A Peek at Our Week

November 20, 2015

Breathing Deeply

Pause. Listen. Breathe. We did our mindful core practice almost everyday this week! We practiced breathing deeply and using our diaphragm to take in deep belly breaths (versus our shallow chest breathing). To practice, we placed a "belly buddy" on our belly while on our backs. We know we are using our bellies as we focused on the gentle rise and fall of our breathing buddy. We could even imagine that we are rocking the little stuffed animals to sleep with the rise and fall or our bellies.

Deep belly breathing gives our lungs even more room to expand which allows us to bring in even more oxygen to our bodies (lowering our blood pressure, slowing our heart rate, sharpening our focus). It relaxes our bodies and calms our minds. We talked about when you could use belly breathing....when you are upset, hurt, frustrated, worried... Even when you are having a hard time falling asleep you could focus on deep belly breathing (even put a belly buddy to keep you company). It really works!

We also learned all about our neurons and dendrites in our brains that I shared with you last week. We used our hand and forearm to see the parts of a neuron. The forearm is the axon that relays signals and our fingers are the dendrites (palm is the nucleus). The more we practice and repeat something the more dendrites grow which means the stronger and more powerful our mind and thinking becomes! To see how this worked we played "Pass the Pulse." We first connected our dendrites (fingers) to our neighbors axon (forearm) to create an "information path." With just one dendrite we passed a pulse...we could kind of feel it and it went a bit slow with some of the uncertainty. Then we grew 4 more dendrites and passed the pulse...we could REALLY feel it that time! So fast! Proof! The more you practice something, the more dendrites you grow, the stronger you are at it..could be math facts, reading, handwriting, playing an instrument, calming yourself with breathing (responding instead of reacting)....you name it!


We are back to adding! Some of us used our knowledge of combinations to make ten to help us make combinations to 100. We worked on adding tens and ones horizontally and then vertically. Double digit math is always so exciting! What an accomplishment! We also practiced our math facts because knowing how our brain works...it takes practice to learn something. When we focus and use different strategies, say it, see it, write it, draw it, experience it...we are growing dendrites and strengthening our connections, making it easier to pull information from our memory. Go, brains!

Others of us worked on our mental math by finding matches to make 50. Many of the matches involved some regrouping which makes it even trickier. We also did some vertical math in the hundreds that also involved some regrouping. Adding up to 1,000 by multiplying numbers by ten or five and then adding them on to a rolling total was exciting and satisfying!


Writing Workshop
We shared our nature walk (5 senses) words and brainstormed descriptive words that would really allow a reader to have the same experience. These descriptive words and details are popping up all over our stories!

Reading Workshop
"Blend sounds and stretch the word" is a great strategy to help everyone read words accurately. The kids hear me do this everyday as we learn different parts of the human body! Alveoli!

Word Work
In handwriting, Magic C taught us t. We are paying close attention to bumping the line and making tall letters tall. Thank you Magic C for all your help! You really inspire us to practice and grow our handwriting!

Phonics groups are working on...(another Wednesday lost!)
  • Magic e with baby o
  • Baby i families _ip _ill _ig We played with changing beginning or ending sounds to make new words.


This week our focus was on TWO systems, the respiratory and the circulatory system. We learned about the lungs first as we need to bring in oxygen so our heart can pump oxygenated blood throughout the body. With our focus on mindful breathing and belly breathing, learning about the diaphragm and how our lungs work was perfect! We made a model lung to see how our diaphragm contracts, making our lungs expand and bring air in. Then, when our diaphragm relaxes, our lungs contract and air goes out. So cool! We also looked at the shape of of our lungs - right is the bigger one with three lobes and the left is smaller with two lobes. It made a little room for our very important friend, the heart! Ask your kiddo if they remember what that notch is called. When we enter the lung from the trachea we move to the bronchus then to the bronchioles and off to the little microscopic air sacs with tissue paper thin wall called alveoli! Here is where red blood cells in nearby blood vessels make their exchange, taking some oxygen and dropping off some carbon dioxide. But these blood cells only move with the help of....our hard-working, pumping heart!

The heart is so amazing!! Olivia brought in a REAL lamb heart which was SO cool to see! Ask you child... how big is your heart? Where is it? How many chambers (rooms) does it have? How many valves (doorways)? Which side takes in blood used by the body and which side takes in blood that is coming from the lungs? What do the arteries and veins do?

Blood is pretty amazing, too! We looked at the four main components of blood...plasma is like a river that allows everything to flow and move around. It is made mostly of water...good reminder to stay hydrated! Red blood cells are like the baskets delivering oxygen or taking out the trash (carbon dioxide). White blood cells are our mighty protectors defending us from germs and infections. And our platelets are our bodies natural band-aid, taking care of cuts by clotting to keep blood where it need to be...inside!

We learned some crazy facts...if all our blood vessels were connected it would reach over 60,000 miles! That's 2 1/2 times around Earth!! And, in adults a red blood cell makes a trip around the body once every minute. But, it makes THREE trips a minute in a kid's body! A child has about 5 pints (2 1/2 quarts) of blood where an average adult has about 10 pints (5 quarts). We brought out our quart jars to really see it.
And if you are sitting on the edge of your seat for Chloe and Nerb and their journey to the heart...wait no longer!
How Your Heart Works


We will create Autumn art next week!!

Friday Workshops

  • December 4th - Laurel, Olivia
  • December 11th - Addy, Gillian

Look for the 2016 schedule soon!

Important Dates

  • November 24th - Board Meeting
  • November 26th/27th - No School
  • December 2nd - Parent Meeting
  • December 16th - Board Meeting
  • December 18th - Portfolio Share - 9:15

Check out the school calendar!

Welcome, Kaitlyn!

Kaitlyn had her first full week with us! If you see her smiling face around give her a big hello! She is a wonderful addition to our class and we love the enthusiasm and sweetness she brings to our community!