Sammy Lee

Sammy Lee is our current American Hero. His life is absolutely incredible, not only did he learn to dive in restricted public pools and later a pit filled with sand, he also received his medical degree, served in the army, won two gold medals and went on to train Greg Louganis.

Germ Study UPDATE

Today we received our agar dishes! We collected germs from 5 locations: the trash can, the bathroom floor, Akiva’s nose, Catarina’s mouth and our drinking fountain. We took guesses as to which location has the most germs and we will check when we get back on Monday which location is officially the grossest!

Update: Our germs have grown and bloomed. The results were truly disgusting. Far and away, the grossest and highest collection of germs is the drinking fountains, followed by the trash cans, then Akiva’s nose, the toilet floor, and cleanest of all and barely registering any germs is Catarina’s mouth!  Photos will be uploaded soon!

It’s a Virus!

Today we had a fun discussion about the common cold virus! The common cold virus is around 30 nanometers wide. For comparison, a human red blood cell is around 6,000 nanometers wide. The virus itself does not cause the aches and pains associated with being sick, but rather it is your (rather vicious) immune system attacking and killing the virus, causing a lot of collateral damage in the process. Neat!

Harriet Tubman

We have spent this week tackling some serious issues by covering the incredible life of Harriet Tubman. Born a slave, she escaped her masters to the free states in the north only to return 19 times. She spent the later part of her life fighting for suffrage. She was an absolute powerhouse figure in American history and he life should be celebrated more often.

We discussed the slave trade, what a life of slavery really meant, and the massive divide in our country about slave ownership. These are all difficult topics that should also be unpacked at home.

Crazy Horse Art

Today we tried our hand at some crazy horse portraits. The illustration style in our book is a very rudimentary yet stylized cave-painting style where all features on the face are reduced to their most basic level. Take a look at Alexa’s! I think they turned out great.

Ticket to Ride: First Journey

We play a lot of board games in the class during free choice time. One of my favorites is Ticket to Ride: First Journey. Normally the children’s version of a game is a really skeletal version of the adult game, but not here! It has the same mechanics and concepts, but the towns all have icons to represent them on the map.

Fun fact: My home town of Helena is on both versions of Ticket to Ride.

Rules: Everyone gets 4 colored cards to start and 2 tickets. Every turn you can build or get 2 more cards. When you complete a ticket by building a path between the icons, you yell ‘ticket!’ and flip it over. First to 6 wins.

Skills taught: Abstract spatial reasoning, geography, being a kind competitor

Cost: $30 on Amazon.

Time/Players: 30 minutes/2-4 players (more is better)

Modifications for younger students: If the games go on too long, you can play first to 5 or even 4. Some kids need help figuring out the paths they are building but most are more than capable.

Can it be played if pieces go missing: It ships with extra trains, and the colored cards can be lost without much of an issue.

Is this a game only kids would like: I think adults would prefer the adult version, but this is a perfectly acceptable stand in for family game night.

Sideways Stories from Wayside School

Today we started our first longer read aloud with ‘Sideways Stories from Wayside School’, from author Louis Sachar. It’s a series of interconnected chapters about a ridiculous school that was accidentally built sideways. It’s one of my favorite read aloud books. Ask your children about the Mrs. Gorf chapter where she turns the students into apples by wiggling her ears.