Sunday, February 21, 2016

Enrichment Activities

We had fun enrichment activities going on this week! Kindergarten started the week by going on a field trip to the Austin Science and Nature center. They had a blast at Austin nature center digging up dinosaur bones, learning about wildlife, exploring habitats, and investigating fossils from long ago. I love watching Kindergarteners as they explore and learn.  Look how cute they are in all of these photos!


Later in the week, the 5th graders enjoyed a visit from a Zachary Scott Theatre acting teacher and experienced learning through drama.  Students learned about character traits through role play, elements of a musical compared to a traditional play and how the music along with pattern of the music impacts the story.  They learned about individual interpretation of music through movement and the role of a director and the numerous decisions that are made by the director. Lastly, they experienced how actors use their body, imagination and voice to work their magic. It looks like the 5th graders are having so much fun experiencing learning through drama, music, and movement. 




This week, we continue with our Middle of the Year benchmark testing for 3rd and 4th grades. 5th grade completed some of their testing this week and will take their last test this Friday. We use this data to help our students fill in the gaps in their learning so that they are well prepared to move to the next grade level. I'm always excited to see how well they do and how much they know. They are so smart!

Saturday, February 13, 2016


Learning to Give – 4th Grade Philanthropists

When you hear the word “philanthropy”, what comes to mind?  Take a minute to think about what the word means.  If you ask a 4th grader this question, responses often vary between “a type of college class” to “a type of plant” or “something scientific that a doctor uses”.  I look forward to teaching this lesson about citizenship each and every year.  One of my favorite observations during the lesson is hearing the students share their definitions with their peers, while also enjoying the challenge of pronouncing the word.  It definitely sparks their attention and curiosity.  The students also watch a brief video of adults being asked what the word means.  As the students watch the video, they begin to see that many adults are also unfamiliar with the word.  The video gives examples of philanthropy shown by citizens all around the world.  Afterwards, we read Uncle Jed’s Barbershop by Margaree King Mitchell.  The story illustrates and describes a variety of examples of philanthropy. It is about a character who uses his talents and time to do something kind for others.  Listening to this story allows the students to make connections and promotes a discussion of what the word truly means. As teachers, our goal is to constantly encourage our students to understand how their actions, positive or negative, can affect those around them.  Most of all, our hope is that they learn how to become positive leaders within their community.  Therefore, in an effort to show philanthropy, this past week, each 4th grade class was encouraged to participate in MIX 94.7’s Valentine’s Day Cards for Kids.  The students used their creative talents and time to create hand-made cards for children staying in area hospitals.  It was so wonderful to see the beautifully written poems, kind words, and pictures in each card that the students created.  Way to go future philanthropists! I know that each card will bring delightful smiles to many children’s faces!  

Sunday, February 7, 2016


Our 4th grade class got to take care of the chickens a couple of weeks ago. The new coop is EGGcellent!  We have fed them fresh fruits and veggies: they all especially loved kale...very hip, Austin chickens we have here! We even got to give them small, dried worm treats. We were crossing our fingers for some freshly laid eggs, and so far have gotten about 1 a day! The chickens tend to like the warmer weather for laying eggs.

We were also all very surprised when we approached the coop the first day to LOUD CROWING from one of the "hens". Cock-a-doodle-DO! Turns out, Midnight, one of the larger black chickens, is no hen after all! Our class even got picked to name that exact "hen" in the beginning of the year when we were choosing names for our new chickens as a school. We all had a good laugh.  Guess we will need to change the information card on the coop that says Midnight should lay "large, brown eggs" in the upcoming future.

It was so fun to hear stories from our classmates about who is familiar with chicken coops and to see some of us go from being a little nervous about chickens, to being very intrigued with the whole process. We even got a mini egg from one of our miniature hens. We were really EGGcited about that! Check it out in the photos below. It's so small!

We are lucky to be able to watch the coop at any time on our new camera system. We can tune in online and check them out on a live feed! The chickens love kale AND have their own live feed? Pretty fancy! Not to mention we have a rain barrel collection system for their water along with a solar powered automatic doors to open and close on the main nesting area so the chickens are able to come out and walk around the larger coop in the day time. It's an awesome new coop plus a great experience for our students!

Thursday, February 4, 2016

100th Day

Yesterday was an important day at school, especially in our primary grades. We celebrated the 100th day of school!

This is always one of my favorite times of the year. Many classes centered their day around 100 day activities. Some classes had 100 day snacks. 
Students also used 100 objects to count by 10's, build various objects using 100 different things, and played games.
Students made hats and cool glasses to celebrate the 100th day.
Second grade celebrated the 100th day in a much different way. They dressed up as if they were 100 years old! Their costumes were fantastic!

I know the students had an awesome and fun day of learning and celebrating being 100 days smarter!
There are only 78 more school days to go (including today). Time is flying by and we are enjoying every minute!