Mr. John’s October 2015 Newsletter

Hello silence my old friend…….

It is so quiet in here.  It is so calm. It’s the Sound of Silence..  This is what I have been hearing from past teachers, parents, and current teachers about my room.  Usually it takes a good 3-4 months for my room to become normalized but this year it is on its way to being normalized in about a month.  I credit those around me for the earlier than usual success.

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Miss Kathleen and Miss Sabrina are wonderful teachers and work well with the students.  Theyare fun yet firm and know how to handle difficult situations well.  When I mentioned “those around me” I didn’t only mean the teachers but I want to give credit to the older students; the leaders of the room.  They are showing the newer/younger students how to work with materials and are guiding them through the classroom.

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Line Time Lessons:
Children love animals and I enjoy teaching the children about different types of animals.  This month we started discussing mammals.  I chose to begin with mammals because WE are mammals.   We learned that mammals have hair or fur, are born alive, and drink mother’s milk when first born.  We learned that mammals are warm blooded (their body temperature remains constant) and that they are vertebrates (have spines).  We learned that dolphins and whales are mammals and that the bat is the only mammal that can fly.  The students got to pet the rats and mice and it was a scene!


Then we slithered our way into discussing reptiles.  We came to the conclusion that the snake is the most popular reptile. We learned reptiles are cold blooded (their body temperature is the same as the environment’s temperature), vertebrates, lay hard shelled eggs, and have dry scales.  The children enjoyed seeing our own corn snake.  The gecko were just as appreciated.


We hopped into our discussion of amphibians. We all agreed that the frog was the most popular amphibian and that amphibians are cold blooded and vertebrates.  We also learned that their skin is moist and soft and that they can live on BOTH land and water. Amphibians lay eggs but the eggs have no shell but are like jelly.   The children were encouraged to look for our Pac Man Frog and our Eastern Toads in our nature center.


We swam to our friends called fish.  We learned that fish are cold blooded (their body temperature changes to the temperature in their environment) and are vertebrates.  We learned that most fish have scales, gills and fins, and some fish lay eggs and some fish are liver bearers (babies are born alive). We introduced a new word, “habitat”.  This is where something lives and the fish’s habitat is the water. The children were thrilled to learn that the shark is a fish.







We then flew with the animals called birds.  Birds have feathers, are warm blooded, and are vertebrates.  All birds lay hard shelled eggs and have wings.  All birds have wings but some birds are flightless (cannot fly) such as the penguin, ostrich, and emu.


Alumni Readers:
We had two Alumni Readers visit in October.  James who is in the second grade and Lorelei who is in kindergarten read their favorite books.

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Cultural Subjects:
We count to 10 in twelve different languages, English, Latin, Spanish, Sign Language, German, French, Greek, Japanese, Arabic with the Lebanese dialect, Italian, Russian, and Romanian.

Academic Enrichment:
Our kindergarten students wrapped up the geography unit with the 10 land forms, island, lake, bay, cape, peninsula, gulf (not the sport), straight, Isthmus (not Christmas), archipelago, and chain of lakes.  Then we plunged into telling time (old school, analog, hands and face).  We learned how to tell time to the hour, half past (or :30), quarter past or (:15), and quarter til.  Tick tock tick. Time keeps on slippin, slippin, slippin into the future………….

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Enrichment News
Ms. Sabrina

Mr. John, Ms. Michele, and Ms. Lisa are such a hit with the children and with me! Between the experiments, the art lessons and music and movement, the children are learning so much, as well as having so much fun. They love the hands on experiences. ” This is so much fun! ” is frequently heard through out all 3 classes!

Our first science experiment involved a liter bottle of water with a ketchup packet. When we squeezed the bottle, the ketchup packet sank to the bottom. Then when we let go of the water bottle, the ketchup packet floated back to the top. Why? The ketchup packet had an air bubble that got smaller when the bottle of water was squeezed.

Our second experiment involved special tape with a secret message written on it. (Mr. John wrote Go Buckeyes on the tape.) The children made hypotheses on whether or not the message could still be read on the tape if the tape were scrunched up. Mr. John was able to straighten the tape and the message was still there! This special tape is made with polymers. We learned that polymers hold onto each other and that’s why the message stayed intact.

Our third experiment involved rolled up construction paper secured with a rubber band (a cylinder), one single sheet of paper, and books. The children made hypotheses on what would happen when books were placed on the paper cylinder and the single sheet of paper. Most of the children guessed that the single sheet of paper would fall and the paper cylinder would stay standing. We were right! A cylinder is one of the strongest shapes and distributes weight.

Our last experiment involved dish soap, black pepper, bowls, and water. Mr. John mixed the water and black pepper together in a bowl for each child. Then he went around and let each child dip a q-tip in dish soap and then place the q-tip in the black pepper mixture. When the dish soap hit the water, the black pepper moved away. The dish soap broke the molecules that were holding onto each other which allowed the black pepper to move.

Ms. Michele spent the first two weeks of the month having the children study the artist Georges Seurat. We watched a video about him and learned about his painting technique. He used the pointillism technique. His paintings look like they are made up of a bunch of dots. So to practice this, the children first drew an animal of their choice in pencil on poster board. Then they used q-tips to dot the animal in with paint.

Our next art lesson was on paper sculptures. First, Ms. Michele went over different types of lines. (dotted, squiggly, short, long, etc.) Then she showed lines in artwork and explained how our eyes “follow” the lines. Next she asked the children what a sculpture was. She explained that a sculpture isn’t flat but 3-dimensional. She then demonstrated to the children how to make paper sculptures using the lines she described at the beginning of the lesson. The children than created 3-dimensional paper playgrounds using strips of paper and gluing them down in different ways.

One of the new songs and movement the students jived to is Peanut Butter and Jelly and what fun it was! In music, the children sang hello to Bernie the Bernard, Ellie the Parrot, Freida the Frog, and Rainbow Sparkles the Dragon! One of the first concepts Ms. Lisa taught the children was how many beats the whole, quarter, half, and eighth notes get. We practiced these notes in the song “Hot Cross Buns”. The children tapped rhythm sticks together for each note. The next skill we worked on was high and low sounds. Ms. Lisa taught the children the song “I wish I were a juicy orange”. While singing this song the children sang in high and low voices and shook egg shakers. The children also played tambourines and castanets throughout the month. Lastly we played some freeze dances with colorful scarves to sharpen our listening skills.


Do ask your children to share some thoughts on these classes with you. I am sure you will be entertained!


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