Friday, October 26, 2012

More News from River Class

                                                            This Week's Big Fish.

This week's Monday Mélange was learning about loofahs. Victoria, one of our parents, came to talk about how loofahs are made and where they come from.

A loofah begins as a black seed, which turn into plants with yellow flowers like squash. When the plant turns brown it is peeled and washed. Then it is dried in the sun.

The final result is a loofah (as above), which can be used in a variety of ways. They can be used to wash things such as dishes or even people. The texture of the loofah makes it an ideal skin exfoliant. People even make them into sandals, which are excellent for massaging feet as you walk. Each River child received a piece of loofah to take home.

Friday, October 19, 2012


River Class - More Water Experiments

Sink or Float?

Since water is our theme this year we decided to do a number of experiments involving water. Our "sink or float" experiment involved the children taking the above items in cooperative groups and initially making an estimation as to whether or not each item would indeed sink or float. Children had to show their decision making by drawing the objects under the correct heading (as pictured below).

An important part of our work in River Class and the Lower School is giving the children opportunities to work together in groups. Sometimes the children are able to group themselves (given specific guidelines) and sometimes the groups are decided by the teachers. The groups tend to be a mixture of gender and age. Groups change so that children have an opportunity to work with children they may not typically have a chance to work with.

Children learn important lessons when asked to work as part of a group. They have to learn to take turns and to share materials. They are all asked to participate verbally and sometimes on paper. We emphasize to them that each voice in the River Class is important and needs to be heard.

After illustrating their estimates River students proceeded to find the 'actual' results by testing the objects out in containers of water. Which items will sink and which items will float? Were their estimates correct? Why were they? What did they learn from the experience? We ended our science experiment as a whole class. Groups shared their findings with each other, and we discovered that some items were a surprise to us! We talked about why that might be. Children provided some thoughtful, interesting answers.

Weighing Water

In this experiment the children had to work in cooperative teams to decide how much their container of water weighed. They were given an opportunity to play with and get a feel for the gram weights before writing down their group estimate. Groups were given different amounts of water to weigh.

River students took turns to add weights to their balance scales to find out the actual weight of their water in grams.

Some students were surprised at how much their container of water weighed.

At the end of the experiment groups shared their findings and observations with one another. 

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Laps and More ....


                                                 This week's Big Fish

                                         Laps on Tuesday afternoons

On Tuesday afternoons the children (and sometimes the teachers) run or walk laps around the Lower School. How many laps make one mile?  The children collect one cube per lap. Does one cube make a mile?  

Do two cubes?                                                            Or three cubes?

What about four?                                                          Or five?


How about six?                                                           Or even seven?

How about eight?                                                        Or nine?

You guessed it!  Ten laps/cubes add up to one mile. River children are working to improve their personal lap number each week. 

Thursday, October 4, 2012

This Week in River Class


This week's Big Fish!

In first year math group this week the children have been learning about place value using manipulatives to represent tens and ones. Math students rolled the dice and were able to exchange their single cubes for a ten stick when they reached the number ten.

Students also took turns to write numbers on the board in order to practice number order and formation.

Second year math students continue to work through their Mastering Math workbooks.

Students also solved word problems in their math notebooks. "There are 5 cows and 4 chickens. How many feet and tails altogether?"  Students drew pictures and wrote words to explain how they solved the problem.                      

Math rotation includes ipads, (we used the Sumstacker app), completing the hundred board, and working on workbooks. We also have fun practicing subtraction and addition facts in pairs using flashcards.

Chinese Mooncake Festival - our latest Monday Mélange

Elizabeth, one of our River parents, came in to talk about the Chinese Moon Festival, which took place on Sunday, September 30th this year. This is a popular family celebration when people enjoy moon cakes and looking at the moon at its fullest. Elizabeth shared the story of Chang E with River students. River students also had a chance to sample moon cakes - delicious!

Wednesday, October 3, 2012


Tom from Sky Class finished up his first three-week Smath rotation with River Class.  The first week he worked in ½’s with River students.  One group met on Tuesday morning and the other on Thursday morning.  The first activity was doing a birthday graph of all of the students in River.  After reviewing the months of the year, each group adjourned to the multi where sentence strips with the name of each month were carefully placed on the floor in correct order.  Students were asked to sit crossed legged on the floor in front of their birthday month.  Together the group discussed the number of birthdays in each month.  After forming the people graph, the students returned to Sky Class and colored in a birthday cake with their name and birthday written on the bottom of the square.  Then they took turns gluing on a chart.  Take a look at the completed birthday graph as you enter River Class.

The second week found each group hiking the nature trail that surrounds the school.  The students hiked down the gravel driveway to the entrance of the trail.  It was established in 2001 by a group of Upper School students.  The trail runs roughly about a mile and a half.  It circles around in back of the Klopfer’s land and ends up following the creek back to Lower School.  The students hike the trail once in the fall, again in winter and finally ending with a spring hike. 

During the third session, the students took part in a physics experiment involving a can of olives.  They first predicted how far a can full of olives would role when released from the top of an inclined plane.  Each student placed a dot with their initials on the floor of the multi. The experiment was done three times.  Next the can was emptied of its juice.  The students predicted how far the can would role with no juice (hint: it didn’t role as far as a full can of olives).  Finally, the can was emptied of all the olives.  After counting how many olives were in the can, the can was released from the inclined plane three different times.  After completing the experiment, the students that wanted to were allowed to taste the olives.