Early Elementary - Classroom Updates

An Illuminating Year

We are wrapping up this ILLUMINATING year by studying animals! The Labyrinth visited Northwest Trek earlier this week. We road trams and observed animals native to the Pacific Northwest such as: elk, deer, beavers, and coyotes. Even though it was a rainy day, lots of animals were out; we even learned that drizzly days appeal to animals.

All of this nature lead us to the Kruckeberg Botanic Garden where students learned about different layers of the forest. We explored the garden, made mini forests (which students brought home) and built magical fairy homes!

Burke Museum

Have you noticed the museum of mammal skulls and furs set up in our Discovery Area? This interactive exhibit, generously loaned by the Burke Museum, has given EE students a chance to explore nature in preparation for our visit to North West Trek. Students have sketched and recorded observations in their Bright Ideas Journals, developing hypotheses for the identity of each specimen. As the year is wrapping up, students are reflecting on the collection of hard work they have compiled throughout the year. Observing and discussing the highlights of what they have learned, students think about what their strengths are and what they are still practicing. They are excited to illuminate their hard work with a grown up at Portfolio Share next Friday!

DASH and Guest Head of the Labyrinth

Dash week for the EE continued with an action-packed Thursday! The morning was spent viewing Storybook Theater’s musical production of The Ugly Ducking. Students and actors laughed alongside each other through songs about identity and valuing what makes us different. We ended the day with an exciting performance by magician Joey Pipia. Students were cheering and chanting at his comedic show with silly tricks and teacher volunteers on stage.

Today, we welcomed Thomas Gust as Head of the Labyrinth! For his special day, he treated everyone to ice cream sundaes and a special All-Labyrinth investigation. What a fun celebration!

DASH

In just the past week, Early Elementary students have had the pleasure of viewing two theatrical performances. On Friday, the Labyrinth headed to Northwest Puppet Center for What the Moon Saw, a creative spin on Thumbelina and The Ugly Duckling. Infused with playful references to original author Hans Christian Andersen and featured exquisitely designed puppets and scenery.

As part of DASH (Days of Arts, Science, and Humanities), the Labyrinth joined tower students in the Interconnection for Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. The play was performed by Book-It, a traveling theatre troupe that acts out classics and other tales, reciting the text verbatim. With impeccable timing and use of space, just three actors delivered the magic of Alice. Their minimalist, "blackbox" style of staging and props invited students to add elements from their own imagination, essentially co-creating our own Wonderland right here!

"What shall we paint on the Rainbow Road this year?"

"Stuff that illuminates!" was an answer that rang out among the buzz of excitement as the Tower-ready students met to reflect on how our theme, Illuminate, has guided our studies this year. Each spring at UCDS, we celebrate the graduating kindergarten class with our tradition of re-painting the Rainbow Road with images that highlight that year’s theme.

Oohs and ahhs followed suggestions of the sun, stars, guiding lights, lighthouses, and luminaries. More abstract ideas, like illuminating friends, served as a reminder of how we have lit others up with caring words and gestures, from invitations to play to designing fairy houses for one another.

Students chose sixteen (!) categories that will become our sub-groups for sketching and then painting the designs on the Rainbow Road. There is an overwhelming sense of honor among the kindergartners as they prepare to inspire life on the Labyrinth playground next year!

Theme Fair Preparation

Students have been springing into action to get ready for Friday's Theme Fair, Illumination Celebration: Highlights of the Year! With the four theme groups of Lighthouse Land, Space Jam, Caring for the Community (Cat City), and Fairy Factory in mind, students journaled about which topic they would like to illuminate for others. Students were placed on one of the four project committees and participated in class meetings to decide on interactive activities to prepare and share with our community. Get ready to see all of their hard work and bright ideas in action on Friday!

Dr. Jane Goodall

This week we were honored to welcome Dr. Jane Goodall to UCDS! After reading books and watching videos about Jane and her accomplishments, students were finally able share their ideas with Jane and ask her some questions. Jane shared inspiring stories from her life and work with chimpanzees and taught us a chimp call used in the jungles to let other chimps know: “I’m here.”

On the Labyrinth playground the bamboo garden has been transformed into a fairy village complete with miniature fairy houses and pixie dust. To welcome the newest friends of UCDS, students have been bringing in flowers, leaves, sticks, and other natural materials from home to build even more fairy houses!

In Math Vitamin students are learning about money and coins through explorations such as observational drawings of different types of coins, writing equations for mixed coins, and grouping coins into dollars.

Busy Week

We had a busy and exciting week before Spring Break! In continuing our exploration of our Read Aloud book, The Night Fairy, students used the constructive feedback received from their partners to make adjustments in the designs of their fairy homes. After adding the finishing details each student presented a personalized fairy house to their Labyrinth neighbor and received one in return.

Free Day offered an afternoon of entertainment with fun spaces to explore in the Labyrinth including a dance and party room, Day of the Dead art room, and lots of bedtime themed activities! Students also had the opportunity to travel to the Tower to visit rooms dedicated to candy, movies, and the Seahawks.

With their special guests in the audience, students showed off their hard work on stage during Grandparents and Special Friends Day. After the incredible performance students and guests visited the classrooms and worked together to create fairies fit to take up residence in the newly finished fairy houses!

Trickster Tales and Fairy Homes

We started the week traveling to Bellevue’s Meydenbauer Theatre to see the production Trickster Tales. Box Tales Theatre Company entertained students and had them participate in the production of stories, including the southern U.S. tale of Brer Rabbit and Brer Alligator and the Mexican tale Tio Conejo.

In addition, students have continued explore Read Aloud, The Night Fairy by creating fairy homes for one of their neighbors in the Labyrinth. Each student interviewed their Labyrinth neighbor, asking questions like “What is your favorite color” and “What are some of your fairy house needs?” After designing fairy home prototypes, students revealed their creations to their Labyrinth neighbor and gathered feedback, such as “What is something your partner liked [about the fairy home]? And “What is something your partner suggested you change?”

Students are still exploring measurement during Math Vitamin and recently played a game where they traveled across a Night Fairy themed game board using inches and centimeters.

So long, Pockets!

Our friend Pockets from the Space Taxi Read Aloud bid us goodbye recently. Before signing off however, he introduced us to the folks who work and volunteer at Cat City. Cat City is just one part of PAWS (Progressive Animal Welfare Society) and the staff works to care for and house cats while searching for families to adopt these furry friends. Jessica, from Cat City visited the EE students and illuminated the important work being done by Cat City and Paws to help our animal neighbors.

We recently began a new Read Aloud, The Night Fairy by Laura Amy Schlitz. We are inspired by Flory, the main character who had an unfortunate encounter with a bat and is now unable to fly. As this night creature adapts to living in the daytime, she is learning about what it means to be a true friend. Her adventures around the Giant's (people are giants to her) Garden is providing us with more opportunities to think about measurement, area and perimeter.

Also, here is a blog entry for this week:

Literature month is in full swing! The EE celebrated with a special visit from Joan Bransfield Graham, the author of Flicker Flash. Students prepared for the visit by writing their own concrete poems. After deciding on a topic, the students brainstormed descriptive words and then wrote them in the shape of their subject.

At Math Vitamin we have continued our study of measurement. The students used a variety of manipulatives to discover their own height in centimeters, inches, and feet.

New Characters in the Labyrinth!

So long, Pockets! Our friend Pockets from the Space Taxi Read Aloud bid us goodbye recently. Before signing off however, he introduced us to the folks who work and volunteer at Cat City. Cat City is just one part of PAWS (Progressive Animal Welfare Society) and the staff works to care for and house cats while searching for families to adopt these furry friends. Jessica, from Cat City visited the EE students and illuminated the important work being done by Cat City and Paws to help our animal neighbors.

We recently began a new Read Aloud, The Night Fairy by Laura Amy Schlitz. We are inspired by Flory, the main character who had an unfortunate encounter with a bat and is now unable to fly. As this night creature adapts to living in the daytime, she is learning about what it means to be a true friend. Her adventures around the Giant's (people are giants to her) Garden is providing us with more opportunities to think about measurement, area and perimeter.

100th Day of School

This week we celebrated the exciting milestone of the 100th Day of School! After coming together to build a number line with 103 Labyrinth students, we celebrated with a 100 Day All Labyrinth Investigation that included book reading and writing, paper-chains, an exercise circuit, games, necklaces and, or course, a dance party! Be sure to check out the 100 Museum in the Labyrinth hallway to see all the interesting collections of 100.

Diving Deep Into Measurement

Early Elementary students have been diving deep into measurement by calculating area and perimeter. Inspired by our Read Aloud, Space Taxi: Underwater Planet Rescue, Labyrinth mathematicians have been using color tiles to create rectangular buildings for the fictional planet of Nautilus. Bakeries, dentist offices, airports and more have been taking shape! Ask your student about his or her design!

January Fun in Snow and Space!

The EE continues to explore Space with a new Read Aloud. Pockets and Archie's adventures continue in a new book, Space Taxi, The Water Planet Rescue. We even have our own space taxi in the discovery area that we can use to travel to Catopolis, the Cat Planet and Sector 9, The Pink Planet. We had a blast at Bellevue College, visiting the Planetarium and hearing about different kinds of stars. It was almost as much fun as blasting down a snow hill on a huge rubber tube...

Speaking of snow and tubes... Thank you, thank you, thank you to all the parents and friends who were able to join us on our Snoqualmie Adventure. We had so much fun spending the day together and really appreciate the extra help dragging tubes up the hill and pushing them down!

December Adventures

The EE has been continuing to explore place value in Math Vitamin by calculating groups of satellites and building snowflakes. We enjoyed heading as a school to the Seattle Children's theater to see the performance of Dick Wittington. We also celebrated another Milk and Cookies as the Labyrinth, enjoying both song and treats. Happy Winter break everyone!

Stone Soup Celebration

Our Stone Soup celebration was a success! The Early Elementary students exchanged carefully crafted placemats and enjoyed a delicious meal with their Truddies. Each level prepared a toast. The EE shared about our trip to Oxbow Farm set to the tune of “Old McDonald had a Farm.” After the feast, we had a fabulous time playing and reading with our truddies! We hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving!

Field Trip Fun!

After a successful night of illuminating our math program at Curriculum Night, we traveled to the Northwest Puppet Center for a performance of The Green Bird. Our students were introduced to the art of shadow puppetry. The show runs through November 23rd if you’re interested in viewing with your family!

The Early Elementary will be preparing the soup for our Stone Soup Celebration, a UCDS tradition. In preparation for the festivities, we traveled to Oxbow Farm on Wednesday to harvest delicious vegetables. Our students tasted kale and carrots, enjoyed popcorn and cider, and explored their surroundings with a scavenger hunt. We had a fantastic time and now have lots of veggies to chop for our soup! Thank you to all of the chaperones!

Illumination Station! in Outer Space

Each classroom in the EE hosted a different mathematical strand that celebrated our new theme focus ... outer space! The projects included a Space Jam logic game, an Illuminating Space Travels game of probability, Race to Space with number, Suit Up! and measure for your space helmet, Space Station patterns and Tangram Space Toast with geometry. What a blast off it was!

Blast Off!

This week we said goodbye to our Lighthouse family and blasted off into space with a special visitor...Pockets the Space Kitty! Who knew Pandora and Seabold had a cousin from another solar system!? He brought us our new read aloud book, Space Taxi, and a special space treat...astronaut ice cream. As we've been introduced to our new characters, Alex Morningstar and his family, we have also been building our understanding of space by reading non-fiction books as well.

This Thursday we also began our first round of Literature Circles. A new book will come home before the weekend to read and bring back next Thursday.

A final note of THANKS!! to all the volunteers who made our Halloween Party such an amazing success! The kids had a great time and are still talking about it!!

Lighthouses and Tapete Sand Painting

Our trip to the Mukilteo Lighthouse last week was informative and fun. We learned from an historical interpreter that the lighthouse has been there for over 100 years, initially built on a spit of land and used to guide locals in their canoes as they traveled along Puget Sound. The light can be seen from as far away as 12 miles.

In Math Vitamin, we're beginning to delve into pattern, inspired by the lighthouse's unique light and sound "addresses." The Mukilteo light is on for two seconds and off for three; its fog horn blows for four seconds and is off for 12. We're building these patterns (and others!) during Math Vitamin and deepening our conceptual understandings along the way.

Last but not least, visiting artist Fulgencio Lago constructed a large tapete sand painting in the Discovery Area this week. We were able to watch him at work all day Monday. It's fueling our excitement in the Labyrinth for next week's Halloween and Dia de Los Muertos celebrations.

Field Trip Round Up

The Early Elementary students traveled to Seattle Children's Theater this past Tuesday to see "Rikki Tikki Tavi." We partnered up with our First Floor "snack buddies" to ride the bus and sit together at the show. Lots of fun was had by all. The show runs through November 9th in case your family would like to see it together. SCT has also provided a Woodland Park Zoo scavenger hunt of the animals in the show if you're interested in a weekend activity:

https://www.sct.org/Shows/2014-2015-Season/The-Garden-of-Rikki-Tikki-Tavi

On Friday, we have another field trip—this time to Mukilteo Lighthouse Park. We're set to brave the elements and return in time for our first Milk & Cookies. As an FYI, Caroline and Erika's Glow Worms and Elena and Kat's Glow Worms have written and will be performing an original song. Join us at 2pm in the Discovery Area if you're free!

Cuisenaire Rod Lighthouses

Not all lighthouses are tall! It turns out that the location of a lighthouse determines its height and shape. A lighthouse built on a tall cliff is usually much shorter than those built on on islands or land closer to sea level. Using Cuisenaire rods, we explored measurement and putting numbers together. For those new to this manipulative, Math Vitamins provided an opportunity to explore lightouses made from the various colored rods. We practiced lining up centimeter cubes and compared sizes. For those already familiar with the values of rods, Math Vitamins provided opportunities to begin comparing sizes and adding values together.

The start of a new Month inspired our first Calendar Math Vitamin as we filled in an October calendar, learned about the structure of this time measuring device and marked some upcoming special dates!

Pandora gets a companion

Our latest read aloud, The Storm by Cynthia Rylant is giving us insights into the life of a lighthouse keeper. We are learning about the important jobs and big responsibilities of Pandora, the main character. We cheered for her when she saved the life of Seabold, the seafaring dog and are enjoying witnessing this new friendship grow.

We continue to practice building with pattern blocks and exploring symmetry, counting, and recording equations using pattern blocks. Using our Bright Ideas Journal, we are thinking about what we know about lighthouses and asking questions to further our study.

Lighthouse Facts and Tales!

Students in the Early Elementary have been enjoying a wide selection of Lighthouse books, both fiction and non-fiction. One story, The Little Red Lighthouse and the Great Gray Bridge by Hildegarde H Swift inspired us to explore symmetry as we built bridges for Math Vitamin. This story and others inspired us to build bells, horns and boats as we learned about the important ways lighthouses help people. Our latest read aloud continues this journey as we join Pandora the cat, a fictional lighthouse keeper in the book The Storm by Cynthia Rylant. While Pandora loves her job, she is a bit lonely, until a storm brings a surprise. Ask your child about what is happening!

A Bright Start

The EE is off to a bright start! We began the year thinking about many things that make light. One of our first Read Aloud stories, The Very Lonely Firefly by Eric Carle illustrated a few examples, describing a little firefly that flew toward a candle, flashlight, lantern and even animals with eyes that reflect light as he searched for other fireflies. He happily found many friends at the end of the story, a fun parallel to the new friendships that are beginning for us in the Labyrinth! We ended our first week by making fireflies of our own. We then met in small groups made up of students from different classes to share our fireflies and learned what kinds of things made our new friends light up. It was exciting to discover that we enjoyed lots of the same things as our new friends.

We have recently turned our attention to learning about lighthouses and the people and mechanisms that keep them illuminated. We've been busy building lighthouses and boats at Math Vitamin and reading a variety of books to learn about the history of using light to illuminate challenging coastlines.

Visitors!

Even as we reflect on our school year and prepare to paint the Rainbow Road, we've had several special visitors in the Labyrinth this week. On Tuesday, volunteers from the Pacific Northwest Herpetological Society brought their reptilian friends to UCDS. Students were able to see, touch, and ask questions about bearded dragons, veiled chameleons, axolotls, and a Burmese python named Thor! The facts we learned about reptiles and snakes complemented what we've been learning about iguanas in focus groups and from our Read Aloud, Nim's Island.

We also hosted two members of the Seattle Reign in an all-school assembly! Kendall Fletcher and Mariah Nogueira came to UCDS on Wednesday to talk about their experiences playing professional soccer and share some of the lessons they've learned along the way.

Nim, Focus Groups and tide pools

This week in the Labyrinth, the EE further explores money in Math Vitamin by helping Nim buy supplies for her island. After studying Nim's marine environment in science and through Focus Groups, we also take advantage of the low tide by heading out to Carkeek park to explore the tide pools.

Focus Groups

Inspired by Nim's Island, we have delved into studying the island environment. Our six focus groups are investigating iguanas, whales/dolphins, volcanos, plants/coconuts, sea lions, and turtles. We are discussing what we know, what we notice, and what we want to learn more about!

Recently we have also traveled to the Northwest Puppet Theater to see a black light production of SCUBA, enjoyed a production of The Phantom Tollbooth by Book-it theater, and learned about environmental art from Maria Coryell-Martin.

Lost in Lift

Another year, another fantastic Theme Fair! We enjoyed a beautiful day on Friday and celebrated Lift’s influence on our curriculum this year. In the Labyrinth, we explored activities based on our three Read Aloud books. We fondly remembered Windblowne by Stephen Messer by testing an object’s lift in a swirling wind tunnel. E. B. White’s Stuart Little inspired us to build boats to set afloat. Our latest Read Aloud, Nim’s Island by Wendy Orr moved us to consider oil’s impact on a marine environment through a hands-on activity cleaning bird feathers.

Also inspired by Nim’s Island, Math Vitamin challenged students in the Labyrinth to help Nim collect data for a new book by famous author Alex Rover. Students tracked island rainfall, inspected coconut rations and counted turtle eggs.

Design Thinking Buckets

Our design thinking buckets have been gifted and hung around the Labyrinth! Students have been creating special cards for their buddies to fill their (metaphorical and actual) buckets to LIFT their spirits.

In Math Vitamin we have jumped into working with time by creating and exploring clocks. Our first task was to create a clock for Nim and Jack, the main characters in our new read aloud, Nim's Island.

GPSF!

The Early Elementary has been singing up a storm in preparation for our performance at GPSF. Getting on and off the risers and memorizing lines and hand/dance motions have been a lot of work and a lot of fun! As we prepare we have been thinking about what it means to be both a performer and a host. We excitedly welcome all the special guests on Friday and have a few LIFTY surprises planned! Have a great spring break!

LIFTing spirits

Inspired by the design-process and ready to take our theme in a Social Emotional direction, the Early Elementary has begun a project this week that will surely LIFT the spirits of everyone in the Labyrinth. Over the next two weeks, students will design, revise, and create a special gift for a buddy in another classroom. The process began as students got to know their buddies by interviewing them about their preferences and favorite activities. Next steps will include designing prototypes, presenting them to partners for comments and constructive criticism, and revising before creating the final masterpiece.

Meanwhile, rehearsals are well underway for Grandparents and Special Friends' Day! We are getting more and more excited to sing for our special guests, and look forward to a day of performances, collaborative projects, and memories!

Boats and Bubbles!

Inspired by our read aloud, Stuart Little, and Stuart’s adventures in boat racing, the Labyrinth took a couple days last week to design seaworthy vessels. Students started by sketching labeled blueprints and referenced those sketches the next day to create a boat using shipbuilding materials found in classrooms around the Labyrinth. They had the chance later that day to test them out at the water table and make revisions and improvements.

The LIFT fun continued this week with Wednesday’s visit of The Amazing Bubble Man. We oohed and aaahhed as the Bubble Man used ingenious tools and techniques to create bubble magic like the slow motion bubble pop and kids inside bubbles! We decided to give it a try ourselves by experimenting with bubble solutions and even crafting our own bubble wands.

The EE's Adventures with Stuart Little

After finishing Windblowne, the EE embarked on a new Read Aloud, E.B. White's classic Stuart Little. We got a preview of the story last week at a staged version of the book at Village Theatre and have been enjoying reading about Stuart's pint-sized adventures in classrooms.

Stuart, the Littles, Snowbell and Margalo have also inspired Math Vitamins and Floatbook entries! Students designed a mouse-sized mansion for Stuart and calculated how much carpet they'd need to cover the floor (calculating the area of the rooms). They also measured the walls of their rooms and figured out how much wood they'd need to build them (finding the perimeter). Inspired by Stuart's epic adventure on the sailing ship Wasp, students designed their own boats in their Floatbooks. We'll be testing them out later this week!

We ascended to new heights

The Labyrinth has ascended to new heights since returning from Mid Winter Break. After finishing our read aloud, Windblowne, we designed a mural in the Centro of the various worlds we had explored throughout the book and each student had the opportunity to be LIFTed up to the world of their choice.

In the past two weeks we have also celebrated the 100th day of school, finished our auction projects, and taken field trips to see productions of Goldilocks and the Three Bears and Stuart Little.

The Olympics

What an exciting week! To kick of the Olympics, the EE got together for our very own torch lighting ceremony! During Math Vitamin, we discovered the area of Olympic flags, and the volume of Olympic podiums.

On Friday, we take a break from the Olympics to celebrate Valentine's Day, sharing sweet treats and messages all around the Labyrinth. As the week comes to a close, we are wrapping up our fall read aloud book, Windblowne, and look forward to celebrating its conclusion after the break. Happy Mid-Winter Break!

Super Bowl and Jarrett Krosoczka

What a busy and exciting week we've had! With all the buzz of the Super Bowl in the air, the Labyrinth couldn't resist a few Seahawks-themed activities. Monday's Weekend News sheets by students were replete with fond memories of Super Bowl party snacks, accolades for preferred players, and favorite moments from the big game. On Tuesday we spent time traveling between classrooms to create a variety of accessories for a Seahawks celebration the next day. Inspired by the festivities downtown, the Labyrinth set off on a parade of its own on Wednesday morning, where kids could be seen sporting the paper jerseys, green and blue pennants, and colorful pom-poms they made the day before. We also let it all out with at "Moment of LOUDNESS" at 12:12!

But the excitement didn't stop there--UCDS had the honor of hosting children's author and illustrator Jarrett Krosoczka on Wednesday to add to the festive spirit. Students and teachers prepared for his visit by reading up on two of his classics: Baghead, the story of an unfortunate self-executed haircut, and Punk Farm, wherein the barnyard animals form a band and go on tour behind the back of an unsuspecting farmer. Math Vitamins this week were inspired by Jarrett's works and we delved into subtraction by giving imaginary haircuts and selling "tickets" to a Punk Farm concert. Finally on Wednesday afternoon, students spent time with Krosoczka as he shed light on the fascinating life of an author and artist.

Exploring Subtraction

This week we explored subtraction by helping our Read Aloud character, Oliver, discover why the leaves in Windblowne keep disappearing. We had a great time with auction filming - lots of smiles and dancing! Also a just a reminder that as we continue into the winter months to make sure your student has a waterproof jacket to wear everyday. It's also a great time to double check that your student has an entire set of extra clothes on hand for those emergencies! Thanks!

Tubing and DASH

Labyrinth students have had many exciting adventures since returning from Winter Break! The most elevated of these adventures was our tubing trip to Snoqualmie Pass! Under blue skies, we caught LIFTs on the rope tow, flew down the tubing lanes and enjoyed playing in the snow. Our field-trip inspired a winter themed All Labyrinth Investigation last week, as well as Math Vitamins about snowflakes, ice rinks and snow accumulation.

We've also enjoyed some special workshops and presentations here at school. We LIFTed onto our toes learning eleves and other dance moves with teaching artists from the Pacific Northwest Ballet and listened to an expert story teller LIFT beloved folktales off the page. We also trekked to the gym for a presentation from the Museum of Flight--complete with hot air balloons, whirly-copters, and remote controlled airplanes!

The Wright Brothers

This week we celebrated the 110th Anniversary of the first flight featuring the Wright Brothers. We had a special live visit from the Wright Brothers and had a personal interview about their adventures. Next we had Wright Brothers Investigation exploring all the aspects of planes and flight.

Now that 2013 is coming to a close we wanted to give a reminder that a new year also brings new groups! When we come back to school some children may switch from their Elevator/Escalator groups. This gives them the social opportunity to discover new friendships. Enjoy your break and Happy New Year!

2 Uncle Gilberts? 2 Olivers?

Oliver's adventures have taken him on an exciting journey to a new land. He is in an alternate version of his home town and in this place, an alternate Uncle Gilbert (Lord Gilbert) with the help of an alternate Oliver (Oliver 2) are working to take over all the lands! Oliver is determined to find his Uncle and stop Lord Gilbert from causing any more damage to the oak trees that are so important to people and kites. While Oliver is away from home, we have been using our Math Vitamins to lend moral support, sending our Cuisenaire Rod Tree House Designs to this far away land. The equations for these creations give us practice with addition, multiplication and learning about base ten with double and triple digit numbers.

We have had some exciting adventures of our own lately as we laughed at the silly dilemma of Chicken Little, joined our buddies to watch the thrilling tale of James and the Giant Peach and finally headed out to explore our own city by visiting a few special elevators and escalators downtown. In preparation for our latest excursion, we learned about Elisha Otis, who invented a brake system that made elevators safe for lifting people. We will all be keeping our eyes open to see if we can find his name the next time we find ourselves on a LIFT!

Patterns Aplenty!

We've been exploring patterns at Math Vitamin this past week with Pattern Blocks and Cuisenaire Rods. From constructing and extending colorful AB AB AB patterns to creating multi-variable patterns with color, shape and size, our exploration has led to lots of discussions about patterns in the environment as well.

Get a taste of our pattern activities tonight at Curriculum Night! You and your child will also get a chance to experience other mathematical strand games in Labyrinth classrooms: measurement, logic, geometry, probability and number. Doors open at 6:30pm and close at 8pm. Stay as long as you'd like...or until bedtime calls :) We hope to see you there!

Chickens and Mathematics

Along with delving deeply into our Windblowne read aloud, the EE will be squeezing in a new story by LIFTing off to the Storybook Theater to see Chicken Little next Tuesday, November 19th!

Curriculum night is also coming up on Thursday, November 21st and will be a time to explore different mathematical strands including logic, measurement, probability/statistics, number, pattern/symmetry, and geometry. Curriculum Night is a time for your child to become a one-on-one teacher who guides one adult through the different ways we teach and learn mathematics at UCDS.

N for November

It is now November! To kick off the month the Labyrinth has been taking a close look at the letter N! From the sound it makes to the D'Nealian formation, N's have shown up many places. And that's not all! Our first round of Literature Circles has us talking about LIFTing to new heights, LIFTing up a community, or even LIFTing above obstacles.

THANK YOU!

What a GREAT Halloween Party today! Thank you SO much to all the families who put in so much time, effort, sweets, games, decorations and much more! A good time was had by all for sure! Tomorrow will be a fun day at school and then have a restful weekend and take some time to enjoy the hoedown!

Windblowne’s Kite Festival Continues!

In Math Vitamin this week, Labyrinth students have been working to accommodate all the out of town visitors who have arrived in Windblowne for the famous kite festival. Using base tens blocks, students have been introduced to division by seating groups of tourists into buses and restaurant tables.

Looking ahead to an action packed month, volunteer forms for the Labyrinth Halloween parties have arrived in classrooms. Stop your child’s classroom to sign up for an activity! And don’t forget, the cross-country assembly (9:00 am) and our first Milk and Cookies (2:00 pm) take place Friday, October 25!

The Volitant Dragon

The town of Windblowne is excitedly preparing for their world famous kite festival! The town's popular kite shop, The Volitant Dragon, is filled with Windblowneans and tourists alike, and students in the Labyrinth have eagerly joined the fun. Using Base 10 blocks as currency along with our knowledge of place value, we've bought hundreds of kites and purchased countless kite decorations to prepare for the upcoming festival. This past week, we also ushered in the beautiful month of October with the year's first calendar! Each student filled out a calendar, answered questions about the month, and identified exciting October events. It promises to be another wonderful month of school at UCDS!

Windblowne

Our new Read Aloud brings us to the mountainous town of Windblowne, a place where the citizens live in tree houses and make and fly kites with great talent and skill. Well, that is true for most of the citizens. Oliver, the main character, has been struggling with both kite making and kite flying. As we find out more about Oliver and his struggles, we have been using Math Vitamins to explore symmetry and shape. Oliver is feeling frustrated and alone and could sure use a friend. Luckily he has more than 100 new friends, ready to support him on his upcoming adventures!

Let's go fly a kite again!

Last Friday, we traveled to Kite Hill at Magnuson Park for a lively day testing our kites. Check out the field trip slide show in the Labyrinth lobby.

Continuing with kites, we've started exploring balance and symmetry in Math Vitamin. As we learned from our kite visitor, kites and other flying-machines need to be balanced in order to fly. These early weeks of MV help us learn and remember the process of building, recording and writing an equation; they've been further deepened by conversations and challenges including lines of symmetry, adding parts, strategies for counting totals and Brainstrerchers.

Stay tuned next week for our next Read Aloud story!

Let's go Fly a Kite!

Welcome to the year of LIFT in the EE! We've started out soaring high with our homemade kites and celebrating with friends flying them indoors in the Discovery Area during last Friday's downpour! We've learned a great deal about kites from our read aloud stories and a visit from a kite expert, Suzanne, from the Northwest Kite Association.

We were awe inspired by the kites shapes and colors and different styles and even got some great kite flying tips. Today we designed and added colors to our very own (over 2 feet wide!) kites that we will fly during tomorrow's field trip to Magnuson's Kite Hill. We are excited to join new and old friends alike as we LIFT our creations to the sky! All of this excitement has taken place AT THE SAME time as we've been getting used to new routines and new faces! HORRAY for Labyrinth kids!