Yellow Band: Our Exploration into Seed is Growing and So Are Our NaNoWriMo Novels

It’s amazing to think that we have completed our first arc, are already two weeks into our exploration of Seed, and have launched into NaNoWriMo.

We began the arc by exploring the idea of seed and plant as food. The grocery store and the farmer’s market both provided perfect locations for scavenger hunts. At the grocery store they worked to find seeds you drink, seeds that are baked into something, seeds you can spread, seeds with caffeine, seeds in a can, and many more ways to consume or use seeds. The farmer’s market gave them a place to search out seeds, roots, stems, leaves, flowers, and fruit of all kinds. Not only did we search out these plants parts, but we bought a representative of each (seeds-corn, roots-carrot, stem-celery, leaves-lettuce, flowers-squash blossoms, fruit-tomatoes), split up into groups to study and dissect them, shared our learning with each other, and then created and enjoyed a delicious salad out of them.

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In the first week we also took a closer look at seeds through the dissection of corn kernels and peas. We observed the differences between the two types of seeds: monocots (one cotyledon – corn) and dicots (two cotyledons – peas). We studied and researched their various parts, learning about their functions.

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Week two took us into the launch of NaNoWriMo, Slide Ranch, and self-watering planters. The creative juices have been flowing and the Yellow Band has been begging to stay in from park to continue working on their novels everyday. There are talking berries, an ant named Snail and a snail named Ant, kings and princesses, and a bunch of newts all named George. They are constantly supporting each other, helping one another brainstorm plot twists and character names. Sneaking a peak at their stories whenever I can is the highlight of my day.

Yellow band NaNoWriMo launch day!

Yellow band NaNoWriMo launch day!

Yellow band NaNoWriMo launch day!

Yellow band NaNoWriMo launch day!

Yellow band NaNoWriMo launch day!

Yellow band NaNoWriMo launch day!

Our trip to Slide Ranch took us to a working farm where we milked a goat, saw a whale in the distance, fed chickens and learned about their egg laying, played in the “fennel forest” and ate fennel “gum,” and relaxed in the vegetable garden while listening to the book A Seed is Sleepy.

Slide Ranch

Slide Ranch

Slide Ranch

Slide Ranch

Slide Ranch

Slide Ranch

Slide Ranch

Slide Ranch

As a way to create an observation nursery in our band space, we built self-watering planters out of recycled plastic food containers. The planters were created by drilling holes in the bottom of a smaller container and threading yarn or string through them. The smaller container was then slowly filled with soil, as to make sure the strings or yarn were spread throughout, and then seeds were planted. The larger bottom container was filled with water before placing the smaller container and its lower dangling strings or yarn into it. The goal is for the water to travel up the yarn or string and seep out into the soil, slowly self-watering the plant. We will continue to observe and track the growth of our plants throughout the arc.

Creating self-watering planters

Creating self-watering planters

Creating self-watering planters

Creating self-watering planters

Creating self-watering planters

Creating self-watering planters

Orange Band: Seed, Week 2

We are in the groove. I love looking through my photos from a whole week because I get to remember all the good work we did!

We started out by building some foundational knowledge about seeds, flowers and pollinators. Kiddos have expressed the most interest in the idea of symbiosis, or the mutually beneficial relationship between plants and creatures.

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Emilio and Oscar loved researching bees and butterflies together!

We kept up with routines like math and literacy skill building time. We had to reorder our number line after it got blown off our table by a lovely ocean breeze, and we started talking about symmetry. Kiddos have also jumped into NaNoWriMo work! It is so exciting to hear about their story ideas, and help them sculpt them into a finished product.

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Oscar and Tesla working on making symmetric designs using pattern blocks.

 

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Sadie carefully plotting out the sequence of her story.

We went on a great field trip to Slide Ranch! This beautiful working farm was a great place for us to go on a nice hike, talk about the interdependence between creatures and plants, and pretend we were bees for a bit. Thank you to our instructor, Jordan River for her patient guidance, action- and info-packed learning! It was great the way she encouraged us to get dirty and learn something new.

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Who wants a shot of fresh goat milk right into their mouth?!

 

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It’s so important to go with the flow of kids’ silliness! Here we are acting out a goat’s multiple-stomached digestive system. Don’t forget about those last few steps: some energy becomes milk, and the rest gets pooped out!

What a week; on to the next one!

Orange Band: Seed, Week 1

On to the next one!

This week, we kept up with our routines and started a new exploration together: SEED. We even got out of the school a few times!

We had literacy workshop featuring writing in shaving cream, playing Boggle, and reflection journalling.

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Sadie and Emilio practicing letter formation by making long smooth strokes in shaving cream.

 

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Everyone played Boggle together, and wrote the words we saw in the dice.

We have also been talking about NaNoWriMo. we’re getting ready by thinking about what we would like to write our stories about, and talking about elements of stories. We’ll be writing graphic novels, maybe with some help from a pro!

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Emilio doodling along to our reading of James and the Giant Peach, by Roald Dahl. As we read, we are noticing the vivid descriptions Dahl uses to bring the setting to life.

 

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On Thursday, Nathan read us one of his favorite books, The Widow’s Broom, by Chris Van Alsburg. As he read, we talked about the characters in the book–the widow, the broom, the witch, and the neighboring families. We talked about how stories must have characters, but characters don’t have to be people, and authors develop characters through dialogue, plot events, and descriptions.

We also took the next step in our numberline math project. Last week, kiddos practiced writing numbers, and also built some familiarity with multiples of 2, 5 and 10 by drawing a giant hopscotch outside the school. This week, we talked about the strategies we used to recognize these multiples, then got started working on a numberline for our bandspace.

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Sadie worked really hard, with the help of her friend Gita, to build fluent recognition of multiples of 2. We noticed as we worked that multiples of 10 would be the numbers that are already marked as both 2s and 5s.

We’re really hit the ground running for our next arc topic, Seed. This week we went for a walk around the neighborhood hunting for seeds, went on a seed scavenger hunt at the grocery store, started reading a great story about a boy and a giant seed, went to the library to get lots of books about seeds, and were shown how to dissect seeds by students form the Green Band.

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Sadie found lots of seeds in the spice aisle!

 

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Oscar and Emilio sit next to our stack of seed books for scale.

 

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Zev helps Oscar and Emilio open up bean pods, then dissect the dicot bean seeds inside.

So far, this arc is delicious!

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