Friday, February 26, 2021


March Dates at a Glance

Friday      March 5th      Every Friday is Sharing Day! 10:30 A.M.

                                       SK Friday Morning Meeting 11:00 A.M.

                                       Latin with Magistra, 11:15 A.M.

Mon.-Fri   March 8-12    Y5s' Parent/Teacher Conferences! 

Monday   March 15th    No School! Conference write up day!

Friday      March  26th  Spring Break! 

Monday   April 2nd       School resumes! 


Friday, January 22, 2021

Shared Traditions-Let Their Be LIght (and lots of books!)

Social Justice Standards

8. Students will respectfully express curiosity about the history and lived experiences of others and will exchange ideas and beliefs in an open-minded way. 

9. Students will respond to diversity by building empathy, respect, understanding and connection. 

10. Students will examine diversity in social, cultural, political and historical contexts rather than in ways that are superficial or oversimplified.

November and December were months filled with shared tradition, stories and celebrations. We began the month with a virtual visit from our friend, former SK Administrator now Board Member Dayna Muniz. Dayna gave us a peek into her family's Mexican American heritage and celebration of Dia de los Muertos. 

Dayna explained that "The Dead of the Dead" is not Halloween. It is a beautiful, reverent and thoughtful "Indigenous tradition from what is now known as Latin America"  set aside to celebrate loved ones that have passed away. It just so happens to fall on the day after October 31st and includes costumes, skeletons, parties and food. It is so much more than tricks and treats, however.  Dayna explained how her family displays an ofrenda (or altar) in her home where family members are remembered through photographs, flowers (marigolds), beloved items, water, and sometimes the preparation of their loved ones' favorite meals. Tissue paper flowers, sugar skulls and  breads also commemorate the occasion.  Dayna read us a sweet Dia de los Muertos story about a deceased boy who pays a visit to his undead relatives. Later, Y5s created their own tissue paper banners to decorate our classroom in honor of this very special occasion!


Later, Teacher Kelsea led the children through colorful craft lessons of snipping paper banners and the dying wooden flowers to resemble the vibrant marigolds that adorn floats and other decor during Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) festivities.

On another day we heard the story Binny's Diwali that told of a child from India's reluctance to reveal one of her family's traditions of floating lanterns and colorful,  intricate floor designs to her classmates. She overcame her fear, however, as classmates welcomed the information about how  people of India celebrate their history and culture. 

Balloon's Over Broadway the story of Puppeteer Tony Sarg,  told of the inventor of the Macy's Day Parade floats in New York City. Some of our class witnessed the annual event done in a unique way this year due to COVID and had a ringside seat to the behind the scenes preparation! Later, Y5s created their own "articulating" puppets to simulate helium balloon  designs. We also talked about Artist Alexander Calder (also a puppeteer) and inventor of the modern mobile and the "stabile,"  in Art class.

Bonnie's Mom and brother popped in to share Mae Among the Stars by Roda Ahmed while the science world anticipated the appearance of one of the brightest stars (actually the rare alignment of Jupiter and Saturn) in our history and compared it to the same star seen during the birth of Christ! The "planetary conjunction" was met, however, with a cloudy night, so we just had to use our twinkly imaginations instead.

Amelia shared one of her favorite stories The Runaway Bunny while virtual at home. Our class is looking forward to sharing in Amelia's family's holiday tradition in the spring. 

Teacher Kelsea and I introduced the curious two- dimensional character "Flat Stanley" by Mark Brown to our class right before Thanksgiving Break in the hope that Y5s would be inspired to do some virtual traveling to family and loved ones on their own. A letter of introduction, journal pages and a
 flattened look-a-like figure were included in each take-home packet.  Each "stanley" will hopefully travel the globe via snail mail or email and return to our classroom Circle Times by the end of the school year!

December, as usual was all a buzz about toy wishes for the holidays. Galimoto by Karen Lynn Williams told of an African boy who used his ingenuity (and pieces of scrap metal, fabric and string) to design his own mobile toy as an example of another "articulating" structure. Y5s  tried their hands at these move-able "feats" for the eyes and were met with more than a few design challenges! Creating homemade gifts is also one of the principles of the African American holiday Kwanzaa celebrated December 26th-January 1st and includes, the lighting of a candle holder and the preparation of special foods.

Cody and Mom helped us welcome in Winter Solstice (December 21st) by sharing a lovely story titled The Shortest Day by Susan Cooper. (Above) Cody, who always shines,  provided his own luminary for the occasion!  "The winter solstice is an opportunity for Indigenous people to reconnect to the natural world, sharpen our senses, and access our most powerful selves"-Sarah Sunshine Manning (NDN)

Aylin's Mom and Dad tagged-teamed and shared some of Mom's traditional Thai culture surrounding food, gestures and greetings while Dad read us a story titled Which Pet Should I Get by Dr. Seuss. Mom demonstrated the different bows of reverence given to others depending on status and explained the significant herbs and spices (like garlic, cilantro, cumin and turmeric) that create such wonderful and sought after Thai dishes.

Jack's mom Sarai shared the classic tale Hershel and the Hanukkah Goblins by Eric Kimmell. She also explained the Jewish tradition of remembrance by lighting the menorah each night of the Hanukkah celebration. Sarai told us about the yummy foods served (like potato latkes cooked in oil) and 
sent in spinning tops called dreidels for us to play with that include symbols that translate "a great miracle happened there."

Speaking of classics, Dalia's Mom and little brother read us the Christmas holiday story of Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer. This story, by the way, is one of my first experiences as a kid to read about the topics of bullying and exclusion. 

Adorned in train conductor hats and scarves, Y5s cozied up (with hot chocolate and blankets in tow) for a viewing of the book The Polar Express by Chris Van Allsburg. The children's wooden train whistles were safely tucked in their backpacks, however, in order to share some holiday spirit at home:)

Looking forward to a Merry Christmas, a restful Winter Break, and anticipating a fantastic and promising New Year!

Sunday, January 3, 2021

Happy 2021! January at a Glance

January 2021 at a Glance

Monday, January 4th                  School resumes! Happy New Year!
Friday, January 8th                     Friday Coffee with Rachel, 9:00-10:00 A.M.                
Monday, January 18th                Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day! No School today!


Saturday, November 14, 2020

Feeling Kinda' Spacey!

 Zoom, Zoom, Zoom

We're going to the Moon

Zoom, zoom, zoom

We're going to the Moon.

If you want to take a trip,

Climb aboard my rocket ship.

Zoom, zoom, zoom

We're going to the Moon!

Young Fives ventured off to the great beyond and had a serendipitous encounter with an actual  International Space Station (ISS) shuttle launch that occurred right in the center of our classroom universe. Another internet search included an investigation of the Egyptian Pyramids' "booby trap" chambers discussed during a math lesson on geometric solids.

We took several "supply" trips to You Tube to find out about actual life on the ISS, the various countries that collectively work there and some of the Science experiments that are conducted in its labs. We were surprised to discover the varied sleeping positions and private quarters locations of astronauts and that special foods, lovies and treats are sometimes sent up to astronauts during their approximate 6 month stay. We even listened to our Circle Time story read by one of the astronauts! The class heard several other books that included Rocket Says Look Up! by Nathan Bryan, Captain Invincible and the Space Shapes by Stuart J. Murphy and Dmitri the Astronaut by Jon Agee. The best part of our study (I think) was that, although the view from Space is spectacular, there is truly no place like home.

Our International Space Station (ISS) Designs

Our Space Race fit in snugly with our unit on Geometric Shapes and Solids during Math class. We transformed our 2D schematics into 3D structures like rockets, telescopes and shuttles using blocks, Magna-tiles, paper netsand  eventually cardboard boxes- lots and lots of boxes!

Y5s simulated constellations using trails of push pin holes on black paper and with a classic Light Bright

tubular telescope

We even wore identification badges on our Y5-ISS to distinguish us from intruders.

Speaking of unfamiliar guests, "alien- like" critters emerged at the station due to a discovery of very large magnifiers!

Young 5s found out that over time, we were not the only ones that had their eyes on all things celestial! Our Art explorations landed us with two artists who were also seeing stars-Vincent Van Gogh and Joan Miro. Young 5s studied the circular, broad brush strokes that created its radiant glow in Van Gogh's Starry Night. We also  studied shapes and lines while imagining alternative life forms in Joan Miro's Constellations series.

  March Dates at a Glance Friday      March 5th      Every Friday is Sharing Day! 10:30 A.M.                                        SK Frida...