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.