Early Elementary - Classroom UpdatesLighthouse 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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!
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.
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!
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.
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!
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!
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!
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!
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.
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 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!
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!
This past week, we, the intrepid EE explorers, took our spring trip - to the top of the Space Needle! Riding the elevator up 520 feet to the Observation Deck, we surveyed the Seattle skyline for examples of twist both near and far. Once we descended back to ground level, we enjoyed a cool twist on lunchtime at the International Fountain, dodging streams of water between bites.Science
This week the 1-2s have explored chromatography and chemistry using candy. We tested candy for acid by performing a chemical reaction, investigated the colors used in candies, and even explored sink and float using candy!
EE scientists built their landform models with clay this week. We chose two tiny toy animals to use with our models and brought them home.
This week we have been exploring the world of Algebra. They have been using zoo animal detective skills to uncover hidden numbers.
This Friday we will also kick off a Twisty-Animal project with partners. Be sure and ask your child what animal they chose to draw!
The Labyrinth has been enjoying exploring and delving into the symmetry of Whangdoodle creatures and inventions! We've completed designs of the flutterbies, swamp gaboons, gazooks as well as the Jolly Boat and Brainstrain.
We enjoyed the performance of Skippy Jon Jones on Monday as well as seeing our first and second floor buddies for special snack meetings!
What a great Theme Fair! It was a day filled with sun, fun and Whangdoodle-ing. We have continued our Whangdoodle fun this week discovering symmetry through flora and fauna of the land as well as designing our own Whangdoodle castles. Can't wait to see where our story takes us next!Swizzle Sticks Aplenty!
This week in Math Vitamin, we continued our exploration of fractions by helping our Read Aloud characters divvy up magical swizzle sticks into equal parts. Learning to conceptually combine fractional parts together into "wholes" has led us down some twisty, turny, brainstretchery paths; stay tuned for more next week!
We've also spent some of our class time getting ready for Theme Fair next Friday. In preparation, Whangdoodleland in the Discovery Area sprouted some of its famous purple-leafed palm trees—literally overnight! Over the next week, each class will create and add a creature from the story to our wonderous land. Keep your eyes peeled for the Oink, Whiffle Bird, Gazooks, Whangdoodle, Sidewinders and Splinter Cat.
Returning from Spring Break students were eager to write, draw and share their Vacation News. Hearing a News description and guessing who wrote it was a highlight for many students.
Using the Fruit of the Month Trees in Whangdoodle Land as our inspiration, we began our study of fractions. Students determined the fraction of each different fruit on a whole tree. Combinations such as 5/18 "green bean berries," 7/18 "fireberries," and 6/18 "plumrazzleberry" graced the uniquely Whangdoodle trees.
Literature Circle is back on for Thursday!
Did you hear? The Early Elementary was invited by Professor Savant and the Whangdoodle to visit Whangdoodle Land! With our Scrappy Caps on and our partners in tow, we were transported to a fun morning of bowling followed by an extra special ice cream treat from the Jolly Boat! We could barely believe our eyes once we saw all the toppings. What an amazing day!
We are excited for Grandparents and Special Friend's Day tomorrow! We look forward to singing all our favorite songs as well as create Scrappy Caps with our friends and grandparents. Hats off to all our visitors!
When we return from spring break, more adventures from Whangdoodle Land await!
The Scrappy Cap workshop was in full swing this past week in the Labyrinth! After days of interviews and observations, designs and re-designs, the life-sized fully functional caps are being carefully constructed in the Discovery area. Put together with cardboard, tape, paint and many more items, not to mention some good old-fashioned elbow grease, we’re excited to exchange the finished products with our awaiting partners. With our caps on and our imaginations in full force, we’ll be ready to explore whimsical Whangdoodleland soon!
It was also time to say goodbye to our salmon friends. On Thurday, we travelled with the 2-3s to Matthews Beach to send them off in style!
This week in the Labyrinth, we have continued to stretch our imaginations to design and create our Scrappy Cap prototypes! Using the information that students have learned about each other during their multiple interviews, they are in the first stage of creating personalized Scrappy Caps for their buddy. We are looking forward to the process of sharing the prototypes before then making the finalized caps! Whangdoodle Land, here we come!
We have also been hard at work exploring and counting money in our Math Vitamins. Learning about the different types of coins and how to add up their values has been exciting!
This week, the EE celebrated the 100th day of school! All week, we've been collecting exhibits for our "100s Museum" to be unveiled on Friday; we're excited to see how many different ways we can count up to 100!Fry Stage
Check out the salmon in the discovery area…they are officially in the fry stage. We have been observing, reading books and having fun discussion on their growth so far. In math vitamin, we have been investigating perimeter in Whangdoodle land!E-Fish-Ent Tanks
The EE has continued to look at length, width and height as we helped Lindy and her class find the VOLUME for new salmon tanks. Meanwhile, our salmon keep growing and we're keeping a close eye on them. What will they look like next week? When do they need our help getting food? We can't wait to find out!
We look forward to meeting new characters and imaginative creatures in Whangdoodle Land!
We've been enjoying observing, predicting, drawing and writing about salmon. In Math Vitamin we've been helping discover the volume of a variety of aquariums. Can't wait to see how they will change in the coming weeks!Salmon and Whangdoodles!
The Early Elementary classes have begun a new Read Aloud adventure joining Lindy, Thomas, Benjamin and Professor Savant as they begin a quest to see THE LAST OF THE REALLY GREAT WHANGDOODLES (written by the one and only, Julie Andrews Edwards). According to Professor Savant, a Whangdoodle was wise, kind, and fun-loving, until people stopped believing in it. That’s when it created its own magical world and disappeared there. We will join the kids in training our imaginations as that is the only way to gain entrance to Whangdoodleland!
We don't have to travel far to see some other new friends! Our friends in the 2-3's traveled to the Friends of Issaquah Salmon Hatchery and came back with 250 fertilized Coho Salmon eggs. We've been carefully observing the eggs in the tank and learning about salmon development. On Monday, Jan 14th, we were amazed to notice an egg membrane floating around the tank. Sure enough, there was a tiny sac fry lying on the gravel, freshly hatched! Over the next two days, all of our eggs hatched and our tank is now wriggling with hundreds of sac fry. We'll keeping a close eye on then and we'll let you know what happens next!
We wrapped up our study of fairs and amusement park rides with a trip to Seattle's Great Wheel! Thank you to all the parents who were able to join us. We got on the wheel and were told to expect three trips around, but were pleasantly surprised with four extra rotations! Our focus groups have had a chance to learn about the science behind many rides. We've enjoyed exploring gears, ramps, pendullums, gravity, potential energy and spinning to make ourselves dizzy! We're looking forward to our field trip to the Everett Children's Museum to check out their Balls and Ramps exhibit and we are also planning a morning where students will get to visit the different focus groups to try out some of the activities other groups enjoyed. It's been a fun-filled Fair Affair!Games! Games! Games!
This week, the Early Elementary reaches the thrilling end of our read aloud book, The Mystery at the Fair. As the suspicious events surrounding the Greenfield fair’s art, jewelry, and baking contests are finally being resolved, we’ve been excited to explore another area of the Greenfield fair during math vitamin – the games! Using subtraction, students have determined how many game tickets are left in hand after a fun filled day at the fair, and how many balloons remain un-popped after an exhilarating imaginary round of the balloon dart game!
Fair focus groups met for the last time as we prepared to culminate our study with a joyous Fair Affair and a trip to the Seattle Great Wheel!
The Early Elementary has had an exciting week back from Thanksgiving Break! We hit the ground running by meeting with our fair-themed Focus Groups, and continued exploring the different rides that each group has been learning and wondering about. We have also met back up with our Boxcar Children friends, both in our Math Vitamin and in our Read Aloud. This week we helped our fictional friends solve a beaded necklace mystery by using subtraction to figure out how many beads were needed to repair their broken crafts.
Our week has ended by taking a trip to see the play “The Three Little Pigs.” From all the singing, laughing, and interactive parts, we had a fun experience!
Returning to our read aloud, Mystery at the Fair, our Math Vitamins this week have focused on subtraction where we helped the Boxcar Children discover how many signs they had left when some went missing.
We are also preparing for Curriculum Night and our Thanksgiving celebration, Stone Soup! Earlier in the week, we finished practicing our Curriculum Night games so we were experts when teaching our parents and special friends!
This week, in preparation for Curriculum Night, we read The Cotton Candy Catastrophe at the Texas State Fair. During Math Vitamin, we pooled together our mathematical skills from every strand to solve some of the problems presented in the book like, "How do you get rid of ALL that cotton candy?"
Stay tuned on Curriculum Night: the answer may surprise you!
As we prepared for our own Halloween celebration last week, Labyrinth students also helped Bennie, Jessie, Henry and Violet with their festivities! In Math Vitamin, kids organized treat-bags by dividing up piles of candy and helped Benny find how long his candy stash would last depending on his ration. On Wednesday, we donned our costumes (teachers and all) and paraded through the tower, met our first and second floor buddies for snack, and sang scaroling songs. It was a ghoulishly good time!Mystery at the Fair
As we said good-bye to Nancy Drew, we've said hello to the Boxcar Children in our new read aloud "Mystery at the Fair!" Benny, Violet, Jessie and Henry's grandfather is having a birthday soon, and the children are looking for the perfect gift. Their first stop was to find a book at the Greenfield Bookshop, but in their excitement to find one, a pile of books ended up on the floor! We helped the children place the books equally onto shelves using base ten units and rods as we introduced division during Math Vitamin.
We look forward to reading more about the Boxcar Children's adventures!
In preparation for our viewing of the Cat in the Hat at Seattle Children's Theater the classroom has been abuzz with Seuss-isms. We helped the Cat in the Hat clean up his messes in Math Vitamin by organizing base ten "toys" and "things" into boxes, we made Cat in the Hat hats, and other fun! Whether it's rainy, or the sun is all sunny, we'll have fun at the show that is sure to be funny!