Classroom Happenings

Mrs. Zakhar's Preschool class dove into their Ocean theme with the book Only One You by Linda Kranz.

The story is about a mom and dad rock painted as a fish telling their son about life and to APPRECIATE art, to LISTEN, to REFLECT, to CIRCLE BACK if he makes a mistake, to enjoy the BEAUTY in the world, and to not be afraid to STAND OUT. Throughout the book students see lots of fish (painted on rocks) enjoying the journey of life. Students are reminded about the great qualities we all have and how we can be important members of our community.

After the class read the story, they explored a variety of rocks. The children observed the rocks, discussed their textures, if they were smooth, rough, had lines on them, or had holes. They then weighed the rocks to see which one was the heaviest. The children cleaned and dried their rocks and then painted them.

Through this project the children counted, organized, measured, painted, and grew as a classroom community. The children encouraged one another and supported each other in their designs. Once they had a variety of rocks painted, they wrote inspiring words on them and discussed where on campus they could add their rocks. It was then decided to add their painted rocks to a planter outside the Library. If you are in the courtyard outside the Library you will see the beautiful rocks painted by the children from Room 2. It has been an incredible school year and the class will always have a place to go that will remind us of our year!

The book concludes with a great message: "There is only one you in this great big world... Make it a better place."

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Bugs, Bugs, Bugs... Mrs. Sabako's Class literally could not learn enough about them! Theory tells us that children learn best through hands-on learning experiences of high interest. When educators pay close attention to what really excites and fascinates their students, then create interesting and engaging curriculum to stimulate their curiosity based on those interests, the learning that takes place can be magical! That's what happened for the Preschool Twos class!

The interest began with the exploration of the butterfly life cycle. The children were fascinated by the caterpillars (larva stage) and were surprised to find they had all spun their chrysalis's (pupa stage) overnight, causing them to anxiously await for the adult butterflies to emerge. After they emerged as adult butterflies the children were beyond excited to let them go in their playground fairy garden! Watching the intense way they looked closely at each stage of the butterfly's life cycle, asked questions, and had little "buggy" conversations with their teachers and peers, made it clear this was a topic of extremely high interest. Therefore, students explored everything insects!

The class had insects to collect with tongs in their sensory tub, insect specimens to view with magnifiers, patterned butterfly wings to match, insect puzzles to construct, insect parts to snap together, insect templates for crayon rubbing, insect color pages to color, and a variety of insect art projects to create for their Good Manners Garden displayed in the classroom. They also enjoyed insect hand and finger puppets, insect counting flannel activities, finger plays, songs, and books (non-fiction and fiction)! They literally could not get enough about insects and the exploration helped them practice skills in every area of their development! They even explored ladybugs in the outside sensory tub where they got to hold them and collect them in a bottle containing real flowers to then take home and let go in their gardens. Thank you to Katie Scott, our magnificent outdoor education coordinator for this awesome experience! In addition, the students could be found on the playground with multiple pill bugs of varying sizes crawling up and down their fingers or arms on a daily basis!

Though they did finally have to say goodbye to insects and hello to ocean creatures (another topic of high interest) the children are still routinely talking about bugs. Their last hurrah, and one of their favorite insect explorations, has been that of the silkworm life cycle. This exploration began with teeny tiny eggs which hatched into tiny black caterpillars. The children have been fascinated to watch them chomp on mulberry leaves picked from the trees on their playground. The caterpillars have gone through several molts and are now big white caterpillars, finally big enough to be held.The children watch them closely each day and await yet another magical miracle. The caterpillars will soon spin a silk cocoon around themselves and emerge as white moths to begin the life cycle all over again! Honestly, hands-on learning doesn't get any better than that!

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What weighs less than a pound, is about the size of your fist, and is essential for keeping you alive? The Heart! The 5th grade scientists have spent several weeks preparing for their big day of dissecting sheep hearts.The knowledge that they've learned in Mrs. Kolk's class regarding the circulatory system and the anatomy of the human heart was put to the test during their sheep heart dissection with guest lecturer, St. John's parent and cardiologist, Dr. Ehrlich. In identifying the four chambers of the heart, the valves, and the blood vessels that flow in and out of the heart, students were able to see how the heart is similar and different from what is presented in textbooks, on charts and models, etc., and understand how form follows function by seeing firsthand the structure of the heart.

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Researchers in 5th Grade benefited from specific U.S. State resources and access to half a dozen databases via Cardinal Guides, a new digital extension of our School Library. "The dashboard access is easy...I know where the passwords are," said one student. Another added, "I used a newspaper article inside a website. Mrs. Sjostedt and NoodleTools helped me cite it properly". They are among the "NoodleTools Ninjas" who are preparing for middle school by learning to use an online workflow to evaluate, synthesize, and properly give credit to creators in a digital world of multiple source types.

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Congratulations to all 6th, 7th, and 8th graders who participated in Wednesday's Middle Division Spring Concert! Mrs. Boyd's choir performed their festival selections, ranging from contemporary ballads to upbeat African spirituals. Ms. Williams' dancers then took the stage to delight us with their moves choreographed to the latest top 40 hits. Instrumental music played a range of well-known hits from popular movies and TV shows. Finally, all groups came together to collaborate on a final piece entitled "Home". Thank you to everyone who attended this culminating elective showcase. We appreciate your support of our young artists!

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