Thursday, February 23, 2017

"Everyday People"


Three days and one fun Thursday assembly. Click the image to see the updated video from yesterday's assembly. 

The link is here too. 

We ended the week with a lesson in government by watching the cartoon of George Orwell's Animal Farm

In short, Animal Farm is a cautionary tale about leadership and civil rights. Ask your child about Boxer, Benjamin, Napoleon or Snowball. Further discussion could deepen any lessons from the story. 

Enjoy your weekend!


Friday, February 17, 2017

"Love Is Reused"


PLEASE NOTE: There is no school on Monday and Tuesday!! 

  • Monday is U.S. Presidents' Day. 
  • Tuesday is a professional development day for teachers. 
  • Thursday morning, at 07:30, third grade will host the elementary school assembly. 

The week's highlight was love. 

Rather than view St. Valentine's Day as a purely consumer spectacle, we used the event to creatively question what is love.

The book Art Made from What? prompted our conversation.

Many of the books we read this week came from RAZ-Kids. I encourage you to support your child's exploration of RAZ-Kids' ever-expanding library.

Enjoy your weekend,

Friday, February 10, 2017

Great Adventures!


We shared rip-roaring adventures this week. Ask your child to retell Homer's Odyssey, Dumas' The Count of Monte Cristo or Hope's The Prisoner of Zenda. All absolutely thrilling tales!!

We also watched Nilsson's The Point (1971) about a boy and his dog who were banished for being different and forbidden by law to return. A charmingly relevant tale. 

The kids were tasked in science to make a contraption that included a lever and fulcrum. Aside from the simple slingshot, a couple kids made clever games of skill.

Optional IXL math work could be K.4-K.6 and L.1-L.4.

READ! whenever possible.

And, as always, ask questions about learning in school so in school learning has more relevance. Believe it or not, some kids still come to school to just play. Seriously. I'm not kidding. They get dressed, eat breakfast, grab a bag with school supplies, make the commute, come through several doors and then prioritize play over learning.

I'm always asking the group. "Does that make any sense? A kid coming all this way to not make an effort to learn (e.g. paying attention)?" Of course they say, "No, Mr. Johnson" and we push on. But I know the deal. They're eightish. I get it. I was eight too. School was fun. The future (even fourth grade) was an abstract concept.

But, each day (arguably moments) we have great learning opportunities that require little more than calm attention. So, if a child is playing all the time, at home and at school, what's the point of school? I say let's have a fantastically fun time learning in school, with generous amounts of time to play during breaks or even in class on occasion.  I need you to share and echo this thinking.

"What's the point of going to school, if you only go to play or lack a useful effort to learn?" If you're not asking your child about school in such meaningful terms, why should my student see the larger value of knowledge (i.e. to creatively contribute to the greatness of our universe) and truly care about classroom learning?

Okay, enough with the weekly thought! Right?

Have a fun weekend. It's time!


Friday, February 3, 2017



We made a big splash on Monday to open the AISB pool. For the near future, all PE days (M, T, and Th) are potential swim days. Fortunately, we can dry swim clothes here at school.

We've been reading wonderfully exciting Greek myths and using the stories in writing activities. 
Here's what we've shared so far.

Along with some photos from story activities. 

Next Thursday, third grade will host our school assembly. Unfortunately, my photo request with kids measuring home items yielded just one response. One. We've had to change plans.

Here is a preview of what we will do instead. After recording live presentations at the assembly, I will re-edit the video and insert the new footage. The link will be the same. I will remind you next Friday.

Here are some photos of the kids preparing presentations. The video has more if you have not seen already.

Optional math work in IXL:  DIVISION K.5   K.6    L.5

Optional RAZ-Kids reading: Students should read any books within the designated reading range..

We had a mini concert this afternoon.

All in all a busy and fun week.

Enjoy your weekend,