Friday, December 21, 2012

Tis the Season!


It's been so nice being surrounded by friends who are fill with Christmas cheer!  The kids have been working hard all week getting our classroom ready for our party.  With everybody pitching in, the work of making decorations isn't so big. It's always neat seeing their ideas come to life!

On Friday, our 8th Grade Buddies came over and it turned out they had decided to wear their pajamas to school, too!  The friends worked together to make so pretty impressive snowflakes!  It was sweet to see everyone with their partners enjoying each other's company.

I tried to catch as many friends as I could out on the playground as they romped around in their slippers and and blankets, but I'm sad to sad I think I missed a few...

For the rest of our day, the students enjoyed working in small groups, rotating through the two stations at our party:  Baking and Sewing.  Here are a few snaps shots from our day.

Unfortunately, we ran out of time and did not get a chance to put the frosting on our cookies, but the students enjoyed their sugar cookies anyways.

Thank you to everyone for all of their support and for the lovely gifts!  I really appreciate it <3

Have a safe and happy winter break!
Love, Gaby

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Urban Corps ECO Recycling Center

Happy Wednesday!

What a lovely day we had here in Kindergarten.  I just love it when things work out!  Thank you to everyone who was able to join us, drive us, and even provide us with extra booster seats for those friends who forgot to take theirs out of their car!  It's like there was no stopping us from getting to this field trip!

We were greeted at the Urban Corps ECO Recycling Center by our tour guide, Dino, and learned a little bit about their facility.  We found that the 22 year old center doubled as a school and we got to peak into some of their classrooms, learn about their student body's English Learner program, and practice some of their P.T. (Physical Training) routines.

Dino led us to the Sorting Center and went through which materials were recyclable and which were not.  They were also explaining the different types of plastic that are used for different bottles.  I looked up the numbers on a >>>WEBSITE<<< which helps explain what they all mean.  Here are what the numbers represent:
The most common plastics have a resin code in a chasing arrow symbol (often found on the bottom of the product).
 PET (Polyethylene Terephthalate): AVOID
Common Uses: Soda Bottles, Water Bottles, Cooking Oil Bottles
Concerns: Can leach antimony and phthalates.
 HDPE (High Density Polyethylene): SAFER
Common Uses: Milk Jugs, Plastic Bags, Yogurt Cups
 PVC (Polyvinyl Chloride, aka Vinyl): AVOID
Common Uses: Condiment Bottles, Cling Wrap, Teething Rings, Toys, Shower Curtains
Concerns: Can leach lead and phthalates among other things. Can also off-gas toxic chemicals.
 LDPE (Low Density Polyethylene): SAFER
Common Uses: Produce Bags, Food Storage Containers
 PP (Polypropylene): SAFER
Common Uses: Bottle Caps, Storage Containers, Dishware
 PS (Polystyrene, aka Styrofoam): AVOID
Common Uses: Meat Trays, Foam Food Containers & Cups
Concerns: Can leach carcinogenic styrene and estrogenic alkylphenols
 Other this is a catch-all category which includes:
PC (Polycarbonate): AVOID - can leach Bisphenol-A (BPA). It also includes ABS (Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene), SAN (Styrene Acrylonitrile), Acrylic, and Polyamide. These plastics can be a safer option because they are typically very durable and resistant to high heat resulting in less leaching. Their drawbacks are that they are not typically recyclable and some need additional safety research. New plant-based, biodegradable plastics like PLA (Polylactic Acid) also fall into the #7 category  

We also learned that the Recycling Center receives money for the materials they collect.  They use a large scale to weigh the loads and each pound roughly equates to $1.00.  The kids had a chance to jump on the scale, and if they were made out of aluminum cans, they'd be able to raise over $700!


After the recyclables are sifted and sorted through, they are usually poured into, what the kids are calling, a dump truck.  We got to watch a demonstration of how these trucks are maneuvered to lift the blue recycling bins and compact its contents!

The next stop was upstairs to their Rooftop Garden of California native plants!  It was super neat to see different fruit trees, veggies, and succulents flourishing all around us!  There were also Solar Tubes on their rooftop, which capture the light from the sun and helps to generate the electricity for the building below us!

Succulents, being drought resistant plants, require very little water, so they are a great option to help conserve our water.  Each student got the chance to select one to plant and in their very own recycled material Green House!

Once back at school, the students generated some questions that were still percolating in their brains about what they saw on the trip.  The students took to their journals to respond to these questions with their own ideas and possibilities.

Thank you all again for helping make today a success!
Love, Gaby

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Exhibition Night

Good day!

Welcome to our Monochromatic Art Gallery!

It was so lovely to see so many families come out to our Exhibition Night.  The students were really excited and proud of their work.  I love seeing how eager they are to share their expertise.  Here are a few snapshots from that night!

The following day, we got ready to exhibit our work for our 8th Grade Buddies.  Everyone was so brave to answer questions about their work and the older students expressed how impressed they were with their paintings.

But we know that we're not the only ones who do hard work at IA, so we went to go check out our Buddies' exhibit on their "Rate My Beach Project."  It's always lovely to see these two groups connecting!

Have a great night!
Love, Gaby

Friday, November 30, 2012

Our Trip to the Musueum!

Good afternoon everyone!

Have I told you lately how much I enjoy spending time around your wonderful children?  They inspire me everyday and they have so much to contribute to our class!  Thank you for sharing them with us!

There was a great buzz of excitement in our class leading up to our field trip.  We spent time preparing ourselves for this adventure and discussed what some expectations were and we made agreements about what to do in case of an emergency.

How will you take care of your partner?

We have been practicing taking care of our friends every day in a variety of ways, but we have special agreements when it comes to taking care of your partner when we take a walk.  Some of those agreements applied to how we could take care of our friends on a field trip, including holding hands, following the group, walking in line, and being gentle with your partner.  The students found it easy to transfer these same agreements and apply them to what to do on our trip.

What does the Family Driver need from you?

The class agreed that when they would be in the car with a Family Driver, they would practice being quiet and avoid causing any distractions so that everyone would be safe.  We did a little bit of role playing for how to hear for instructions from the Family Driver, staying in their seat the whole time, and some activities they might do in the car.  They came up with some great suggestions, such as counting red cars, trucks, trees, and finding numbers and letters in license plates.

What is acceptable behavior in a museum?

Some students in our class have experienced trips to different museums in their life and offered their expertise to the group.  They were able to model how to walk quietly, observe and respect the different artifacts in the classroom, stick with their Family Member, and how to take stick with their partner. 

What do you do in case you get separated from the group?

I provided the students with a scenario to consider:  during the trip, you find yourself looking closely at a piece of art, and when you turn to your partner, you realize that you are alone and the rest of the group has gone on to the next exhibit.  What do you do?  We walked through the steps of what to do in this case which included sitting right where you are, ask a mom, dad, or worker for help and hand them your Emergency Contact Card (provided to them prior to the trip) and ask them to call your teacher, but to stay in your space even if the person helping you asks you to join them somewhere else.  

Upon the arrival to the New Children's Art Museum, the students enjoyed  the playground across the street where we met up to have lunch prior to our tour.

We were greeting by our guide, Evan, who led us to the different exhibits by Jason Rogenes who has explored the possibilities of Styrofoam and other discarded materials:

Mike Eastman who uses electronic waste, providing a process of discovery and play; transforming discarded television and computer parts into user-activated magnetic sculptures:

Margaret and Christine Wertheim of The Institute For Figuring, who decided to keep and track all of their household plastic trash:

Ernest Silva's The Rain House provided a tranquil space with the sound of water tinkling on the tin roof as they worked to find the spaces to fit large puzzle pieces.

Vik Muniz, who invites visitors to compose their own “picture of garbage,” using broken plastic toys placed upon light boxes:

Chris Solars' Play Fill, which is a dumpster converted into a play structure, where the students were asked to look at life through the perspective of a piece of trash

Check out this video about Chris Solar's Play-Fill.  It brought up much discussion from the students who were left with the following questions that students are responding to in their journals:

And lastly, Shinique Smith's Secret Garden, she uses discarded clothing as an artistic medium to explore the complex and accidental connections between individuals. (Pictures coming soon!) Check >>>HERE<<< for more details about each artist and their installations.

Have a great weekend!
Love, Gaby

Saturday, November 24, 2012

What is a Holiday?

Hi there!

This short week has been a very thoughtful one for us here in Kindergarten.  With more holidays coming right around the corner, the students have started having some discussions around this topic...

What is a holiday?

What does Thanksgiving mean to you?

Jack- Eat a lot of food.
Jake- A celebration.
Nyala- It's about love.
Andrew- A celebration
Fiona- We eat a lot of food, but some people do not eat turkey because they are vegetarians.
Lincoln- It's about being with the people you love.
Lyla- You celebrate about people who are dead that you love.

What are you thankful for?

Most friends were feeling that the holidays are a special time for people to be with their families and to remember?  What does Thanksgiving mean to you and your family?

Another topic that many friends have been thinking about involves the concept of God and why we do not refer to this concept in our school discussions.  I offered the explanation that many different people have different feelings and beliefs about the concept of God.  In order to respect these different beliefs, we will be keeping our discussions neutral while here at school, but can discuss our beliefs with our families at home.

What are your family beliefs?

How do you honor your practices at home?

Why did your family choose a public school versus a parochial school?

Thank  you for sharing your thoughtful children with me!  Enjoy your break!
Love, Gaby

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Happy November!


What a wonderful week we've had here at school!  I hope you all are enjoying your weekend together!  The students have been getting back into the groove of their regular routines and moving past the excitement of Halloween.  Here are some of the things the friends have been thinking about.

Nyala brought in a pack of "Silly Bands" to share with the class.  She wanted to split them up so that everyone could have some, so during Open Choice Time, friends worked together to figure out how many each person would get.  They started by using cuisenaire rods to represent each student in our class, and passed out a Silly Band to each "student" one by one to make sure everyone had the same amount.

On a new day, friends checked their work and found a few inconsistencies in the last groups work that they corrected.  They then started putting the correct amount into jars and started labeling each one with a students' name.  This turned out to be a challenge because some friends wrote the same person's name on two different jars.  This made them have to go back and check their work and figure out which student still did not have a name on their jar.  They later found that using our Name Cards for Songs and Poems was a great tool to use to check who was missing!

We ended our week with a light shower, bringing on a beautiful rainbow overlooking our school.  Lisa, our 8th grade teacher, took this picture before school started

This inspired many students to think about rainbows and brought up some probing questions.

What is a rainbow?
Where do they come from?
Why do they happen?

This topic also led to the question  of whether or not there is a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow?  Some students plan on drawing their theories about these topics in the following days.

At the end of our Friday, we met up with our 8th Grade Buddies and met our partners.  The students went on a Walk and Talk to get to know each other a little bit better as we went to the park.  It was so fun to see how excited both the Kindergarteners and the 8th Graders were to get to meet their Buddy!

In other news, the 4th grade is doing a Food Drive and have place a box in our class to collect any donations of canned goods or dry goods.  The drive will go on for the rest of next week and will be donated to a local food bank.

Enjoy your day!
Love, Gaby

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Pictures from our Spooky Day!


Our Halloween Party was a big success!  Thank you so much to all the families who helped bring in tools and food for us to use for our Food Making Stations!  Also, thank you to all the families who were able to come in and help us do this big job and enjoy the fruits of our labor!  These kids make some pretty tasty salads and waffles!

The students also worked in small groups to write a spooky story in our Spooky Meeting Space.  It's neat to see how friends piggy-back off of each others ideas to help develop the story.

The class was so excited to try out their dishes!

To end our Halloween Party, we set out to go Trick-or-Treating in our neighborhood.  It was so much fun seeing the students enjoy all of their hard work!

Love, Gaby

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Happy Halloween!

Gooooood eveniiiiing.... =]

I hope you all had a happy and safe Halloween!  I know I had a lovely time after work Trick-or-Treating with my niece and nephews around our neighborhood.


There was so much excitement in our class today, I felt so lucky to be a part of today's experience.  And it was super neat to see all the different costumes that the students brought in.  Here are a few pictures of some kids on the playground, taking on their character roles!

More pictures to come soon!
Love, Gaby

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Moving Forward With Our Party!

Hello all!

This week has been quite a different one with all these short days!  It just flew by us!  But we still took time to do a lot of hard work!  Check out how the students have been making the different signs and decorations to put up around our class!

The students started thinking about how to make the houses for our neighborhood, so we checked in about how we would set up our tools when making them.  Vikas and Merrick are some of our tallest friends so we used them as a guide to see where the door frame needed to be.

Friends used an overhead projector to stencil on the lines that would be needed for the door frame.

And then they reinforced the cardboard with tape so that the loose pieces would stay together.

Friends also worked together to pave the roads in our neighborhood!

Hope to see you Monday and/or Tuesday after school to help with our houses!

Love, Gaby