Jack and the Beanstalk-Round 2!


The second production of Jack and the Beanstalk was definitely more lively and humorous than the first!

Here are some of my favorite moments:








Enjoy some snippets of the musical numbers the students performed:

I apologize to the Cook’s, as I was unable to record their song. If you happened to record the Cook’s Song, I’d love to have a copy!

The students continue to talk and write about their experience performing Jack and the Beanstalk. One student even asked me to turn on the music during Morning Work! I am so pleased that their experience was such a positive one!

Jack and the Beanstalk

Today was the big day! The kindergarten and first grade classes presented their musical play, Jack and the Beanstalk! After the morning presentation, the students arrived back in the classroom with pride beaming from their faces. They had done a magnificent job, and they knew it! They successfully worked together as a team, encouraging one another to speak and sing loudly. They helped each other organize their props, and lent a hand when a friend forgot where to go.

The first performance provided the students with a perfect writing opportunity. I asked them to write in their journals about the play: their favorite part, how it made them feel, what went well for them, etc.  Here are some of their responses:







Their writing responses say it all!

More to come on our performance, including photos and videos!

Ocean Animal Presentations

This morning the kindergarten class was proud to present their ocean animals that they have been studying. This process began more than a month ago, when Mrs. Brace and I collaborated on a new idea I had. In past years, student have researched an ocean animal at home as part of a Family Project. This year I decided to teach students research skills. Mrs. Brace and I came up with eighteen ocean animals whose names I wrote on individual pieces of paper. I put the paper into a jar, and students picked an animal at random.

Once the animals were chosen, students were given a book and an iPad with information on their animal and a worksheet I had created. Students practiced reading for information and formulating their own thoughts on their topics. Here is an example of the written report:








The next step was for students to draw their ocean animal using the program KidPix.




Following the illustrations, students recorded their voices. I created the report to enable the students to easily read their research in complete sentences. Therefore, recording was a breeze. The final step was for the students to create a Blabberize using the website blabberize.com. This website takes pictures that you have uploaded and allows you to make a mouth that moves when you talk!

Here is a link to our final projects! Enjoy!


I am so proud of the kindergarteners hard work with this project! A special thanks goes out to Ms. Remick, our Technology instructor, and Ms. Horibe, for their help.



Let It Grow

The Plant Unit has officially begun. After learning about the needs and parts of a plant, we began our study of seeds. Each student received a lima bean seed that I had soaked in water overnight, a magnifying glass, and a Bean Journal, where they will record their observations.


Students worked in pairs to carefully look at their beans and make some observations about color and texture. Next students opened their beans to see what is inside.


Students were amazed to see the baby plant inside! Here are some of the entries students wrote in their Bean Journals:




Students will each plant two beans in a greenhouse that we will hang in the classroom windows. We will check these greenhouses every few days and record our new observations.

Mama Octopus

The Laguna Blanca fifth graders went tide pooling today to the same spot we enjoyed a few weeks ago. Their teacher got an amazing picture of the mama octopus guarding her eggs that I want to share with you.


You can see her tentacles and the white eggs!  Isn’t nature AMAZING??!!

Musical Plays

One of my final projects when receiving my Master’s Degree back in 2002, was researching the value of musical plays in classrooms. At that time, my students were performing three musical plays annually, so I was witnessing first hand the importance of the collaboration of music and performance in the first grade classroom. Most of the plays I used were from a local company called Bad Wolf Press. They have a large variety of content area and age groups covered in the musicals they have created. The creator, Ron Fink, even came to my previous school to watch one of our performances! Here is a link to his website.


Why musical plays? The plays encourage students to work together as part of a team, and they foster a large growth in self confidence. Students practice reading the script, and we analyze the different parts of the story, identifying the characters, setting, plot, and other literacy devices. Students participate in the costume making process and set design, bringing in art. The music part of the play helps students practice rhythm, singing in pitch, and pairing movements to the music. In a nutshell, musical plays enable students an engaging opportunity for a unit of study that encompasses many areas of learning.

Once I arrived at Laguna, I joined forces with the art and music specialists to present one musical play each year. Thus far, five kindergarten classes have performed five different musical plays, including Gingy the Gingerbread Girl, which I created, using a variety of songs I found online.You can see some clips from that performance here.


This year we will once again perform a musical play. Our choice is Jack and the Beanstalk**, and I am excited to collaborate with Ms. Atkinson and her first grade class. We have been casually listening to the songs during Morning Work and Choice Time since the beginning of March. It is amazing how quickly the students learn the lyrics and melodies when just listening while working. I began to formally introduce the lyrics to the songs last week, and yesterday we had our first combined rehearsal. We divided the students into the groups according to their roles and did a run through of the entire play. I was thrilled with how well the students worked together to remember the words to the songs. Their enthusiasm was contagious and pride beamed from their faces.

We also started making some of the costume pieces and props. Most students will be a part of the beanstalk, so they each painted a hat green. Next week, we will sponge paint leaves that we will add to the hat’s bills.


Some groups of characters will also be dying parts of their costumes, and others will wear a combination of items from home and ones that I have purchased. We even have special, home-made capes for our Royal Announcers!


Beginning next week, our rehearsals will take place under the Pavilion. Spots for the actors will be blocked, and we will work on projecting the lines and songs. Movements to the songs will be synchronized,and props will be organized. The grand performances will be Tuesday, April 28 at 8:30 for the student community, and 2:00 for the parents community. Come one, come all!

** Jack and the Beanstalk was chosen to help support our Plant Unit, which we will begin next week, as well as our Fairy Tale Unit, which will begin in May.



Tide Pools

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Our tide pooling adventure last Friday was amazing.

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When we arrived, there were five docents set to take us down to the beach. Having five docents enabled us to put the children into small groups of three or four. Each group also had an adult from school.  These adults included Ms. Armstrong, our third grade assistant, who used to work at the Monterey Bay Aquarium, and Sadie’s mom, Rachel, who received her Bachelor of Science degree in Marine Studies. With Ms. Svedlund, Ms. Horibe, and myself, there was so much knowledge in these little groups!

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Our first find was a mermaids purse that had a live baby shark inside!

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Students were encouraged to gently touch and even hold the shark egg!

Next, a student found a baby sun star.

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 Look at how teeny tiny it is! This was the only sea star we found!

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There were many sea anemones, which the students got to touch and observe eating bits of seaweed. Speaking of sea weed, there were several different kinds of sea plants, including kelp and Turkish towels.

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My group was particularly interested in the different types of sea weed! Me. Svedlund shared a lot of interesting information about kelp….she loves kelp!

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Perhaps the most interesting animal we saw was a female octopus guarding her eggs. She has been hiding in a rock cave in the intertidal for two months now protecting her eggs.

After we explored the tide pools, we joined back together as a class for a special sharing time. Groups had a chance to share the crabs, sea slugs, turban snail shells, and other treasures they found.

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It was a magical morning!

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Crazy for Claws!

Did you know that there are different types of crab claws?  The porcelain crab, hermit crab, and shore crab each have a different type of claw.  The porcelain crab has a scooping claw, while hermit crabs have a grasping or pinching claw. Shore crabs have claws that scrape. To help students better understand how each type of claw works, I set up three stations with a plate of beans. Students tried  to pick up the beans using clothes pins, ice cream scoopers, and small spoons. Later, students determined which type of claw they would prefer.


Students use clothes pins to mimic grasping claws.


Students use ice cream scoopers to mimic scooping claws.


Students use small plastic spoons to mimic scraping claws.

After trying each of the “claws,” the students explained which claws they would prefer to have and why. Here are some of their ideas:






On a side note, isn’t the students’ writing progression amazing!? I am so pleased to see the children spelling more words using conventional spelling. If you have a minute, look back at their writing samples from September!