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Alpha Journal January 13-15

This week in Alpha…


 Civil Rights Week is a long standing tradition at AHB.  The Alpha class started it off learning a poem by Langston Hughes.

Alphas completely empathized with the idea of exploding when you can’t get something you really want…

We read a lot of stories about the Civil Rights movement and shared our thoughts about fairness.

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Alphas thought a lot about what things everyone has a right to, like clean air, water and food.  They learned through experiments with water that trash  can sink or float when it falls into the water is but either way, currents carry it into huge gyres, some larger than the state of Texas!

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We talked about the real super heroes of the Civil Rights movement like Dr. King and Rosa Parks. They were people who saw something wrong and stood up against it.  The special power they had was courage.  We talked about Boyan Slat, who at 16 started to dream of a way to rid the ocean of plastic and how a few years later his plan was put into action!  Alphas thought of things they could do to make this world more safe and fair for every human on Earth.


We can be HEROES...

We can be HEROES…

Our week ended with the start of a new tradition: Peace Through Pie

Alpha’s serve…

pie serverspieservers2

Then, we shared our reflections of Civil Rights Week…


Deltas learned about discrimination in the field of science…

While Betas participated in an exclusion experiment…


Did someone say “PIE?!”


Practice makes perfect…

Alphas work hard learning to de-code words…reading to each other…and studying place value…

dice mathstory problemscoin investigation20150113_11104120150113_110105


Dates to remember…

  • 1.19.15: MLK Day (no school)
  • 1.22.15: Shipe Park Day
  • 1.29.15: Spring Parent Night (6:30)

That about wraps up another whirlwind or maybe we should say “whirlpool” of a week!  Thank you all for your contributions to our Peace through Pie celebration- We couldn’t do it without you!!



Filed January 16th, 2015.

Alpha Times Herald 12.15.14

POP Go The Alphas!

Our week started with a bang…

The Alpha class worked hard to get their Portfolios on Parade ready to share and had a great time visiting all the other classes too.  It’s always inspiring to see what everyone has been up to all semester.

The Beta, Gamma and Deltas share their journeys with us…

Our first foray into POP was with the Beta class…It was really fun to see what our former students were learning.  They made amazing dioramas about life on the frontier, they learned a lot about different Indian nations and were great hosts to our class!


This docent knew a lot about Indian blankets!


The Gammas’ readers theatre performance held the Alpha’s rapt attention…


Alphas enjoyed the scientist-biography puppet show that some of the Deltas created!

 Our POP…


the author shares her writing…


Sculptures galore!


Checking out a colleague’s parent-pick…

We were blown away by our students this semester and love the new format of our portfolios.  It was gratifying to see all their hard work memorialized and even more gratifying for the students to have a day set aside in which to share their efforts with friends and family.  The Alphas were impressed seeing all their work hanging in the community hall.  It has inspired them to push their creativity to new levels next quarter!

Game Day!

How much fun can one class have?!

Game Day is one of our students’ favorite traditions. They love sharing things from home and it gives them the opportunity to be an expert and teach their friends how to play.


Pajama Day!

Just like how most slumber parties, not much in the way of slumber happened!  The Alphas were wide awake and rarin’ to go!






As we wind down 2014…

We want you to know how much we have appreciated your generous contributions to our class and all the hard work you have done to nurture your child’s academic progress.  POP is a great reminder to all of us of what amazing good we can do together when we each play our part.  Thank you all so much- 2014 has been a great year, we can’t WAIT for 2015!!


With warmest regards,

Eliza and Kim

Dates to Remember…

  • Winter Break: 12.18-1.6
  • Progress Reports available: 1.5
  • Mid-Year Survey Opens 1.5
  • Civil Rights Week: 1.12-1.16
  • Martin Luther King Day 1.19 (no Monday Classes)

Filed December 22nd, 2014.

December 2-4

Alphas come back with abandon…


What a whirlwind of a week!  We started it with a gallery-walk of the nature creations.  Everyone had such interesting ideas.We had sea shell art, a mosaic of Autumn leaves, a Thanksgiving Tree made of leaf rubbings and gratitudes written on the back, a mobile-chime made of painted sticks…and so much more that will be on display during our Portfolios on Parade day.









This week, Alphas looked at different ways artists paint…


Our Mural

We pondered how one might go about making a mural.  “It would take a long time…”  “It could be dangerous…” “Maybe you could get your family to help you. We talked about making an Alpha Mural that reflected our community.  We read a book called “The Big Orange Splot,” about a community that had to deal with issues involving personal expression and community unity.



Each Alpha made a house out of shapes.  They were identical “little boxes-on-the-hillside…” We talked about whether they used more skill or imagination to make those houses.  It took several math-skills and patience to get the pieces exactly right.  We were so proud of our neat and tidy houses…just like the people in the book loved their “neat street.” AND just like what happened to one character in the book, a dreadful accident befell our Alphas…Ms. Hannah had an accident with our orange tempra paint and got orange splots ALL over our Alphas’ neat houses… When this happened to Mr. Plumbean in the story, he stared at his orange splot for a long time  before doing anything and eventually all Mr. Plumbean’s neighbors came over and drank lemonade with him talking long into the night about their dreams before they did anything to their houses…So, the next day, the Alphas had a little peppermint tea party at their tables…they talked with their table-mates about what the orange splots inspired them to do to their houses…then they got busy!

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Bodhi gets beautiful texture with his paintbrush!


Jack turned his “splot” into the sun and the roof into a puffy-cloud sky…



Alphas wrote about their inspirations.  “My house is a haunted house…” “My house is a circus tent…”


Then Alpha’s talked about the environment in which we wanted to install our houses.  They came up with “Day and Night.”


Alphas working together, make short work of filling up a very long sheet of paper!


It was a team effort for our class to share paper-space, but they did it! They negotiated, compromised and used a lot of flexibility!


This week, Alphas thought a lot about “Theme.”  We talked about it in art:”What is Diego Rivera trying to say in the mural of painters painting a mural?”… in our reading “What do you think the theme is in the book “Snowballs?”  and in our math, “The number of the day is…”


We practiced our de-coding skills this week by listing words, listening for similarities, sorting them into groups and looking for spelling patterns.  When we approach learning this way, we are employing inductive thinking strategies.

It is a way of scaffolding information to allow students to start with what they know and move them to analyze data, find patterns and think critically about the world around them.

Here, Alphas create lists of soft and hard “C”  and “G” words…


Alphas create a “rule” to help them decide how the letter C should sound. They found a vowel-neighbor-pattern in each hard or soft sounding C word! “C sounds like “S” when an “E “or an “I” comes after it…”

We practiced thinking algebraically this week by considering all the different ways quantities can be created.  Some students played with a multi-digit number in a myriad of ways…

Some students had to figure out  3 number combinations that would add up to a particular quantity…

"I have 9 fish, goldfish, blackfish and bluefish...How many of each could I have?"

“I have 9 fish, goldfish, blackfish and bluefish…How many of each could I have?”


“I have a basket of 12 apples I pulled off 3 trees…some are yellow, some are green and some are red. Can you come up with a combination of apples that would add up to 12?”

And other stuff…

Lucky US! Ms. Jennifer came back to teach us how we can get our bodies warmed up for writing by using some Brain Gym techniques!



Writers keep feet firmly on the ground!


Criss-cross…right hand, left-knee…


Birthdays GALORE!

Alphas showered appreciations on Hope, Jack and Bodhi this week!

Upcoming Events…

  • 12/10- FOUNDER’S DAY! Our beloved Georgie will be honored by AHB by donning CRAZY SOCKS! Feel free to bring a thank you card or flower for Ms. Georgie!
  • 12/15-18- WINTER FAIRE!
  • 12/16- Alpha Portfolios on Parade Presentation @ 1:30pm in the Community Hall!!
  • 12/22-1/2- WINTER BREAK!

What a great week- and we look forward to lots more greatness as we amble forward towards end of Q2!!

Enjoy your weekends!


Eliza and Kim


Filed December 5th, 2014.

What’s my line?

This week in Alpha-ville…

It was a whirlwind of activity!

It started out on a sad note; one of our Alphas had to say good-bye to a dear, great grandmother…We learned during our morning circle, that many of our friends have experienced similar losses.  We altered our morning plans with a community project to build a shrine to honor our loved ones…


Our shrine is full of flowers, testimonials, illustrations, but mostly, love.

In chapter 7 of of Art as Experience, written by Progressive Education’s patron saint, John Dewey, he writes : “…formal conditions of artistic form” are “rooted deep in the world itself.”  Dewey goes on to say “There is a rhythm in nature before poetry, painting, architecture and music exist.”  We can find line, shape, color, texture, and patterns throughout the natural world. Over Thanksgiving Break, we’ve asked the Alphas to use things in nature to create a work of art.  Check out the PnP Blog for further inspiration…

The projects our students worked on over the weekend were inspiring!  We had students experiment with color…


Liam fixed crayons to his canvas and then melted them with a hairdryer…they flowed together creating new colors…”It took a long time to melt and then melted crayon started flying everywhere!”


Evan changed the value of the color in his picture by adding white…

We had students create works of art using shapes…


Sally used triangles and circles…


“I see a semi-circle, and triangles and lots of circles!”


Our projects seemed to inspire some friends in Gamma- Jack’s sister, Ella, shared a cool picture she created out of overlapping shapes and the use of primary and secondary colors…


“Every time a shape overlaps another, I colored the space with a secondary color…”

Our Guest Artist this week helped the Alphas explore line, shape and rhythm through DANCE!


Hannah Guidry has been teaching dance for over 20 years and knows a LOT about it!


Ballet traces its roots back to soldiers marching in formation!

Hannah showed us how important straight lines are on stage…


…An example of a no-so-good line in ballet…

Alphas got to experience all kinds of aspects of dance, like shape…


Mara’s made a square…



Liam made a trapezoid…

Like lines…






Pavla glides gracefully…




Sani strikes a pose!

It’s also important to know when to stop!


 In Math this week, Alphas practiced adding and subtracting skills, building shapes with shapes, and looking at the attributes of coins…


Hope practices her fact families…


Evan estimates how many squares might fit into that rectangle…



Coin rubbings!


In Language Arts this week…

We sorted words, we wrote books, we even read to ourselves for 15 whole minutes!


Sorting “C” words…”Why do some sound like “K” and some sound like “S?”


Gabriella sorted words in her journal…

 SHIPE PARK THURSDAY!!!! Alphas had a great time at Shipe Park!


 Here are some important dates to remember:

  • 11.24-11.27: Thanksgiving Break
  • 12.10: Founder’s Day (WEAR CRAZY SOCKS!!)
  • 12.15-12.18: Winter Faire
  • 12.16: Alpha Portfolios on Parade Installation @ 1:30!!!
  • 12.22-1.5: Winterbreak!!!

We hope each and every one of you have a wonderful holiday this week. We are SURE thankful for all your love and support this year!  Safe travels!!


Eliza and Kim

Filed November 21st, 2014.

YAY the BLOG is HERE!!

Happy October, Alpha Families- and a big HOORAY for the blog being up and running. It will probably take us a while to get used to this new format, so thanks in advance for your patience!

As we careen towards the close of this quarter, our class has been wildly gathering information, sharing artifacts and creating connections with their classmates through their exploration of community. We have had a great time getting to know one other while also learning about animal communities that call Texas “home”.  Collaboration in a progressive classroom involves building trust among each other. We do this through games and activities that get all of us working together in pairs and small groups. These activities help build a sense of inclusion.  To read more about the approach we’re using check out this site.

Alphas working together in pairs by creating a drawing holding only one marker together:

We have to take turns leading and following...

We have to take turns leading and following…

Seasonal art by 2 on a Marker!

Seasonal art by 2 on a Marker!

Our reflections afterward? “It was hard!”, “He let me be the leader so I liked it”, “I got to know my partner better”, ” We didn’t want to do it so we made a different drawing!”

Alpha students enjoyed sharing all they’re learning about the life of their Texas animal. We’ve been amazed watching videos of their eating habits. Who knew a golden eagle could kill a wolf?

Gabriella teaches us about cardinals...

Gabriella teaches us about cardinals…


Abigail teaches us about red foxes...

Abigail teaches us about red foxes…

Sally teaches us about hummingbirds...

Sally teaches us about hummingbirds…

We’re beginning to create stories for our puppet shows.  It’s exciting to watch 5, 6 and
7-year-olds tackle such a big project. It’s one thing to identify parts of a story, and quite another thing to create them!


Ava learns a lot about how her spiny lizard can get along with all kinds of Texas creatures!


This week we read 8 minutes by ourselves!

Reading to self...

Reading to self…

We’ve been very interested to learn math facts, so we got out some fun dice games to practice adding.  One neat strategy for building number awareness is through learning “doubles,” like 4+4 and 7+7.  Knowing “doubles” makes it easier to learn other number combinations like 7+8 or 4+5.

Double Dice!!

Double Dice!!


Practicing "Doubles!"

Practicing “Doubles!”

Liam finds missing addends...

Liam finds missing addends…

We created story problems to put our math facts to practical use.  One of our students described an elaborate scenario that involved 5 U.S. A. soccer players and 3 German soccer players and how all 8 of them could eventually play on the same team!  Some students were so inspired by their story problems they are working on a play!

We’d like to give a big shout out to Gabriella (Pavla’s mama)- for helping tidy up our room on Thursday afternoon, Caleb (Marley’s papa)- for putting in a new shelf in our teacher closet, Stacie (Kellen and Evan’s mama)- for leading us in yoga, and to Hannah (Coppie and Estee’s mama)- for helping us in the classroom!

Blurry Hannah helping with a dice game...

Blurry Hannah helping with a dice game…


crazy Alphas!

crazy Alphas!

Filed October 3rd, 2014.