A Peek at Our Week

Our Spectacular 1st-3rd Grade Class

January 29, 2016


We learned about the reticular activating system (RAS) this week and its VERY important and critical job. It filters millions of bits of sensory information and deems what is relevant (which then gets sent to to appropriate destinations in the brain) or irrelevant which is then blocked. If it is not strong enough, it would be very difficult to focus as too much information would be entering the brain and one would experience sensory overload.

Athletes, musicians, scientists and other "focused" people trained their RAS to choose what is pertinent. We are SUPER excited to get ours really strong so we can have strong focus abilities! With practice focusing on specific details, we will train our RAS to be more effective. So, if the rain is hitting the windowsill, we have a loose tooth or we smell food from the lunch room, we will be able to quickly redirect our attention to the task at hand and tell ourselves that lunch will be soon or to not think about the loose tooth. We have some fun exercises and RAS workouts in store for us!


We continue our work with fractions as part of a whole. Some of us worked more on adding and subtracting fractions while others worked on making improper fractions proper. And some of us looked at money in terms of fractions...a penny is 1/100 of a dollar, a nickle 1/20, a dime 1/10 and a quarter 1/4. Fun!


Writing Workshop
There is some serious writing happening during our workshops! There are stories about trips to Mexico, a lost fawn and a book about dragons, just to name a few.

Word Work
In handwriting, we practiced Magic C letters - a, c, d, g, o although it was a mystery what letter Magic C would ask to write. We had to get our c ready and then wait for the directions....then go up, higher, back down and bump the line. What letter did we make? d!

Phonics groups are working on...
  • Baby u, ut, ug, and un famlies continued and making words with sh-, th-, ch-
  • Magic e with e continued and word play with letter swaps to make new words with all magic e word families. For example, like could become line or bike.

We also learned about verbs through full on experience...jump, blink, smile, yawn, laugh...actions words can be fun ( but also not so fun...fall, cry, break..)! Some of us practiced identifying what is a verb or a noun. Others practiced different tenses of verbs.

Reading Workshop

Skip the word and come back is a great strategy that can be used by all readers. It is one of my favorites as it requires using context and other clues and THINKING!

STEM- Can You Save Fred?

Fred, the gummy worm, has been spending his time boating on the lake near his home. He has never learned to swim and never wears his life preserver. Tsk! Tsk! The worst has finally happened! Fred's boat has capsized and he is stuck! His life preserver is caught under the boat, but he cannot reach it without falling into the water and drowning. Can you save Fred?

Problem: How can you and your partner save Fred using only 4 paperclips? You may not touch Fred, the boat, or the life preserver directly with your hands, only with the paper clips.

Before we tackled this problem we learned about Design Thinking and how engineers design and think about problems...Ask, Imagine, Plan, Create, Improve. We followed these step as we worked to save Fred. I saw such creativity and team work with cooperation, great communication and courage to try new ideas with the risk of them failing. Through the process of something not working, we learn something new and can improve our idea!

We sketched and wrote out our final plans that worked in a flow chart. Sorry, I did not capture a picture of that one but you will see it in your Thursday Packets! I did capture them in action!


The highlight of theme this week (and possibly the year!!!) was a visit from For Heaven's Sake founders, David and Claudia. Oh, and their 7 incredible owls and sweet, cuddly opossum! We were so lucky to get an up close and personal visit with these beautiful creatures. Claudia and David nursed all of these owls back to health after serious injuries. Unfortunately, they will never be able to successfully survive in the wild. Thankfully, they are in the care of two amazing Earth Heroes with very big hearts! They also have many success stories of helping injured or orphaned animals and then releasing them back to the wild. Coyotes, squirrels, eagles, deer...are just a few that they care for throughout the year. We loved hearing their stories and were very inspired by the work they do to help animals.

We are excited to help them and give a big thank you for visiting! We are starting a drive next week to collect items they need, especially as Spring approaches and the need helping orphaned animals becomes great. We will be collecting the following items:

  • Paper towels

  • Toilet paper

  • Kleenex

  • Bleach

  • Laundry Soap (HE type)

  • Squirrel & Jay bird seed mix

  • Dove and quail seed mix

  • Black Oil Sunflower Seed for wild birds

Even though all the kiddos are too young to volunteer, they all have the BIG hearts that want to help out. Donating these items will feel really good!

Community Service

This week we put energy into TWO community service projects! It feels so good to help others and know we are making a difference.

Catnip Mice for the Animal Shelter

Cats who are waiting for their forever home need a little cheering up and what better way than catnip mice! We each made two to donate to the shelter in hopes of bringing a little joy and fun.

Thurston County Food Bank

On Thursday, we went to the new Food Bank warehouse where bags for the FORKids are prepared and then sent out to over 1,900 children every weekend. These bags are given to children who receive free or reduced lunch (and sometimes breakfast!) at school and need food at home to get them through the weekend until Monday. We prepared 433 bags in one hour!!! The children showed strong teamwork and amazing energy!

The Library!!

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We had an awesome trip to the library! We heard a few great stories and a experienced full tour - even the behind the scenes area. We learned that you can start volunteering at the library when you turn 11! Cool! Also, did you know that in December over 1,500 people walked through the doors of the Olympia Library?! It's a busy place! Ask your kiddo if they remember how many books get checked out a month!

We will be going back on February 5th to complete an activity about our local heroes that we ran out of time to do. :( The children's librarians are so great and collaborated with me to create a meaningful activity that connects to our theme. They are so cool!

Read to Feed

I have been hearing great reports from many of the children about the pledges they have received and how much they are reading! Way to go!! We are looking forward to seeing how much we raise and what we can "buy" for Heifer families!

Friday Workshops

  • February 5th - Laurel, Addy
  • February 12th - Sam, Gillian

Important Dates

Field Trips and Special Events