A Day In The Life – Redux

(One day in our last week before winter break, I jotted down all the things we did that day. I usually add the translation to what makes it “academic” but this time, I’ll let you assign them yourselves.)

Photos of a “Day In The Life”


Architecture – Gingerbread House Designs

Winter Drawings

Light table translucent block building

Easy Reader Books

Cursive Writing



Building links

Johnny & June Cash Appreciation


Etching Board Work

Paper Mache’

Water Table

Glitter Cards


Cards – Crazy Eights, Top-it, Go Fish

Conflict Resolution

Legos – making a chess board out of Legos

Outside – Baseball/Lunch

Lincoln Logs


Playing House

Tchaikovsky Appreciation

Creating Signs for our food/clothing drive

Creating a giant circle out of linking pieces. It is AMAZING!


Out and About

We have been having great fun braving the weather and the frequent occurrence of buses breaking down. Pacific Publishing was interesting, fun and the tour guide was spot on with this age group. We learned about how papers are made from ideas to collating. The printing part was action packed and we feel privileged to get to see real printing in action. “Best Field Trip EVER” was heard throughout the day, although I think this was just due to going into the bus tunnel).

Photos of our trip to The Printer

I love showing the kids things that aren’t digitized (although we have talked about online “papers” as well). I’m such a Luddite sometimes. Speaking of…we would love some more type writers and ribbons – this process of typing straight onto the paper is fascinating to the kids and they will stand in line to try a turn at the type writer for a seriously long time.

Our trip to the Central Library was also a blast. We waiting out the weather, zipped down on the bus, it stormed while we were inside taking our tour and reading books and then the sun came out for us on the bus ride back.

Photos of our trip to the Library

We have been making representational drawings of the places we have visited. We have also been talking about the architects and their ideas for building. This has been a great exercise for memory, collaboration, artistic expression, revisiting, reworking and is also just enjoyable time to work together.

Math has taken a game focus as of late. Monopoly obsession is an understatement. Last week we were missing quite a few families, so our days looked a bit different. Some kids played Monopoly for six hours! Amazing! We have Catopoly and Earthopoly, so there was reading, math, science, strategy, cooperation and negotiation. Games are a great way to incorporate subjects that the kids don’t even realize they are working on.

We have started a Book Club. In the Big Yard, Adah, Hannah and Izzy were talking about the books they are reading right now and I happen to mention something about a Book Club and of course, they were off. While they were outside, I organized our books that we have multiple copies of into piles. When the class came in, I didn’t even say anything and they started getting books together, finding groups and reading in their groups. It’s so nice when we are a few months into the school year, we have hit our stride and the kids know how the culture of the classroom works and they just go to town. Ahhh.

This has been a great year so far and we just love the kids, their ideas, their passion and we are so proud of all of their accomplishments and growth.

“Who dares to teach must never cease to learn.”
— John Cotton Dana

The Mystery Bay Times!

Whew! What a crazy few weeks it has been. We finished the Newspaper and I hear that kids are taking the Mystery Bay Times to bed for story time. Yeah! I think we will do this again in the winter, make it a quarterly project. It was a ton of work but well worth it.


We also were captivated by the election. Very exciting stuff happening in our state. The kids just exploded into the classroom the day after the election and we just had a spontaneous dance party! It was so fun!



“…that’s fit to print.”

We have been busy writing, editing, illustrating, studying, investigating and assembling our newspaper. Wow, it is a ton of work. There has been so much baseball talk that we are trying to get our paper out before the end of the World Series. We are also wrapping up our Greek Mythology Project with it being our leading story. Don’t be disappointed if our news is a bit behind the recent headlines.

It’s been fun to introduce new vocabulary. Today someone used the phrase “above the fold” in a conversation and I was so proud. We’ve been talking about news stands and how papers are made. Tomorrow we are planning on going to Barnes and Noble to see their Newspaper/Magazine “stand”. We are missing the traditional newspaper stands but we all realize the way our news has become digitized. Tricky business being a person who read the paper before this Internet thing exploded.

On the political front. We seem to be a class of liberals, go figure! There has been much talk in the classroom and the kids are as informed as 5-8 year-old can be regarding the issues at hand. It’s been fun to hear them discuss what they know and talk to each other and try to get me to express my opinions. I’ve tried to play neutral but they are either too smart or I am terrible at being neutral. It’s been interesting to say the least.

“All the News…”

It was great to spent time reinforcing our philosophy on the Project Approach with Sylvia Chard. It was nice to gather with other teachers and work together on a project the way we work with our kids.

And then BAM! the first sickness hit. Last week was just a blur. But this week we are back hitting the proverbial pavement as we begin an adventure creating our own newspaper. This has been a topic that has come up and we’ve seen some small papers appearing here and there. We thought that we could really incorporate the many interests that are going on in the classroom through the creation of a newspaper.

We have been studying the newspaper hands-on, what it looks like and how it is set up. We now have our cover story (above the fold, loving the new vocab.) and it is going to be our Mythology study. We also have started creating a sports section (have you been watching the baseball playoffs and the start of the football season – did someone say “Broncos” in Seattle? and the Sounders – we have some major sports fans in this class)? We have a Local News section that includes our plan to collect food, toys, and items for babies to donate for the winter. We also have a comic section, arts and entertainment to include book, film, music, play reviews, art and poetry. We are hoping to be able to visit a newspaper (possibly the West Seattle Herald)?

The kids have also been on fire about math and today we had great fun writing our numbers by 10’s, 7’s, 5’s and 2’s in the parking lot. Some were able to get all the way to 1000. And counting by 7’s is hard but not for these kids! This was the “FUNNEST PROJECT EVER” apparently. Chalk and pavement is so much better than a pencil and paper. They will certainly never forget it.

We are also planning to go back to Daystar Retirement Home and continue our visits there that we’ve been doing for the last five years.

This week we are going to Path Park to play Baseball! Bring a mitt or ball or bat or whatever you want to add to our play.

We have classroom rain predictions going on, let’s hope we can stretch our late summer out a bit more but I hear Friday might be the beginning of our rainy season. How lucky have we been?

Oh, Lukas…


“Nothing is more dangerous than an idea when it is the only one you have.”

-Emile Chartier

*Don’t forget to check out all the great photos/videos on flickr. Some by me, some by the kids…

Settling In

Our second week has been fast out of the gates. We know what we’re doing, where we’re heading, what we want to study, and we’re filled with ideas about how we can expand our Greek Mythology studies. We’ve been studying the different Mythological Characters and even created thrones for them when the kids were feeling like doing something a bit different from working on our own Mythology Books. The kids are so excited about the characters and their interaction with each other and their powers. So fun to talk about.

We’ve been kicking into math a bit deeper. The older kids created a code by giving each letter in the alphabet a number and then created secret messages that had to be decoded by the other group and then adding the numbers together. The younger kids are working with manipulatives; numbering up to 100, adding, subtracting, organizing, and also playing Bingo and UNO. And everyone is playing chess and loving it!

Last week we practiced fire drills on Monday and Tuesday. Then on Wednesday, the fire department came and watched our class practice a real fire drill, everyone did great and then they got to go through the Fire Truck.

On Thursday we went on a field trip to “Path Park.” Path park is our favorite park. It has a “forest” and interweaving trails. The kids run and chase the ongoing folktales of the “Monster Path.” We all move in and out of the paths which creates the illusion for the kids that they are deep in the woods on their own, scaring themselves with glee.

I also opened the wood shop and we got out the saws. Such empowerment and powerful arms. There is nothing much like cutting through an entire piece of wood. Owen created his own version of “Battleship.”

The “K’NEX” came out again for the year. Building, shaping, creating, working with each other, negotiating pieces; what it’s all about in these first years – figuring out how to get what you need while negotiating with your friends.

Ms. Ella is going to be joining our little community after she visited last week. She has been homeschooling and when you brother began coming to preschool here, she found our class and we’re so irresistible. Who wouldn’t want to stay. Welcome Ella!


This week Atti and Ella had the camera part of the time. Enjoy the PHOTOS!


“It’s not that I’m so smart, it’s just that I stay with problems longer.”

-Albert Einstein

The First Week

This year we are starting with Greek Mythology, which was jump started with an interest in Latin and Greek. We have started with the beginning and the awakening of mother earth. We are making our own mythology books and the 1st and 2nd graders are being asked to do more work, more writing, more math, so you may be hearing about that at home.

Everyone is hungry to learn and explore. Everyone is transfixed by the mythology we are reading; asking questions, talking about what we’ve read, putting all the different parts together to make a whole picture of what it’s all about. We’ve also integrated Roman Numerals for the older group and Jen has gotten excited about pairing our numbers with the Roman Numerals. The kids were super-excited about it. We are also choosing different heroes and making masks in the studio to represent that hero. I think it’s also interesting to talk about what our current myths are, especially since they are represented on so many kid’s t-shirts.

We are going to continue with this project as the interest and passion continues. So far, we are off and running at Zeus Thunderbolt Speed!

This week Cameron had the camera most of the time. I love seeing her first days through her perspective. I’m sure it’s similar to many of the other kids in the class. So cool!

Click here for Cam’s Slideshow.

%d bloggers like this: