so that they can reach the nectar in the flowers!

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Next, Mr. Marshall showed us the plant beds, where some were covered in a white tarp.

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He explained to the children that these tarps were used to warm the soil, keep the condensation in and the bugs out. As we walked around the garden, the children tried to identify different plants. We saw chili peppers, squash, and tomatoes.

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Mr. Marshall explained how squash flowers are pollinated and even showed us a baby squash. Do you know that squash flowers are edible? The children had a chance to use their sense of taste!

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Next, we saw the kale garden, which included nine types of kale, including Dinosaur Kale!

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Mr. Marshall picked a poppy seed pod and broke it open, giving some teeny tiny seeds to each student. They had a chance to eat these as well!

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We saw baby watermelon and many spices, which the students also got to munch on!

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jamie leaf

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At the end of the tour, Marshall put together a box of fruit and vegetables for us to take back to school. (Pacifica University sells the produce three days a week. Take a peek at their unique program or sign up for a weekly produce delivery! http://www.pacifica.edu/innercontent-m.aspx?id=5166 )

When we returned to school, we dove into the produce box.

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We found three different types of squash, strawberries, kale, Swiss chard, beets, oranges, chamomile flowers, and more!

I cooked up the beets and squash, washed the strawberries and oranges, and brought it all to the students to enjoy at lunchtime.

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Yesterday, Ms. Svedlund and I made Swiss chard, kale, and beet quesadillas.  We figured that if we added cheese to the veggies, the children might be more willing to eat them!

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Magical Tide Pools

The Kindergarten class spent March and April studying the ocean, including the intertidal zone, more commonly known as tide pools or the rocky shore.On Monday, we went on the most amazing field trip to some very special tide pools that are virtually untouched.

 

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For the past five years, our science teacher, Mrs. Svedlund, has begged the people that run this specific tide pool program to let our Kindergarten class attend. (Usually they only allow grades three and up.) This year, the program directors finally made an exception, and we were welcomed to attend.

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We left school early in the morning, 7:30 to be exact, in order to make it to the tide pools by low tide. The docents gave us specific instructions and were immediately impressed with how well the students listened. We broke up into two small groups and headed down to the beach.

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The tide pools were stunning. Green grasses and algae covered the rocks, making for some slippery slopes! The children identified shore crabs, sea stars, sea anemones, and even got to hold a purple sea urchin! They learned about Turkish kelp and even took turns wearing a kelp boa! There were mussels, mermaid purses, and even octopus! We saved a sea hare from drying out by returning it to a shallow pool of sea water, but not before the children had a chance to hold it!

 

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Our rocky shore expedition ended with a snack to refuel the students. We all agree it was an exciting trip! Today we received an email from the director of the program complimenting the students on their listening skills and inviting the kindergarten class back next year! Thanks Mrs. Svedlund for your persistence!

 

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Happy Birthday!

Today we celebrated the final birthday of the year! Birthdays are something special in Kindergarten. From the moment the birthday child steps onto campus on their special day they are recognized. From being sung to by the entire school at our Tecolote Tuesday meeting, to a sweet rendition of “Feliz cumpleanos” in Spanish class, we strive to make birthdays extra special! (Summer birthdays are celebrated too, as half birthdays, six months from the students’ actual birthday!) Parents are invited to bring in a birthday treat to share with the class and also to help celebrate! Before we sing “Happy Birthday”, the birthday child chooses whether or not we add cha cha’s to the song. Then we pass the treat around, waiting to eat until each child is served. There is great fanfare as the birthday child takes the first bite! Then the others join in and the treats disappear!

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So if we have celebrated everyones birthdays, that can only mean one thing….the school year is almost over! (sniff, sniff!)  I can’t believe there are only 17 more days of school remaining until these amazing kiddos become first graders…where did the year go?

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Celebrating Mom

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The Kindergarten class has been quite busy these last few weeks preparing for our very special Mother’s Day Tea. Our moms spend so much time taking care of us, it’s time we take care of mom! And the students were VERY excited to do just that!

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The festivities began as each mother was escorted to her special seat by her child. Mom’s were encouraged to dress for high tea and wear a fancy hat. Each student made a fancy hat, complete with tissue paper flower, as well.

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The tables were decorated by artwork created by the children. First, each student painted and glazed a ceramic tea cup and saucer for mom. What a wonderful, timeless memento these moms could take home and cherish for years to come.

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The students also painted a glass vase, using gerbera daisies as inspiration. The vase was filled with a bouquet of gerbera daisies that each student picked on our field trip on Tuesday.

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After listening to a heartwarming story about the importance of a hug from one’s mother, students read books they had each written especially for their moms.

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Here are some of my favorite quotes:

My mom really loves flowers and watermelon.

My mom and I like to play soccer.

My mom’s favorite clothes to wear are stretchy pants.

My mom and I like to eat snacks.

My mom is beautiful because she brushes my hair.

My mom’s favorite thing to do is sleep.

My mom always tells me, “Brush your hair.”

 

We dined on tea sandwiches as well as strawberries and cookies and a fun time was had by all.  Enjoy these beautiful pictures! (We tried to get a group shot 🙂 )

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And….I’m back!

So the blog has been left idle for several months, as I was put on bed rest prior to the delivery of baby T. on March 5.

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He is now nine weeks old and I am getting ready to return to work next week.

Today, I joined the class on a field trip to Creekside Floral, where students saw first hand how flowers are grown in a greenhouse.  We were met by my dad, owner and primary grower. He took the children on a tour of the facility.  First, Dad showed the students the itty bitty plant cuttings from India. The cuttings below are only 18 days old!

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Next we visited the boiler room, where a boiler heats water that flows though pipes to reduce condensation on the plants. After seeing the boiler, Dad showed the students the materials in which the plants grow.

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Would you believe that this growing material is made from coconut shells?

We then made our way into the greenhouse, where we saw plants that were mature enough to have flowers.

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Here is an image of a gerbera daisy plant growing in the coconut shells in a pot. Notice also the white pipes.  This is where the hot water from the boiler travels to help reduce condensation on the flowers.

After the flowers are cut and organized by color (over 80 different colors),

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they are wheeled into the packing shed, where there is a gigantic cooler.

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Burrr!  Was it cold!

We concluded our tour outside by my dad’s herd of miniature cows. The children fed them flowers! For more information on Creekside Floral and to see the 80 different colors grown, visit http://creeksidefloral.net/

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I enjoyed the trip immensely and look forward to returning to the classroom officially next week. In the mean time, expect another blog post soon, as I chronicle the very special Mother’s Day Tea Party and all the preparations that have gone into it!

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