Archive for the ‘Elementary’ Category

No way. The hundred is there.

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Billie admires the first stanza of Loris Malaguzzi’s poem, The Hundred Languages of Children.  She knows this stanza well, as she proudly points to the word “hundred” and tells me, “This first part of the poem is my favorite.” Billie, along with her peers, has embarked on a profound journey to uncover the deep meaning of this poem, having already learned that Malaguzzi was a teacher who lived in Italy in a city called Reggio Emilia, and that he wrote this poem as he wanted the whole world to know what he thought about children.  As Billie studies words in the first stanza, she softly reads them out loud to herself:

“The child
is made of one hundred.
The child has
a hundred languages
a hundred hands
a hundred thoughts
a hundred ways of thinking
of playing, of speaking.”

Later on that day, KMS Atelierista Alden and I asked Billie and her peers, “What kind of school do you think Malaguzzi wanted to create for children?

Billie replied by drawing this picture:

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She elaborated by explaining, “Malaguzzi wanted to create a nice school that kids could have fun in and enjoy the free time and also the things that they had to learn and they don’t even notice. There might be something they don’t want to do and the teachers turn it funner and they turn it different and they turn it fun so they don’t even notice they’re learning.”

Here is a link to the full poem by Loris Malaguzzi:

http://www.innovativeteacherproject.org/reggio/poem.php

 

 

 

 

 

My Dream for the World

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Pre-K have been discussing fairness, a topic that is part of their everyday routine. They were introduced to the idea of constitutional rights for all people, through developing an understanding of the diversity of our world. With the celebration of Martin Luther King Jr’s birthday we discussed the awareness of social justice within the classroom as well as in the community. We investigated many influential people such as Martin Luther King Jr., Coretta Scott King, Harvey Milk, and Rosa Parks. Along with reading books the Pre-K class has incorporated the art of music to correlate with the idea of peace and love. Maria Luna, director of the Spanish program, introduced the song “Barquito De Papel” by Mexican composer and singer Jose-Luis Orozco, (Little Paper Boat). This a beautiful song that speaks about spreading the hope of creating friendships across the world.

We spoke about the KMS’s core value Honoring our Relationships. We believe that building compassionate and trusting relationships is the foundation of a safe learning environment.  Strong bonds between children, teachers, administrators and parents all contribute toward creating a space where each person is valued and respected as an equal member of the community.

Dr. King was the catalyst for the changes we see today in society. Integrated classrooms, buses, restrooms, as well as the ability for people of all races to enjoy movies, church, parks, and communities together are all thanks to the efforts and leadership of Dr. King. Teaching children about these accomplishments as well as introducing them to the history of Dr. King and the Civil Rights Movement gives them a foundation for honoring values that will carry them into their future.

The children illustrated their concepts of civil rights, diversity, justice and equality after reading My Dream of Martin Luther King by Faith Ringgold. Dr. King’s powerful speech I Have a Dream laid the foundation for the Civil Rights Movement. Pre-K reflected on what it means to be considerate of others and have equal opportunity to be their true self, full of hopes and dreams for a better tomorrow. Students drew pictures of a wish or dream they have for the future of our world:

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“The white people getting to sit on the bus and black people can’t. My dream is for the world to be peaceful and have justice” – Mahiti, age 5

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“This is Rosa Parks, on a bus and someone is telling her, “I don’t like you! Get off my bus!” That’s why I want to be a Super Hero and help people!” – Willa, Age 4

The Life and Art of Diego Rivera

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Diego Rivera is one of the most important Mexican muralists of all time. Rivera’s style is unique. In 1940 he was commissioned to paint a large scale fresco by the organizers of the Golden Gate International Exposition on Treasure Island in the San Francisco Bay Area. He painted the masterpiece called “Unión de la Expresión artística del Norte y Sur de este Continente,” commonly known as the “Pan American Unity” and he included himself and his wife Frida Kahlo in the mural. It is definitely one of the greatest works by Rivera in the United States.

As part of the KMS Spanish Program the Upper Elementary children have been studying, observing and admiring Rivera’s masterpiece. The students had the opportunity to see his work in person at the City College SF campus. Afterwards, all the students shared their inspiration by creating their own mural-inspired artwork and by sharing their thoughts and reflections with each other about the artist’s work.

“I think the mural is like from the future and from the old times. I think it’s so cool and inspiring.” -Rio, 3rd GradeIMG_3616

"I think that Diego's art has a lot of detail and when he paints, he paints himself, his wife or people he knows. I think he does that to make it interesting. The mural makes me feel happy." - Caroline

“I think that Diego’s art has a lot of detail and when he paints, he paints himself, his wife or people he knows. I think he does that to make it interesting. The mural makes me feel happy.” –  Caroline, 2nd Grade                                                                        

"The mural is very creative. I feel like it is a giant big family. It makes me feel very creative myself. Next time I want to draw the Feathered Serpent because when Diego Rivera painted the mural he put a lot of effort in it." -Violet

“The mural is very creative. I feel like it is a giant big family. It makes me feel very creative myself. Next time I want to draw the Feathered Serpent because when Diego Rivera painted the mural he put a lot of effort in it.” -Violet, 1st Grade                                                                                                              

"The mural is very interesting because there are a lot of different things going on at the same time. I'm amazed and I can't believe that Diego Rivera painted the mural. If he made one mistake, he had to wait until the mural dried to take out the plaster and then paint over it again." -Noah

“The mural is very interesting because there are a lot of different things going on at the same time. I’m amazed and I can’t believe that Diego Rivera painted the mural. If he made one mistake, he had to wait until the mural dried to take out the plaster and then paint over it again.” -Noah, 1st Grade                        

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We finalized the field trip by visiting the Cabeza Olmeca at the CCSF courtyard.

The Beauty of Partner Reading

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At every moment of the school day, one will observe that every child embodies the KMS values – The child being a competent citizen of the world; the child showing awareness of the environment; the child displaying sincere care for his/her relationships; and the child learning through hands-on exploration.

One of many ways that we incorporate academics into these values is through partner reading and story-telling. The Upper Elementary students have taken leadership in reading their “Just Right” books to the Kindergarteners. Not only does this relationship-building process foster confidence in the older students, it also reinforces the reading skills they are practicing as they aspire toward fluency. By the same token, the Kindergarteners get to build important reading skills through active listening, asking questions, and making inferences.

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Tallulah reads to Hazel and Presley.

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Niko proudly displays her competency as she reads to Lorenzo.

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Abril explores one of Esther’s Just Right books from her book bin while Adelia listens to Esther read.

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Ruby and Eva share the bean bag while Ruby reads aloud from her book.

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Billie shares one of her favorite non-fiction books with Cyrus.

Bee Blog, Un Blog Sobre Las Abejas

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The study of bees in Pre-K this spring is an example of a KMS project that uses real-world learning and the interests of children to really engage with a topic and our environment. Please click here to read an in-depth look at this project (PDF, 6 Pages). 

KMS Declares World Peace!

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KMS 5th Grader Steve participating in the World Peace Game

Click here to read more about this amazing simulation! (PDF, 3 Pages)

Putting music to the Spirit of Cool Camp

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Photo Credit to Cisco Wallace

Cisco (third grade) snapped this photo of Niko, Caroline, and myself during the week of Cool Camp as we collaborated to uphold a long-held KMS tradition of writing songs about Cool Camp. After bidding the Cool Campers farewell, I declared to the rest of the children, “As of this moment, KMS is Cool School for the rest of the week.”

I invited anyone who wanted to join me in writing a Cool Camp / Cool School song and Caroline and Niko signed up. From 9:00am to noon, it was as if Caroline (first grade), Niko (kinder), and I were in a rockstar band recording tunes inside of Studio KMS. With a single guitar, two kid song-writers, and a fabulous photographer, we began assembling the musical pieces to a ballad that would eventually find its way to the top of the Cool-Camp/Cool-School song charts. Indeed, we can all happily say that “Cool Camp, Cool School, We Love You” – will go down in history as one of the greatest Cool Camp/Cool School Songs ever written.

As I reflect on the experience of writing this song, I recall the determination and joyful willingness to persevere. I would often ask the girls if they wanted to take a break, do something else, and come back with a fresh head. The answer was always “no.”   “We don’t need a break, let’s just get through it and finish this song!” Caroline would say, along with Niko’s agreement. This shared commitment to never give up, to work together and to push on through until the end is indicative of the kind of attitude the students of KMS cultivate every day.

Long Live the Spirit of Cool Camp and Cool School!

Cool Camp, Cool School, We Love You

by Niko, Caroline, and Allen

Cool Camp, Cool Camp, we love you

We’re having fun how bout you?

We hope you get to swim

Enjoy the sun, and hiking

We hope you like roasting marshmallows too

We’re all friends at Cool School

But we’re also friends at Cool Camp

Wherever you are, we always love you

Cool School, Cool School, we love you

We hope you learn ‘cause we’re learning too

Everybody has freedom

Bring back something for the museum

And remember to leave the campsite clean

We’re all friends at Cool School

But we’re also friends at Cool Camp

Wherever you are, we always love you

The day you left

We missed you so much

But we still got through the day

Our field trip was fun

But something went wrong

The bee dude decided not to come

We’re all friends at Cool School

But we’re also friends at Cool Camp

Wherever you are, we always love you

 

Alemany Farm Field Trip

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Alemany Farm field trip

(click for larger PDF version)

Winter Citrus Project

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CITRUS SEASON!
Exploring citrus through the five senses, painting, and
Spanish song. A collaboration by Kim, Maria Luna, and the KMS Pre-K

Click here for the full documentation (PDF, 5 Pages).

100th Day of School Night!

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Last night the students of the Elementary Program and their families gathered together at KMS to celebrate the 100th Day of School Night! Every year we use the 100th Day of School to celebrate numbers and games, and this year the students invited their parents to share home-made games and presentations on the concept of time.