Whales Plant Native Species at B Street Trail

With help from our amazing community of parents, the Whales completed their first service project of the year. After a brisk walk early in the morning, Whales rolled up their sleeves and got to work planting over 300 plugs of Achillea millefolium (Yarrow), Eriophyllum lanatum (Oregon Sunshine), and Potentilla gracilis (Cinquefoil) for Clean Water Services. On our walk to and fro, we practiced our skills in dendrology, noticing and naming a wide variety of trees that looked familiar to us. We spent the remainder of the day reveling in all the good we did for our earth!

Whales Study Leaves & Trees

Whales have been busy honing their skills in phenology and dendrology over the past two weeks. We started by noticing tiny details in the life cycle of three different trees in our new Cedar Classroom. We noticed where the trees were in their life cycle by looking for clues like needle and cone drop, leaf drop, or new growth. We talked about how a tree’s life cycle relates to the seasons. We sent our phenology findings to BudBurst, an online community of researchers, horticulturists, and citizen scientists working together to uncover the stories of plants and trees and how they are being affected by our changing climate.

Like true dendrologists, the Whales took long walks through the Pacific campus, examining tiny details in deciduous and coniferous trees. Working together, we spent time classifying and sorting a wide variety of leaves. At engineering carpet, we worked in pairs to plan, construct and test our handmade tree trunk. Our structure had to support branches, even in a strong wind!

Working like scientific illustrators, Whales sketched and painted a coniferous or deciduous tree, noticing detail in trunk, crown and leaf shape.

Whales talked about the process of photosynthesis, and the shared relationship between sunlight, trees, and all life on earth. We are so excited to be engaging in our first service project of the year next week. We will plant trees at B Street Trail!

In addition to all that learning, we celebrated Halloween together with a fabulous ELC parade! Happy Fall!

Celebration Of Community With The Whales

Whale families got cozy together and celebrated the learning, magic and love that has already taken root in our classroom - after a mere 36 days of school! Our classroom was filled with the accomplishments of our Whale students and the pride and love of the community that surrounds them. Whale students were gracious hosts, patiently explaining how their “school home” ticks, and proudly showing their work as budding scientists, authors, readers, mathematicians, artists and actors. We can only imagine the amazing learning yet to come!

Goldilocks And The Three Bears

Whales produced and performed their first play of the year last week! Adoring audience members from the Shark, Dolphin and Otters classes sat rapt as they watched their Whale friends re-tell the classic story of Goldilocks and The Three Bears.

Whale students spent weeks exploring different versions of the tale. They studied the elements of the story, picking out the characters, setting, and beginning middle and end. They focused on the problems and solutions in the story and concluded that Goldilocks left an awful lot of problems unresolved. Whales read the story out loud together, practiced telling the story with puppets, and sang the story in song.

They engineered a new chair for baby bear at Engineering Carpet, working in teams to plan, construct and test a chair that could hold their own weight.

The Whales made porridge (with lots of honey) and found that the majority of students liked it, and it was “just like oatmeal!”

In preparation for the play, Whales created props and backdrops, chose costumes and worked together as stage hands to move heavy items in creative play, allowing room for the actors to perform. The final performance asked the Whales to stretch their skills in collaboration, compromise, planning, storytelling, and public speaking. It was a smashing success!

Photos of the process and production can be found below. To view a video of the final play, please visit the “Watch and Listen” tab above.


Matisse Apples and Tie Dye Fun!

The Whales spent time exploring the art of Matisse this week. We studied his art, looking at the way he used color, shape, line and shadow to tell a story and evoke a particular mood. Whales tried using oil pastel to create shadow and depth in their paintings. Our “shadow fingers” were completely black by the end, but we didn’t mind - we felt like Matisse!

Whales ended their week with a long-held ELC tradition - creating our own tie-dye tees! Mr. Mark mixed up some beautiful, vibrant colors and we squeezed the rich dye onto every square inch of our tees. With the help of plenty of parent volunteers, our tie-dying was a HUGE success. we can’t wait to see the finished product on Monday!

Apples, the Cedar Classroom and More!

Whales spent time investigating the inside of apples this week. We noticed right away that “something was living inside our apples”. After sharing some hypotheses about what might be causing the problem “a worm”, “a slug”, “some dirt”, “a moth”, Whales learned that the problem was caused by the Apple Codling Moth, an insect whose larva eats the flesh of an apple. After studying the life cycle of the moth more closely, Whales came up with some solutions for how to solve our apple moth problem. They spent time making traps and cleaning up the dead leaves and apples under our trees. Whales are scientists and engineers!

Other apple-y things we did included engineering towers with apples and toothpicks, counting how many apples we could balance on our heads…and how many mindful steps we could take without them tumbling off. Whales showed amazing precision and grace with both activities!

On Friday we held an Apple Tasting and discovered that the 2018-2019 Whales love Honeycrisp apples the best!

Whales had a chance to visit the new Cedar Classroom three times this week. They climbed and jumped and balanced and discovered the amazing space along with their Otter friends!

Whales Study Apples

The Whales have been learning to study the world around them with mindful eyes, mindful ears (a.k.a. Listening Like a Ninja) and mindful bodies. We took this mindfulness practice with us as we explored the apples growing in our piazza this week. We noticed tiny details, and recorded and shared those details with friends. We made hypotheses about why many of our apples have small holes in them. We cut them open and looked inside using our Proscope. Whales think “something might be living in them!”.

We listened to an oral storytelling of the book The Apple Cake by Nienke van Hitchum - a story of kindness and sharing. We spent time acting out the story, remembering the tiny details and and sequence of events so we could share it with friends.

We used our engineering skills to build amazing structures out of apples and toothpicks. We tried to make our apple towers tall and strong!

Whales played some new math games this week that strengthened our number sense and helped make us number detectives!

And finally, Whales have been growing their reading brains as they stretch and improve their stamina for sitting with a book. We have been using our Linger Finger to tell the story on our own by noticing tiny details in the pictures. Whales are joyous readers!

Week One Was Wonderful With Whales!

The Whales' first week was chock-full of so much learning and fun, it's impossible to write it all down, but here's a sampling!

We measured, examined, drew and shared our scientific observations of sunflowers during our first field study in the piazza. We wrote, mailed and delivered letters to our friends. We told stories about sunflower gardens and happy summer days at our storytelling table. We spent time finding out about our common likes and dislikes, while celebrating our names during our Guess Who? game. We built with blue blocks, read plenty of books (we read silently for three whole minutes!) and had our very first Whale Writers Workshop! On Friday we talked about listening, being mindful of the sounds around us and our responses to them. We took a Listening Walk and discovered we could hear things we'd never heard before by being silent together.

Whales' First Day Goes Swimmingly!

Whales spent a day learning about one another. We spent time counting, measuring, graphing, writing, learning about the brain, meditating, reading, building, voting, and making lots of new friends. We ended our day with a trip to the new Cedar Classroom, where the Otters gave us an extra special VIP tour!

Make sure to check your Kindergarten Handbook for more information on our daily schedule!