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This Week in Gamma… Week of Sept 12, 2022

Week 4 Update

We had a busy (yet, great) week in Gamma! We started the week off celebrating Eric’s birthday (11) which is such a fun, festive way to start a new week. In class, we focused much of our efforts on helping students acclimate to the scientific method to hopefully help your family feel better supported as you begin working on Science Fair projects at home. We ended the week with a paper airplane experiment (complete with flying ‘trials’ in the chapel.) We’ll be sure to include photos in next week’s update.

Memorable Moments

We finally finished our first read-aloud book! Yay! We read Kneeknock Rise (by Natalie Babbitt)–a fable of sorts about a mysterious monster who howls from the mountain, but only when it’s raining. We pondered Uncle Ott’s strange poems and debated whether or not it is better to be wise and solemn or foolish and fun-loving…or it is possible to be a little bit of both?

We are looking forward to our next read-aloud–one of Ms. Ansley’s favorites—”Brown Girl Dreaming” by Jacqueline Woodson.

What’s Up In Math Class

Multiplication was the name of the game for Year 1 and Year 2 students alike. We practiced estimating BEFORE solving so we can gauge the reasonableness of our products.
Year 1 students practiced multiplication with multi-digit numbers (3 digit x 1 digit) via base-ten blocks to begin and then onward to the standard algorithm. One highlight of the week was the group’s eager attack on our first “math mystery” activity.
Year 2 students learned how to estimate with decimals, colored decimal equations on models, and took a special “choose your own adventure” style beach vacation to practice multiplication. We had a game day on Thursday where students were given the chance to practice order of operations or tackle an above-level partner game involving variables and exponents.

What’s Up In Language Arts?

This week in Reader’s Workshop we read several great picture books to complete plot mountains. We worked on pulling out characters, rising action, climax, falling action, and conclusion. We also worked hard to turn these concepts into complete sentences on a plot map. In writing this week we worked deeply with conjunctions! We analyzed their purpose in a sentence and wrote plenty of our own examples! We then read an example opinion piece about why video games can actually be good for you and started brainstorming for writing our own opinion pieces.

What’s Up In Theme?

It was a definite Scientific-Method-A-Rama in theme this week. We did many hands-on activities to help students distinguish scientific and non-scientific questions/statements. We learned how to identify dependent and independent variables and the importance of including an experiment control. We practiced finding an average (using calculators to make the calculations less daunting and more speedy.) We created flipbooks that will come home so students have some materials to reference as they work through their own scientific experiments. Next week, we’ll begin exploring light energy, electricity and simple circuits.

1. We played a variation of the French game “Dixit” during morning meeting 2. Henry, Sid & Lincoln work as a group during morning meeting 3. Aliana hides behind 2 very interesting art cards 4. Eve & Haddie help celebrate Eric’s birthday 5. Ms. Ansley leads the Gammas in our morning game 6. Ciel asks a question during Reader’s Workshop 7. Ms. Ansley introducing “My Best Friend” 8. Wren & Haddie looking cute on the couch

Kids learning and playing games at micro school

This Week in Beta… Week of Sept 12, 2022

Children learning about electricity together

Math

Ms. Kelly’s math group had a blast comparing numbers in the hundreds using base ten blocks, super fun games and of course pencil and paper, too. Fluency in math is so important, so how did we practice math fluency this week? A race to 100! Ms. Kelly vs. the kiddos (Check out our Insta to see who won). The games didn’t stop there! Ms. Kelly introduced a new game called Spin to 500 that aligns perfectly with their new unit on place value, it was a hit! These Betas LOVE math and ended their week exploring number patterns with their peers.

Ms. Skylar’s math group had another week of BIG numbers, kicking it off with s-t-r-e-t-c-h-i-n-g out numbers into expanded form from standard, base and word forms. These Betas took all of their knowledge of place value and ordering numbers and channeled it into rounding to the nearest tens, hundreds and thousands places. They used a number line for a visual guide and learned the rules of rounding – when rounding to the nearest ten look at the ones place, when rounding to the nearest hundred look at the tens place. REMEMBER the “high five” rule, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9 round up, 4, 3, 2, 1, 0 round down. They ended their week with a challenging new game, Rounding BINGO – It moved FAST and required quick thinking and lots of focus, super fun!

Literacy

Our love of literacy continues to grow everyday! As always, the kids think our teacher mistakes are hilarious and are quick to correct them. Silly sentences, dictation, word sorts, games and book clubs were just a few of our tasks this week – reading and writing keep us so BUSY! Cursive continues to be a favorite activity of the Betas and has greatly improved in the few short weeks that we’ve been practicing it. We set aside time to focus on the four types of sentences – statement, exclamation, question and command, each of them uses different punctuation and the kiddos are now becoming experts at identifying them! A few more Betas have completed the final draft of their imaginary invention paragraphs, we hope to finish them up soon, we can’t wait for you to read them! Book clubs have been great, with some gentle encouragement from teachers and peers, a few more Betas felt brave enough to try reading their chapter books aloud which is really empowering and also helps the teachers learn more about each reader so that we can provide support if/when needed. We are very proud!

Theme

Kids building circuits – SAY WATT!? We have had quite the week exploring batteries, insulated wires and tiny light bulbs – we generated exciting conversations about how each little part plays a special role in creating electricity! It all started with a simple circuit and by the end of the week these Betas worked together to build series circuits, parallel circuits and circuits with on/off switches using a metal paperclip! As always, we updated our Travel Journals along the way with our findings, it’s filling up fast! Learning about electricity has been de-light-ful! Theme time is the BEST!

This Week in Alpha… Week of Sept 12

children cooking at school

This week in Our Big Backyard…

We know we need air, water, and food in order to live and all our food depends on SOIL. We know soil is a mix of living and nonliving material – so – how did the Earth’s Crust go from solid rock to teenie-tiney rock and minerals? WEATHERING!

Weathering can eat some rocks away because rain has a little bit of acid in it. Over many years, it can eat holes in to rock. There are many rocks in Texas that have been weathered!

Ryan’s fossil bubbled wildly when we dropped it in a jar of vinegar!

Ms. Kim’s limestone rock reacted to the vinegar too- and even left the bits of sand at the bottom of the jar!

Weathering can also bust rocks apart! As the lovely Ellie-Robby Rock discovered- after it received a weathering crack in it, a little Lucy raindrop squeezed in and froze and split it apart!

Alphas checking out the ice that blew the lid off the jar of water…

When rain and wind carry off those small bits of rock and mineral., we call it “erosion.” Alphas made volcanoes rise up from their water-covered planet…

THEN we eroded them to smithereens!

Honey badger Alphas don’t care it’s Parent Support Night…!

When all that rock, mineral, and plant material stops traveling and settles, we call that “deposition.”

Alphas moseying around campus looking for evidence of deposition…

We learned that sediment can build up over years and year into solid rock called sedimentary rock. Alphas built some playdough volcanoes that weathered, eroded, then deposited itself in layers of sediment.

We learned that in areas where tectonic plates meet rocks and mineral will heat up; they might bend under pressure or completely melt with other rocks and minerals to create an entirely new rock called a “metamorphic rock!” We made some out of our sedimentary rocks by applying lots of pressure.

Then we sculpted with our marbelized dough!

This week in Language Arts…

Ms. Andrea’s group…

Completed our Student of the Day routine by learning more about a couple outstanding classmates. This was fun but we’re all excited to be able to spend more time playing games going forward. We have learned almost all of our letter names, sounds & formations! (Cc, Ff, Ii, Pp, Dd this week). We added a bunch of sight words this week: look/at/a/the & practiced reading simple sentences. We learned what a syllable is this week and practiced breaking words apart by clapping or pounding the syllables & counting them. Our blending drills are going strong and we had huge success with our most comprehensive dictation (aka an informal assessment taken while the students practice writing letters on a white board) yet – yay!! During center time Ms. Andrea was able to pull students to read 1:1; this time is invaluable and our ability to have it is a great indication of the level of independence our Alphas are able to work at now! Hip hip hooray

Ms. Kim’s group…

This week we met out new computers, thanks to Jessica Skinner for putting them together fo us. This is modern take on Maria Montessori’s “moveable alphabet!” We spelled lots of of words this week, some real and some made-up. We reviewed ch and sh digraphs too. We shared the P&P writing from home, we added new sight words to our vocabulary books and talked a lot about genres!

This week in Math…

Ms. Kim’s group…

We got to be planet EARTH this week! Ms. Kim tilted us on her dollie and drove us around the candle-sun! We saw first-had that the seasons change when the tilted halves are closer or further from the sun! When our top-half, the northern hemisphere, is closest to the sun, it is Summer; when it is pointed away, it is Winter. When our head and feet were the same distance from the sun, it was Spring or Autumn. Summer, Autumn, Winter, Spring – it’s a pattern, an A/B/C/D pattern! We played “One More” and started working on our Seasons of the Year project!

Ms. Andrea’s group…

Dove deep into place value by reviewing the ones/tens/hundreds places and practicing manipulating & identifying two-digit numbers. We built, drew and wrote numbers 10-99. This week we played more dice & card partner games to practice counting groups of tens and ones, building larger numbers, and reading double digit integers.

This week in Monday Lab…

Alphas began the day by continuing their exploration of paper – this time working to construct the tallest tower…

The group naturally split into two teams to tackle this project. The teams worked beautifully together, delegating tasks and assisting one another. In the end, the tallest tower toppled over due to an unstable base. The Alphas compared the design of their towers to that of the neighborhood moontower we visited last week.

Our cooking project this week was a slow cooked spaghetti filled with lots of fresh veggies. We learned a new technique to clean mushrooms, cried a little while chopping onions, and had a blast breaking our gluten free noodles in half in order to fit them into the pot.

Now that we’re cooking in the kitchen this year, the Alphas are getting lots of experience cleaning up after themselves – dishes and floors!

Next, we had some quiet(ish) time in the classroom as we made patterns, illustrations & craft projects with friends.

We continued our discussion of landforms and chemical reactions from theme last week by creating a citrus volcano (using good ‘ole baking soda). During this experiment the Alphas got to use all of the senses, feeling/smelling/tasting their fruit, watching & listening to the reaction caused by adding (citric) acid to baking soda. They also got some fine motor practice while squeezing the fruit and recording their observations. It was AWESOME.

We explored using different ratios of baking soda to citrus juice in order to get the biggest chemical reaction…

And finally we mellowed with some volcanic breaths and Cosmic storytime yoga.

This Week in Middle School… Week of Sept 5, 2022

Middle Schoolers working together to solve problem.

Math

In MATH this week the Zoomshrooms did a cut and paste activity to practice absolute value. They also started a project to draw integers in real life. The Shockwaves started to multiply and divide integers, next doing a scavenger hunt involving rational number operations. Algebra students started to solve two-step equations and completed a math-lib about solving equations. Geometry students constructed parallel lines, perpendicular lines, and more with compasses and straight edges. They also started building a city map for a city named Harold. Last but not least everyone got started in The Stock Market Game reading the rules, making their team nicknames, and making their first trade.

-Evan W.

ELA

In ELA this week, Zoomshrooms discussed the title of their book Bread and Roses Too. They found out that the title was actually a slogan in the women’s strikes they are learning about. They read a piece from the article Flesh and Blood, So Cheap and discussed why 2.4 million Italian immigrants fled to America for a better life. Zoomshrooms watched a video about a textile mill and how people put laws into place for better worker’s rights. Then they read from the article The Lawrence Textile Strike and related it to the book they are reading. Redwoodz and Shockwaves had discussed their books in Book Club and learned about reasons why Russian Jews were kicked out of their homeland to America. After reading, students worked in groups to complete a graphic organizer to process what they learned. They watched a clip from the film An American Tail and tried to find the metaphors between cheese, rats, society and people who are Jewish.

-Jackson P.

Flex/Theme

This week in THEME we finished our museum brochures about 19th century reform movements, the purpose of these were to outline the goals, effects and important people of each reform movement. We then started a deeper focus on the Women’s Rights movements by singing a song “Let Us All Make Our Voices Heard” a tune from the 19th century hoping to rally women in the cause of granting women suffrage or the right to vote. In groups we looked at the Seneca Falls Convention and analyzed the Declaration of Sentiments. We evaluated how the changes called for in the declaration have been met through the 21st century. During FLEX classes, students continued to build and review their understanding of geography by defining geographic terms.

-Will Khazen

Shockwave and Redwoodz students set up their accounts and begin analyzing stock options as the Stock Market Game begins this week.

Book club groups work to address high order questions focusing on their novels with Ms. Kandyce’s help. Zoomshrooms looked at clips from the Disney film An American Tail to find parallels between the movie and their novel Bread and Roses Too.

In Theme, students worked in groups to analyze the Declaration of Sentiments passed during the Women’s Rights Convention in Seneca Falls. They ranked how successful each demand in the document had been met by the modern age, justifying their group’s choice at the board. In Flex meetings, students continued their investigation of geography by defining geographic terms for landforms.

Students address questions about their reading after Book Club meetings.

Math problems hung around the room allowed students to solve operations with rational numbers.

Midweek rain forced the Middle School to leave the playground and play Heads Up Seven Up in the green room.

This Week in Gamma… Week of Sept 5th, 2022

Week 3 Update

This was a short week, but we packed in lots of action! We had almost all of our Gammas back for class, which was nice to see that we are on the mends from last week’s sniffle-fest. Gammas were able to utilize a new music room we get to use during Language Arts class and also ventured to our first music class (which is held on Wednesday afternoons!) The Gammas looked gleeful on their first visit to music.. We are excited to add this experience to our weekly schedule.

Memorable Moments

Ms. Lorrie’s friend and former teaching colleague (Hannah Cotten) came to visit the Gammas to talk about the science of sound energy with a private performance on her harp. This also happened to fall on Ms. Lorrie’s birthday and the Gammas made her feel super special. Thank you for being so thoughtful and inviting.

What’s Up in Math Class?

All Gamma math students tackled a math “check-in” which was a great way for Ms. Lorrie to begin crafting a scope/sequence for our math pacing. (We can share this data with you at parent conferences, if you’d like more details.)

Year 1 kiddos explored the three types of math “stories” that would call for the operation of subtraction (take away, compare & find a missing part) We practiced regrouping across zeros (after exploring what this concept looks like with base-ten blocks so that students understand what is happening when we apply the standard algorithm.) Students created their own subtraction stories and played some math games to refine this skill.

Year 2 students learned about order of operations and all Gammas did a fantastic job solving strategically (step-by-step vs. mental math) Mental math is fantastic and we love it! However, we’d love to teach students how to solve problems systematically as Gammas begin to dip their toes into the lovely pool of pre-algebra.

What’s Up in Language Arts?

This week we continued to work on learning about perspective/point of view in a story and also learned about the plot mountain that tells the arch of events in a story. This helps us analyze the author’s meaning and choices which makes us great readers AND writers. We also dove deeper into fragments and run-on sentences this week. We learned about editing marks and worked hard at correcting poorly written pieces to make them more professional and grammatically correct. We had a lot of fun writing “really really bad” run on sentences and then correcting them together.

What’s Up in Theme?

During theme this week we dove into exploration of the scientific method so that kids could begin percolating on their Science Fair experiments. First, we explored vocabulary (hypothesis, data, critical thinking, variables, etc.) and then discussed each part of the process for conducting a scientific experiment. We ended the week with a cannon launching simulation where kids worked in pairs to make observations, ask questions, form a hypothesis and then test it. Partnered teams were then able to share their “findings” with the group.


1. Robert telling the Gammas about sound energy via lion wearing headphones icon 2. Lincoln and Eve worked together fabulously during the research/creation of their energy webquest poster 3. Ms. Hannah letting Alexis (and all Gammas) try their hand on the harp (a 6 foot tall beautiful relic from 1915!–wow!) 4. We wish you could have heard Isaac’s impromptu concert he gave us during his turn on the harp! 5. Ciel busting out a math relay 6. Leo and Isaac working on a math relay together 7. Eve and Lilah celebrating a math relay victory 8. The rubber plant sprouted 2 new leaves and we *think* it may be from the pretty harp music