Monday, December 23, 2013

Pajama Day

'Twas the day that Winter Break was to begin and we had so much to do!  The day started out with a surprise visitor...can you guess who?

Ms. Arboe came back and spent the whole day with us.  She even wore pajamas.  It was so fun to see her!  She finished up her second student teaching assignment at Valley Middle School and graduated from Winona State University with her degree in education on December 13.  She is hoping to be around in the coming months as a substitute teacher for District 196 and will be looking for a teaching job in the Twin Cities area.


Mr. Zach was back on Friday as well.  He helped each of us do a cool painting project.  We mixed shaving cream and glue and painted snowmen.  The paint is puffy and when we finished it, we put glitter on it to make it look sparkly.  It took a really long time to dry so we will decorate these after winter break.

We LOVED wearing our pajamas to school...

...and we liked making silly faces, too!

For our winter party, we kept things kind of low key.  We had popcorn and hot chocolate (with marshmallows!).  We also watched the movie "Frosty the Snowman".  It was so great to have our special treat and just lay on the heated floor in our jammies and watch a movie!




Have a safe and relaxing Winter Break!  I hope you have a very Merry Christmas and wish you all the best for the New Year.  See you on January 6!

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Night Tree

This week, we read the story "Night Tree" by Eve Bunting.

In this story, a family goes to the woods just on the edge of town to get their tree.  Instead of cutting it down and bringing it home to decorate, they actually decorate the tree with popcorn, birdseed, fruit and nuts.  Then they leave the tree in the woods with all the goodies for the animals so they can enjoy a holiday treat, too.



We made our own illustrations of the "Night Tree".  We hung them in the hallway near the office because they turned out so beautiful!  If you get a chance, check them out!

We had a surprise visit from the choir from Eagan High School.  They sang some holiday songs for us and they sounded just awesome!


Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Making Plywood

In our Science unit, Materials in our World, we also learned about another kind of man made wood called plywood.  Plywood is thin pieces of wood glued together to make it more thick and strong.  Today we made plywood in class.

We each got to get three thin pieces of wood from the bag.  Then we used our liquid glue and glued them together.  The hardest part was being patient while we held the wood pieces together!  We let them dry in our mailboxes and we brought them home today.  If you see our plywood, be sure to ask us about it!




Saturday, December 14, 2013

Reading Workshop

Earlier this week, you may remember that Ms. Elsen's third grade class came and read us a story called "Don't Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus!" by Mo Willems.  We loved this story so much we decided to dig in deeper with this story and learn more about the author's voice.

We have learned so much from this story!  First, it teaches us about lots of different punctuation marks. We are learning that when you read a question, your voice kind of goes up a little at the end of the question.  It has also taught us about talking and thinking bubbles and how the illustrator shows them in their pictures.  

And speaking of can tell so much about how a character is feeling or what they are thinking or doing just by observing the illustrations.  


And when the author uses really, really big letters in the story, it means the character feels pretty strongly about something!


We are also learning that when an author writes a story, it is their way of telling their own story.  Who knew we could learn so much from one book???

Mrs. Kurt asked us to come to school on Monday with a story...maybe something we did over the weekend or just any story that we have that we could share with our friends.  That is going to be really fun!

Meet Mr. Zach

Meet a new friend of ours...Mr. Zach.  Zach Desmond is a freshman at the University of Denver and is home for winter break.  His mom, Mrs. Vicki Desmond, works at Northview, too.  Since Zach is home for awhile, he will be volunteering in our classroom on Monday and Friday mornings for a few weeks until he returns to school.  Zach graduated last spring from St. Thomas Academy in Mendota Heights and also works with the YMCA SAC program.

Yesterday, Mr. Zach worked with the kindergarten students on counting orally and also on some one to one counting of objects.  We are so glad he is part of our class and willing to help us out!  Thanks, Mr. Zach!

Making Particleboard

You may have noticed a sample of something that looks a little strange in a ziploc bag in your child's backpack...we made particleboard in Science!

Particleboard is a type of man-made wood.  We started the investigation by observing some particleboard samples with magnifying lenses.


We noticed some interesting things.  It looked like there were lots of tiny little pieces in these samples.  But where do they come from?  There are no particleboard trees in the woods!  Through our discussion, we learned that particle means a very small piece.  To make particleboard, you use lots of particles...specifically sawdust and wood shavings, collected from when a wood worker saws or cuts wood.  And you need a special kind of glue, called resin, to hold the particles together to make particleboard.  We decided to make some of our own.

Mrs. Kurt made the resin out of water and corn starch.  We had to work with it to make it soft and workable, kind of like playing with clay or play dough.  It felt kind of strange!


Then came the messy part.  Each table got containers of sawdust and wood shavings.  Now we had to cover the resin with the sawdust and wood shavings, just like real particleboard.  This was fun and there was sawdust and wood shavings everywhere!



We were not quite finished.  When real particleboard is made, it is dried with heat lamps.  Since we did not have heat lamps, we placed it under our lockers overnight until it was dry.  Our samples may not look like real particleboard, but we now understand how it is made.  Next week we will make plywood, or sandwich wood.  Should be fun!

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Changing Wood and Third Grade Buddies

Today in Science, we discovered that we could change wood.  We were not sure how at first, but Mrs. Kurt told us not to worry.  First we discussed how we thought we could change wood.  We could paint it.  We could cut it.  We could break it.  We soon learned another way...sanding it!

We each got a paper plate, a sample of basswood and a piece of sand paper.  Then we went to work!


We were kind of surprised how hard it was.  Sanding wood looks easy, but it takes a while to actually make a change in the shape of the wood.  Some of us got kind of tired doing this, too!  We observed that the more you sanded, the more sawdust you were able to create.  Using sandpaper on the wood actually made it feel smoother, too.

This afternoon, we had a visit from our Third Grade Buddies.  Our buddies are the third graders in Ms. Elsen's class.  They had recently read the book "Don't Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus!" by Mo Willems. They were learning about the author's voice and how you can tell how characters are feeling by looking at the illustrations.  They also learned lots about talking bubbles.  For today's activity, the third graders came to our classroom and read us the story.  They also taught us the things that they had learned...they were like our teachers!  




We are going to explore this story a little more tomorrow.  It sure was cool to have our third grade buddies visit this afternoon!