— Kindergarten turkey tango (video)

We are thankful for our wonderful community, students, teachers and families — Happy Thanksgiving!


 

— The Power of Role Models: Share Everything

Kindergarten Lunch with the Head of School Tekakwitha

Kindergarten Lunch with the Head of School Tekakwitha Gratitude Role ModelsKindergarten Lunch with the Head of School Tekakwitha Role ModelsKindergarten Lunch with the Head of School Tekakwitha Role ModelsThe first message in Robert Fulghum’s bestseller, All I Really Need To Know I Learned in Kindergarten is “share everything”. I experienced this lesson first-hand last Friday whilst eating lunch with our Kindergartners.

I arrived in Mrs. Ortiz’s class as the pupils were readying themselves for lunch. I sat on the chair that was placed for me in the middle of the rug and picked up Beyond the Pond to read to the pupils as they ate. Before I could open it, one of them approached me and gave me a fortune cookie, saying, “My mum told me to give this to you for lunch.” “What a sweet gesture,” I said, to squeals from the children of “open it!” My fortune elicited an immediate grin, “You will receive wealth and jewellery.” I could buy into that fortune.

I opened the book; however, before I could begin to read, without a word, another pupil gave me a green grape, then another gave me half of a strawberry and then one by one each child gave me something for lunch. I feasted on carrots, a cucumber slice, a chocolate wafer and a slightly chewed piece of pita bread. “I have received my wealth,” I thought, “the fortune cookie’s prediction is already coming true!”

Our programmatic strategic initiative this year is Assessments and the faculty/staff are focussing on The Power of Role Models as an institutional goal. As I walked back to my office for a meeting, I recalled that when I was growing up, the role models in my life were adults; yet, what the Kindergarteners made me appreciate is that adults too can learn life lessons from children.

That evening, as I regaled my husband with the events of my day at school, I recounted that my favourite experience all week was eating lunch with Ms Travis’ Kindergarten class on Monday and Mrs. Ortiz’s class on Friday. The pupils’ kindness was gentle, pure and done without the expectation of anything in return. I wonder though, if I was too subtle in my hints to my husband that the last part of the fortune cookie’s message is still awaiting fulfilment.

With Gratitude,

Dr. Tekakwitha M. Pernambuco-Wise
Head of School

 


 

Kindergarten Publishing Party

Parents, staff, and Fourth Grade Learning Buddies were invited into the Kindergarten classrooms on Thursday, May 5th to culminate the students’ unit on Pattern Books. It was an exciting moment for the Kindergarten authors, who spent weeks planning, writing, and publishing their books.

“In a Pattern Book, each page has ‘pattern words,’ which repeat from page to page, and also a different content word,” said Kindergarten Teacher Emily Travis. “This allows students to focus on phonetic spelling of some words, without having to worry about the rest. They learn to spell a pattern consistently such as ‘I like…’ and then focus on learning new words to complete the sentence.”

Each Kindergartener wrote and illustrated more than one Pattern Book with multiple pages about a given topic. Each book ended with a twist or different take on the pattern. The Kindergarteners chose to write about topics such as baking, cheetahs, and Pokémon, and the Publishing Party gave them the opportunity to read their books aloud to friends and family.

“After the party, we reflected on how we felt reading our published works,” said Ms. Travis. “Students said they felt excited, happy, a little scared, brave, and proud. I certainly felt proud as well.”

Kindergarten Publishing Party

Kindergarten Publishing Party

Kindergarten Publishing Party

Mindfulness: Beginning the Day with K

Mindfulness practices are an important part of social and emotional learning at Sea Crest School. To share these different lessons with you, we’re publishing a series of Lower and Middle School blog posts, beginning with Kindergarten.

Sea Crest teachers believe in the importance of mindfulness to reduce anxiety, stress, and reactivity. Rather than operating on “autopilot,” we want our students to live deeply, understand how they’re feeling, and pay careful attention to the world around them.

What is mindfulness?

Mindfulness is a state of active, open awareness. It also involves acceptance: attention to thoughts and feelings without judging whether they are “right” or “wrong” in a given moment. Studies show that practicing mindfulness reduces negative emotions, stress, and the body’s susceptibility to illness. Studies also show that teaching mindfulness in the classroom reduces behavior problems amongst students, improves their happiness levels, and increases their ability to pay attention. Teachers trained in mindfulness show lower blood pressure, higher levels of happiness, and greater compassion and empathy.

What does mindfulness look like in Kindergarten?

“Mindfulness is about stopping to notice the present moment,” says Kindergarten Teacher Emily Travis. “In Kindergarten, it’s helpful for us to have something concrete to focus on: deep breaths with our hands on our bellies, or listening to hear the end of the song of the singing bowl. It’s all about going slowly and taking a moment to slow down.”

“We work on breathing techniques to calm our minds and bodies,” says Kindergarten Teacher Helen Ortiz. “Every morning, we gather all of the energy in the room and bring our fingertips to our foreheads. We bring all that energy down from our foreheads to our center and take two deep breaths together. It’s amazing how much that calms the students. They know it’s a tool they can use whenever they want, to find their best selves when they feel out of control. I tell them that it’s the hardest thing they’ll learn all year, and they practice at home, too. Some of them have said to their parents: ‘Mom, Dad, you need to center yourself: put your fingertips on your forehead and bring it all the way down to your center.'”

What’s New in Art Class

Art at Sea CrestOur new Art Teacher, Mr. Birdsong, brings 15 years of teaching experience to Sea Crest. He is a professional cartoonist who has taught at schools in Palo Alto, Florida, and Japan. He holds a B.F.A. in Graphic Design from Howard University, and he recently published a new book called Livin’ in Japan Ain’t Easy, featuring 200 of his comic strips.

Read below for updates from Mr. Birdsong’s fall classes!

Kindergarteners are becoming comfortable with many different media, including oil pastels, watercolor, and acrylic paint. They have made abstract art and learned about primary and secondary colors.

First Graders started the year with self-portraits and have moved on to drawing oil pastel landscapes. They are learning about foreground and background and how to paint using multiple colors at the same time.

Second Graders illustrated what they might look like as animals. Using a chart of facial expressions, they worked on drawing six different portraits, coloring each one in a Pop Art style.

Third Graders are learning to draw 3D geometric shapes so that they can create realistic landscapes. They went outside to do observational drawings and are now creating fantasy landscapes from their imaginations.

Fourth Graders used mixed media to create self-portraits at the beginning of the year. They then designed their own anthropomorphic animals and drew them from different points of view. They have used this design to sculpt their characters out of clay and create color illustrations of their characters interacting with humans.

Fifth Graders drew illustrations for Coastside Land Trust seed packets, which were sold as a fundraiser during the Pumpkin Festival. For their next project, they created colorful self-portraits on transparency paper using photographs and acrylic paint.

Middle Schoolers enjoyed two Art Explorations during first trimester. In Mixed Media Painting, they painted on canvas boards and used a drip technique and small objects to create colorful textures. In order to create paintings with raised elements, they used papier-mâché and foil. In Visual Storytelling, students learned techniques for laying out a comic page and practiced how to tell stories through art. They used materials such as bristol board paper, non-photo blue pencils, Pigma Micron pens, oil pastels, and colored pencils.

 

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