Posts from the ‘Story’ Category

Earth Science & Stories

It started with Stories.  Stories that were the wrap-up of our last project.

The kids were so excited to continue to make books.  They wanted to make up all kinds of stories.  We’ve been talking about all the parts of story: set-up, setting, characters, conflict, resolution, conclusion.  We also almost always web our projects and the stories we read, so we can think about how we learn.  The kids love to do this.  So much that they ask to do it.  Nora asked if we could map our own stories, so of course, we did.

Adah, Lucas, Izzy and Jake web “My Father’s Shop”.

Jake created a web of his own story, “Peter and the Dragon”.

The stories continued.  The end of the football season was the topic of conversation and we have a couple of families following the play-offs.  Two kids were super-excited to write about football.  Lucas and Chase would sit in front of the U.S. Map and talk about teams and what state they were in and who was flying were to play whom and on…  This became their stories.

“Football Teams for the NFL”, Illustrated by Lucas (and written)

In Lucas’ book, he wrote all the teams that were playing, who they were playing and their scores.  While we were looking through his book together, we both noticed that there really wasn’t a character, so he incorporated “a boy” who then flew to all the different states and watched the different games play.

“The United States of America” by Nora & Jake.

This of course created a map craze in the classroom.  Everyone was talking about states and capitals.  Lucas really took the lead on this project and even began to memorize the dates of when the different states entered the union.  The kids already had a good grasp on the U.S.’s geography from our project last year about weather, tornadoes, hurricanes and where these storms take place in our country.

From here we began to talk a bit more in depth about our state, Washington.

“Washington State” by the kindergarten group.

“The Pacific Northwest” by Adah.

Jake had just written a play, “The Mountain Holders and the Dragon” and it was set in the Olympic Mountains.

This became our next study.  We learned all about the Olympic Mountains, the Olympic Peninsula, the Native Peoples of that area, the ocean, the rain forest.  Mount Olympus became the topic of conversation and we learned about glaciers, especially Blue Glacier.

“The Glaciers of Mt. Olympus” by Nora

We then moved on to the Himalayas and Mt. Everest.

“The Himalayas by Lucas, Chase & Adah.

Of course you cannot study mountains without studying geology.  We have been rock collecting, identifying, cracking them open, drilling into them.

We took a walking rock tour of the neighborhood and collected specimens.

We took a field trip to “Path Park”, so the kids mapped the park.

“A map of Path Park” by Izzy.

We got into a bit of Latitude & Longitude with the 1st Grade group, which also led into rounding up and down to the nearest 10.  This was hard but everyone got it and many parents told me the kids were teaching them at home.

So many places we’ve traveled inside these pages.

The more we learn, the more we love our earth.  It’s magic.

“The Geologist and Me”

“The Geologist and Me” by Tim Deppe

“The Secret Jungle” Book 1 by Vega Rietberg (2nd Grade)


The following stories were worked on for about two months and became entire books. The kids made up the stories and every day they did a rough draft, corrected and wrote that section in their final books. Here the kids read excerpt from their work. And of course, once again, the microphone on my camera was being muffled by I assume me. Dang it! Just turn up the volume for the few that are low volume. The last one is the kids commenting on each others work. We did this on the last day of school. Enjoy.

Veteran’s Day

On Tuesday, I had a veteran Don Roff, who is also my partner, come in and talk to the kids for Veteran’s Day.  His talk was a perfect balance between honoring soldiers while also confronting the romanticism of war, as well as ways to avoid it.

He started by asking the kids what a veteran is.  He then asked if any of the kids had veterans in their families.  This led to a discussion about the different wars that the United States has been involved in.  Don then explained that he was a radio operator in the U.S. Army Rangers and how the original Rangers adopted their fighting techniques from the American Indians during the French and Indian Wars.

He told them of how he jumped out of airplanes and how to make a soft landing on land, as well as how to negotiate a safe water landing.  He showed them photos of jumpers and fast-ropers.  He then talked about communication and how it is best to talk, reason, and negotiate before going to war.  Someone said that the commercials on television made it seem like war was fun.  Don told them about how being in the military and going to war is hard work, that it is scary and that it is not fun.  He told them that it can also be sad to lose close friends in war.

There is so much romanticizing going on the classroom around fighting and war, that I was so glad that this was brought up during the talk.  Don also discussed how your views can change and that when you are young, it might seem fun and how he loved to play with G.I. Joe’s but that as you grow, you realize that there are better ways to communicate and that he would never want to go to war again.

Then he stayed to read from his books. The kids always love to hear him read, like he did last year, and it is so fun as a teacher and his partner to see the kids climbing all over him, giving him their undivided attention for hours at a time and just to see how important it was to have this piece of history brought into our classroom.

Thank you, Don. We appreciated your time, honesty, and caring.  We also really LOVE your stories.  The kids asked me all day today, “When is Don coming back to read his stories?”

Story Day!

Much like our beloved Space Day, we decided to have Story Day. We’ve been working so hard on our stories, some have nearly written entire books, that we created from our character developments that we decided to dedicate an entire day and numerous mediums to create our stories.

We invited Don Roff, a children’s book author, editor, and my partner in this crime of life, to join us. He read from his books, held a story arc workshop, and helped us create throughout the day. It was a blast! The day just wasn’t long enough.

Reading from “Dragon Adventures.”


The listening center.

Movie making – old style.

Puppet Theater.

Asher’s dad reading to him on the couch.

So many ways to tell a story. So many stories to be told.

Part 1 – Story Day:

Part 2 – End of the day presentations:

My Vacation by Alex

Alex reads his story.

“My Vacation”

“I did a magician show and my grandma Fran visited me.”

“I am a magician. Jacob is my friend.”

“I am going to do a magician show and me and Jacob are going to play with my bat copter and me and Jacob are going to play a game and me and Jacob are going to jump rope and me and Jacob are going to play hide and seek.”

“Jacob is my best friend and he is lovable.”

Peter and the Wolf

We’ve been listening to books on record during story time. Peter and the Wolf was a perfect introduction to the different instruments and identifying the instruments with the character’s in the story.

Peter and the Wolf is a composition by Sergei Prokofiev written in 1936 after his return to the Soviet Union. It is a children’s story (with both music and text by Prokofiev), spoken by a narrator accompanied by the orchestra.

Peter and the Wolf is scored for flute, oboe, clarinet in A, bassoon, 3 horns, trumpet, trombone, timpani, triangle, tambourine, cymbals, castanets, snare drum, bass drum and strings.

Each character in the story has a particular instrument and a musical theme, or leitmotif :

The kids loved listening for each leitmotif and would yell out “It’s the wolf” when they heard the French horns or “It’s the cat” when they heard the bassoon.

My Day to Day by Brigit – The Finished Story

Brigit actually finished her story the next day and I keep forgetting to post the final product:

The End

Reading Partners, Number Belts and an Hour Long Story Time

This morning for circle I assigned reading partners. I organized this by reading level and who could best help each other with sounds and pronunciation. At first they all just looked at me like; “you’ve got to be kidding me” but then they got in a groove and forgot that the person they were reading with wasn’t their best friend (this type of work actually does build friendships though.) After about fifteen minutes the room was humming with words and sentences. It was beautiful.

For math we made number belts. We mostly focused on counting by 5’s (because of our time/money work,) although what numbers they worked with was based on where they are in their math journey. For those working on counting/writing by 5’s, we talked about the pattern that it makes and that it alternately ends in 0 and 5 etc.

Isabel made it up to 200!

And of course, taking the idea to an entirely new level, we discovered we have our very own self declared, “princess of numbers.”

Asher also brought in is MP3 Player and played a story for us. I didn’t check the time on the story before we started, mostly because I wasn’t sure how the player worked. About half way through I begin to wonder just how long the story was going to be. Occasionally, at a chapter break, I asked the group if they wanted to continue the story later but I got a resounding NO! So, today for story time, we all sat mighty still and listed to “The Absent Author” by Ron Roy for one hour exactly (and with quite a complex plot I might add.) What a mature group of story lovers we have here.

We had such a relaxed, joyous, fruitful day. Thank you Julie for stepping in for Paul (who was at the dentist) and helping today shine.

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