Week at a Glance

Becky's 2-Year Kindergarten Class...January 15, 2016


In each of our brainstems (remember, the brainstem regulates automatic body movements) is a portion of the brain known as the Reticular Activating System. You can think of the RAS as a colander, straining out unnecessary input before sending information along to the prefontal cortex (our wise owl) for processing. This is a very important job, as our senses are constantly bombarded with a plethora of sensations! Sending all of this input to our wise owls, would be very overwhelming. Imagine feeling your socks all day long, hearing everyone breathe, visually focusing in on every detail of a room...we all agreed that this would make going about our days normally rather difficult. Fortunately, our RAS helps us focus on what's important at any given moment. Having a routine mindful practice helps strengthen our RAS, as we strengthen our pathways for intentional focusing by working to focus solely on our breathing. See if your child remembers our RAS demonstration (hint: we used split peas, sugar and a colander)!


Our feeling for the week is scared. Gosh, did we have stories to telll of times when we've been scared! We noticed that the things that scare one person, might not necessarily scare another! We are all different, and that's one of the things that makes life really interesting! When we are scared, our amygdalas, fondly know as our "guard dogs", take charge. Our heartbeat increases, breathing make become rapid, and as someone noted, you may "shiver". This is the true job of our amygdala...keeping us safe when we're in danger! It prepares us to respond quickly with a "fight or flight" type response. Thank you for keeping us safe guard dog!


We continue our important work with parts and wholes. We finished up some work from last week and are working on learning the parts for a given whole number in a snap! Students are working on a number combination book, using cubes to discover all of the possible combinations for different numbers, while I make my way through the group challenging kids on different numbers. If a student is working with the number 6, I will use cubes to ask: If I have 2 cubes in one hand, how many are hidden in my other hand? If I have 3 cubes in one hand, how many are in my other hand? Everyone seems to be enjoying the challenge of mastering parts and wholes!. We will continue working on our books (and challenges) next week!


Writing Workshop: Our first stories with complete beginnings, middles and ends, designed using our story map planning sheets are finished! One is a story about a girl and her dad encountering a storm while on a walk. It's 3 pages long...simple and sweet and the result of many hours of hard work! Seeing the students work so hard on their stories, inspires me week after week. I love their topics, which are a mix of fiction (hot chocolate with a robot, strawberry eating vampires, being captured by pirates) and personal narrative (my trip to the hotel, the time I cut my head).

Our focus this week is on creating work that is easy to read! Work that is easy to read: has spaces, has neat letters that are anchored to the line, goes from left to right and top to bottom, is fully erased, and has many letters in a word (at a just right level).

Word Work: Word lists are now individualized, and new words will be added as current words become familiar!

Handwriting: W and X

Phonics Centers: Groups have switched up a bit, so you may want to ask your child if he or she is on a new group!

Red group: all beginning sounds review~we are working on solidifying our knowledge of each of the sounds and will be reviewing and practicing tricky sounds

Yellow group: sh digraph

Blue group: ending blends

Green group: magic e (see story below)

The Story of Magic e. You may remember the story of our beloved baby (short) vowels who need to be taken care of (followed by) a consonant (some are better than others, some need help and some should never, ever babysit). Well, magic e does not like for the baby vowels to be babied and wants them to start learning how to say their names! Magic e does agree, though, that the babies are still too young to be left alone. So, magic e likes to come stand by a babysitter consonant and give the baby vowel the best "mind me" look that he can conjure up. Wanting to impress magic e, the babies say their name, like in cape, role, and mule! Baby e is magic e's little sister, and he is just not sure that she will mind him and say her name unless he stands right next to her. This is why we see the double e in seed and feel!


There are so many Community Heroes for us to learn about! This week we were particularly blessed to have many heroes visit and teach us about the important work they do!
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Sam's mom, Janice, once save a man's life by performing CPR while he was having a massive heart attack! Janice performed CPR for 4 minutes while waiting for the paramedics to arrive. Janice was first trained in CPR at age 11 and kept her certification current throughout her life. Janice's quick thinking and dedication to helping others definitely saved a life! Thanks Janice!
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Sergeant Dave is a sergeant with the Thurston County Sheriffs, and is also a member of our local SWAT team. He works with Andrews mom Carla, whom is also a sergeant! Sgt. Dave helps make sure that everyone is safe and follows the laws. Sgt. Dave showed us the many different protective/safety vests he wears and what he keeps in each pocket. We even got to see his secret Captain America badge! We had many questions for Sgt. Dave, ranging from whether or not he has a "sidekick" to who keeps police safe to how do you make sure the police follow laws to tell us about a time when you felt really proud. Thank you so much Sgt. Dave and Sgt. Carla for your important work as community heroes!
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Luke is Lucy and Stella's dad, and is also an emergency room doctor! Luke is a doctor in the emergency room at Providence St. Peter's Hospital. We enjoyed hearing the many ways that Luke helps folks, and loved sharing tales of our own injuries with Luke! We got to see some really neat X-rays and enjoyed the challenge of tying to find things that were amiss in each one! A highlight for many was the wrist splint demonstration! Thank you for all that you do in your work as a community hero Luke!
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Lucy assists Luke in putting a splint on Caulder's wrist!

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Jaycie and Raul are community heroes that work at Quixote Village. Quixote village is a village of 30 tiny cottages and one community building that provides housing for homeless folks. Some folks stay for a short while, and others stay for years! Jaycie and Raul taught us all about Quixote Village and shared a slide show of the village with us, which was particularly great, as many of us were really interested in seeing what the village looked like! Our visit with Jaycie and Raul inspired us, as we worked to prepare a lasagna dinner for the residents of Quixote Village. Thank you to Raul and Jaycie for being community heroes, and thank you to everyone who provided supplies for the lasagna dinner so that we could do some work as community heroes, too!


This week we had two opportunities to do some work as community heroes! On Tuesday morning, we made treats for the homeless folks that visit the warming centers. According to Hal, who delivered the treats, the treats were very well received and many immediately enjoyed them, as these are folks that truly don't have a consistent source of food. The kids were really proud when they heard how important the treats were decided that next time, they'd like to try making something that is healthy! Our school will be delivering snacks to the warming center each Wednesday morning. Any contributions of single serving/ ready to go snacks will be greatly appreciated...perhaps snack bars, trail mix or a box of oranges or apples...or something homemade! After the discussion we had this week about providing treats for the centers, I'm sure your child would love to add an item to the grocery cart this weekend or help bake something! Please bring any donations to school on Tuesday or Wednesday mornings! Thank you!

On Friday afternoon, we prepared a lasagna dinner for the residents of Quixote Village! Our whole school worked together to make 4 pans of lasagna and a giant salad! We had lots of fun cooking together and love that it's for an important cause! Thanks so much for all of the donations that helped make this work a possibility!


Next week we will be studying Martin Luther King, Jr.! To kick off our study, we read the book Happy Birthday Martin Luther King. It's a great introduction to Martin's life and important work! Enjoy this book below!
Happy Birthday Martin Luther King
Feeling inspired? Martin Luther King is such an inspiration that many consider this holiday to be a day on, rather than a day off! In the spirit of Martin, consider joining the stream team for one of their volunteer work parties this weekend, January 16 or January 18. In our discussions about Community Heroes, we talked about helping others, animals and the environment. This is a perfect opportunity to get out and work as a community hero to improve the environment!


Our week was so very full that we did not have even a minute to spare to finish our polar bear art! Look for this next week!


Here is yet another opportunity for your child to be a community hero! Please let me know if you have any questions about the Read to Feed program!

This program is designed by Heifer International and inspires children to get involved in working to end world hunger and poverty while caring for the Earth. The goal is to raise money to "buy" gifts of livestock, irrigation pumps, biogas stoves or to send a girl to school. These gifts help families lift themselves to self-reliance by providing resources and a source of income.

We will raise money by collecting pledge money for books that we read! Kids that are independently reading will practice reading and kids that are not quite reading words yet can read pictures, or have someone read a story to them and practice retelling (summarizing) the story, including what happened in the beginning, middle and end!

You should have received an email regarding the program and also paper copies of the resources through "kid mail"!

Happy reading and thank you for helping to make this project a success!

Below are a couple of videos regarding this program. The first, is one we watched in school today. It shows the ways that the Read to Feed donations have impacted the lives of 2 children. The OCS kids were struck with how different the lives of these children are, compared to their own lives.

The second is a video of the girl Beatrice, who's in the first video, as an adult, talking about what a difference the gift of a goat made in her life. Amazing!!

Read To Feed - The Promise
Heifer Success Story Beatrice Biira

Important Dates

January 18: No school~MLK day~join us for a morning of volunteering!

January 20: Board Meeting

February 3: Italia fundraiser (dinner) 5:00 to 9:00

February 5: Begin collecing Read to Feed pledge money

February 10: Turn in pledge money to teachers

February 12: 1/2 day; Valentine's Day Celebration

February15-19: Mid-winter break~no school

Upcoming Workshops

January 22: Sayde, Andrew

January 29: Lyla, Calder

February 5: Marlo, Elsie

February 12: Tessa Jane, Lucy