lower elementary news
Compost and Earthworms in 2nd Grade
Wondering what 2nd Grade has been up to? Second graders have been busy learning about soil, composting, and earthworms. They used rocks to crush bark, and leaves, sand, and plant roots to make their own soil. Students learned about the benefits of composting by bringing in a variety of kitchen scraps. Then they created their own compost bin by layering soil and kitchen scraps into an empty gallon sized water bottle. The next step was to observe and see what changes happened.
Another exciting topic the 2nd Graders have been exploring is earthworms. The students had the opportunity to hold and measure real earthworms. Some of the children were really excited about feeling them and looking up close at their bodies. For some children touching the earthworms was a challenge! Overall, the students have had an outstanding time exploring these topics. We teachers do our best to give all children a hands-on experience, and hope this one made their learning fun and memorable!
Virtual Field Trips in Ms. Kelly’s 1st Grade
Our 1st Grade friends love to explore the world around them. They enjoy sharing with their classmates the wonderful trips they have taken. In an effort to keep that curiosity growing, Ms. Kelly’s class has embarked on taking Virtual Field Trips. So far they have visited the Smithsonian National Zoo and the Aquarium of the Pacific in Long Beach.
Through the wonderful world of technology, all 1st Grade students have to do is power up their Smart Board and they are able to view live camera feeds of penguins, lions, elephants, and even check in on their favorite giant panda Bao Bao (BOW-BOW) as she makes her way back to China.
Here are some links they used if you would like to try at home:
Kindergarten Moves Full STEAM Ahead
This past month, Ms. Cricket’s Kindergarten friends collaborated on building structures made entirely out of gumdrops and toothpicks. This STEAM activity was a wonderful opportunity for children to work together to practice their problem solving skills. Take a look!
3rd Grade Discovers the Tongva Tribe
HSH 3rd Graders have been learning all about the Tongva Tribe, the first Native Americans who inhabited the area known today as Los Angeles. The Tongva were closely connected to the land and lived off all natural resources available to them. As cumulative projects, the students created Tongva inspired murals and brochures. The children also learned that acorns were an important natural resource used by them. As a result, the children created acorn inspired recipes.
2nd Grade Students Explore Biographies
Both 2nd Grade classes began working with a new genre, biographies! The children were able to work in smaller groups, and focused on the life of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Each small group has since been creating and composing reflections about Dr. King’s life. The children are beyond curious about his life, and strongly protest unfair treatment of others. It has been wonderful to see their passion about civil rights! Last week was a fantastic introduction to biography work, and now students will select their own person of interest to study. This is one of the main projects of focus for 2nd Grade, as the children become experts through reading biographies, writing newsletters, and creating an art piece. They look forward to starting that project soon!
Ms. Stacy's 1st Grade Rescues Rudolph
Just before the winter break, Ms. Stacy's class participated in a Breakout EDU game. Breakout EDU creates ultra-engaging learning games. The games teach teamwork, problem solving, critical thinking, and troubleshooting by presenting students with challenges that ignite their natural drive to problem-solve. Each game comes with a collection of locks, hidden contraptions, timers, keys, and other “diversion hardware” that can be used to play the Breakout challenges.
The game Ms. Stacy's class played involved rescuing Rudolph from a locked room and making sure he got back to Reindeer Training Camp. The children had to decide which things were and were not clues, finding ways to unlock boxes, solve a puzzle, and discover the code to a digital lock. The children had so much fun doing this. Here are a few pictures that captured the event.
3rd Grade’s Whirlwind Tour of LA Landmarks
HSH 3rd Graders stepped into the role of docents recently and took their parents and the school community on a mini tour of the many historical landmarks of Los Angeles! Each student presented facts, history, pictures, and general information on an LA landmark. In addition, they built mini replicas of their buildings by using recyclable materials and any other supplies they deemed useful. Their projects were quite impressive! Did you know that City Hall was built in 1928 for about 7.5 million dollars or that the LA Memorial Coliseum has an original stone from both the coliseum in Rome and Athens? Have you ever seen the Binoculars Building built by architect Frank Gehry in Venice Beach or tasted a delicious donut from Randy's Donuts? Next time you spot a 3rd Grader, feel free to ask them more!
Ms. Ericka’s 2nd Graders Celebrate Grandparents and Special Friends Day
Do you know about Grandparents and Special Friends day? Just before Thanksgiving, all students were able to celebrate this special day where Grandparents or Special Friends came to school and had the opportunity to get a peek into the Schoolhouse community! On this day, Ms. Ericka’s students worked on a turkey glyph activity with their special guests. Afterwards, their special guests traveled with the students to their dance class where they proudly showed a little bit of their dance routine from the upcoming winter show. The Grandparents and Special Friends were in awe watching their moves. To end the day, the children and special guests had the opportunity to see what goes on in Art class and work on a Thanksgiving themed art project. This was a wonderful experience for not only the children, but Grandparents and Special Friends too! Our community rocks!
Counting Doubles is No Trouble for 1st Grade
HSH 1st Graders have been practicing their Doubles Facts (1-10) to learn how to quickly and accurately add numbers. One of the strategies they used to master this Math concept is a Doubles song. Next time you see one of our 1st Graders, ask them to sing you their song - they'll be glad to rap a little Math jingle for you!
Ms. Cricket's Kindergarten Goes Batty for Bats!
Ms. Cricket’s Kindergarten students have spent the last week immersed in a unit on bats! Their book focus was Stellaluna by Janelle Cannon, and the class worked on all sorts of fun language, math, and science activities with a bat theme, Students created "bat facts" journals where they wrote about and illustrated fun facts about bats while incorporating their popcorn words and putting their sentence writing skills to work.
In math, the class worked on ‘bat addition’ word problems using little rubber bats as counters. In science, students talked about the characteristics of bats and the differences between bats and birds. Our Kindergarten friends enjoyed learning about bats as "nocturnal" hunters who use echolocation to determine the texture, shape, size, and location of an object. This week, they will participate in an "echolocation" experiment using paper towel rolls and aluminum pie tins and they can’t wait!
Pumpkin Elevators in 3rd Grade
Third Graders have been S.T.E.A.M.ing away lately! Last week’s activity required the students to solve the following problem: Create an elevator that can hold the weight of a pumpkin. This activity required the children to brainstorm, design, plan, build, test, and work together as a team in order to bring their vision to fruition. S.T.E.A.M. activities challenge the children intellectually with critical thinking as they become innovative problem solvers. S.T.E.A.M. encompasses the most engaging, hands-on subjects in our schools while encouraging and fostering creativity. Take a look at some of the finished products!
Fire Safety Exploration in 2nd Grade
2nd Grade students did many activities during their Fire Safety Explorations this past month. They read a story about a boy who visits a firehouse with his class, they had a chance to create their own vocabulary cards to go along with the weekly story, and they were asked to engage in a STEAM activity to practice fire safety concepts. Ms. Jessica and Ms. Ericka set some guidelines about the activity. First, the groups needed to work together like a team of firefighters. They also had to create a physical representation of any vocabulary word, or a word connected to firefighters. The last guideline was that their creation needed to hold water for 20 seconds.
To complement the story they read in class, both 2nd Grade classes took a walking field trip to our local Fire Station 27. The firefighters gave them a tour of the station, and taught them all about their gear and rigs. The students even enjoyed a bagel snack in the kitchen, just like the boy in their weekly story. A writing element that we did in connection to this topic was a friendly letter. Students practiced the correct format of a friendly letter, while writing to the firefighters. The goal of the letter was to thank them, and for students to highlight their favorite parts of the visit. Did you know that Fire Station 27 has the nickname, “The Show?” Ask the next 2nd Grader you see to tell you more about what they learned about Fire Safety!
1st Grade Thinks Critically About Math
Part of 1st Grade Math is learning how to be critical thinkers. After spending several weeks discovering new ways to add numbers, the students were given a challenge. The children had to create a design that equaled 20 points. Their designs were to be made up of various shapes, each with a certain point value. The boys and girls had to explain their thinking and design by drawing and writing it out on a piece of paper. Once they came up with a solution, they built the design. These are a few pictures that show the student's masterpieces.
Kindergarten’s Apple-Themed STEAM Activity
Ms. Barbra & Ms. Karla’s Kindergarten class recently built apple structures for an apple STEAM activity. Prior to the activity, the children used their senses to discuss the properties of an apple. Ms. Barbra posed the question: Does the shape, color, feel, size, or weight of an apple change when you cut it up?
The children made statements about the property of an apple prior to cutting it:
It is round.
It is smooth.
It is red.
It smells sweet.
It is medium sized.
It weighs 103 ounces.
Then the Kindergarteners cut the apple and discussed if the properties changed:
It smells sweeter.
It is not round anymore.
It is in pieces.
You can see the skin and the flesh.
Next the class predicted if the weight of the apple would change after cutting it. They weighed the apple, and concluded that the weight remained the same.
Each child used their chopped up apple and some toothpicks to create a freestanding structure. The students had a great time building their own apple structure which combined design skills, engineering, and fine motor skills. They also loved being able to eat it afterwards.
3rd Graders (a.k.a. Master Los Angeles Geographers)
Ms. Francesca’s 3rd Graders have been busy learning all about the geography of Los Angeles. So far, they have studied the specific landforms of our area, such as bay, peninsula, basin, river, mountains, hills, ocean, and valley. The students have demonstrated their understanding of these landforms by making their own flip books, maps, and topographic maps. Next they will focus on the first inhabitants of Los Angeles, the Tongva Natives.
Ms. Ericka’s 2nd Grade Explores Force and Motion
The school year has started off with a bang for Ms. Ericka’s 2nd Grade! Ms. Ericka jumped right into her science curriculum by asking all of her students to write down one question they had about the topics of force and motion. From the students’ questions and curiosity, they started to explore the concepts through ramp building, a dancing raisin activity, magnet play, and airplane making. So far, her students are fascinated by the fact that force and motion play a part in their daily lives. They will continue to explore this topic through several projects and hands-on activities. If you haven't noticed, 2nd grade is the place to be! The teachers strive to create a learning environment that is fun and enjoyable, and the students think they’re doing a pretty great job.
1st Graders Find Their ‘Just Right Books’
Ms. Lauren’s 1st Graders have been off to an excellent start of the first few weeks of the school year! They have spent time learning about one another while diving into all of their favorite subject areas. To keep all of the children accountable for their learning this year, the 1st Graders have examined what it means to be safe, kind, and responsible. They read the story David Goes to School by David Shannon to help us think of and discuss various norms for ourselves here at HSH. These scholars thought of more ways to be safe, kind, and responsible than we (teachers) could have imagined! After documenting these ideas, all of the children signed a paper to show they would follow the norms they created and agreed upon.
One subject in particular that 1st Grade has been working on is reading! Reading is a major focus during 1st Grade. To help them get ready for many opportunities to read independently, Ms. Lauren, Ms. Stacy, and Ms. Nicole have been helping the children find their ‘just right book’. This is a book that the children can decode independently, with at the most 2-3 words on a page that they may need help with. After finding the right books for themselves, the children have been building their reading stamina. They have spent specific amounts of time, starting with 2 minutes and building from there, practicing reading without any talking or distractions. These kids have been immersed in books and the growth is already showing! What a year this will be for our 1st Graders!
Kindergarten Picks Up STEAM
Ms. Cricket's class has had an awesome start to the school year! We've been having lots of fun reading back to school books and working on activities related to each book. Our favorite book this week was Chicka Chicka Boom Boom by Bill Martin Jr., with illustrations done by the talented Lois Ehlert. The activities that the students did incorporated both a language and math component. The class had fun creating their own coconut trees and then finding the letters in their names to put "up" in the tree. After they were finished, they counted the letters in their name and then added the corresponding number to their creation.
In Science, the kiddos collaborated together for a STEAM activity (science, technology, engineering, art, and math) relating to the story. Their objective was to build a 3-dimensional Chicka Chicka Boom Boom alphabet tree out of everyday items in our classroom. We used painted wooden letters that the class did as an art activity, wooden blocks, and craft sticks. The class worked together to see how many letters their tree was able to hold. As a follow up activity, they drew pictures of their design. Needless to say, Kindergarten is off to a GREAT start!