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