Learning can be fun and exciting, but it can also be challenging at times. Mrs. Marko, our school counselor, visited our class and helped us to start our year with an open and growth mindset. After Mrs. Marko shared some information, examples, and even a very entertaining video, 2nd graders were quick to realize that having a growth or open mindset could better help them achieve any goal they had… earning more winner tickets in class, getting faster at math facts, becoming a better soccer player on their team, and even becoming an Olympic gymnast someday.
To help visualize these goals, 2nd graders built and labelled a model of their goal with everyone’s favorite building block… Legos!! Before we were done, Mrs. Marko talked with students about their goals, and we also shared our Lego creations and goals on our class’ Seesaw blog. Students may now continue to share comments and encourage each other. With a growth or open mindset, 2nd graders are more ready to face the challenges that come their way.
The First Grade celebrated Johnny Appleseed’s birthday and the first day of autumn with a fun-filled day of apple activities! “This is the best day ever!” remarked one of my students as they were busy writing out the recipe and then making their very own Apple Pizzas, sampling the ingredients along the way. This day was the perfect way to put all our learning into action as we have been studying our 5 senses and how to describe what we see, feel, taste, touch, and hear using adjectives: sour, sweet, crunchy, smooth, round, juicy, yummy, red, yellow, and green. Our students also compared the tastes and textures of 3 different apples. They decided which one was their favorite, and then we collected the data by creating a picture graph. 15 students chose Red Delicious apples as their favorite in my class which was by far the most liked apple. We sang apple songs, read apple books, and watched a fun video about Johnny Appleseed. Finally, all 3 First Grade classes met up at the picnic tables to enjoy eating our Apple Pizzas together.
In Mrs. Nelsons kindergarten class, we had a great time creating our “Friendship Flower.” We did this the 2nd week of school when the students were still getting to know each other. The importance of socio-emotional development is something I am extremely passionate about. Kindergarten is a particularly important period for this area of development; it’s where the foundational skills for appropriate social behavior are learned and embedded. I like to focus on various milestones and incorporate them into our lessons throughout the year.
Creating our class friendship flower gave each student the chance to connect and converse with their new classmates. They all learned new things about their peers and were able to feel comfortable asking and answering questions. It was wonderful to see them begin to build healthy, mutually beneficial, long-lasting relationships.
What is a Friendship Flower?
We started with 13 large flower petals that were cut in half like puzzle pieces. Each child was given a blank ½ of a petal. They designed and created their own petal however they wanted. After the decorating was done the students had to walk around and find which one of their peers had the other matching half to their petal. When they found their partner, they sat down and asked their partner 3 different questions. Their partner then asked them 3 questions that they answered. The students then got to “introduce” each other to the class and give one new fact that they learned about their new friend. We taped the petals together and put them up on a bulletin board and created our class flower. The mismatched patterns and colors make for some very cool art! We love looking at our flower every day and are thankful for all our new friends!
The third graders were given the task of retelling a Bible story using stop motion video. After learning how the process works by watching an example from Toy Story, the students began to plan. They started out writing a short summary of the Bible story they chose. Then, they created a plan that included what was needed for the background, characters, and props. Once the planning was done, it was time to begin creating the characters and props from construction paper.
A background image was used with help of the green screen, or blue screen in some cases. All of the stories required over 100 pictures to be taken and characters moved little by little each time to create the 30 second video. The final step was to do a voice-over reading of their version of the Bible story. Overall, the students had a great time working together as a team to create their own stop motion video from scratch.
Last week for the Valentine’s Day celebration, the 4th Grade students focused on the gift of encouraging words! Each student had the opportunity to write a word or a phrase that described each of their classmates on a poster. Posters were filled with: “A GOOD FRIEND, CREATIVE, FUNNY, KIND, COOL, and AWESOME.” We discussed that taking time to share positive words with others – help make people feel special, seen, valued, and LOVED.
Additionally, Mrs. Fink’s Class had the opportunity to continue to share words of love and encouragement to those outside of the St. John’s Community. The students decorated Valentine’s Cards that were taken to a ministry in Tustin that connects with those in nursing homes. The 4th Grade students put so much love and effort into these cards – knowing just how big of a smile it would bring to someone’s face.
Celebrations, parties, and holidays have looked a bit different in the classroom this year – but we are certainly finding ways to creatively celebrate together and making wonderful memories!