Dia de los Muertos

As part of the Spanish curriculum, K-6th grade had the opportunity to be part of one of the most important traditions in Mexico and South America. They learned that Dia de los Muertos is a happy day, a day to remember those who left us, a day to remember their lives.
We had an ofrenda in which we put flowers and candles, similar to the actual ones, so the students could get a proper idea of what the holiday represents and how does it looks. We also had a traditional treat for this day: Pan de muerto, a sweet bread. The students made their own papel picado (paper cut) to decorate their classes.
Sra. Pallete

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

COUNSELOR’S CORNER – October 2019 Edition: A Message From Miss Doyle

Media Use by Tweens and Teens

Youtube, Tik Tok, and Fortnite – Oh my! Entertainment nowadays for tweens and teens is media focused and keeping up to date with the latest and greatest can be daunting. Common Sense Media is a great resource for helping parents, educators, and others remain informed of the day to day changes that technology brings. 

Below you will find a few articles and video clips that touch base on a variety of media your student may be utilizing. Both parents and students provide reviews on these medias and more. 

Parents’ Ultimate Guide to Fortnite

https://www.commonsensemedia.org/blog/parents-ultimate-guide-to-fortnite

Parents’ Ultimate Guide to TikTok

https://www.commonsensemedia.org/blog/parents-ultimate-guide-to-tiktok

Houseparty – Group Video Chat – What kids and parents are saying

https://www.commonsensemedia.org/app-reviews/houseparty-group-video-chat

Help! My Kid Wants to Use Social Media

https://www.commonsensemedia.org/blog/help-my-kid-wants-to-use-social-media

Tweens, Teens, and Phones: What Our 2019 Research Reveals  

https://www.commonsensemedia.org/blog/tweens-teens-and-phones-what-our-2019-research-reveals

Pumpkin Science!

Did you know that learning the Scientific Method can be as easy as carving pumpkins and counting seeds?

2nd graders have been learning the vocabulary words and steps for the scientific method this past week using pumpkins.  After researching a little bit about pumpkins and how they are classified by scientists, each 2nd grader shared their hypothesis about how the size of a pumpkin might determine the number of seeds inside it.  Do larger pumpkins have more seeds or do smaller pumpkins have more seeds?

Next, it was time to begin our investigation and gather data.  Pumpkins were weighed, and seeds were counted.  It was a fun and mushy experience at times, plus a counting challenge, as the number of seeds we counted ranged from 305 to 583 per pumpkin.  Although our class reached their own conclusion, we did also agree that true scientists would count the seeds in hundreds of pumpkins before reaching or publishing their conclusions.

So which one is it?   Do larger pumpkins have more seeds?  Or, do smaller pumpkins have more seeds?   Grab a few pumpkins and let us know what you find out.  We’ll add your results to our collection of data.

Mrs. Katie Todd, 2nd grade

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

California Early Tribes and STEAM!

The 4th graders have been studying the early tribes of California. They are learning about their environments, tools, and shelters.  They were tasked to create an example of a house or a tool in our STEAM lab. They used their imagination and creativity to collaborate and to work independently. They applied their past knowledge to create something new and exciting.  They found fun ways to display their learning.

Beth Clark,4th Grade Teacher

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Finding their voice, 5th grade podcasters

This year, the 5th graders are finding their voices through podcasting.  The 5th graders worked through the creative process to develop a podcast “channel” that included cover art, a creative channel name, and creating their own intro and outro music.

Podcasting allows all students to share their thoughts, knowledge, and opinions on any given topic and can be used across all subjects. Students who may not be good writers or may not feel comfortable sharing in front of their peers have flourished by creating podcasts.

The students recently created their first “All About Me” podcast episode in which they shared information about themselves. This project allowed all students to have a voice in their learning. Throughout this school year the students will continue to use podcasting to demonstrate their learning. They will be conducting debates, interviewing book characters, reviewing books they have read, and much more.

Kyle Duport, 5th Grade Teacher

 

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Bristle Bots Alive!!

What does a toothbrush head, a cell battery, a tiny motor, double-stick tape, googly eyes, and pipe cleaners all have in common?  These are the materials you need to make your own “Bristle Bot Robot.”  During technology class in 6th grade, students were able to create and design their robot using the materials above.  As the students proceeded through this STEM activity, they had to use their knowledge of design, circuitry and physics to make sure that:

  1. The Bristle Bot was balanced and could stand up.
  2. The battery and the motor were properly connected so the motor would run properly, and the robot would move.
  3. The Bristle Bot was designed well using creativity and precise manufacturing (so pieces were placed correctly and wouldn’t fall off).

So what were the results of the STEM Bristle Bot activity?  A ton of laughter and fun!  Plus, the students gained some basic knowledge about motors, circuitry and creating a basic robot.

By: Mrs. Grack, Technology Teacher

Peru Project – Part II

In part 1 I outlined this project which St. John’s students have been supporting for the past 9 years.
Once my wife, Patty, and I have a list of projects our work begins. One of the major projects we wanted to take on was quickly started:  the awning to cover the space between the two classrooms.
The biggest consideration was where the awning would be of most benefit. The next was timing:  how to get the structure built and the awning made so that both would be done before we leave in July.  Two different people are needed, a carpenter and an awning maker.  The last consideration was that the entire structure needed to be done in such a way that it can be unassembled and moved when the government comes through with the funds to remodel the school. This could be as early as this September or up to several years.
Lola wanted the space between the two largest classrooms covered. (See the first picture.)  This decided we then began to work on how to best coordinate structure with awning.  The carpenter gave us a time frame for completion just before we were to leave Perú. That meant the awning person would have to work from dimensions given by the carpenter rather than taken from the actual structure. This is risky at best. In the end we decided to have the carpenter build a structure the same size as the structure covering the play structure. (See picture #2)  to our amazement these dimensions fit almost perfectly into the desired space. And even better: because the two structures will be identical it will allow  Lola to design the space in the new school around the shade structures, placing  them end-to-end. It will add continuity in the long-run.
This decision also allowed the awning person to take more accurate measurements from the existent awning for the new awning. We took bids from several awning makers and chose the one who offered quality and the best price. It would cost about $850 for a high quality, water/weather proof material made to special order and installed.  About a week later we returned from a short trip to Cajamarca to find the rolled up cover (photo #3) hand delivered and ready to installed when the carpenter finished his work.  It weighs about 300 lbs.
The carpenter was called and came to the school to get the measurements for the awning structure. We agreed on a price (about $1500 equivalent in national money: Soles) and we went to Trujillo to exchange dollars. (Picture 4 shows the structure being put in place.) While there we went to a local store called Sodimac to see if they had prefabricated shelves the size we wanted. Sodimac is a Homedepot-like store which recently has come to Trujillo. While convenient it doesn’t offer a lot in terms of shelving. Nothing we could find fit the dimensions needed.  We wanted to steer clear of donating something which would just be makeshift. The units we did see were expensive and low quality.
So we began looking for plan B.  A family member recommended a young man in the town who had recently built some cabinets for a local restaurant. The young man’s name is Meikel and he works with a material he calls melamine, a kind of particle board covered in formica-like material. He could build sturdy shelves to the dimensions we wanted at less cost than the prefabricated odd-sized units we had looked at.  It did mean more footwork for us, but assured something which will endure the hard use they will receive, while adding uniformity to the classrooms.
The photos 5 and 6 show Meikel, the handy man, constructing the five shelves in our living room. It took he and his wife two days to put them together and they looked great.
Part three:  going shopping for things on the wish list.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.