Dear Lower School Families,

Each of our Lower School Specialists share curriculum highlights that happen in their classes each month. The most recent issue is at the top. Click on the links below to see what is happening in your child's classes! 

Please reach out to me if you have any questions.

Sincerely,
Please click on the header for each section to reveal or hide the contents.
 

Friday, November 18, 2022

List of 6 items.

  • Kindergarten

    Art

    • Kindergarten has been up to a lot lately! We celebrated the season with two recent projects. First, students collected leaves from the yard and made leaf rubbings that they could then turn into a crown, necklace, or other adornments. Then, students practiced primary color mixing and a basic printmaking technique as we painted large pumpkins to decorate the windows of the kindergarten classrooms. More recently, students practiced cutting skills by making a fun collage with a paper door that opens to reveal a monster or other figure behind it! 

    Cooking/Garden

    • It’s been a heavy month for Kindergarten gardeners– our beloved chick Lightening was eaten by a cat, and our other beloved chick Buckets escaped her coop and went missing. We’ve been mourning appropriately by doing drawings of our pets and hanging them up in the classroom. Kindergarten cooks learned all about spices like cardamom and cinnamon and practiced their knife skills by making apple sauce!

    DBi Lab

    • Kindergarten in the DBi Lab has been abuzz with Buddies! Your students designed and built “buddy bracelets (or rings)” for their 8th-grade buddies. The primary material used was pipe cleaners. As Kindergarten students were busily making, a few 8th graders came in to measure the circumference of their favorite finger so that the 8th-grade buddies could make your student’s copper rings with each student’s name and favorite word stamped into it. Some favorite words were “Spaghetti,” “Love,” “Unicorn,” "Cheese,” "Bunnies,” and “Triangle.”

    Library

    • Kindergarteners continue to learn how to ask questions about different topics. We are exploring the 5 W’s and how we can use questions to learn more about something they love. We’ve already learned about rainforests and will explore Wangari Maathai's life. We will end with a fun project that involves looking up information and organizing it into a graphic organizer. 

    Music

    • Kindergarteners have worked really hard on their Generations Day performance piece! If you can make it, we hope you enjoy their hard work! 

    Physical Education

    • Students will spend the next few weeks exploring their physical limits. Classes will include activities, challenges, and games designed to develop spatial awareness and fitness levels through play. We will also discuss the role(s) nutrition and sleep play in performance and recovery and how healthy habits can help us live healthy and happy lives. I can’t think of a better way to close out the first semester and ring in the new year. Cheers!

    Science

    • Kindergarten scientists have completed their unit focusing on the five senses. Together we have deepened our understanding of how our senses help us learn about the world around us. Now we are beginning our unit focused on trees. Kindergarten scientists practiced making scientific drawings and observations about trees, and we will learn about the different parts of trees and the biological needs of trees. We will ponder why trees are important and how we can take care of trees to foster a sense of environmental stewardship.

    Spanish

    • Students were super excited to meet another puppet friend, Edi el Elefante. All of our puppet friends have been helping the Kindergarten students with transitioning from using “se llama” to speak about someone else’s name to talking about themselves. Students have been using “yo me llamo _______” when responding to “¿Cómo te llamas?”  Many students volunteered to get up in front of the class to talk, in Spanish, about a photograph of their family. Students responded to teacher-generated questions designed to help guide the conversation. Students have also been enjoying talking about their likes and dislikes. We have been working with “Me gusta” and “No me gusta.” Here is a fun video you can watch with your child. ¿Te gusta el helado de brócoli? Most recently, students have been experiencing the magical word  Hay (there is, is there? there are, are there?). You can ask your child why I call it the magical word and about La caja de Maestra Pica

     
  • 1st Grade

    Art

    • The Art Studio is alive with creativity! First graders were very excited about making Mix-Up Books, books where pages are split into thirds and can be flipped to make silly mix-ups of all the characters inside. Next, they learned about Japanese artist Yayoi Kusama in the library and the garden and created fun painted polka dots and pumpkin sculptures in the art studio modeled after Kusama’s unique approach. Students then used their creations to decorate the garden for the second-grade Kusama-inspired fashion show! Most recently, first graders made collages based on sugar skulls in (belated) celebration of Dia de los Muertos.
     

    Cooking/Garden

    • It’s been a heavy month for first-grade gardeners– our beloved chick, Lightening, was eaten by a cat, and our other beloved chick, Buckets, escaped her coop and went missing. We’ve been mourning appropriately by doing drawings of our pets and hanging them up in the classroom. First-grade cooks learned all about spices like cardamom and cinnamon and practiced their knife skills by making apple sauce!

    DBi Lab

    • First-graders designed and built a tool to communicate our feelings!! First, each reflected on and shared feelings they have at school. Emotions they shared were excited, happy, anxious, overwhelmed, creative, restless, bored, angry, missing my mom, and confused. We then modeled what each of those emotions looked like on our faces. I then drew them on the board for reference. Each student received two paper cups and proceeded to draw what emotions they wanted to communicate with their peers and adults. 

    Library

    • 1st graders continue to learn how to ask questions about different topics. We are exploring what the 5 W’s are and how we can use questions to learn more about something they love. We’ve already learned about rainforests and will be exploring the life of Wangari Maathai. We will end with a fun project that involves looking up information and organizing it into a graphic organizer.

    Mandarin

    • Our 1st Graders continue to practice their tones and pronunciation of Mandarin through singing, and movement. Listening to songs over and over allows students to tune into the rhythm and intonation of natural Mandarin. We learned about family members by introducing Baby Shark’s family. Students are learning new vocabulary about body parts. We had so much fun singing, dancing, and learning about Baby Shark’s family and body parts! Don’t be surprised if you hear your kids singing Baby Shark or “Heads, Shoulders, Knees, and Toes” in Mandarin! Well done, 1st Graders!! 

    Music

    • 1st grade has worked really hard on their Generations Day performance piece! If you’re able to make it, we hope you enjoy their hard work! 

    Physical Education

    • Students will spend the next few weeks exploring their physical limits. Classes will consist of activities, challenges and games designed to develop spatial awareness and fitness levels through play. We will also discuss the role(s) nutrition and sleep play in performance and recovery and how healthy habits can help us live healthy and happy lives. I can’t think of a better way to close out the first semester and ring in the new year. Cheers! 

    Science

    • First-grade scientists have deepened their understanding of the properties of air. Together we have investigated properties of air (air takes up space, air can be compressed, air can move objects). Up next, we will start to consider weather. First-grade scientists will apply their knowledge of air and what it can do to the environment around them. We will track the weather over time and make scientific observations about the daily weather.
  • 2nd Grade

    Art

    • As I’m sure you’ve heard by now, second graders have been working hard creating their own garments based loosely on the work of Yayoi Kusama. This is their second year studying the artist, and the focus this year was on fashion design. Everything was finally ready, and the show took place this past Thursday. The outfits students created were beautiful and inventive, and the show was a complete success. The entire production was joyous and supportive and ended with a dance party. Go second grade!

    Cooking/Garden

    • It’s been a heavy month for second-grade gardeners– our beloved chick, Lightening, was eaten by a cat, and our other beloved chick, Buckets, escaped her coop and went missing. We’ve been mourning appropriately by doing drawings of our pets and hanging them up in the classroom. Second-grade cooks have enjoyed some extra time in the garden getting ready for the Yayoi Kusama fashion show in conjunction with art.

    DBi Lab

    • Second-graders practiced EMPATHY!! Each student had the opportunity to listen to the future their peers imagined. From here, they then designed and built a way for their partner to see the future they imagined. This could be a fun exercise for the whole family! 

    Library

    • Second graders embarked on an exciting joint project with Art and Garden to learn about Yayoi Kusama and bring her legacy to life with fashion. In the library, students practiced their observation and notetaking skills, writing down the textures, shapes, and qualities of various fashion designs to prepare to make their own. Students also began the art of formulating questions about something they find beautiful after reading The Mermaid and the Shoe and learned a little bit of history regarding Native American residential schools with the book Shi-shi-etko.

    Music

    • 2nd graders have worked really hard on their Generations Day performance piece! If you can make it, we hope you enjoy their hard work! 

    Physical Education

    • Students will spend the next few weeks exploring their physical limits. Classes will include activities, challenges, and games designed to develop spatial awareness and fitness levels through play. We will also discuss the role(s) nutrition and sleep play in performance and recovery and how healthy habits can help us live healthy and happy lives. I can’t think of a better way to close out the first semester and ring in the new year. Cheers!

    Science

    • Second-grade scientists are continuing to be immersed in their study of rocks. Our young geologists have identified many properties of rocks, including texture, color, shape, weight, and size. We have practiced categorizing rocks by shared properties, as well as identifying similarities and differences through verbal and written observations. Coming up, second-grade scientists will continue their journey into the intriguing world of geology!

    Spanish

    • Most recently, students have been working on a “Story Creation” activity. This activity guides students through a series of questions which ends in students independently creating stories. For Second Grade students, these stories emphasize the Super 7 verbs. While students create their own individual final story, the students collectively view and listen to a series of questions. Students create a story by making choices. The questions are projected so that students may view and read the questions, but I also read and repeat the questions while students work silently. Students choose from a series of possible answers that are represented visually and in writing. Students use art and simple sentences to answer each question. Here are some sample questions: ¿Qué tipo de animal hay?, ¿De qué color es el animal?, ¿Dónde está el animal?, ¿Cómo está el animal?, ¿Qué quiere el animal?, ¿Qué tiene el animal?, ¿Adónde va el animal?  and more! For this first round of story creation, we have not been doing our “Write & Discuss” activity. Instead, students have been volunteering to tell their story, in Spanish, while their artwork is projected for everyone to see. The student volunteers have done an incredible job speaking in Spanish and sharing their short stories.
  • 3rd Grade

    Art

    • The Art Studio is alive with creativity! Third graders recently created scratch art designs based on Dia de los Muertos, but this scratch art is see-through so that students could back the drawings with colored paper, a collage, or a painting. Most recently, we’ve been studying the solar system, and students are using various mixed-media techniques to depict stars and planets with the challenge of making the planets look spherical (with shadows and highlights) rendered by tinting and shading with pastel. I’ve been impressed with their work so far!

    Cooking/Garden

    • It’s been a heavy month for third-grade gardeners– our beloved chick, Lightening, was eaten by a cat, and our other beloved chick, Buckets, escaped her coop and went missing. We’ve been mourning appropriately by doing drawings of our pets and hanging them up in the classroom. Third-grade cooks learned about the Gullah Geechee people and the history of American music and soul food. They’re looking forward to cooking red rice after the Thanksgiving break. 

    DBi Lab

    • Third-graders measured, layed-out and built a way to practice telling time. Each student built from their skills by building a monster last class. They used tools to measure (rulers and compasses) and mark (bisecting, horizontals, perpendiculars) their pieces of pine. My favorite part was watching them help each other out when (not if) they faced difficulty during the process.

    Library

    • Third-grade students connected their social studies learning and field trip to Coyote Hills to the story The Fate of Fausto, a fable that makes us think about ownership more deeply. They also made a map of the library, an important step in becoming independent library users. When students return from break, they can look forward to more learning connected to Native history and gaining more knowledge of the library! Hope your break is full of reading! 

    Mandarin

    • Our 3rd graders continue to practice their tones and pronunciation of Mandarin through singing, and movement. Listening to songs over and over allows students to tune into the rhythm and intonation of natural Mandarin. We are learning new vocabulary about family members and body parts through singing and movement. We had so much fun singing, dancing, and learning about the family and body parts! Our third graders have also started to read and write sentences in Mandarin. They will create their own monsters and perform a “Show-And-Tell” about their monsters using the Mandarin learned so far. 

    Music

    • 3rd graders have worked really hard on their Generations Day performance piece! If you can make it, we hope you enjoy their hard work! 

    Physical Education

    • Students will spend the next few weeks exploring their physical limits. Classes will include activities, challenges, and games designed to develop spatial awareness and fitness levels through play. We will also discuss the role(s) nutrition and sleep play in performance and recovery and how healthy habits can help us live healthy and happy lives. I can’t think of a better way to close out the first semester and ring in the new year. Cheers!

    Science

    • Third-grade scientists are continuing to explore the fascinating world of water. Through experimentation we have investigated different physical properties of water and what effects they have, including temperature, density, and volume. Together we have begun to observe the effects that freezing water has on water volume and how surface area affects the rate of evaporation. Up next, we will continue to investigate the effects of changing states of matter. There are many more exciting moments of discovery to come!

    Spanish

    • In alignment with my goal to get students reading in Spanish, I am super excited to announce that the Third Grade will be reading their first short Spanish novel, “Edi el Elefante” This fictitious novel, written by Emily Ibrahim, is based on 55 high-frequency words in Spanish. It contains a manageable amount of vocabulary and numerous cognates, making it an ideal first read for beginning language learners. As the back cover states, “Edi is a talented elephant, but he is very small. Edi does not want to be talented and small; he wants to be big. One day, Edi discovers that a small animal can solve a big problem and that being small is not so horrible after all.” The novel is accompanied by a Teacher’s Manual that, aside from providing discussion questions and pre-reading activities for each chapter, includes exercises and quizzes based on each chapter for students to further practice their Spanish reading and writing skills. Before jumping into reading, students worked with using “puede” (He/she is able to/can), “puedes” (You are able/can) and “puedo” (I am able to/can). They just finished reading the first two chapters of the book. We will be working with this book for the next couple of months. Inspired by Indigenous Peoples’ Month, Third Grade Spanish Students received their new “secret password” to enter the classroom. Our current password is “Estoy en tierra ancestral de los Ohlone” (I am on the ancestral land of the Ohlone). Pictures are of students pretending to play instruments after being asked, “¿Puedes tocar …?” (Are you able to play …?)

  • 4th Grade

    Art

    • The Art Studio is alive with creativity! Fourth graders recently created 3D salt dough topographic maps of California based on their study of the state taking place in their homerooms. What a fun process! Following this, students have been captivated by the work of contemporary Mexican artist Victoria Villasana. Now they’re trying their hand at her striking signature technique, embroidering on black-and-white photos with bright, colorful thread. Hand embroidery is a serious challenge, but they’re working hard at it. 

    Cooking/Garden

    • It’s been a heavy month for fourth-grade gardeners– our beloved chick Lightening was eaten by a cat, and our other beloved chick Buckets escaped her coop and went missing. We’ve been mourning appropriately by doing drawings of our pets and hanging them up in the classroom. Fourth-grade cooks are focusing on activism and cooking vocabulary. We’ve been addressing the issue of food waste and discussing change theory– how to address the issue from personal, local, and national/global levels. Fourth graders also watched this New York Times video and learned about braising, layering flavors, and more. 

    DBi Lab

    • During their 10/20 visit to the DBi Lab, 4th graders reviewed what they learned during our levee-making lab, and we discussed how pumping plants and power plants are two other key systems in the California State Water Project. This conversation was our jumping-off point for discussing electricity. We talked about the variety of types of electrical power production. 4th graders explored what happens when you put the positive or negative poles of a battery and an LED together. Then they learned what a simple circuit is and made their own with copper tape, a coin cell battery, and an LED.
    • This week, we learned about line-following robots and played with the lab’s Ozobots. Students practiced the codes required to program the Ozobots to follow particular commands. 4th graders will be using the Ozobots to illustrate and bring to life their own story about the adventures of Roz from their core classroom reading of The Wild Robot.

    Library

    • Fourth graders have become library pros by creating a map of the library, an important step in being an independent library user. They also practiced their observational and inference skills by examining primary sources that introduced them to the history of Native American residential schools, paired with the story Shi-shi-etko and poem “Remember” by Joy Harjo. We discussed the power of memory and history and its connection to the library. Hope your break is full of reading! 

    Mandarin

    • Fourth graders are reviewing vocabulary about Halloween, family members, and body parts through arts, singing, and movement. We also learned to express “May I go to the bathroom?” in Mandarin, as well as how to respond and ask for someone’s permission. Students are given a variety of opportunities to practice speaking in real-life conversations with their teacher and classmates in an engaging, interactive manner. They also continued learning to read and write in Mandarin, as well as how to use the expressions they have learned to describe things or people in more length. We have had so much fun learning to listen, speak, read and write in Mandarin! 

    Music

    • 4th graders have worked really hard on their Generations Day performance piece! If you’re able to make it, we hope you enjoy their hard work!

    Physical Education

    • Students will spend the next few weeks exploring their physical limits. Classes will consist of activities, challenges, and games designed to develop spatial awareness and fitness levels through play. We will also discuss the role(s) nutrition and sleep play in performance and recovery and how healthy habits can help us live healthy and happy lives. I can’t think of a better way to close out the first semester and ring in the new year. Cheers!

    Science

    • Fourth-grade scientists have been hard at work investigating soil science. Together we identified different components of soil and how they form, and what similarities and differences soils from different locations have. Now we are taking our knowledge and applying it to better understand the processes of erosion and deposition, which will lead to an understanding of how landforms are made.

    Spanish

    • Most recently, students have been enjoying several classes of “Movie Talk.” The goal of using “Movie Talk” is to improve my students’ listening comprehension and get them reading and writing without them realizing they are doing it! We started by viewing and discussing the video clip “Rollin’ Safari, What if Animals were Round?”  The main targeted verbs were “tries to ____,” “is able to _____,” and “wants to _______.” The discussion also allows us to discuss the animals’ physical description, location and emotions. Students will be doing a “Write & Discuss” activity about each short video. These written pieces will be used as class readings. Students received their new “secret password” to enter the classroom. Our current password is “Soy perfecto como soy” (I am perfect how I am.)
  • 5th Grade

    Art

    • The Art Studio is alive with creativity! Fifth graders have been busy with their most recent project: creating illustrations of the hero or heroine they’ve been studying in their homerooms. We looked at examples of contemporary illustration with special attention paid to illustrators' approach to portraiture. We enjoyed looking at the beautiful work of LA-based illustrator Loveis Wise. I have been very impressed to watch students approach this project with immense care, patience, attention to detail, and creativity. Many of these will likely be on display at the spring art show - they’re stunning!

    Cooking/Garden

    • It’s been a heavy month for fifth-grade gardeners– our beloved chick, Lightening, was eaten by a cat, and our other beloved chick, Buckets, escaped her coop and went missing. We’ve been mourning appropriately by doing drawings of our pets and hanging them up in the classroom. Fifth-grade cooks are focusing on food sovereignty. This month they learned about the Gullah Geechee people their contributions to American music and soul food. They’re looking forward to cooking red rice after the Thanksgiving break. 

    DBi Lab

    • 5th graders are continuing to build a repertoire of prototyping skills. We reviewed what is required to make a motor and looked at some motors from inside the 6th-grade Things Come Apart projects. 5th graders have completed part one of a two-lesson build. Students will construct a prototype generator that includes a DC motor. Students will work in teams to complete this build and will have the opportunity to use their motors to spin a pulley on a frame their team built. During part two of the build, they will use a crank to turn the pulley, engage the motor and generate enough current to light a red led. They will use multimeters to discover how much current they are able to generate by hand-cranking their pulley vs. the amount of current put out by the motor alone.

    Library

    • 5th graders are continuing our Wonder unit. They have started asking questions around a topic they are interested in and soon we will be starting to research the answers to these questions. We will be exploring how to research our catalog, but also learn how to safely and efficiently research online. In the next few weeks we will be analyzing Internet sources, learning on how to take good notes, and how to do a presentation. 

    Music

    • 5th graders have worked really hard on their Generations Day performance piece! If you’re able to make it, we hope you enjoy their hard work!

    Mandarin

    • Our 5th graders are reviewing vocabulary about Halloween, family members, and body parts through arts, singing, and movement. We also learned to express “May I go to the bathroom?” in Mandarin, as well as how to respond and ask for someone’s permission. Students are given a variety of opportunities to practice speaking in real-life conversations with their teacher and classmates in an engaging, interactive manner. They also continued learning to read and write in Mandarin, as well as how to use the expressions they have learned to describe things or people in more length. We have had so much fun learning to listen, speak, read and write in Mandarin!

    Physical Education

    • Students will spend the next few weeks exploring their physical limits. Classes will consist of activities, challenges and games designed to develop spatial awareness and fitness levels through play. We will also discuss the role(s) nutrition and sleep play in performance and recovery and how healthy habits can help us live healthy and happy lives. I can’t think of a better way to close out the first semester and ring in the new year. Cheers!

    Science

    •  5th grade scientists recently completed their unit on atoms and elements. The unit culminated in a grade-wide periodic table. Each student chose an element, and then researched their element’s properties and found some fun facts to share. Each scientist created an “emoji” to visually represent their element, and included a fun fact. We will put all of these together to create our periodic table and celebrate our learning! Up next we will begin our unit focusing on mixtures and solutions.

    Spanish

    • Most recently, students have been enjoying several classes of “Movie Talk.” The goal of using “Movie Talk” is to improve my students’ listening comprehension and get them reading and writing without them realizing they are doing it! We started by viewing and discussing the video clip, “Wildebeest”. The main targeted verbs were “thinks that ____” and “wants to know _____.” The video discussion also allowed us to use 14 other verbs as well as discuss the animals’ physical description, location, emotions and thoughts. After viewing the video, students did our collective “Write & Discuss” activity. Lastly, students did an activity that we call “Fluency Write.” During this activity, students individually wrote for a set amount of time about the short video. At the end of the writing period, students collected data on how many words they wrote during the timed period. Their writing was then reviewed for comprehension. Student writing tends to be mostly comprehensible with small grammatical errors. Recently, students received their new “secret password” to enter the classroom. Our current password, which is just a silly saying that rhymes, is “Una ballena siempre va llena ” (A whale always goes full.)

Friday, October 14, 2022

List of 6 items.

  • Kindergarten

    Art

    • Since completing their Eric Carle study, Kindergarten has been working on an important project, creating beautiful, dynamic mobiles to decorate the classroom and designate table colors! They made observational drawings from photos of birds, starting with sketching the major shapes they saw in the bird. Then they cut out the drawings to assemble them into hanging sculptures. Come stop by and check them out if you get a chance! 

    Cooking/Garden

    • Kindergarten gardeners have been talking about senses by going on scavenger hunts and doing guided tasting. We’ve also been preparing for the arrival of our brand new baby chicks. Kindergarten cooks have been working on their knife skills! They learned the train and tunnel technique and practiced by cutting apples. Ask them to demonstrate at home! 

    DBi Lab

    • Kindergarteners will be in the DBi Lab for the second time today, Friday, October 14. We will build from the skills they practiced Day 1 with the Marshmallow Challenge. These skills are designing (planning) objects and patterns using Kappla Blocks to build (putting things together to form something). We are doing both innovatively (in the DBi, this means challenging status quo practices) by ensuring we are acknowledging our emotions when we build together and working together with kindness and curiosity.

    Library

    • Kindergarten is having a great time in the Library! We just explored the different stories Latinx cultures have about hummingbirds and colored our own hummingbirds to decorate the Library in honor of Latinx Heritage Month. In the next few months, we will begin our Wonder Unit, in which students will be able to start asking questions about a topic they are interested in learning more about. Then they will dive into how to find their answers using books in the Library.

    Music

    • Over the last few weeks, musicians have explored several movement activities to internalize rhythm and musical patterns—their favorite being The Shoemaker (Danish) folk dance, supporting their hand-eye coordination, concentration, balance, and cognitive skills. They have continued to progress in group singing and take pride in using the "Power of the Group" - when every classmate sings together. 

    Physical Education

    • Students spent the last few weeks practicing their throwing mechanics and participating in games designed to improve their hand-eye coordination. In the coming weeks, we will shift our focus to foot-eye coordination and kicking mechanics as we prepare for our first MicroSports offering of the year (grades 3-5 only). We will discuss the rules and general strategies of Soccer, and students will participate in activities and games designed to teach/reinforce the basics and enhance their skills. I think they're going to get a kick out of this PE unit ;).

    Science

    • Kindergarten scientists are off to a great start! We are exploring the five senses and how they help us learn information about the world around us. We have learned some “animal superpowers” to help us walk slowly and silently, listen for sounds in front and behind us, and to hone in visually on movements and details. Up next we will explore our senses of touch and taste, and then we will dive into our unit-focused trees and weather! 

    Spanish

    • Students were super excited to meet our puppet friends, Coco el Cocodrilo and Chanchito el chancho. These two new friends have been helping the Kindergarten students with transitioning from using “se llama” to speak about someone else’s name, to talking about themselves. Students have been using “yo me llamo _______” when responding to “¿Cómo te llamas?” Students also experienced their first short Spanish story, “Sally salta y Cooper Corre.”
  • 1st Grade

    Art

    • Since completing their Eric Carle study, first-grade students tried the technique of monoprinting with acrylic paint. For this process, they paint quickly (before it dries!) on panels of plexiglass, then press their paper onto the painted surface, transferring the marks to their page. They can do this repeatedly, adding layers of lines and shapes to their image. The process also creates some interesting and unexpected textures and patterning. 

    Cooking/Garden

    • First Grade gardeners have been preparing for the arrival of our brand new baby chicks by submitting names and spending time with our existing year-old chickens. First-grade cooks have been working on their knife skills! They learned the train and tunnel technique and practiced by cutting apples. Ask them to demonstrate at home! 

    DBi Lab

    • First graders built from the skills they practiced Day 1 with the Marshmallow Challenge. These skills are designing (planning) objects and patterns using Kappla Blocks to build (putting things together to form something). We are doing both innovatively (in the DBi, this means challenging status quo practices) by ensuring we are acknowledging our emotions when we build together and working together with kindness and curiosity. 
       

    Library

    • First Grade is having a great time in the Library! We just explored the life and art of Yayoi Kasuma and her influence in the world. In the next few months, we will begin our Wonder Unit, in which students will be able to start asking questions about a topic they are interested in learning more about. Then they will dive into how to find their answers using books in the Library.

    Mandarin

    • Our first graders are having a lot of fun learning Mandarin pronunciation (pinyin)–tones, initial and final sounds with catchy melodies, rhyming raps, fun beats, body movement, and interactive activities. We have practiced four major Mandarin tones (āáǎà/ēéěè/ōóǒò/īíǐì/ūúǔù/ǖǘǚǜ) and explored some “tricky” Mandarin sounds such as vowels e/ü, and initial consonants j/q/x/c/z/s/zh/ch/sh/r.

    Music

    • Over the last few weeks, First Grade musicians have explored several movement activities to internalize rhythm and musical patterns—their favorite being Highway #1 by the Shenanigans, supporting their hand-eye coordination, concentration, balance, and cognitive skills. They have continued to progress in group singing and take pride in using the "Power of the Group" - when every classmate sings together. First graders have also begun rhythm reading through word syllables, note identification, and musical opposites. 

    Physical Education

    • Students spent the last few weeks practicing their throwing mechanics and participating in games designed to improve their hand-eye coordination. In the coming weeks, we will shift our focus to foot-eye coordination and kicking mechanics as we prepare for our first MicroSports offering of the year (grades 3-5 only). We will discuss the rules and general strategies of Soccer, and students will participate in activities and games designed to teach/reinforce the basics and enhance their skills. I think they're going to get a kick out of this PE unit ;).

    Science

    • First Grade scientists are off to a great start! Now that our science notebooks are set up, and we have acquired some common scientific language, we have started our earth science unit focused on air and weather. In the coming weeks, we will dive deeper into the world of air, temperature, and meteorology!
  • 2nd Grade

    Art

    • After completing their Keith Haring drawings, second graders attempted a foundational yarn weaving technique as they created colorful God’s Eyes (Ojos de Dios) - an indigenous craft from what is now Mexico, as well as other parts of Latin America. We’ve been discussing the best way to display all of their gorgeous work together.

    Cooking/Garden

    • Second Grade gardeners have been preparing for the arrival of our brand new baby chicks by submitting names and spending time with our existing year-old chickens. Second-grade cooks have been working on their knife skills! They learned the train and tunnel technique and practiced by cutting apples. Ask them to demonstrate at home! 

    DBi Lab

    • Second Graders will be in the DBi Lab for the second time today Friday, October 14. We will build from the skills they practiced Day 1 with the Marshmallow Challenge. Second Grade designers will design (imagine and plan) a way to see into the future using pipe cleaners to build (putting things together to form something). We are doing both innovatively (in the DBi, this means challenging status quo practices) by ensuring we are paying attention to our emotions when we build together and working together with kindness and curiosity. 

    Library

    • Library has been a wonderful time! Most recently, students used their creativity and observation to create names and origin stories for various hummingbirds in conjunction with a lesson on hummingbird legends in South America. For LGBTQ+ history month, students learned about the significance of rainbows as a symbol in the LGBTQ+ community. Next up: a unit on questions! 

    Music

    • Over the last few weeks, Second Graders have explored rhythm reading through word syllables, note identification, and musical opposites like quiet and loud, long and short, and hard and soft. In addition, they have progressed in pitch recognition, solfege hand signs, and have begun simple two-part singing. 

    Physical Education

    • Students spent the last few weeks practicing their throwing mechanics and participating in games designed to improve their hand-eye coordination. In the coming weeks, we will shift our focus to foot-eye coordination and kicking mechanics as we prepare for our first MicroSports offering of the year (grades 3-5 only). We will discuss the rules and general strategies of Soccer, and students will participate in activities and games designed to teach/reinforce the basics and enhance their skills. I think they're going to get a kick out of this PE unit ;).

    Science

    •  Second Grade scientists are off to a great start! Now that our science notebooks are set up, and we have acquired some common scientific language, we have started our earth science unit focused on pebbles, sand, and silt. Up next, we will continue our exploration of earth science by focusing on identifying properties and categories of rocks. This is a great time to ask our young geologists about all things rocks!

    Spanish

    • Students have continued to practice our classroom routines and student jobs in order to establish a culture of “Spanish only” in the classroom. We have continued to work on our Character Creation Unit. Each class co-created another colorful and fun character out of inanimate objects. Students discussed the character’s physical description and personality. With each additional character, students are exposed to additional vocabulary. During this past month, students had the opportunity to do some reading and writing in Spanish. Together, students completed their first guided writing activity. The class discussed the drawing and collectively wrote about the character. This activity is called “Write & Discuss.” I will be sending home an example of this writing activity soon. Next week students will be completing their second “Write & Discuss” activity. 
       
  • 3rd Grade

    Art

    • Third Grade has nearly finished their third-grade self-portraits, influenced this year by the mesmerizing work of contemporary painter Kehinde Wiley. Wiley typically presents Black and Brown people in poses that reference classical European portrait painting, rendered in meticulous detail, often with saturated floral patterned backgrounds. Students have been working hard, and I can’t wait until they compare these to their self-portraits from last year.

    Cooking/Garden

    • Third Grade gardeners have been preparing for the arrival of our brand new baby chicks by submitting names and spending time with our existing year-old chickens. Third-grade cooks have been learning about indigenous Ohlone cuisine and working on their knife skills! They learned the train and tunnel technique and practiced by cutting apples. Ask them to demonstrate at home! 

    DBi Lab

    • Third Grade designers explored ways to fasten materials (wood) together using screws and nails to form a monster. Each designer got the same materials, yet no monster emerged the same. This is a testament to the unique creativity of each human. In building, students practiced fine motor skills, adherence to safety protocols, care of self and others, and stewardship of the DBi Lab. Further, we drew connections between fasteners (glue, tape, nails, screws, etc) and conjunctions that connect words in a sentence (for, and, nor, but, or, yet, so, because, if, when, either/or, neither/nor….). So fun!

    Library

    • Third Graders have been enjoying a combination of read-alouds and lessons that cover fairy tales, Latinx heritage, and LGBTQ+ history coming up next. We are looking forward to familiarizing ourselves with the library’s organization with a Halloween-themed scavenger hunt during the next cycle. Happy reading! 

    Mandarin

    • Our Third Graders continue their exposure to the tonal Mandarin language through fun songs, rhyming raps, body movements, and interactive activities. To prepare students for reading and writing in Chinese, we focused on learning the eight basic strokes of Chinese characters and their stroke order rules, which is the basic training for writing characters later. 

    Music

    • Over the last few weeks, Third Graders have explored rhythm reading through notation and identifying note and rest values. In addition, they have progressed in pitch recognition, solfege hand signs, and have begun simple two-part singing. Third Graders are working on understanding musical meter and tempo through games and play. 

    Physical Education

    • Students spent the last few weeks practicing their throwing mechanics and participating in games designed to improve their hand-eye coordination. In the coming weeks, we will shift our focus to foot-eye coordination and kicking mechanics as we prepare for our first MicroSports offering of the year (grades 3-5 only). We will discuss the rules and general strategies of Soccer, and students will participate in activities and games designed to teach/reinforce the basics and enhance their skills. I think they're going to get a kick out of this PE unit ;).

    Science

    • Third-grade scientists are off to a great start! Now that our science notebooks are set up, and we have acquired some common scientific language, we have started our earth science unit focused on water. So far, we have investigated some properties of water, including surface tension, cohesion, and adhesion. In the coming weeks, we will dive deeper into the world of water, focusing on temperature and phase changes.

    Spanish

    • Students have continued to practice our classroom routines and student jobs in order to establish a culture of “Spanish only” in the classroom. We have continued to work on our Character Creation Unit. Each class co-created another colorful and fun character out of inanimate objects. Students discussed the character’s physical description and personality. With each additional character, students are exposed to additional vocabulary while experiencing verbs in the 3rd-person and 1st-person perspectives. Students also had the opportunity to do some reading and writing in Spanish. Together, students completed their first guided writing activity. The class discussed the drawing and collectively we wrote about the character. This activity was completed in their Spanish journals. Next week students will be completing their second “Write & Discuss” activity.
  • 4th Grade

    Art

    • Fourth Graders started their first clay sculpture project of the year, creating an ocarina (clay whistle). Ocarinas are traditional to many cultures around the world, but we focused on those made in China and Costa Rica and dating back as far as 7,000 years ago. When the students’ ocarinas are finally glazed and out of the kiln, we will have a celebration where we all play our ocarinas together in the yard. I can’t wait! 

    Cooking/Garden

    • Fourth Grade gardeners have been preparing for the arrival of our brand new baby chicks by submitting names and spending time with our existing year-old chickens. Fourth Grade cooks have been working on their knife skills! They learned the train and tunnel technique and practiced by cutting apples. Ask them to demonstrate at home! 

    DBi Lab

    • During their last DBi engagement, Fourth Graders worked in teams of two to design and build prototype levees. We discussed how the Bay Model was originally built so that the Army Corps of Engineers could prototype & study how water moves through California and why we as designers might need to use prototypes to understand the problems we are trying to solve. Students were introduced to the main elements of the water system that moves water through California. Natural storage, man-made storage, the aqueduct, pumping stations, and power plants. Students were then tasked with “saving Sacramento from flooding by designing and building a new levee.”

    Library

    • To supplement the Fourth Grade curriculum around water this year, our current library unit focuses on the ways class and water intersect in the Bay Area. Fourth Graders are engaging with the pre-research stages of gathering what they know, brainstorming, and asking questions about class and socioeconomic status. We’re also - as always - selecting pleasure reading to enjoy. Happy reading!

    Mandarin

    • Our Fourth Graders are having a great time learning Mandarin pronunciation (pinyin)–tones, initial and final sounds with catchy melodies, rhyming raps, fun beats, body movement, and interactive activities. We have been diving deep into the phonetic system (pinyin) that allows students to sound out Mandarin words. We have practiced four major Mandarin tones (āáǎà/ēéěè/ōóǒò/īíǐì/ūúǔù/ǖǘǚǜ), some “tricky” Mandarin sounds such as vowels e/ü, and initial consonants zh/ch/sh/r. To lay a good foundation for students to be able to read and write in Chinese, we will also focus on learning the 8 basic strokes of Chinese characters and their stroke order rules, which is the basic training for writing characters later on. 

    Music

    • Over the last few weeks, Fourth Graders have explored rhythm reading through notation and identifying note and rest values. They have progressed in pitch recognition, solfege hand signs and have begun advanced two-part singing with harmony. Fourth Graders are working on understanding musical meter, tempo, and multiple-part singing through games and play. 

    Physical Education

    • Students spent the last few weeks practicing their throwing mechanics and participating in games designed to improve their hand-eye coordination. In the coming weeks, we will shift our focus to foot-eye coordination and kicking mechanics as we prepare for our first MicroSports offering of the year (grades 3-5 only). We will discuss the rules and general strategies of Soccer, and students will participate in activities and games designed to teach/reinforce the basics and enhance their skills. I think they're going to get a kick out of this PE unit ;).

    Science

    • Fourth-grade scientists are off to a great start! Now that our science notebooks are set up, and we have acquired some common scientific language, we have started our earth science unit focused on soil, rocks, and landforms. So far, we have delved into the fascinating world of soil. Fourth-grade scientists have identified soil components and investigated how organic matter is made. Up next will be focusing on erosion, weathering, and how landforms are made.

    Spanish

    • Students have continued to practice our classroom routines and student jobs in order to establish a culture of “Spanish only” in the classroom. Students experienced their first round of “quiz week.” Since our “quiz week” was interrupted by a class field trip, students only completed the listening comprehension section of the quiz. Students will complete the reading comprehension section in the near future. Students were assessed on their at-home vocabulary words and on familiar vocabulary used in class. In addition, students have been excited to be working on an OWI (One Word Image) character. The Character Creation activity is a fabulous way to review previous covered material since students are able to be creative and playful with the vocabulary.
  • 5th Grade

    Art

    • Fifth Graders have been enthralled by the project of repainting the classroom stools, a fifth-grade right of passage. They worked with a friend to create their own unique design and paint it onto the seat of a stool. They’re now nearly complete, and the classroom is looking great!

    Cooking/Garden

    • Fifth Grade gardeners have been preparing for the arrival of our brand new baby chicks by submitting names and spending time with our existing year-old chickens. Fifth Grade cooks have been learning about descriptive recipe writing and working on their knife skills! They learned the train and tunnel technique and practiced by cutting apples. Ask them to demonstrate at home!

    DBi Lab

    • During DBi class, Fifth Graders were introduced to their theme for the year: Universal Design. We watched a short video about Universal Design at the Ed Roberts Campus in Berkeley and discussed products that students might know about that fall into the category of Universal Design. The class will build towards students designing and making their own prototypes of a Universal Design project. We will spend the first part of the year developing our prototyping skills. The first Fifth Grade lab consisted of learning about motors and building a basic motor prototype. It was great fun to hear the exclamations of delight as students successfully got their motors to spin.

     Library

    • Fifth Graders are having fun in the Library! We have been diving deep into primary sources and analyzing sources for research. We recently had a lesson where students analyzed and asked questions of different primary sources about the Delano Grape Strike. In the next few months, we will be doing our Wonder Unit. This unit will have the students start asking questions about a particular topic they are interested in and then start researching physical and online sources to find the answers to their questions. Then they will present their findings in a presentation.

    Mandarin

    • Our Fifth Graders are having a great time learning Mandarin pronunciation (pinyin)–tones, initial and final sounds with catchy melodies, rhyming raps, fun beats, body movement, and interactive activities. We have been diving deep into the phonetic system (pinyin) that allows students to sound out Mandarin words. We have practiced four major Mandarin tones (āáǎà/ēéěè/ōóǒò/īíǐì/ūúǔù/ǖǘǚǜ), some “tricky” Mandarin sounds such as vowels e/ü, and initial consonants zh/ch/sh/r. To lay a good foundation for students to be able to read and write in Chinese, we will also focus on learning the eight basic strokes of Chinese characters and their stroke order rules, which is the basic training for writing characters later on. 

    Music

    • Over the last few weeks, Fifth Graders have explored rhythm reading through notation and identifying note and rest values. In addition, they have progressed in pitch recognition, solfege hand signs and have begun advanced two-part singing with harmony. Fifth graders are working on understanding musical meter, tempo, and multiple-part singing through games and play. 

    Physical Education

    • Students spent the last few weeks practicing their throwing mechanics and participating in games designed to improve their hand-eye coordination. In the coming weeks, we will shift our focus to foot-eye coordination and kicking mechanics as we prepare for our first MicroSports offering of the year (grades 3-5 only). We will discuss the rules and general strategies of Soccer, and students will participate in activities and games designed to teach/reinforce the basics and enhance their skills. I think they're going to get a kick out of this PE unit ;).

     Science

    •  Fifth-grade scientists are off to a great start! Now that our science notebooks are set up, and we have acquired some common scientific language, we have started our unit about atoms and elements. Students have investigated atoms and how these tiny particles are the building blocks of all matter. Up next, we will continue our microscopic journey and learn about how elements are organized by their properties on the periodic table.

    Spanish

    • Students have continued to practice our classroom routines and student jobs in order to establish a culture of “Spanish only” in the classroom. Students experienced their first round of “quiz week.” The quiz included a listening comprehension and a reading comprehension section. Students were assessed on their at-home vocabulary words as well as on some of the material covered in class. The class took a break from developing the backstory for the class mascot in order to review character creation. The class was excited to create an OWI (One Word Image) character. The Character Creation activity is a fabulous way to review previously covered material since students are able to be creative and playful with the vocabulary.