Friday, November 30, 2018



We really got our hands dirty this week! 


Our ongoing discussion about caring for the planet introduced the kids to biomimicry. 

Biomimicry basically means humans borrowing ideas from flora and fauna to improve our existence. For example, these biodegradable straws came from our school's papyrus plant and they worked! 

Plus, the delicate process of boring out the stem's fiber by hand forced the kids to work patiently.

Now we'll see what other ideas the kids can come up with from nature. 


We plogged (jogging + plastic pick up) and found a surprising amount of micro rubbish around campus. 

Beautiful Math

Gotta love the sidewalk chalk


We are studying factual information and using family as the context for a first person essay. Ask your child what story she or he will recount. 

DePaola's charming model for a first person narrative 

This literary exercise will help the students understand and develop story elements (e.g. characters, settings, problem/situation, resolution) while writing about a familiar topic. 


If you're child is on IXL this weekend, working in third grade math sections C and D and language arts section B would be helpful. 

Enjoy your weekend,

Friday, November 23, 2018

Depth of Knowledge


It was a short but insightful week. Here are some highlights. 

Salty Bananas

In exploring the properties and history of everyday substances, we used bananas to demonstrate the dehydrating and therefore preserving qualities of salt. 

Day One

Day Ten

Yum, right? 

Our Brilliant Resource

To Know or Not to Know

"What is it?"

"It's a motorcycle!"

So, if you knew a lot about a motorcycle or other object, would you see it differently than someone who only knew the basics (i.e. the form vs the function)? That was a question we began to wrangle with this week. 

A bigger question: Why not know more? 

So with a couple schematics we've set the stage to discuss the value and depth of knowledge conceptually.

What is 12? 

Answers will vary over time, of course. 

Serendipitously, some visitors from the future happened by to share some seasoned ideas. 

Hummingbird Effect

We started talking about bird circulatory systems and the kids discovered new things in themselves, like pulse, heart rate and now ways diet can impact health. 

The Great Bottle Challenge

The kids have been challenged to determine the number of plastic water bottles it would take to fill up our classroom. I may scale this down to the space filled by consuming two bottles a day for a year. For now, it was satisfying to see them struggle with the initial question. The brain grows when challenged. And math is more fun when it's hands-on.

To be continued.

Fribrary Visits

Every Friday afternoon the kids spend time with our wonderful librarian Ms. Yaa. I popped in and saw that they were selecting "good fit" books for the coming short week. 


If you elect to have your child practice skills on IXL, Multiplication Fluency (G.1 - G.5) in Math and Identifying Story Elements (F.2) in Language Arts would be helpful. Otherwise, any slightly challenging sections would be worthwhile. 

No School Monday

Enjoy the long weekend, again. 


Saturday, November 17, 2018



To set the stage for a deeper appreciation of form and function in writing, we began a long discussion of art.

Is it Art? 

What is Ideal? 

What is Creativity? 

Guiding Books

"Is it possible?"

Rethinking Ideal    

Wabi-sabi is a Japanese term for beauty in what could be seen as imperfection. It's a concept related to form that can open one's eyes and liberate the notion of ideals. A fallen tree covered in moss or the lines of an elder's face could be wabi-sabi, I'd say.

We discovered wabi-sabi through Mark Reibstein and Ed Young's gorgeous book about a cat named Wabi Sabi.

Your child can tell you how Wabi Sabi learned the meaning of her name and gave us an understanding of this concept.  

With wabi-sabi in mind, we looked for examples...

...and found wabi-sabi everywhere. 

Is Writing Art?

Conceptual Connection

We shared a relatable story about a boy with "writer's block" who ultimately used his imagination and a pen to write an artful tale.


Our discussion of writing and art culminated with a wonderfully visual book about Vincent Van Gogh and his correspondence with brother Theo. Vincent was definitely a wabi-sabi cat and prolific writer. 

For now, that's that. 

Poolside Smiles


This week, if you elect to use third grade IXL, math sections E and I would be helpful, and language arts sections A and V could be tried. Otherwise, anything challenging in IXL third or fourth grade could be explored. Make it fun! 

Long Weekend

No school Monday and Tuesday.  And the year is zipping by! 

Enjoy the weekend!