What a fun first few weeks of school! The Hoot Owls are settling in, making new friends and really enjoying being “big kids.” They all worked together to come up with their Hoot Owl agreements. Miss Traci asked the children during group time, “What can we do to stay safe and happy at school?” Almost all of the agreements were their own ideas. Miss Traci and Miss Jessica added a few, but made sure everyone agreed by giving a thumbs up.
Later the Hoot Owls signed their agreements with colorful hand prints. Children have already started to remind their classmates about “our agreements.” Social development is such an important part of the Hoot Owl year. Agreements are a great way to set expectations in a thoughtful and collaborative way.
This month’s theme is All About Me and Feelings. They have been reading books about their feelings which has led to a lot of dialogue about how the Hoot Owls feel and when and why they have those feelings. They have begun to play a matching game that involves recognizing a feeling on a cartoon face and then telling a story about a time when they have also felt this way. On Mondays, they practice mindful meditation during group time. They take time to breathe, calm their bodies and do some yoga! At the end of mindful Monday group time, they read a story that is similar to a guided meditation. The stories are designed to encourage calm, confidence and creativity!
The Hoot Owls visited the Museum of Children’s Art in Oakland. The field experience began with artist, Mr. Z. reading the Hoot Owls Todd Parr’s book It’s Okay to be Different. The Hoot Owls are familiar with this book so they helped Mr. Z out with the words inspiring lots of laughs.
Next, the Hoot Owls were able to visit four different tables set up with art projects that complemented the book. They worked on mixing colors to paint a rainbow zebra. They created silly faces and masks. They also experimented with pastels and watercolor. One of the tables they were most excited about was the clay table!
They tried out many different tools and techniques while working with the clay. The Hoot Owls also were able to explore the museum and experience art made by different children in the community. Many students loved the experience so much they have asked their parents if they can visit the museum again to participate in the museum’s drop-in art classes and other fun community events!
The Hoot Owls had a very special visit from a real scientist, Sarah Shaffer of Sarah’s Science who is Carson’s grandmother! Carson picked out a super fun “experiment” for his grandmother to share with the class.
The Hoot Owls wired their own battery powered spinners! They connected all the wires by themselves and had a blast turning the spinners on and off. They watched as two colors blurred together to create a new color while the device was turned on. Carson also showed us how to make art by drawing on blank paper while it was spinning. Thanks, Carson for sharing your super smart grandmother with us!
The Hoot Owls visited Crab Cove in Alameda last week! Even though the tides were too high for tide pooling, there was still a ton to learn and see. First the naturalist, Suzy, showed the Hoot Owls an aerial map of the Bay Area pointing out Moraga. She talked about how fresh water mixes with salt water in the Bay. Next, they headed inside to view a life-sized diorama of the Bay above and below the water. They learned about many different sea creatures and sea birds. This was a nice time when the Hoot Owls could share many things they already knew about sea creatures with each other and the naturalist. Some friends even got to try on crab costumes!
The Hoot Owls learned how to tell the difference between a female and male crab. Next, they headed to the beach for some hands-on exploration. The naturalist pointed out many different types of seaweed including something called mermaid’s hair. The Hoot Owls also discovered some tiny sea snails called bubble snails. The highlight of the walk on the beach was finding a real crab shell! The children also helped clean up the beach by collecting any trash they came across. Last but not least, the Hoot Owls observed some exciting living sea creatures in the visitor center. Some favorites were the large crabs and small shark! The Hoot Owls loved exploring, getting dirty and helping the Earth!
The Hoot Owls had a blast with their new Japanese friends. The Hoot Owls were surprisingly outgoing and comfortable when it came to introducing themselves and working one on one with the Japanese students!
Hoot Owls picked out a number of different origami designs to make with their new friends. They especially liked the jumping frogs, ninja stars and flowers. Hoot Owls helped with complicated folds and followed multi-step directions. The Hoot Owl room has never been so quiet with concentration. The Hoot Owls are especially into making paper airplanes so they were able to share their own paper folding skills with our visitors.
Hoot Owls learned about the 21 day embryonic development of a chicken. The children took turns opening pretend eggs that show pictures of the changes occurring inside an egg. Hoot Owls shared the picture inside the egg with classmates during circle-time. Together they talked about what specific changes they noticed from egg to egg. The whole class cheered when they opened egg number 21 and a small toy chick popped out!
They explored the eggs a little more closely by choosing four very different stages of egg development to study and draw. Hoot Owls decided that the beginning cluster of cells should be called, “The Little Nothing Stage.” They appropriately named the second transformation, “The Little Blah-Blah Stage.” #SaklanHandsOn
The Hoot Owls tried out a science experiment where they grew crystals on pipe cleaners with laundry detergent. They measured the detergent, just like “real scientists,” into plastic mason jars. Then, they twisted and bent pipe cleaners into interesting shapes that they taped to the inside of the lids. They watched as a grown up carefully added hot water to detergent and mixed it together. The Hoot Owls began creating hypotheses right away when the solution in one of the jars turned pink! They continued to hypothesize as the days went by.
They observed some pipe cleaners grew small crystals while others grew little to none. All the pipe cleaners were supposed to grow crystals…. so they might try this experiment again following a different recipe. Another teachable moment: Sometimes experiments go according to plan and sometimes they don’t, but scientists have to try and try again! #SaklanHandsOn
The Hoot Owls learned about Lunar New Year. Happy year of the pig!
Cameron’s mom, Sandy, visited the Hoot Owls and shared with them traditional ways to celebrate Chinese New Year. Cameron passed out red envelopes filled with lucky coins for all the Hoot Owls. Sandy told the Hoot Owls that if they placed the envelope under their pillow and made a wish, it would almost certainly come true! The students also made pretend firecrackers with red paper. They learned that the color red scares off bad spirits and brings good luck. The Hoot Owls were also lucky enough to sample some traditional Chinese New Year treats made with crispy rice and pineapple.
Thank you so much, Cameron and Sandy, for sharing your family’s traditions with us! #Saklanwellrounded
In addition to their winter theme, the Hoot Owls began to learn about scientists. They learned that scientists ask questions, do experiments, measure, count, draw, write, learn from their senses, sort, test predictions and have fun! Their first winter experiment was building a snowman out of ice. First, balloons full of water were frozen in the freezer. Many friends were surprised to touch the balloons and find them not only hard but cold, too. The Hoot Owls helped cut the balloons open and pealed them off the ice. Next, they used salt to stack the ice balls together. Many Hoot Owls asked, “Why does the salt make them stick?” One of the first things they learned from this experiment was that four balls of ice were too tall, as the fourth ball of ice tumbled down and shattered on the floor!
After the snowman was completed, they sat down and observed him. They did an observational drawing of what he looked like now. Then they made predictions by doing a drawing of what they thought he would look like later.
The Hoot Owls’ drawings were all different but they all had the idea that later he would melt and he did! The snowman took a tumble right before lunch. By the end of the day there were only small pieces of ice left. By the next morning he was salty water! #SaklanHandsOn
Wednesday was a special day for our elementary campus. All of our PS – 5th grade students got to “move up” to next year’s grade for a portion of the morning. This has been an annual tradition so that the students get a snapshot of what next year could be like. The teachers planned special activities that highlighted their grade and enjoyed getting to know their rising students a little better. If your child “moved up” on Wednesday, please ask them all about it. I’m sure they will have something enthusiastic to share! #SaklanConnected