“…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.

The American Revolution: The Movie

To wrap up our American Revolution Project, and the end of the year, we decided to make a movie. The kids picked their favorite people and decided what they wanted to say about that person, we threw together some outfits and hit record. After mucho hours editing, we have a masterpiece, a masterpiece I say!

Masterpiece  Mystery Bay Theater Presents:

The American Revolution

With love & best wishes to Tim, Salvadore, Bryn, Chase, Nora, Carter and Jaala. We love you so….

All our love,

Michelle, Terry and the Mystery Bay Gang

Some facts we’ve learned so far…

One morning this past week, we sat down together and decided to write down as much as we could about what we have learned about the American Revolution. I taped up two giant pieces of paper and grabbed a sharpie and off they went. I could barely keep up. When we stopped, they weren’t even done and we decided to come back to it and add more. But for now, we present the amazing memories and exciting facts of the American Revolution.

Things we have learned so far about the American Revolution:
• The Revolutionary War was a big fight between the Americans and the British. -Izzy
• Thomas Jefferson wrote the declaration of independence, signed it and played the fiddle. -Jake
• Thomas Jefferson died on July 4th, 1779. -Adah
• Crispus Attucks was an African American; “the first to defy…the first to die.” (the first to get killed). -Lucas
• Nathan Hale was an American spy and died when he was 21. He was hung by the British. -Tim
• In 1775 the Revolutionary War started with the Boston Tea Party because they didn’t want to pay extra taxes. -Holden
• Patrick Henry’s most famous speech included “give me liberty or give me death,” which was the password for when Washington and the troops crossed the Delaware. -Jake
• The Liberty Bell was for celebrating America’s independence. -Lucas
• The Revolutionary War was way more complicated than two sides shooting and killing each other. -Jake
• Paul Revere yelled out “the British are coming” but didn’t make it to Concord because he was captured. -Holden
• The British had a king and his name was Gorge III and he lost and went crazy and was chained to a chair. -Izzy
• General George Washington was the leader of the Americans. -Lucas
• Molly Pitcher (Mary Hays) gave the men water during battle. When her husband was wounded, so she took his place. They retreated except for Molly Pitcher. She was still there shooting the cannon when a cannonball came right at her, through her legs and only carried away her skirt. -Tim
• Lydia Darragh was a spy and carried an empty flour bag and told the soldiers she was getting flour but went to the camp to tell the Americans that the British were going to plan a surprise attack. -Izzy
• Deborah Sampson dressed up as a boy to fight in the war when she got shot in her leg, she dug it out with her own penknife so they would know she was a girl. She got sick and they discovered she was a girl and sent back with honors. She was 67 when she died. -Holden
• Their guns took a lot of work using gunpowder and took a long time to load. -Coho
• A lot of people died but they didn’t know which side shot first. -Atti
• John Paul Jones did not surrender and said, “I have not yet begun to fight!” -Jake

To be continued…

Also, don’t miss the viewing of our film “The American Revolution” Thursday, August 23rd at 2:00pm.


We had such a blast swimming these past four Thursdays. I have to admit, I was a little cautious going into it but it was just pure fun. Sometimes doing something totally different with your kids helps you to see another part of them and they see another part of you and it opens you up in a different way to each other. Terry, Jaala, Jen and I (and parents-thank you) held, flipped, spun, flung, caught, raced, played ball and just enjoyed our time together. Thank you so much Sarah and Michelle (our board chair) for helping to make this happen.

It was also pretty amazing that all of these flags were in the top of the pool + the Olympics during our Revolution/Flag study. Always a Mystery in Mystery Bay.

I’m sorry we didn’t get photos of everyone. It was hard to take pictures with so much water and so many swiftly moving bodies (and of course a ton were super blurry from all the locomotion).




“Learning is always rebellion… Every bit of new truth discovered is revolutionary to what was believed before.” ~Margaret Lee Runbeck

Outside (PE/Negotiation)

New Revolutionary Books (Oh the many trips I make to the library per week) (Literacy/Community/History) & here is a great article on Making History Relevant!

Taking Care (Compassion – Lucas and Izzy giving a helping hand to our observation -Lukas – today and Timmy taking care of his little sister so sweetly when she was missing mom)

Flag Making aka Flag Factory (Art/History/Geography)

Olympic Games (History/Current Events/Sports/Literacy/Art)


Noisy Cats (Imaginative Play/Negotiation)

Work Shop Computer Chip/Take Apart/Jewelry Making

Everyday Math (Yes we have math books but we do not work in them on a daily basis, there are so many other ways that we approach math, ways that are manipulative based and a part of our everyday life and woven into the current project. It makes so much more sense when you use it to find the answer to something you are wondering about in the world)

Nora in Math Contemplation:

Shape Bingo (Geometry)

Explode the Code (Literacy)

Cursive Writing (Literacy)

Handwriting Without Tears (Literacy)

More Flag Making and our Vocabulary can also be found at the CSWS Studio Blog (Art/Literacy/History/Vocabulary)

Hillside (PE/Botany/Geology)

Word Lists – Bryn and Hannah ask to do this throughout the day including Open Classroom Time (Literacy)

K’nex (Dexterity/Art/Engineering/Manipulatives/Negotiation)

And finally…The Rebellion:

The first to defy…The first to die…

Give me liberty…Or give me death…

Over & Out!

Stir up life…

On the white board:

“This then is the first duty of an educator: to stir up life but leave it free to develop.” ~Maria Montessori


Poster Factory (Literacy/Writing/Reading/Expression)

Olympics (History/Story Telling/Question and Answer)

Today Jake shared a bit of his family history about his great uncle who was an Olympic swimmer but who boycotted the 1936 Olympics in Berlin.

Writing Cursive with “Quill Pencils”

Colonists and Independents Book (Literacy/Recall/History/Facts)

Timeline (Literacy/History/Facts/Time)

Cursive Writing (Literacy/Hand Writing/Reading)

Snack/Lunch (Community/Negotiation/Health)


German Flag Making (Black/Red/Gold (History/Art/Ideas/Definitions/Literacy)

Guesses for Gold:
The sun will be light everyday

Gold represents Generosity
“To give something.” Holden
“To give money.” Jake
“To be nice.” Izzy
“To give and not need anything back.” Maya
“To be rich.” Carter
“Being nice to people.” Coho
“Helpful.” Ellis
“Being polite.” Hannah
Guesses for Red
Celebrate Flames

Red represents Bravery
“To go in a deadly path.” Holden
“To do it even though you don’t want to.”Jake
“To do something super deadly.” Tim
“Giving your life for something.”

Guesses for Black

Black Represents Determination
“You really wanna do something.” Hannah
“Steady on.” Holden
“Really wanting to do it.” Holden
“Focused.” Izzy
“Thinking you can do it.” Nora
“Thinking it through.” Izzy

Rocks, Crystals and Minerals (Geology/Story Telling/Sharing)

American History Biography Book (Literacy/History)

K’nex (Engineering/Science/Negotiation/Community)

Cats (Imaginary play/Community/Negotiation)

Workshop (um, that’s not even a bayonet turned into a double sword – don’t worry, it’s revolutionary history people) (History/Engineering/Ingenuity/Resourcefulness/Persistence/Rebellion/Full-Throttle Happiness)

Jobs (we also changed our jobs around today and here is a great article on the importance of chores!)

Thursday is week three of swimming (please send bus fair, we are busing back this week and next)

Over and Out!

Thursday Fieldtrip


Swimming/water play (water polo of sorts) (PE/Community/Following Directions/Coordination)
Lunch (Community/Negotiation/Nutrition)
Walking (PE/Attentiveness/Partnerships/Directions)
Bus (Community/Money/Route/Math)


“Astropup and the Day of the Cat” on audio (Literacy)
“Astropup and the Ship of Birds” on audio (Literacy)
“Astropup and the Key to the Universe” on audio (Literacy)
Eloise Takes a Bath (Literacy)
The Big Orange Splot (Literacy)
K’nex Black Hole (Negotiation/Role Playing/Imaginary Play/Strategy/Cooperation/Math/Manipulatives)
Cursive Writing (Literacy/Handwriting)
Barn Setup (Imaginative Play/Story Telling)
Jobs (Responsibility/Animal Care/Recycling/Compost)

Over and Out!


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