Thursday, April 28, 2011

Fun with Words, Pie Charts and the Farm!

Hello families! 

The kids are so connected to the blog.  They are often suggesting that we put info on the blog.  I am usually able to do this more often, but this week has been a bit busy.  I hope the X-rays I had to go take will be a nice offering to show them as a sorry for having to wait so many days to show our work.

So this might be a big entry!!!

This morning, as we often do, we had some fun discoveries during our morning message.  We usually identify words we know, recognize or have sounded out and then spell them out loud.  This morning the friends found some interesting things about these words:

The friends have been looking in the words to see teams and now are seeing other words too.  For example they realized SOMETHING has SO, ME, THING and SOME in it.  And TOGETHER was making them laugh because it has TO GET HER in it!  Then Coco realized if you change these words around you could make GET TO HER!  Reading and writing can be so much fun when we take the time and look for nuances and funny things in our language.

We have also been having fun with a new type of graph.  Sometimes when we need to make a class decision we make a vote.  I love using these moments to pull out more thinking and learning.  Lately the kids have been intrigued by pie graphs.  They enjoy trying to read and interpret what the outcome is.  We also have been thinking about what information you need to put near a graph to help others know what it is measuring and what it means.  Here are two we did recently.  The first one was how we decided to use our morning on Monday and the second one was how we decided which games to play on a Friday afternoon before school was out.

We are thinking of elements such as how color can be used to make information more easily read.  Also, what is a solid title to best summarize the info the pie chart displays.  Fun and interesting, eh?

And lastly (only because this will take a lot of space...) our FABULOUS trip to the farm!  Tuesday we were able to go to the Van Ommering Dairy Farm in Lakeside and this was a very special experience.  It was very nice to see how the workings of a farm and the machines that are used to help us get our milk.  The kids were also interested in how the cows were grouped by age.  We were able to see a day old calf, to pet a baby goat and other animals, to see goats, llamas, alpacas, cows and pigmy goats, and to see what kinds of materials go into the cow's "cereal".  The farm is set up really nicely with lots of fun and interactive things to do.  I hope the kids told you all about it.  Here are some images I wanted to share- click on them to get a bigger version.  I hope you will have your child narrate them for you! (PS they are sledding on cotton seed, which is also the cows' source of protein.  This was a big hit with the kids!!!)

Also, if you want more info on how to make this a family experience, here's the farm's website:

I really appreciate all the families who took time out of their week to make our fieldtrip possible, and to share the experience.  Thank you to Karri, Joelle, Heidi, Stephanie, Jamie, Lorraina, Gretchen, Sonia and Carolina!

Enjoy your week!  Love, Jennifer

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

How does a Thermometer work?


We have talked for the last week about our theories of how thermometers work.  The friends have drawn a written about this, and are identifying influences that could be involved.  Here are some examples.

Then, once we had identified our theories and questions, today we read from some articles to give us more knowledge.  And we watched an interesting video to help us understand the rudimentary elements involved in common thermometers.  Two words that came up were expand and contract.   The friends realized that things that are expanding can be expanding in different directions, and in a thermometer's case the material expands up and down.

The children were very interested in following up on this.  They had identified things they wanted to understand and took steps to make this happen.  Now they are using their own words to explain this phenomenon.  Please feel free to ask you child about this.  You may want to read some of the information again.  Also, the friends were interested in trying out this experiment on their own.  The ingredients are fairly common, so you might be able to make this a fun family activity!

Another side element was the fact that Galileo was involved in the creation of a first thermometer. What were some of Galileo's other theories and discoveries?

I hope you enjoy exploring and talking about this together.  Thanks for everything!

Love, Jennifer

Thursday, April 14, 2011


Hello Families!

How are you?  I am enjoying this week, the kids have so many ideas and they are getting so great and expressing them in different ways.  They are such a creative bunch of people.

Some things we are thinking about are how our bodies are getting more capable as we get bigger, our farm field trip, the fact that Earth Day is coming,  thermometers and the number 4.

Here are some images from a tumbling moment we took this week.  Can you believe how flexible and coordinated we can be?

As Earth Day comes, friends have already brought this up on their own and shared how important this day is to many of them.  This has gotten the rest interested.  We are planning to create an Earth Party on Wednesday April 20th. So far they know they want to pick up trash in our neighborhood.  To jump start our party brainstorm we talked a bit today about what Earth day is for.  Here are some of their answers:

It's for cleaning up because the earth can't clean up people's messes.
It's for taking care of where we live.
It's for helping our world.
We have this day to make the earth greener and to make nature more beautiful.
We take care of our earth because you don't want plants to get sick.

The metaphor of "the earth is our mother" was brought up and the kids tried to explain this. 
Here is one explanation as to why we say "Mother Earth":
They call the earth mother because it's really pretty and the earth takes care of everyone." 
(Makes a nice correlation with their image of mothers, too, eh?)

Today Paz  brought in a thermometer and we did some simple experiments.  (You can click on the images above to make them bigger)  We read the temperature inside (65) then we put it outside our classroom while we were at lunch (87) then we checked it again inside after not much time (67).  But how does this work?  The kids had some theories and began discussing possibilities.  This turned into a list of questions:

How do thermometers work?
What is the red line made of?
Is there paper in there?
What kinds of chemicals are in there?
Is there ink in there?  Blood?
Could it go all the way down or up?
What makes it go up and down?
Will the thermometer work if you put it in water?
Does the thermometer change color in water?
What happens if a thermometer is in a bowl of ice?
If you put it in cold water and it's hot outside will the thermometer work?
How could we check what the temperature is in the middle of the night?

The kids want some time to draw their own theories and collect their personal explanations before we do more research and find the answers. So please don't tell us the answers!  We wrote on the calendar that next Tuesday we will do some Internet research and watch a video that could show us how thermometers are made.  My favorite part of all this is that they have so many fabulous questions and that one of their suggestions after listing so many was to ask someone who has made a thermometer.  Go to the source, right?  It's so nice to hear that they already know how to find more information that they need!

Please watch out our class room for the number 4 equations.  The kids are finishing up their creative ways to show how this quantity can work together with other numbers.  Here are a few:

I hope you are having a lovely week.  Thank you for sharing your creative kids with us at Innovations!
 Love, Jennifer