Every year, around this time kindergarteners get to experience spring in full bloom at the idyllic pond at the Audubon Nature Center. After a brief instruction, our intrepid scientists are armed with nets and get to scooping. Specimens of muck and pond slime are carefully sifted through looking for all forms of pond life. What surprises me most about this trip is that the haul is always quite unique. Highlights of this year’s ponding event included not one but two snake sightings, several frogs caught and one huge bullfrog tadpole. After, we returned all the bits of rotting leaves back to the pond for we know that each leaf could be the nursery for hundreds of baby amphibians. The day was completed by a hike around the trails where you can just smell the new plants budding and life starting afresh.
The PreK-3 and kindergarten classes spent time at the Yale Art Museum last week learning about three artists: Pablo Picasso, Vincent Van Gogh and Jackson Pollack. The three year olds were familiar with the artists from their lessons in the classroom and were thrilled to be able to see the paintings in person (and for most it was extra exciting as it was their first time visiting an art museum). Docents led us through the museum and discussed the color and texture within the paintings.
The kindergarteners have been reading and writing poetry and talking about how poets express their feelings. Before the trip we discussed how art can also be a means of self expression and went into the museum with the intention of looking at the art pieces and seeing which emotions or feelings they evoked. As we gazed upon the shapes and colors in a Picasso, our docent gave each child felt pieces to create their own abstract interpretation of an animal.
The other day, kindergarteners were amazed by a visit from Mia’s dad where he taught us magic! After demonstrating a few tricks with the help of his lovely assistant, the magician divulged his secrets and showed the class how to trick their friends and family. Everyone was given a magic wand, a deck of cards and the gift of illusion. If you have a special talent you would like to share with the class, it is not too late. Contact Mrs. Barbuto to set up your classroom visit today!
The kindergarteners were beyond excited to go up to the “big kid” math class and see what they have been working on! That was even before they knew they had a built a huge planetarium in their classroom! Students quickly climbed inside and were awed and amazed by the show Mr. Werner projected onto the ceiling of the dome. The excitement did not wane as we exited the structure to learn more about how it was made. “Desks!” The eager children squealed in delight! We learned how the eighth graders had constructed the planetarium with cardboard and saw some of the early prototypes. My students can’t wait until they are old enough to be in Mr. Werner’s class and build something similar, but they do not have to wait to have this very planetarium. It will be up for auction at the Spring Gala on April 28th!
With the drumbeat and chant from our kindergarteners, the excitement of performing to celebrate the Chinese New Year of the Dog began from the first moment. Students performed songs and chants using their own traditional crafts as props and introductions and background were given by our older students in… Mandarin and English!
Making these crafts gave students the opportunity to learn the Chinese traditions involving food, decorations and the history of this holiday. Very quickly each student knew the character – 福（fú, luck and happiness)and the traditional gesture for wishing a good Chinese New Year with the expression – 恭喜恭喜 ( gōng xǐ gōng xǐ). Students in third and fourth grade were very proud of themselves when they made their 福（fú）character crafts. As students learned in class, when福(fú）is upside down, it means “luck and happiness have arrived.” There are several upside down 福（fú）characters in the first grade students’ crafts, so luck and happiness have just arrived around us at Unquowa. Upper school students also made their own 春联 ( (chūn lián), adding happiness and best wishes to the celebration.
As you are watching this video full of our students’ enthusiasm and talent, we wish you and your family 狗年大吉大利 (gǒu nián dàjí dà lì)…luck and prosperity in the Chinese New Year of the Dog!
Having math class outside in winter requires a bit of ingenuity! In class we have been learning about three dimensional solid figures. One way we have been exploring them is with plastic models. When I noticed the models are hollow, I came up with idea of filling them with snow! In our outdoor classroom students got to fill the molds and create snow shapes! We practiced identifying spheres, cubes, pyramids, cylinders and of course…snow cones! Students learned how to count the sides and tell which shape they had created.