January 26, 2017
We made our own birds today! Everyone was given a body and wings and then had to choose what kind of feet, head, and beak, their bird should have. Once they made their choices, assembled, and colored the bird, students presented their birds and discussed what adaptations their unique bird had and how this would help them in daily life. It was a lot of fun, the students loved it, and we enjoyed hearing about how each part of the bird they created determined where they lived, what they ate, etc….
January 25, 2017
Today the Kindergartners and First Grade started learning about Symbiosis! Oak trees and squirrels have a symbiotic relationship. To demonstrate this, everyone was given a tray of soil with acorns buried in it. The students were asked to find all of the acorns and when they thought they were done, we turned the trays upside down and dumped them. Just like with the squirrels, they only found some of the acorns! This symbiotic relationship between squirrels and oak trees benefits the squirrel by keeping it well fed all winter and the oak tree by having its seeds planted.
January 23, 2017
What an awesome day 🙂 Mondays are always fun around here, everyone is excited to see their friends and eager to get back to their projects! Today is the first class of our Social Emotional Class. Mr Mike, who did his grad work at Harvard, comes in every Monday from 2:30 – 3:45 and teaches our students how to be present, manage difficult emotions, and how to get their needs met while still being a good friend. Today’s lesson focused on being Present and what that means. It was so much fun to hear everyone from the Pre-K to 5th Grade describe what mindfulness means, ways they practice being present, and then drawing a calming place. Here’s a picture of Mr. Mike reading a book to the Kinder and First Grade about what being Present is and isn’t.
January 19, 2017
We’ve been so busy!! The 5th Graders are almost done with their Aquarium project. They’ve each been given the grading rubric to use so they can get the maximum possible score. The First Grade class had to redesign their habitat to accommodate the specific type of frog that will live in it. Today they went to PetSmart on a class field trip and picked out 2 Fire Bellied Toads! These will be their class pet for the school year. In History, our students are studying the War of 1812. This week the younger kids are learning how to count money by 5s, 10s, etc…. They absolutely love it!
January 9, 2017
Happy Monday! The 5th Grade spent the day designing the habitats for their aquariums. The assignment is to design habitats for 6 penguins, 6 stingrays, 6 eels, 6 sea lions, and 2 turtles. Each animal has a unique set of needs, from dietary restrictions to temperature requirements. They started drawing up blueprints for an overall aquarium layout indicating the placement of each habitat, and then they will write up the requirements for each group of animals!
Jan 5, 2017
What a fantastic day! Kindergarten and Pre-K have their first class fish! Its name is Cutie Pie and they enjoy taking turns feeding it each day. Our first grade class used yesterday to research frog habitats and determine as a group what the “Must Haves” are for our new friend to be comfortable. Today, they took that knowledge and put it to use. They put together their first terrarium! You can see a picture below. Our Fifth Grade class learned to use the internet to research animal habitats. Ms. Gina helped them come up with some good ideas on how to tell if a source is reputable and reliable and then they got started. It’s very important for our students to learn to use the internet responsibly, in an effort to learn how to start research. I cant wait to hear all about their findings on Monday.
January 3, 2017
Happy New Year! Today is the first day of the Spring Semester and boy are we happy to be back. We have new students joining us for Spring, so we spent a good portion of the day getting to know each other. We started a new science unit “Organisms and Environments”. To kick it off, our 5th Grade class repotted the seedlings they started before Christmas break and our Pre-K through 1st Grade started learning about the life cycle of Frogs. The First Graders will take this info one step further and learn how to research what a frog needs to survive in captivity. They will use this info to construct a habitat for a new class frog! Our 5th Graders will research soil composition and the requirements of their seedlings to build a vegetable garden! We had a great first day back and can’t wait until tomorrow.
December 7, 2016
I can’t believe its been a month since we’ve updated! So much has happened over the last 30 days that I couldn’t possibly write about all of it. Needless to say, Thanksgiving has come and gone and Winter break is almost upon us. We are well into our photosynthesis unit and the kids love learning how plants metabolize sunlight and use the energy to grow! In Social Studies, we are finishing up a fantastic book and the kids are taking a brief multiple choice vocabulary quiz on some of the tougher words. This helps us identify any issues they may have surrounding the major themes of the text. We’ve been busy in Art class making holiday decorations for our tree.
And, last but not least, we’ve started our unit on Cultural Excellence around the holidays. Part of being a Global Citizen is being aware of different religious holidays that fall around the same time and acknowledging different beliefs and celebrations. Yesterday we opened the unit with the Christian story around Christmas and the birth of a significant figure in the Christian religion. We have multiple students who self-identify as Christian, Jewish, Atheist, etc… and it sparked a great discussion! Today we will cover Hanukkah (חנוכה), followed by Kwanzaa, the Hopi celebration of Soyaluna, and Winter Solstice.
November 3, 2016
Today was so much fun! Most of the action took place in the 5th grade classroom today. They built a “planetarium” using a card board box and a hole punch. You can see below what it looks like before you close it up and what it looks like after you climb in and close it up. Its absolutely fantastic! In the process, the kids learned about constellations and the sky in earth’s different hemispheres. In Social Studies, the 5th grade took a field trip to Goodwill. In keeping with our conservation unit, we discussed how thrift stores like Goodwill save space in landfills and save petroleum based materials. The trip however, had another purpose! Our students started buying the items they need to make their costumes in order to reenact The Constitutional Convention. Today, The Kinders and First Graders studied soil samples taken in Leander, at anywhere from 1ft-20ft. They tried to identify if each sample was topsoil, bedrock, etc….
November 1, 2016
Oh my goodness!! Its already November!! We’ve been so busy over the last week. We flew our kites on Thursday and had our first annual Halloween Party. Friday and Monday served as review days since all of our friends were so jazzed about Trick or Treating. Today, Tuesday, we started writing our novels for NaNoWriMo. Our 5th grade students are super excited to get their ideas down on paper and even worked on their novels through lunch. In Social Studies, they started studying the Declaration of Independence. Some important things we looked at were the implications of the document, who was included in the phrase “All men are created equal”, and who was excluded. In 1st grade and Kinder, we started our unit on conservation. We examined soil samples, read the Lorax, and wrote a short sentence or paragraph about it. In Math, the First Graders started learning about how to identify the long hand written form for 2 digit numbers.
October 26, 2016
One more day until our Halloween Party!! Our students and faculty are super excited! This morning we finished up our kites. All of our students were surprised by how easy it is to make a kite. Tomorrow, we will take them to Williamson County Regional Park and see if they fly!
October 25, 2016
Its almost time for our Halloween Party!! Today our students started making their kites. We will use them to learn about air 😉 In Math, our 5th Graders continue to learn long division. Its been tricky but we think they are up for the task. We introduced some basic Algebraic concepts to our 1st Graders. They figured out how to solve for addition problems like 8 + ? = 12. They picked it up immediately!! Social Studies is continuing to study Colonial America. The students were amazed that the colonists didn’t have iphones!!
October 18, 2016
Today our students learned how to dress for the weather! Continuing our unit on weather, each of our students was assigned a season and had to dress accordingly. The results were super cute and helped us iron out any misunderstands around seasons and weather. During outside time this morning, one of our friends found an AMAZING caterpillar. It was huge!! iNaturalist identified it as an Imperial Moth Caterpillar.
October 13, 2016
Today is P.E. day! While we always have 2hours of outdoor time each day, on Thurs. the school comes together to learn an organized game. This is important for multiple reasons; the first of which is to learn to work cooperatively within a framework of rules, the second is to learn to be a kind winner and a gracious loser. These skills will serve our students throughout their lives.
October 12, 2016
Happy Wednesday! Today was so much fun! Wed morning we completed our papier-mache earth and painted all of the continents. The first and Kinder classes finished up their lovely weather mobiles. In French we introduced weather, finished learning our “good manners”song, and introduced a new song all about the weather!
October 11, 2016
Happy Birthday to Jax! We’ve known you for 2 years now and we are all amazed and impressed every day by your kindness, generosity, and sense of humor! We love you and hope your next year is as good as your last. In 5th grade, we started our papier-mache Earth. The students had so much fun learning how to do it and once it dries we’ll paint it. Our First Grade classroom drew maps of the playground area for our introduction to cartography. In Kinder/Pre-K we continued learning about rhyming words and did a fun matching exercise! The whole school came together at the end of the day for art.We used pipe cleaners and modeling clay to make spooky spiders for Halloween!!
October 10, 2016
Yaaay! We are back from our fall break and ready to learn!! Most of today was about reconnecting with our friends and teachers. The students started their section on our solar system and weather. In First Grade, we continued learning the components of a story. In Kinder and Pre-K, we started our section on rhyming words. The students learned what a rhyming word is and how to identify them. Then we did an activity on the white board where they checked off what rhymes and what doesnt!
September 29, 2016
Today we finished most of our assesments, in preparation for the break. The kids had so much fun! In science we discussed buoyancy and tried to determine which of the items pictured below would float or sink. We wrote our hypothesis on the board and after testing it, came back to it and revised it! In First Grade math, we practiced pattern recognition and entry level geometry. In Kindergarten and Pre-K, we read two very special books; “Zen Ties” and “Wibble Wobble”. “Zen Ties” teaches kids the importance of insight, intuition, and quiet wisdom. “Wibble Wobble” focuses on developing patience and how hard it is to wait! Our Fifth Graders spent a significant amount of their day practicing conflict resolution. We learned what makes a “good” apology and tried to determine when certain conflicts started and brain stormed ways to avoid them in the future. The Fifth Graders’ last assessment of the week was postponed until after fall break because we all agree that learning how to better manage ourselves in the moment is more important!
Spelling Assessment Word List for Fifth Grade5th-grade-spelling_time-machine
September 27, 2016
It’s Tuesday and our friend Leo turned 7!!! We celebrated with Birthday Donuts, cookies, and milk! We are so happy Leo is part of our community and we hope his 7th year is his best year yet 🙂 In the classroom, our Kinder and First Grade students went to Space Camp…….Personal Space Camp! We learned how personal space is different across cultures and acceptable personal space in the U.S. is “arm’s length”. In Math, our Fifth Grade class had fun practicing songs to help them remember their multiplication tables.
September 26, 2016
We kicked off our rainy Monday morning with some good ole’ fashioned fort building!! The rest of the day we did more review games, in preparation of our assesments. The kids had a ton of fun and got to show off to the ED all of the cool stuff they knew.
September 23, 2016
TGIF! Today we reviewed the last 3 weeks. Our friends have an assessment next week to see what they’ve retained and what they understand. These assesments let us know if we are ready to move on to the next unit or if we need to explore some concepts a little further 🙂 These reviews and assesments leave all of our friends feeling successful and accomplished! They also drive home the point that its ok to not know or understand something and revisit it. This a very important life skill that will serve them well no matter what career they pursue as adults!
September 22, 2016
Happy Birthday Caya!! We did lots of great stuff today but most important was our friend Caya’s 10th birthday. We celebrated with cupcakes, birthday cake, cookies, and juice! I hope Caya’s next year is as good as her last!!
September 21, 2016
Today was so fun! Our Fifth Grade class started their section on Density. We illustrated the concept by layering liquids of different densities on top of one another and created a really pretty concoction pictured below. In Social Studies we started really examining under represented voices in history by looking at the role White Married Women were expected to fill and the sorts of things that happened to them when they tried to stretch the boundaries society placed on them. Our girls decided they wouldn’t last long in Colonial America! The whole school comes together for French on Wednesdays and its always fun and educational. Today was no exception! We learned a variety of Greetings and reviewed how to count to 10. French is always taught as an immersion class (en Francais) from start to finish!
September 20, 2016
Monday! Woot! Wait a minute, we missed a day on the blog….. No worries, school was great on Monday and we continued our tradition of excellence today! Today is Tuesday and it started off with Magnetism. The First Graders and Fifth Graders took magnets out on campus and found as many magnetic objects as they could. Then they discussed why objects are magnetic and why that’s important. Our Pre-K and Kinder students made their “States of Matter” journals, where they pasted the items they found last week. Our First Graders represented numbers with ninjas in Math and wrote the answers to questions about their moms. Ms. K was kind enough to transcribe their answers on to the whiteboard so the kids could ask each other for more details. This exercise is a reading practice, writing practice, and critical thinking practice. You can read the questions below and 2 of our students’ answers!
September 16, 2016
TGIF!! We had a blast reviewing suspensions and solutions! The Kinder and Pre-K room learned all about the letter D and practiced writing A – D. Our First Graders played Mad Libs and got some good writing practice along with learning the parts of speech by filling in the blanks on the board. It was a great Friday, and we can’t wait to come back on Monday.
September 15, 2016
WooHoo! We had visitors today!! Today was our second to last open house before Spring registration closes. Several families visited with us today and our students were all very welcoming. If you know someone who wants to take a tour, make sure they sign up for the last one in November. In Science class we examined the ingredients of a cake under the microscope, discussed the different states of matter, and explored solutions and suspensions by baking a cake! Our Kindergarten and Pre-K friends continued learning about syllables with the syllable game while our Fifth Grade class measured and cut the materials for their Mayflowers.
September 14, 2016
Its Wed already?! Today was super fun for everyone! The First Graders and Kindergartners worked on a new property of matter today: Temperature. We had a few items to touch and classify; Ice, Hot Water, A Toy Left in the Sun, and A Rock From a Shady Area. In Social Studies, our Fifth Graders are learning about important men and women from early British Colonial America and building a scale replica of the Mayflower. We discussed how Anne Hutchison’s leadership is essential to understanding the role of premodern women in colonial life. They also read excerpts of William Bradford’s “Of Plymouth Plantation” to discuss the daily lives of the early colonists from a white male perspective. Then, we shifted gears to our Mayflower replica. Our Fifth Graders worked out a scale they would use to accurately recreate the 26ft by 90ft Mayflower!
September 13, 2016
Happy Tuesday folks! Science, Science, and more Science! Our school started science together this morning and then broke into groups according to grade level. Continuing our unit on classification and the properties of matter, the Kinder and Pre-K classes looked around for an Orange leaf, a Brown leaf, and a Green leaf. Our First Graders had to find an item for each primary color, and our Fifth Graders looked for as many different textures as they could find.
September 12, 2016
It’s Monday!! A mom reported her son woke up this morning and said “The sun’s up! Its Monday finally! YES!!”. Truth be told, our teachers felt the same way 😉 We kicked off the week by discussing the different properties of matter. Ms Gina had the kids scour the property for an example of each type of matter. They were stumped by where to find a gas until Jax, a first grader, declared “Wait guys, Air! Air is a gas” and they spent 5 mins trying to fill a ziploc with air!! Our talented first graders also started working on the parts of a story and learned terms like Protagonist, Antagonist, Setting, etc… The stories they came up with were priceless!!
September 9, 2016
Field Trip!!!! We went to the Austin Nature and Science Center today and continued learning how to identify and categorize nature. We learned what makes a raven different from a crow even though they are both black and both birds (similar species). We also examined some bones and tried to determine whether they came from a plant eater (herbivore) or a meat-eater (carnivore). We spent some time in the Dino Dig area and even cooled our feet off in the stream that runs through the museum. This is such a special little museum in the heart of Zilker Park, we absolutely loved it!
September 8, 2016
Reading and Math took up a large part of our day today!! In 5th grade, We read more of H.G. Wells’, “The time Machine” and students learned how to complete Sudoku puzzles! The first grade students worked on -AT words (think cat, bat, hat), proper nouns, and upper case/lower case. In Math, our first grade students built three dimensional shapes and learned how to talk about the angles and sides! Our Pre-K and Kinder students listened and followed along to “The Tiger and the Wise Man” by Andrew Peters and worked hard on beginning writing skills.
September 7, 2016
Every morning starts with Science, and today was no exception! Ms. Gina took the kids on a “hike” around our 2 acre property to find “something interesting” to bring back with them. Oh boy did they find some neat stuff! Gus found an intact snake skeleton and Caya found a deer bone! Our other friends found pretty flowers, grasses, and wood. We brought them back to the school with us and learned how to identify and write about the items we found. We also spent some time calculating the growth of specific trees relative to time, using growth charts (and multiplication) and even had time to learn The Pledge of Allegiance in Social Studies!
First Day of Fall Semester
Sept. 6, 2016
Today is the first day of school!! We kicked off the 2016-2017 school year with some playground fun. Rhys and Gus discussed the possibility of multiple infinities and how one goes about proving infinity in the first place. Nate and Ari spent some time exploring the sandbox and identifying the different ants they found. When Caya and Leo arrived, we moved the fun inside and started science class. After lunch, The first graders and the fifth graders had a few quick assessments to complete, while the Pre-K and Kinders took a rest. The highlight of everyone’s day was art class. Everyone had the opportunity to grab a leaf from outside and then we all painted a special leaf for our ABCD Apple Tree. Everyone’s leaf is unique just like each of us!