Thursday, December 18, 2014

River Reflections - December

December's Big Fishes

Our Special Holiday Video

We hope you enjoy our special holiday edition video (above). We've had a very exciting few weeks leading up to the winter break. Our days have been filled with celebrations such as Kwanzaa, fun activities such as Dreidel, and new experiences in our December interest groups. We wish you a fun-filled and restful winter break. Oh, and please remember to look for the flower!

Monday, November 24, 2014

River Reflections - November

 November's Big Fishes

In honor of our Thanksgiving month we compiled a thankful video. See if you can find the flower! We wish you all a lovely Thanksgiving break!

Thursday, November 6, 2014

River Reflections - October

October's Big Fishes

Our latest video - October Fun (Did you find the flower in this week's blog post?)

Design and Engineering Update

In Design and Engineering classes River and Sky students are exploring the field of acoustical engineering through activities in a unit called Acoustical Engineering: Seeing Animal Sounds. The children will learn how acoustical engineers aid scientific research and see that they work on different types of projects such as damping sound or designing systems to record, interpret, and communicate sound.

Charlie reads Kwame's Sound

The children were introduced to this unit through the storybook Kwame’s Sound. Throughout this unit, students will use what they learn about the science of sound to design and improve a visual representation system for bird sounds.

Each student made a model of a bird

The first lesson introduced children to simple examples of technology such as a tape dispenser, toothpick holder, marker, and paintbrush. This lesson focused on developing a definition for technology. Children also made a toy model of a flying bird and constructed a paper model of the ear that shows all the inner parts of the human ear.

Each student made a paper model of the ear

Sunday, October 5, 2014

River Reflections

September's Big Fishes

Every student in River Class gets to be our person of the week or Big Fish. Our Big Fish is able to share every day, lead lines, and call the roll. We celebrate our Big Fish every Friday when he/she reads out his/her autobiography and answers students' questions.

Check out our latest slideshow (below)  

(And remember to look for the flower!)

Spanish Update 

To help us memorize and learn our color words in Spanish we first created "Brain Tricks" to help ourselves remember what each word means. (Ask your children to tell you more about these brain tricks!) For our bodies to participate (with our mouth and brains) in helping to learn the colors we are learning a dance with a song that incorporates the Spanish words, our brain tricks, and even some sign language words. Please check out the links below to the dance/song with both the Sea Horses and Penguins. 

Spanish song with Penguins

Spanish song with Sea Horses

Art Update

River students have been working in the collage center during art class. They have been learning about various collage materials such as painted paper, tissue paper, magazine paper, and colored paper. Students have been practicing cutting and tearing techniques. They have also been experimenting with how to arrange their collage pieces on the background paper to create their composition. Below you can see some finished examples. Enjoy!

Friday, September 12, 2014

River Reflections

River Class teachers - Charlie, Dee, and Ruth

A warm welcome to all of our new and returning students! River Class is off to a fine start. Please check out the fun video below highlighting our first few weeks of school.

Please note that we have a new blog challenge called 'find the flower.' See if you can find the photo with the flower. Enjoy!

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

River Highlights 2013/14

Our final Big Fish of 2013/14

River Highlights

What a terrific year we've had in River Class! We hope you enjoy the video (above) of a few of this year's highlights. These include The Art of the Brick, CLAWS, classroom activities, a birthday celebration, and Field Day. Have a great summer!

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

River Reflections

This week's Big Fish

Our final Dance Class Video for 2013/14

Dance Class complimented our research about chickens. In River Class we have enjoyed our incubator and the arrival of two healthy chickens. Annie furthered our chicken education and excitement about them by teaching River students specific movements related to these wonderful creatures. 

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Celebrations in River Class

This week's Big Fish

In River Class over the past couple of weeks we've been having some wonderful celebrations of nature, finished cars, Upper School art, and birthdays. Amelia, our Upper School art teacher visited River Class and kindly used her photography expertise to take fun pictures of our students in front of the beautiful blossoming cherry tree on our playground. She also shared with us her Upper School students' artwork on display in the art studio and Upper School library. Our Makers' Fair took place on Friday. River and Sky students took turns to share their car creations. Mountain and Forest students were our audience. We finished our week with a fabulous birthday celebration of our January through May birthdays. Thanks to all our wonderful parent helpers who made this such a success!

Special thanks to Amelia Shull for her beautiful cherry blossom portraits!

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

River News

This week's Big Fish

Design and Engineering News Release:

Newly designed cars are ready for the showroom!

Students in River and Sky Class have been designing, building, and perfecting their car designs for the past several weeks in Design and Engineering classes. These young engineers will be sharing their finished projects with all Lower School students at a Makers Fair this Friday.

The Design assignment: Build a car that will transport a "passenger."

Students were engaged in many activities:
  • making a detailed drawing and written description of their ideas
  • deciding what size frame (chassis) they would need
  • measuring, cutting, and glueing wood pieces to construct their frame
  • glueing axle holders and cut axles
  • choosing from an assortment of materials to create the "cab" to carry the "passenger"
  • attaching their cab designs to complete their car
  • learning about simple circuitry, motors, pulleys, and transfer of energy

Engineers working together:

Engineers proud of their designs:


Thursday, April 17, 2014

River News

This week's Big Fish

Wind-up Toys with Annie

In dance class this week we began with a beautiful children's story about how you are the only person who can feel your feelings, think your thoughts, sense your body and imagine your very own dances. Next, we had a lively sharing of ideas about experiences that the children had that could inspire dances. In the warm-up we focused on the joints in our body and patterns that could be repeated.

The wind-up toys were fabulous because they inspired unique ways of moving and acute awareness of your own body. We did upper/lower body integration, movements that traveled sideways, contra lateral movement, head/tail connection and feeling your kinesphere. It was a joyous class especially when we set our patterns to music. We ended with a relaxation so all our explorations could sink into our muscles.
What a special group of dancers!

Friday, April 11, 2014

River News

This week's Big Fish

New Monday Math

Fill 'er Up - a Ten Frame Train game

This week we began a new math center time involving a variety of math activities. This 50 minute class will take place every Monday morning. It involves a mixture of hands-on math, math games, math apps, tile cards, and paper and pencil work. Each River student gets an opportunity to move around to the various math centers led by Charlie, Dee, and Ruth. Above and below you can see an example of the Ten Frame Trains. Experienced second year students show their peers how to play the games Fill 'er up and Long Trains. These games involve counting and strategic thinking. 

Playing Long Train
Fill 'er Up is a fun counting game using a spinner with different pictures of ten frames. On their spin each student fills their trains to match the spinner. The goal is to fill up your trains with as many cubes as possible. 

Long Trains (pictured left) is a game played with dice. The goal is to fill as many trains as possible until there are no trains left. Once you have ten cubes you can fill a train. However, if you roll a 5 you have to remove 5 cubes and put them back into the pot.

During this game time students are not only learning addition facts and mathematical strategies, but also how to take turns and communicate with one another appropriately. 

Tile Cards by Creative Publications

Students have fun solving the various tile card sets. Above you can see an example of a Subtract-A-Tile set. Students work hard to place all ten tiles in the correct place to make the various equations work. Sometimes this can take several attempts. Students use hundred charts, number lines or other manipulatives to help them while they work.

The tile card above is from the Add-A-Tile set. This set focuses solely on one-digit addition. Each tile set comprises of 20 cards.

Above you can see an example of Borrow-A-Tile. These cards involve two-digit subtraction with regrouping. River students quickly learn strategies to help them tackle this kind of math. 

Once a student has completed a set of cards they receive a presentation. Well done!

Math Apps

Math apps can be a lot of fun. Students are able to choose from apps such as Coin Math (as pictured above). They learn the names of coins and their values. They can even go shopping! Other helpful and educational apps include Jungle Time, Acorn Multiplication, SumStacker, and Math Ball. The ipad technology is used as a tool to help provide additional practice of specific topics. For example, after a teacher-led lesson on telling time students would spend a few minutes on the Jungle Time app to practice what they had learned.


Chess is always a popular activity during math center time. There are a number of chess enthusiasts who are willing to help other students learn the rules of the game.

Paper and Pencil Math

Students often work in their math folders. They complete a variety of exercises to help with their learning of both addition and subtraction facts. The student above is circling numbers to add up to a particular sum. The student pictured below is working out the word riddle by solving the math problems assigned to each letter. 

Math detectives

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Fun in River Class

This week's Big Fish

Fun in River Class - a video dedicated to our grandparents and special friends

Thursday, March 20, 2014

River News

This week's Big Fish

A focus on Spanish

Mixing the cornmeal, water, and salt
Using the tortilla press

In Spanish class over the last few weeks students have been working on vocabulary relating to family and culture. Children are making a mini book about their family, which they will be able to share with others. This week the children made tortillas, an activity aiming to bring cultural awareness, highlighting the importance preparing and sharing food plays in a family.

Abby serves the tortillas - yum!
Students have also been learning about cognates and false cognates. (A cognate is when two words sound similar and mean the same thing in two different languages, such as family and familia. False cognates are ones that sound similar and have completely different meanings, such as blanco, which sounds like black but means white.)

Abby has been teaching the children 'brain tricks,' which is a strategy to support memorization of Spanish vocabulary. For example, blanco sounds like black, but means white, so the brain trick is that when you hear blanco you think blank white paper instead of black. Abby has also been teaching River children a chant and movement to help remember how to count by tens in Spanish. 

Abby has been sharing several Spanish books with the children. These have included Fiesta! by Beatriz McConnie Zapater, Fiesta Fiasco by Ann Whitford Paul, Tortuga in Trouble by Ann Whitford Paul, and La Familia de Clifford by Norman Bridwell.