Fog Willow Fun!

We had a delightful trip to Fog Willow Farm this week. We owe a huge thank you to our chaperones! Each of you were essential in keeping all the children safe and focused on fun.
I was surprised to learn that baby rabbits are actually called kittens or kits! Be sure to ask your student about other cool facts they learned about farm animals.

Don’t forget to upload your best photos to our Shutterfly Site so everyone can share in the experience.

Solar Eclipse Info

We have been busy learning about the sun, the moon, and the solar eclipse all week. We acted out the eclipse, read books and did an online lesson at We also practiced using a pinhole projector with our sixth grade buddies. We even found out why we should NEVER look at the sun, even for a moment. The dramatic demonstration got everyone’s attention!

We will be observing the changes before, during, and after the eclipse on Monday morning. We will have our big buddies from Mrs. Groom’s sixth grade class with us, but parents are welcome, too. I only have enough eclipse glasses for the students, so bring your own if you will be participating with us. Make and bring a pinhole projector or you can use one of ours.

If you won’t be able to join us at school, I hope you get outside to observe this rare event for yourself. Here is a link to a website with some ways to safely view the solar eclipse on Monday, August 21st. You just need a couple of items that are probably in your house right now.

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.

Jump into January!

As I was looking over my photos and Seesaw posts for this month, I was a bit surprised at how much we have explored in just a couple of weeks. We focused on a snow theme at first and got to build a snowman with fake snow we made in class. Just stir together three cups of baking soda and one cup of white hair conditioner and you get a mixture that has the consistency of packable snow without the freezing hands. We also made artistic snowmen in a variety of ways. They are currently decorating our room.

We read and retold The Mitten by Jan Brett many times. The children love to act out the part when the bear sneezes and all the animals go flying in the air! Retelling a familiar story builds stronger comprehension skills and gives much needed verbal practice.

I introduced an ice cube challenge that got their brains thinking with determination. How can you pick up an ice cube using just a string? No hands on the ice cube either! We had a few successes once I provided some salt. I love how engaged and creative the students get when presented with an interesting problem to solve.

We also grew beautiful crystals using a super saturated solution of Borax in hot water. Here’s how we did it: start with three cups of very hot water and add 1/2 cup Borax laundry booster. Stir in more Borax until no more will dissolve. Twist and shape a pipe-cleaner and hang it from a stick so it doesn’t touch the sides or bottom of a clear jar. Pour in the solution. Don’t disturb the jar! In about an hour you will see crystals begin to form. The longer you leave it, the more crystals form on the pipe-cleaner.

This month has been made special with guest teachers helping us learn. Mrs. Stark has been providing music lessons. She has introduced us to different styles of musical compositions and use of voice. Beethoven’s Moonlight Serenade had an impressive and immediate calming effect on the whole class!

Mrs. Tweedt has been teaching us about arctic animals. We get to draw the animals as we make our own book. We couldn’t secure a connection for our videoconference with the park rangers in Alaska but we have explored mini icebergs in the classroom. I’ll keep trying to find a solution the the connectivity issue so we can reschedule that virtual fieldtrip.

I hope you are enjoying the photos and videos on our Seesaw blog. Be sure to leave a few comments for your child. It makes quite an impression when we read them in class.

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.


Pumpkin Math

Today, Mrs. Tweed brought a pumpkin to help us learn about making estimates. An estimate is a good guess. We estimated the number of lines on our pumpkin. Jalisia was exactly right with a guess of 20 lines. Some of our guesses were too few and some were too many.

We estimated the circumference of our pumpkin with yarn. Circumference is the distance all the way around the pumpkin. Makenzie’s yarn was exactly right. Several of our guesses were really close. Some estimates were too short and others were too long.
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We also made estimates on the number of seeds inside the pumpkin. Tomorrow we will weigh our pumpkin, cut it open, scoop out the seeds and count them.

What is your estimate for the number of seeds? Leave your guess in a comment. We will let you know if you were close or not.

Seeds, Plants, and Flowers

dandelionseeds Have you ever thought about how seeds move? Even though seeds don’t have legs, they can still travel quite far. Try and come up with five different ways that seeds end up far from where they started. Give your answers in a comment to this post. There will be a small prize for every student that replies.