Six Rings Make a Sphere

The Kindergarteners are now pros at creating “huts” out of hula hoops!  During P.E., the students have been working together to stack six hoops to create a small, hut-like structure. The symbolism of rings and spheres is significant in many human cultures. Hula hoops gained popularity in the 1950’s, but they can be used for more than twirling around the waist. In the world of dance and gymnastics there are many tricks and moves which practitioners can master. 

In addition to building huts, the Kindergarteners and first graders have been working to master various hula hoop tricks, and making other creative designs with the hoops. Check out the design below, which some of the first graders collaborated to create.


Respectful & Accepting

This week, the 1st through 8th graders met with their families groups to discuss the January Social Emotional Learning themes of being respectful and accepting.

The 8th graders led a discussion of what the words respectful and accepting mean, and then shared the book Where Oliver Fits, by Cale Atkinson, in which Oliver finds that trying to fit in is a lot harder than he thought it would be.

Following a discussion of the story, the each student decorated a paper puzzle piece with words that describe them. Check out the puzzle pieces that each family group created below.


Simple Machines

In December, the first graders learned about simple machines. The class discussed what work is (the transfer of energy from one object to another in order to make the second object move in a certain direction) and what makes work harder or easier. Then they learned about the six simple machines by participating in a series of experiments and activities.

The first graders learned about levers and balanced a lever on a fulcrum. They had a bubble race and learned how a wheel and axle makes work easier. They also used a pulley to avoid lifting objects, and had an egg drop challenge. The first graders learned that using an inclined plane makes it easier and safer to move a load. They also made a paper helicopter and learned how a screw works. Lastly, the class made funny faces with oranges and popsicle sticks and learned that the shape of a wedge was easier to use.

The first graders had a great time learning about simple machines through these hands-on, fun experiments.  To make the lesson even more fun, each student created and built their own inventions.

First grade has so much creativity and these inventions rock!


Country Roads

The Kindergarten, 1st, and 2nd grade students have been learning about song form and melody line. They explored this while learning the verses, chorus, and bridge of “Country Roads.” The students also connected Saklan’s social emotional learning curriculum to the song lyrics by discussing what it might mean to visit family you haven’t seen for a long time and “going home.”


Learning Buddies

Last Friday, our Kindergarten and 1st grade students were delighted to find out who their 3rd or 4th grade learning buddy is for the year. For their first buddies meeting, the students played a get-to-know-you game and then spent time reading together.

The big buddies marvelously modeled good reading behaviors by reading with expression and fluency for their little buddies, and then were honored to listen to their little buddies read too. The Kindergarten, first, third and fourth grade students thoroughly enjoyed getting to know their learning buddies, are already asking when they get to meet with their buddies again!

Learning buddies are a purposeful way to encourage cross-grade friendships, help the older buddies develop a sense of responsibility and practice mentorship, and make learning fun!


Stars and Moons

Our imaginative first graders fashioned constellations out of marshmallows and q-tips! Then the students wrote facts and stories to explain their creations and presented them to the class. They wrapped up their unit by learning their own version of Twinkle Twinkle Little Star.

After learning about stars and constellations, the first graders delved into a unit about moons. Each student kept their own moon log for 4 weeks, observing the moon at home twice a week. They identified and described the different phases and drew them in their logs. Check out some examples of their logs below.

If you have questions about stars, constellations or moons, check with our local experts – the first graders!


Visiting Moraga Gardens Farm

During September and the first week of October, the Hoot Owls, Owlets, first graders, second graders, third graders and fourth graders took their first field experience of the year to Moraga Gardens Farm! Ms. Meredith led each of the classes on the two-block walk to the farm, and then on a tour of the community garden. The garden was filled with eggplants, cucumbers, kale, apples, pears, tomatoes, and much more.

During the tours, students learned that fruits and vegetables grow from flowers after being pollinated. They saw the difference between seasonal trees, such as a peach tree (summer) and persimmon tree (fall). The children saw how vines grow by attaching their tendrils to other structures and plants, and how plants defend themselves from predators. They went inside the greenhouse, heard the bees buzzing in their hives, and got to sample some of the garden’s produce. Lastly, the students were invited to feed and pet the chickens.

The students all had a great time in the garden. Thank you, Ms. Meredith, for leading these interactive, engaging field experiences!


Learning from Community Experts

As part of their study on the different types of communities, the first graders had a guest expert visit their classroom. Ms. Nerit, from the Moraga Library, came to read stories to the class and share about her role at the library. She shared lots of information with the students, including the differences between public libraries and school libraries, as well as how borrowing from the library is different from buying books from a bookstore. At the end of the visit, the students were delighted to receive their very own library cards!

A big thank you to Ms. Nerit for sharing her expertise with the first graders!

Urban, Suburban & Rural

The first graders have been learning about rural, urban, and suburban communities. They read stories, such as Town Mouse, Country Mouse, to get a sense of the differences between the communities, and compared the communities of two characters: Miss Rumphius, who lived in an urban community, and Miss Arizona,who lived in a rural community. To illustrate their learning, the students made Venn diagrams and drawings to show the similarities and differences between the communities.

The first graders also enjoyed learning about producers, consumers, goods and services, and the role each plays in the different communities. To finish up the unit, the students wrote a book on what kind of community they would like to move to in the future.


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