Cluster Teacher Updates

Art with Patrice
Spring 2017

Hi All and welcome to a Spring update on what’s been going on in the Art Room at the Earth School!

The PreK-K classes are expanding on their work in wonderful and amazing ways. What a difference since September when they were just learning to hold a paintbrush and use scissors. Each week we have a teacher run activity and two other choices for students to explore. We have started looking at and commenting on each other’s work at the end of each class. I generally ask students to tell me what they notice about their classmates work. They are very articulate in describing the colors, shapes and materials in the various pieces. Check out this paper sculpture that was built in a recent class.

The First and Second grade students are just finishing an Imaginary Animal stick puppet project. They collaborated on a drawing with a classmate, and then painted it and will soon be cutting it out and adding the stick.
Then they will name their creation and tell a story about where it lives, what it eats and what it does to have fun.

The Third Grade classes have been weaving and are now inventing their own biomes based on the biomes they have been studying in their core curriculum. They will be making maps of the biome with mixed materials and then using clay to make the animals and the other inhabitants. Emily’s class made these clay pinch pots and painted them with designs inspired by the Mimbres tribe form the southwest.

The Fourth and Fifth Grade students have also been working with clay. Ask them about the 3 techniques they used to build their clay pieces!

We are moving on to a mini-project learning to draw objects in 3-D using one point perspective.

Jessica and Jia’s class are making Mola’s, an art form from Central and South America that uses fabric and elaborate stitching to create a highly stylized image of plants, animals or people. They are working with felt to cut and layer shapes before sewing them together. Some students will be sewing them into pillows, others are making bags.

Bye for now and Happy Spring!



Earth Science with Emmy

Fall 2016

Hello families!

Welcome back to what promises to be another amazing year at Earth School! We have begun amazing work in our classes…

PreK/K’s begin the year settling into this new space (for some of them) and creating routines that help them navigate the world. We explored the turtle, observed shells and rocks, and mealworms as they change and grow. Next we will explore trees and leaves in the neighborhood.20160927_123841.jpg

1st/2nd’s are exploring mealworms as they change and grow. Each time we meet we are writing/sketching what we notice, what we think is happening, and what we wonder. In this way, children are developing the building the blocks of scientific inquiry: observation and documentation. Our next unit is about water...


3rd graders are beginning to explore the Food Chain. We talked about why living things need to eat and drink. We are exploring the ways in which living things get their energy and how energy travels up and down the food chain.

4th/5th graders started with a Design Challenge in which pairs of students had to create a structure and which supported the weight of a marshmallow. It is always the perfect way to begin a school year by finding a solution to a problem as a  community. Next students began exploring Pop-Up books: the design, mechanism, and physics behind the movements found in pop-up books. Student exhibit to follow…20160919_125057.jpg


Tim's Time
Spring 2017

The Pre-K/Ks have been baking and tasting their work.  We made waffles, pancakes and most recently Queen Elizabeth’s Drop Scones, which you cook on a griddle much like pancakes.  

 The Queen’s recipe uses teacups to measure, but we used U.S. measuring cups.  These scones were delicious, easy, and a hit.  In 1960, Queen Elizabeth II treated then U.S. President Dwight Eisenhower and his wife Mamie to her drop scones, a sweet also known as scotch pancakes, during their stay at Balmoral - the Queen’s Scottish residence. The first couple was such fans of the griddle cakes that the Queen sent them her personal recipe, following their return to the States.   

Earlier,  the kids made Vegetable Tempura.

The first and second graders are learning about fractional (¼, ⅓, ½) teaspoons and tablespoons. Their class is often written as ½ so when I wanted to write half and wrote it ½ they thought it was the one two cup!  

We read a new book, The Grapes Grow Sweet: A Child's First Family Grape Harvest, written by Lynne Tuft and Illustrated by Tessa DeCarlo. For the first time, four-year-old Julian is old enough to take part in the grape harvest on his family's vineyard. Through Julian's perspective, The Grapes Grow Sweet offers a glimpse of growing up on a family vineyard in wine country.  The reader follows the development of the grape from bloom to harvest, and views up close the animal and plant life of the vineyard. In this session of the Farm to Book program, children will have an opportunity to review and reflect on the previous month’s book while tasting and sharing something they remember, tasted, or learned. Children may also choose to share something they wrote in their Farm to Book journal the previous month. We read the book to the children and they participated in a tasting of two kinds of grape juice and compared and contrasted the differences. They helped fill out a Venn Diagram to organize their observations.  Photo: Students reflecting on their lesson.

Third Graders baked corn tortillas, banana pancakes, rye bread, and scones.  We have been reading about corn.

They enjoyed tasting the sprouts growing in my room.  We sprouted corn kernels, nasturtium seeds, sunflowers, and peas.  The third grade has some of the best students for cleaning and organizing the materials.   

The fourth/fifth graders are working on some of

the same recipes, but work nearly independently. However, like many adults, still need help with cleaning up!  

The most recent recipe that was unique to the fourth/fifth grades was couscous mixed with fresh herbs, cheese, dried fruit, and citrus. Children talked about the food groups, and what it means to eat a “balanced” diet which includes nutrition, flavor, and portion size. Using couscous as the base for different flavors and textures, students sampled a variety of dried fruits, fresh herbs and vegetables as well as lemon, fresh cheese and olive oil and decide which ingredients to add to their serving of grains to create a balanced dish including varied flavors, textures, and nutrients.  Children reviewed activities and ideas from Lesson Four and discuss how they may have made or tried elements of the recipe at home.

Children participated in a guided tasting of the ingredients in a selected recipe. They used descriptive language to communicate taste, texture, and share other reactions to what they eat.  They identified the different food groups of each of the selected ingredients and how combining these different elements can create a healthy, complete and balanced plate. Children worked together to follow the selected recipe and then sat together to enjoy their food. While eating they were encouraged to talk about how the taste and textures of the individual ingredients may have changed when mixed together in a recipe.

Queen Elizabeth's Drop Scones

Ingredients (enough for 16 people)

4 teacups (2 cups) flour

4 tablespoons caster sugar

2 teacups (1 cup) milk

2 whole eggs

2 teaspoons baking soda

3 teaspoons cream of tartar

2 tablespoons melted butter   

Beat eggs, sugar and half the milk together, add flour, and mix well together adding remainder of milk as required, also baking soda and cream of tartar, fold in the melted butter.

Batter is dropped into a pan by the spoonful and flipped when bubbles start to appear on the surface.

Designer Vanessa Lemonides,
Sep 29, 2016, 1:57 PM