A Peek at Our Week

Our Spectacular 1st-3rd Grade Class

March 25, 2016

Mind "full" of the Moment

We read Mindful Monkey, Happy Panda this week which is one of my favorite children's books about mindfulness. In this story, Monkey cannot quite figure out why Panda is always so calm and relaxed. Panda and Monkey compare their day and while their activities are the same, they do them in a very different way. While Monkey is always doing one activity while thinking of another, Panda focuses on the activity he is doing in that moment. Panda explains to Monkey that his problem is that his “monkey mind” is jumping around too much. In contrast, Panda is mindful, which he explains means his “mind” is “full” of the moment. In a simple and clear way, mindfulness is presented with its emphasis on staying with what we are doing and not draining all our energy on distractions of what is happening next, yesterday or tomorrow. In a time when multi-tasking is so widespread and popular, these are important lessons!


We continue working on growing our subtraction skills while some are continuing with daily practice of addition math facts to help them learn them in a snap. There was a lot of excitement around practicing and seeing how fact we can learn a set of facts. Wahoo!

We are also integrating time practice into our morning routine. Individually, our work with time and reading clock varies...some are learning to read half past and then a quarter after or quarter til. Others are learning to read the clock at anytime...7:35 to 11:36. And some are practicing solving how much time has passed or what time will it be after a given amount of time has passed. And others are looking at the clock and time with fractions in mind...what is 1/12 of an hour? 1/4? 1/3? 1/60? How many minutes is 1/4 +1/6?


This week we worked on preparing our posters for the INVENTION CONVENTION!! We are so excited and loved putting our posters together. The children are looking forward to sharing their work with all of you!

We also spent time preparing for our conferences next week...reflecting on our learning and growth, self-assessing and thinking about what we are ready for next. We also did a few assessments to see what we have filed away in our hippocampus!


We had a special guest this week, Ben the inventor! He generously shared his secret inventions he is working on to help him address problems he deals with in the medical field. We were all sworn to secrecy! We had an opportunity to try out a few medical tools to retrieve real-life items people have actually swallowed....key, quarter, nail....yikes! We tried our hands at being medical engineers ourselves and modified the tools or created a new way of retrieving these items from someone's stomach.

Our S.T.E.M. challenge this week was to create a paper airplane that could 1). carry cargo (coins), 2), glide at least 10 feet and 3). go through our target area. I wish I had videotaped the scene in our classroom as airplanes were being tested!! :) They had a great time either inventing new paper airplanes or using existing instructions and making modifications to make them more aerodynamic. Then, where and how to tape the cargo became an important concern. The children discovered having it in the middle helped or having it balanced between both sides of the plane. There was so much to consider...aerodynamics of the plane, placement of the cargo, how much cargo...took many, many tests!!

Favorite Read Aloud

Monkey with a Tool Belt is a series of pictures books that we have enjoyed this week. Chico Bon Bon can fix or build almost anything with his assortment of tools!


To help us share our inventions we designed and created an advertisement to really hook you into wanting to learn more about inventions. We learned a little about Z-pattern advertising and that people are initially attracted to lighter colors. Catchy words or questions also hook people into wanting to read more on an advertisement. They are all very proud of their catchy ads and enjoyed asking their friend if it caught their eyes or hooked them in. Be sure to keep an eye out for these thoughtful advertisements!! :)

Friday Workshops

  • April 1st - Stella, Olivia

Important Dates

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

  • March 30 - Invention Convention (6:00)

  • April 4-8 - Spring Break, No School

  • April 20 - Board Meeting

  • April 22/23 - Procession of the Species/Arts Walk

Field Trips

  • April 15th - Food Bank 1:00