Swoop into Kindergarten

life in kindergarten at Laguna Blanca

A Floating Gingerbread?

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If the Gingerbread Man (Boy, Girl, Baby, etc.) had just been able to float across the river, then the sneaky fox would not have gobbled that cookie up! As part of our monthly STEM challenges, the kindergartners were tasked this month with creating a floating gingerbread cookie using whatever materials they wished. They made their presentations today.

Students used a variety of materials including Styrofoam, wine corks, straws, balloons, plastic, foam, and wood to make their gingerbread creations float.

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I loved the excitement the students showed each time a classmates creation floated. Way to go!

On Friday, the Kindergartners will participate in another gingerbread man-themed STEM project with our third grade buddies. This project includes toothpicks and marshmallows as building materials….stay tuned!

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Magna Wall Amazement!

I don’t even know where to begin. We had such a wonderful trip to Hope Ranch this morning. The engineering class’ presentations were so well thought out and full of pertinent information. The high school students truly listened to the requests of the kindergartners. From the color schemes, to the sparkles, to the shape of wood blocks, each client had their ideas recreated to their liking.

When we arrived in Hope Ranch for first period, the kindergartners had a chance to see the 3D printer in action. In fact, the printer was printing a gingerbread person for each kindergartner! Students then got settled next to their engineer and the presentations began.

You get a sense of the trials and work that went into engineering each piece!

I love the humor students used and the fact that most of the projects were not successful the first or even the second time they were tested. What a great way for students to learn perseverance and determination!

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I had the kindergarten clients pose for a picture with their engineer. (Side note….this high school student is blind and gave us his presentation, written in Braille, to take back to school. The kindergartners were interested that he reads using his sense of touch.)

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The Launcher…..you will see video of this piece in action later in the post.

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The Bouncy Castle Trampoline…..looks just like a bouncy castle!

After the presentations were complete, Mr. Moore gave the students their next task.

Use teamwork to create a run…

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Again, students witnessed firsthand how engineering often takes multiple tries before it works.

First try…

A few more tries….some tweaks…some parts added…

and the goal is achieved!

The kindergartners proudly transported the pieces back to Lower School.

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Once back at school, they had a chance to put them to use on the MagnaWall. What followed was hilarious! (Kindergartners are a little more heavy handed than high schoolers…)

Those are some strong magnets!!

Of course, once I stopped filming the marble went into the cup!

Ta-da!

The kindergartners are so proud of their new MagnaWall pieces. What better way to show our gratitude than by writing an old fashioned “thank you” note.

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Thank you, Mr. Moore, for working with me to create such an engaging and learning-filled project on so many levels.

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Magna Wall Update

Our Magna Wall collaborative project is coming to an end. The pieces have been created and will be presented to the kindergartners tomorrow during a field trip to the engineering lab. Each student received a “teaser” video in the meantime….we can’t wait to see the finished products tomorrow!

If you listen carefully, you can hear the 3D printer working in the background!

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Friday Fun

We were busy during today’s Friday Fun. In the kitchen, students made festive Santa berries to share with our third grade buddies later in the day at our buddy party.

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Here’s the easy recipe:

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At the craft station, students began the process of making gingerbread crystal ornaments! I am so excited about this activity. First students used a colored pipe cleaner to make the shape of a gingerbread.

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Next we measured a cup of Borax and poured it (while holding our breath!) into a mason jar. I then added three cups of boiling water, stirred it up, and placed the pipe cleaner creation in the solution.

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Here is what it is going to look like on Monday! (fingers crossed!)

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Yay for Friday!

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Gingerbread Math

One of the concepts we explore in math is number stories (or word problems as I knew them when I was in school.) Oh, how word problems terrified me….to the point that in high school algebra, when I came to a word problem on an exam, I would simply skip them!! (Now, I know that doesn’t show perseverance or determination!)

In kindergarten, we explore number stories several different ways. First, I make number story examples meaningful, using students’ own names and characteristics, classroom events, and other real-life situations. We start by reading the number story and identifying any important words. We act them out. We illustrate them. Then we tie numbers and math symbols to our number stories.

Today we explored number stories using paper gingerbread cookies that students could manipulate. Take a peek:

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Students each drew two jars. We discussed that “altogether” means we are adding the items together. Therefore 5+5=10.

For this next one, students suggested they draw two friends. They gave three cookies to each friend, because equal means dividing the cookies so each person has the same amount. But then a student realized that the number story said “How can WE share them equally?” meaning the baker is included in the sharing!

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 So we added a third person to the mix….making the equation 2+2+2=6.

According to Everyday Math, “Number stories provide a natural bridge from spoken to mathematical symbolic language. Children cross this bridge in stages, at first using everyday language to tell number stories, then gradually incorporating mathematical language, and ultimately using mathematical symbols to model their stories.” It is my goal to make students feel so comfortable using mathematical language and symbols, that when they are faced with number stories in high school, they feel confident in solving them.

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Gingerbread Man, Girl, Boy, Baby, Pirate…

We have been enjoying many different versions of the classic folktale, The Gingerbread Man. So far, students have listened to The Gingerbread Man, The Gingerbread Girl, The Gingerbread Boy, and The Ninjabread Man. Today students listened to The Gingerbread Pirate and then did a fun activity that focused on both reading comprehension and creativity. In the story, Captain Cookie encounters obstacles that he perceives as much larger…like a set of stairs as cliffs, or a cookie jar as a jail! Students were asked to choose an ordinary item and share what Captain Cookie would call it.  Look at these creative ideas:

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There are so many versions to come!

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It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year!

The Gingerbread Unit has arrived, and on what a perfect day, Friday Fun Day! The activities today were all about the classic book, The Gingerbread Boy. In the Book Nook, students listened to the story on CD. The craft activity today was making a gingerbread boy/girl using a marble painting technique. We put paint in the corners of a box top, added a gingerbread cut out and some marbles, and created some fun gingerbread people!

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Next week students will decorate their gingerbread people….just wait and see!

In the kitchen we made gingerbread balls. Boy did they smell delicious!

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Friday Fun was followed by the formal introduction to the unit. We discussed the characteristics of a folktale and even the history of the gingerbread cookie! Next week I will begin reading aloud some of the many different versions of this classic tale.

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Tricky Teens

Those teen numbers are always so tricky! Today we took a closer look at them. First students watched a music video:

I asked students to make the number 10 with their fingers. Easy. Then I asked them to make the number 11. Looks of confusion…..one student said, “But I don’t have 11 fingers!” I asked how they could solve that problem? After lots of chatter, a student excitedly said, “How about I use ten fingers and my friend uses one finger!” Aha!

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I quickly paired students up and had them choose a teen number card. Their activity was to make the number on the card using their ten fingers and how ever many of their partners fingers as were needed. Then we switched roles. Though this lesson is about recognizing teen numbers, it quickly morphed into an introduction to place value!

We then built teen numbers using unifix cubes, transferring the knowledge that each teen number has one group of ten and some ones….TRICKY!! But physically building the numbers is always super helpful.

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We finished the lesson with a quick Math Journal activity that compiled all the skills introduced into one worksheet.

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