Social Emotional Learning

Social Emotional Learning (SEL) is the foundation of the TK curriculum. SEL is at the heart of everything we do in my classroom. When students develop confidence in themselves and empathy for others, they’ll be ready to explore the world, absorb what they discover along the way, and tackle tough problems with creativity and tenacity.

According to, “There is a growing body of research that provides evidence that emotional regulation is critical to academic success.” Regurgitating facts and formulas can be impressive, but are not effective job skills. Employers need workers who can think creatively and collaborate with others for a common purpose. Those are the skills that take time (years!) to develop and sharpen, but we rarely allow all the practice needed to become proficient.

Here is a link to that body of research. You can read the data for yourself. Let’s rethink education and focus on developing the whole child.

Adios, mi amigos!

Dear TK Families,

What a year it has been! It has been my great joy to have been your child’s TK teacher. How lucky I am to have this job! I get to introduce young children to the school environment and ignite a spark to their imagination and joy of discovery every day. Thank you for that privilege.

I am deeply humbled by your generous support of my efforts to integrate technology in meaningful ways for the students. I have placed an order for a set of iPad 4s and I will be ordering a couple more Ozobots soon because of your donations. You folks ROCK!

These last few weeks have been a whirlwind and I haven’t been able to finish posting some student work. I will get to it later this month. (After I get back from my cruise to Alaska!)

Did you know that you can actually download a .zip archive of your child’s Seesaw journal. It will include all the photos, video, and audio from your child’s journal. It is a wonderful way to keep a virtual scrapbook of your child’s TK year.

Follow this link to the directions: and download by August 1st so you don’t lose access to those precious memories.

With joy and gratitude,
Mrs. P

PS: If you have enjoyed the experience with Seesaw, please encourage all of your child’s teachers to contact me to learn how to get it started.

Video Contest Update

I’ve got some fun news to share!

One of our TKNews reports was a finalist in the regional contest, Sacramento Educational Video Awards. TKNews Mantis Report was hosted by Carter.

Another of our videos is a winner in the state-wide contest, California Student Media Festival. TKNews Special Report: Bearded Dragon Eggs was hosted by Milo.

Take a five minute happiness break and enjoy these informative videos!

(If any of you will be in Los Angeles on June 3rd, I’d love to have you pick up our award. It looks like neither Milo’s family, nor myself will be able to attend the ceremony.)

Virtual Trip to Alaska!

I have checked and rechecked all connections. On Monday we should be able to participate in our first videoconference with a park ranger from Denali National Park in Alaska. We will extend our knowledge about arctic animals with an in-person lesson from an expert in the field. We will connect via Skype so we can see and talk to the ranger in real time. We will be talking about animals that live in the park today and also those that lived there long, long ago. We are all looking forward to this unique opportunity!

Here’s a link to their website in case you are curious about Denali National Park.

I have been unable to solve the connectivity problem with the Glacier Bay ranger program, so I have not rescheduled that virtual trip.

December Busy-ness

After a well-deserved month off-track, we certainly packed December with learning and laughter. The December birthdays were combined with the November dates for a rollicking party. There are plenty of photos on our Shutterfly Site to prove it. Thank you to our terrific volunteers! I couldn’t do it without you.

Speaking of volunteers, Miss Starla made it back from her injury. No one was happier than I to see her smiling face and capable hands at our door. She also bought everyone a knit hat to stay warm on chilly recess days.

We celebrated the Hour of Code with many experiences related to computer programming. Be sure to check out our videos called Hour of Code, We Love Bee-bots, and Ozobots in TK. Just click on the Class Video tab and scroll down to find those titles.

We read and compared several versions of the story of the Gingerbread Man. The students also got really good at retelling the story. They used puppets, small animals, and flannel board characters. They even got to act it out in small groups.

We were surprised when The Gingerbread Man showed up in our classroom. He was very interested in what we were doing, but one day he suddenly disappeared! It didn’t take long before we started receiving texts and photo clues from him. So we became detectives and set out to search for him. You can check out the video of this adventure here.

Other special guests brought us beautiful music. Mr. Seifert, his guitar, and his fourth graders came by to sing holiday songs with us. It was a bit intimidating because we didn’t know many of the words and they were so big, but it was still a good time. Another treat was when Athena’s mom played her harp for us. It was enchanting! You can view a short video of it here. She promised to come again, too.

Wishing blessings and peace to you and your families.

Mrs. P.

The Hour of Code

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Have you heard of The Hour of Code? It began just three years ago as a small event to introduce students to computer programming. Hadi Partovi, a computer programmer and businessman, noticed that most students have no opportunity to learn computer science (CS) before college, especially girls and minorities. So he started and launched the first Hour of Code in December 2013. It has grown immensely with over 311,000,000 students participating worldwide, including President Obama. More importantly, nearly half a million teachers have been trained, 120 school districts now offer CS courses, and 20 states have changed policies to support CS.

I have had my classes participate each year since the beginning. The training and support materials are likely the best professional development I have ever received. I am able to weave these important skills into our lessons throughout the year, so your child gets much more than just one hour of computer science instruction. Soon each student will be using the website to build even more skills. You can do it, too! It is my hope that you and your child will continue learning CS together at home. I bet you never imagined that your TK student would have such an opportunity! #futurereadynow

Think Like a Scientist

Yesterday was a bit misty and almost rainy, but being the first day back after a long break we needed some time outside. There was just one not-to-deep puddle that was very popular very quickly. Many students wore rain boots and they had a delightful time. A few students noticed that the playground bark looked different, darker than usual and they went to explore. I love a good mystery, so I followed.

Me: What do you think happened?
Aliyah: I think it got so cold the bark froze. That’s why it’s white.
Me: Think like a scientist. Find out more.
Claudia: I touched it. It’s not cold so it’s not frozen.
Me: Think like a scientist. Compare it with the dark bark.
Claudia: That bark is wet. The white bark is dry.
Me: Hmm. Why do you think they are different?
Athena: The slide protected the white bark and it didn’t get wet!
Me: I love learning with you.


My DonorsChoose.Org Project

Hi Friends, Families, and Visitors,

donorschooseAs many of you know, I have been creating videos with my students for over three years. It is a powerful way to get kids learning 21st century skills. Besides, it is just plain fun! I want to ramp up my own skills and provide the next level of video production opportunities for our school. I will soon be launching a video production team at my school and we are in need of a portable teleprompter. (If we get this item funded, we may also qualify for a grant to provide even more equipment to set up a real video production lab.) So I created a request at

Communication Skills Are Keys to Success

Your support would mean so much to school. If you chip in to help, we’ll send awesome photos and our heartfelt thanks.

Thanks so much,

Mrs. P

P.S. If you know anyone who may want to help my classroom, please pass this along!

Seesaw Info

Dear TK Families,
You can now add items from home to your child’s Seesaw journal. Like everything with Seesaw, it’s easy! Download the Seesaw class app, scan the QR code I sent home on Friday, and with a couple of taps, your item is added. It’s a great way to connect home and school learning and you’ll end up with a wonderful digital scrapbook for your child’s TK year.
I will be available after school on Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday this week to walk you through the steps. Plan to stay for a few minutes and try it out.