Swoop into Kindergarten

life in kindergarten at Laguna Blanca

Friday Fun

We made the neatest edible seascape today during Friday Fun. The students loved creating (and eating) an ocean scene on a graham cracker!

Here is the recipe. We used vanilla yogurt (with blue food coloring) instead of frosting in order to keep things on the healthier side. Dr. Inman found gummy sea life at Trader Joes, so we used those instead of gold fish crackers.

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Got Sand?

Do you have plans to visit any beaches over Spring Break? If so, please consider taking a small sample of the sand to donate to Ms. Svedlund’s sand collection in the science lab!

 
Sand is one-of-a-kind, like a fingerprint. The sand found on every beach is unique, a product of its local environment. It articulates a story from hundreds to thousands to millions of years of weathering, breakdown, and erosion. Grains have been tossed around by waves or washed through a watershed. Sand tells us information about rock types, shelled organisms, waves, and biota from the region it is found. Beaches are a river of sand, regardless of whether it is found on the slope of an ocean, lake, or stream.
 
Help us build our story! If you are headed somewhere over spring break and can grab a sample to add to the Lower School science lab collection, we’d appreciate it. We are collecting sand samples from around the world. A good sample is about a quarter of a cup, or about a baby food jar size amount, of dry beach sand – collected in a plastic baggie is great. 
-Ms. Svedlund

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Under the Sea

We have had so much fun learning going on with our ocean unit! A few weeks ago during Friday Fun, students made sea stars. I have created a “tide pool” in the back of our classroom where the sea stars now reside.

For this activity, students made their own puffy paint by mixing glue, shaving cream, and acrylic paint. They then sprinkled little pasta balls on top to give the sea stars more texture.

Students also went exploring under the sea in a submarine.

Here is what they saw:

In art class, students made and glazed ceramic fish dishes.

I am excited to see the final result once they are glazed and fired! So much fishy fun in kindergarten these days!

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Happy Norooz!

The kindergarten class was so lucky today to learn about the Persian New Year from two moms in our class. Mrs. Adams and Dr. Kia-Keating brought in many visuals, activities, food, and a book to share. The lesson began with the students recognizing where in the world Iran is located. Both Mrs. Adams and Dr. Kia-Keating immigrated to the United States when they were very young. They discussed how Persian New Year is celebrated on March 20, the first day of spring, and celebrates renewal and a new year. People wish for good thoughts, good words, and good deeds.

 

The students learned how to say “happy new year” in Farsi:

Below is a quick video the moms showed that provided us with an overview of the Persian New Year celebration and traditions:

A major part of the New Year celebration involves setting the “Haft Seen.” also known as the seven S’s. The traditional table setting includes seven items that all begin with the letter “seen” in the Persian alphabet. These seven things usually are: Seeb (apple), Sabzeh (green grass), Serkeh (vinegar), Samanoo (a meal made out of wheat), Senjed (a special kind of berry), Sekke (coin), and Seer (garlic). (International Business Times)

Here are the seven items that were described above.

People also give and receive gifts as part of the celebration. Students made gifts to give away in the form of coupons.

One tradition families take part in is growing sprouts from lentils. On the thirteenth day after the new year, people take their sprouts to a body of water, set them in, and watch the sprouts float away. The floating sprouts take away any bad luck that one might encounter in the new year.

Students had the chance to decorate pots and fill them with lentils.

We will sprinkle the lentils with water until the kindergartners bring their pots home on Friday. You may set them free on Sunday, April 2!

Students also enjoyed a sample of traditional Persian food.

At the end of the lessons, students said:

and then received a brand new one dollar bill.

Thank you so much Mrs. Adams and Dr. Kia-Keating for sharing your traditions with us.

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Leprechaun Madness!

St. Patrick’s Day is here! Yesterday, Students were treated to a special read aloud and activity that was geared towards teaching them about those magical, tricky little critters called leprechauns. Dr. Kia-Keating returned to read students The Night Before St. Patrick’s Day by Natasha Wing.

Natasha Wing puts an Irish twist on a Christmas classic. It’s the night before St. Patrick’s Day, and Tim and Maureen are wide awake setting traps to catch a leprechaun! When they wake the next morning to the sound of their dad playing the bagpipes and the smell of their mom cooking green eggs, they’re shocked to find that they’ve actually caught a leprechaun. But will they be able to find his pot of gold?  (Amazon)

This read aloud worked so perfectly with the students’ STEAM project of the month….but I will touch on that in a bit! After the read aloud, Dr. Kia-Keating had prepared a loaf of banana bread for each student to transform into a leprechaun house. Look at these creations:

Students added a green tiled roof to the top of the banana bread.

They then sprinkled green coconut to give the roof a “thatched” appearance.

Students added a door, windows, a chimney, and decorative flowers to finish off the house. Fun!

Yesterday was also the day that the STEAM project were due. For the month of March, students were given the engineering opportunity to make a leprechaun trap with a moving part. Oh, I hope we catch a leprechaun! Take a look at some of the creations:

This trap has a special prop attached to a piece of gold that keeps the lid open. When the leprechaun grabs the gold, the prop is released and the leprechaun is trapped in the box!

The leprechaun is lured into this trap by the gold pathway. Once inside, the rainbow piece moves to trap the leprechaun inside.

This trap has a ramp up which the leprechaun is encouraged to climb. As he reaches for the gold, he will slip off, stepping on the rolling pin, which will then spin the leprechauns off balance and into the box!

We put the traps on the students’ tables before leaving yesterday, with the hopes of trapping one of these tricky little creatures over night. Well, look what those naughty leprechauns did last night:

They got into my Friday Fun art supplies…

danced all over the tables….

leaving messy green footprints and a trail of glitter….

The party ended at the sink! But they did leave us each a piece of gold!

What a treat it was to have Friday Fun today as well! In the kitchen, students made Rainbow Fruit Cups. Yum!

We also made glittery green slime!

What a fun day!

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BrainPOP Movie Making

I am so excited for a new project we have begun this week. As we are deep in our Ocean Unit, students have chosen an ocean animal to research. In that past, after their research is complete, students have used the website Blabberize to create an ocean animal that talks. They narrate their research report, and it looks like the animal is talking! Cute and fun, right?! Well this year, I have decided to change things up, of course! This year we will use a website called BrainPOP to create mini educational movies about our animals!

We use the BrainPOP website in many of our Laguna classrooms to introduce or teach students specific topics. Kindergartners have seen BrainPOP movies on fossils, dinosaurs, Pangaea, long vowels, continents, ocean habitats, and more. These movies are jam-packed with information in short, colorful, and funny clips.

BrainPOPjr.  provides curriculum-based content geared specifically for K-3 students. The site offers a growing library of movies and interactive features across six subjects: science, health, writing, reading, social studies, and math. Our engaging resources support educators and meet students’ different learning styles and abilities. Our content includes short animated movies, leveled quizzes, activities, recommended grade-appropriate reading, writing and discussion prompts, and more. All content is aligned to and searchable by state standards.

Each BrainPOP features two character, Tim and Moby, the robot. BrainPOPjr, which is the site geared for K-3 students, features Annie and Moby.

Here I am with one of the stars of BrainPOP, Moby, at a tech conference back in 2013….the same conference that sold me on blogging! Show your child….he/she will be so excited!!

Just so you get a sense of what exactly BrainPOP is, here is a sample:

So BrainPOP has recently relaunched their website, making many changes and upgrades. One of the newest activities is movie making. My goal is for each student to make a mini movie in the style of BrainPOP about their ocean animal….finger crossed for this new endeavor!! I’ll keep you posted on our progress.

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Sensory Fun

Last weekend, as I was planning for my son’s tractor-themed third birthday party, I came across an idea for a sensory tub using water beads.

I ran to Michael’s and found the beads. To my delight, they had several different colors, including blue! The wheels in my head started to turn…what if I made an ocean-themed sensory tub filled with the blue water beads and ocean animals?! I sent my daughter to find a Toob filled with seals, whales, dolphins and more. We purchased the items and headed next door to Bed, Bath and Beyond to find a plastic tub in which to put the beads. Mission accomplished.

On Monday morning I excitedly shared the sensory tub idea with the students. Together we measured and added a total of eight liters of water to the two bags of water beads. (The beads start out about the size of a pin head and grow to be the size of a marble!) I told the students that the beads would be close to fully grown by the time we returned from our field trip that day.

The beads took a little more time to swell to the marble-size I was hoping for, but when they did, the students were thrilled!

This sensory bin, in addition to the ocean-themed Playmobil set I added to Choice Time, have been very popular, as you can imagine! In fact, we are choosing Fair Sticks so that each student has a chance to explore the water beads.

Fun, fun, fun!

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Tide Pool School

The kindergartners had the amazing opportunity to participate in Tide Pool School earlier this week. (Tide Pool School is usually reserved for students in third grade and up.) They brought their new learning about oceans to Tide Pool School and put their knowledge to the test. Oh, the sea life we saw!!

 

anemones…

hermit crabs…

a GIANT sea hare!!!!

Do I really want to hold this thing????….Yay! He did!

I was impressed with how many students touched this sticky, slimy, creature!

shells…

crabs…look at the eggs on the crab above..gigantic!

more crabs!! (This one is a male. Ask your child to tell you how we know this is a male crab….)

mussels…

and sea stars…finally! We saw four sea stars! This is the first trip in three years where we saw sea stars, as they have been fighting a deadly virus since late 2013, early 2014 and have died off in mass numbers. I was so excited to see these beautiful creatures back in the inter tidal.

Do you see the tube feet attached to the rock on the underside of the sea star? Ask your child to tell you how a sea star eats its food….eeewwwww!

Students got to use nets and test tubes to collect the sea life.

We collected the sea life in buckets. Students participated in a sharing session after exploring the tide pools. All items collected were carefully returned to their habitats following the sharing session.

We ended the trip with a picnic and a serene bus ride back to school. (really! Half the students took a nap!) What a beautiful day and a memorable experience! Thank you Ms. Svedlund for organizing this excursion.

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Creativity-Part 2

We followed up our Beautiful Oops lesson on creativity with the read aloud Have Fun, Molly Lou Melon, by Patti Lovell.

Molly Lou Melon’s grandma taught her to be happy with herself no matter what, but  that’s not all she learned. Molly Lou heard all about how her grandma didn’t have fancy store-bought toys when she was little. She made dolls out of twigs and flowers and created her own fun in her backyard.

So Molly Lou does just that, proving that the best thing to play with is a huge imagination!   -Amazon

Molly Lou makes a car out of a cardboard box. She creates a doll house from a backyard tree and watches “tv” in the sky. Ultimately, she teaches her new neighbor how to not be bored by creating toys using ones imagination.

We then segued into our service-learning project for the month of March….Art Kits! We want to put together Art Kits to donate to the Cottage Hospital Pediatrics Department. We asked students to help us compile a list of arts and craft materials to include in each kit. Here are the items we are hoping to collect:

We will be collecting items for the Art Kits over the next two weeks and would appreciate any items you may be willing to donate. The kindergartners and first graders will be assembling the kits before Spring Break.

The students did their Creativity journal writing today. Here is how they show creativity:

Isn’t creativity a wonderful thing?!

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Read Across America Day

Happy Read Across America Day! We started this special day by reading with our third grade buddies. The kindergarten students read their Home Reading Books, while the third graders read a Dr. Seuss book.

Lower School students were encouraged to come to school dressed like a character from a favorite book. Take a guess which characters came to school today….

(Yoda)

(Pinkalicious)

(Fancy Nancy)

(Queen Susan from Chronicles of Narnia)

Of course, we spent some extra time reading today! Recently I started a new read aloud: The End of the Beginning: Being an Adventure of a Small Snail (and an Even Smaller Ant) by Avi.

“Avon the snail has never had an adventure. And adventure, he has heard, is the key to a happy life. So with his new friend Edward the ant, Avon sets out on a journey to find the excitement his life has been missing. This modern fable is filled with funny–and profound–insights about the meaning of things . . . great and small.” -Amazon
The students are loving the ant’s and the snail’s  adventures so far! Today was the perfect day to read several chapters in a row to really get them hooked!
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