A Peek at Our Week

Our Spectacular 1st-3rd Grade Class

February 26, 2016

Mindful Listening

Remember the RAS (reticular activating system) we learned about a few weeks ago? We are doing exercises to strengthen this system and this week we focused more on mindful listening. Mindful listening helps us choose which sounds to focus our attention on and helps us to be thoughtful in the way we hear and respond to words.

Mindful listening also lays the groundwork for social awareness and effective communication. Being able to really focus on what others say and to hone in on important words, phrases and tone gives young listeners more context for understanding what is being said and a better idea of how to respond. This helps prepare children for following directions, resolving conflicts through discussions, building friendships and listening for important details in texts read aloud.

One exercise we did was carefully listening while I read a phrase of dialogue from a book we read using different tones of voices. The children then interpreted how the character was feeling and how the message changed with the tone I used. This connects also with our reading and writing and how to distinguish different voices and enjoying texts at a deeper level. They are building skills for understanding nuances of interaction among characters and, by extension, among people in real life.

100th Day of School!

Wow, the 100th day has come and gone!! We had a great time doing 100 exercises, seeing what we could do in 100 seconds, working to build something with 100 blocks, legos or cups, being creative thinkers and seeing what picture we could imagine with the number 100, writing about what we hope we do in our lives by the time we are 100 years old and creating a self-portrait. We did a variety of math that led to 100 in some way....some multiplied their way by choosing 2, 5 or 10 with only six rolls of the die, others made 100 tally marks or rolled their way to $1.00, and some tried to get to 100 using numbers they rolled and putting it in the tens or ones. One challenge was getting to 100 using only 1, 2, 3, 10, 20, 30 in 11 turns. Phew! Oh, and there was the search for 100 kisses and the ever popular 100 piece trail mix. YUM!

I was really touched by what the children shared in the hopes for themselves in the next 100 years. Along with personal hopes for themselves they all, on their own, wrote about wanting to make a difference in the world in some way. Such heroes!


Subtraction is our current focus in math. We jumped right in to tools and strategies we can use to solve subtraction problems. Important words we brainstormed that relate to subtraction....take away, minus, difference, what is left, remains, how many more...Our addition knowledge can really help us figure out problems! 4+2=6....6-4=2. We could see this when we looked at how subtraction has a whole and takes away a part to find out the other part. Versus addition that is part+part=whole.

Some of us are working on our single-digit facts while others are working on subtracting double-digits or double-digits with borrowing. Those who were ready to borrow (we also say regrouping) used our tens and ones pieces to help us manipulate the numbers and see what happens when we take a ten and bring it into the ones. This helps us understand the concept of regrouping in subtraction and how to eventually use the standard subtraction algorithm. Some will continues to use the tens and ones pieces as they practice subtracting in this way while others have the concept and are ready to move onto more algorithm practice.


Writing Workshop
We are working on spelling more words conventionally. To help us, we now have access in our writing folders of many high frequency words. We will edit our writing for these common words during our editing process. We also each have a personal word bank that we will add to as important words come up in writing. Those who are ready to edit for more complex spelling will have the ability to do so.

Word Work

In handwriting, Magic C had us practice "u." Down, travel, up, back down!

We are beginning our practice of spelling high-frequency words! There are some oddball that refuse to follow our phonics rules!

Reading Workshop

We are looking deeper into our stories and analyzing our characters. What traits do they have? What is the evidence? Where in the book is an example (actions, descriptions, words they said) that really illustrates the traits of our character?


As you may have heard, we started our new unit in theme this week - INVENTIONS!! I am so excited for what is to come and the projects in store for us!

In January and February, our focus was everyday community heroes who help people, animals and the earth, locally and globally, current and historically, and how we can help others through service. In the weeks ahead, we are taking a scientific perspective and looking at problems that can be addressed through an invention. What are some problems in the world? What are problems people have in their daily life? What would make something easier or less harmful to the environment? What would make something easier to use? What would make an item even better? We will investigate how inventions develop and what it takes to be an inventor. We will learn about a couple of well-know historical inventors as well as a few up-and-coming inventions. We will also explore the engineering design process through many activities and challenges and even develop our own invention!!! So fun!!
This week, we explored the major inventions through history (from fire to present) and how they changed the world. Everyone each choose what they believe are the top 5 most important invention and why...some that made it to their lists were vaccines, fire, needle and thread, the alphabet, paper and printing press.
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We also took a look at some inventions that have changed throughout time. Inventors often build on previous ideas to change and improve them. We enjoyed a few short videos that showed the evolution of the car, computer, and telephone. We ran out of time and did not get to watch this one on music players. You and your kiddo might enjoy watching it together!
history of music players
Inventors create things that solve a problem or fill a need. It takes being a creative thinker to be an inventor. They also need to notice and observe closely, wonder, ask question, imagine, think of many solutions and possibilities, persist and learn from their mistakes. To get our creative thinking flowing and to begin thinking like an inventor we looked at several objects with fresh eyes and thought of possible ways they could be used creatively. What are other ways you could use a paper clip (fishing hook, to lift something you don't want touch, pick a lock)? A fork (a back scratcher, hair comb, a tickler)? A straw (a musical instrument, a scratcher when you have a cast, a way to blow pages in the book your reading)? Such innovators!!!
Wow! The Museum of History and Industry is really amazing! There is so much innovation emerging from the Seattle area! Our exploration/ipad scavenger hunt began with the original innovators of the area, Native American tribes, and their many innovative uses of cedar. From there it was a journey through history and seeing many inventions, their purposes, and how they affected the area and development. We saw many types of tools, different machines, how humans landscaped the area to make it more buildable, how the locks work and even had opportunity to give our ideas of what would make Seattle more livable. We saw an idea becomes a reality and the evolution of prototypes. And, we had time to do some creating and sharing of our own ideas.
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Friday Workshops

  • March 4th - Laurel, Stella
  • March 11th - Addy, Sam
  • March 18th - Gillian, Kaitlyn
  • March 25th - Oliver, Ethan
  • April 1st - Stella, Olivia

Important Dates

  • March 2 - Parent Meeting

  • March 16 - Board Meeting

  • March 28-April 1st - 1/2 Days for Teacher Conferences

  • March 30 - Science Fair

  • April 4-8 - Spring Break, No School

  • April 20 - Board Meeting

  • April 22/23 - Arts Walk

Field Trips

  • March 11 - Food Bank 1:00
  • April 15th - Food Bank 1:00
  • May 6 - Wolf Haven - 11:45
  • May 20 - Woodard Bay Bike Trip - 12:15
  • June 3 - Cougar Mountain Zoo - 8:15 (all day!)