Thursday, December 29, 2016

December Excitement in the Air (Snowflakes, too!)

Seabury School is about 200 feet above sea level, so we get pretty excited and hopeful when snow is forecast for  the higher hills of the Puget Sound area. This year we had a few flakes as we celebrated our December traditions of gift making, gift wrapping, and merrymaking including the annual lower school Snowflake Breakfast hosted by the Ladybugs and the Bumblebees

Wrapping up our gifts we made for our families--give each student a paper bag, 
throw out some ideas, make a trip to the MakerSpace and voila, one-of-a-kind gift bags.

We are so proud of our melted tissue paper candles. 
Each turns out so colorful and unique.

We found some gingerbread people buttons--score!

Thanks Mom and Dad for all you do!

One of the older students read a holiday book to us at the Snowflake Breakfast.

Mmmm, pancakes hot off the grill

A seat for each student/so many helpful parents
So much to eat!

Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow!!

Thanks to all the parents who brought food 
and helped make piles of pancakes.  
It definitely is that most wonderful time of year 
of giving and serving. 

Have a great winter break and see you next year!

Monday, December 26, 2016

MakerSpace Exploration Contraptions

After writing our "If I Were an Explorer" stories, the Navigators broke into small groups according to the type of exploration they had written about and began to work on Exploration Contraptions. 

With some big boxes, lots of MakerSpace supplies and tons of imagination, we created three different contraptions--a Wardrobe Teleporter to Narnia, a Sailboat to the ends of the earth, and a Space Craft to the edges of the galaxy and beyond. 

Entering into the world of Narnia, one must have snowflakes--just one of the many items found in the MakerSpace. 

The Wardrobe has a key card entry system, of course.

This contraption kept growing and growing. Because of the great interest in this hands-on experience, what started as a week long project became a month long project.

It took great engineering skills to get the boat's sail to stand up. 

Once the basic ship was built, it needed a bedroom, a kitchen, and a place for all the animals. 

The joy of play--such a necessary component of education!

The planning stage of the space ship

The building stage--oh, the things you can do with a big box!

The detail stage

We even thought of (and found in the MakerSpace) headlights!

The play stage--sitting at the helm of the Space Craft and entering data in his computer. 

It was a bittersweet day on the last day of 2016 when we took apart our contraptions. But we know that there are tons more things and places to explore and a whole lot of big boxes out there waiting to be transformed into something new and exciting. 

Friday, November 25, 2016

First Grade Stories: "If I Were an Explorer..."

We're published! After learning all about the who, what, where, when, why and hows of real world explorers, each Navigator came up with their own imaginative explorer and expedition. The creative juices were flowing as they told their own story, often incorporating the people, reasons and ideas from our recent studies. 
Illustration stage
Before we began, we looked at recent books we have read (Pedro's Journal, The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe and even Are You My Mother?) to get an idea how to write an engaging story. We saw how each story had an introduction, a set of problems (which we call the "oh, ohs") and a resolution. 

Here are some pages from our finished and published books!
(At the end of this blog you'll find a list of reasons why having a public place to share our work is so important.)

Part 1: Introduction

Either before we write or after we write, we give our story a title:

Introduction: Who are you?

Introduction: Where are you going/the setting?

Introduction: Why do you want to explore?

Introduction: Who are your crew mates?

Introduction: What are you bringing with you?

Introduction: How are you going to get there? 
(Stay tuned for later blog featuring our life-sized Exploration Contraptions!)

Part 2 The Problem/the "oh, ohs"
This is where the students' "voices" really stood out.

Part 3: The Resolution and Ending

The problem has not been resolved yet in this one. Stay tuned for book 2! 

All revised and illustrated and ready to share with others:

Reading to our friends 

Reading to the fifth grade Alchemists

Reading to Ms Wollum:

As you can tell by their faces, the students are pleased with their books. They worked hard through all the stages of Writer's Workshop--pre-writing, drafting, editing, typing and revising and finally publishing.

The Importance of Publishing

Having the opportunity to have others read our finished work:
  • gives students an authentic purpose for writing
  • gives them the message that they are real writers and have important things to say
  • builds self-confidence
  • dramatically impacts student literacy achievement
  • motivates and excites students
  • creates life-long readers and writers
  • and more! 

Thanks for reading these excerpts from our books!
The Navigators