This week we had another fantastic parent lunch or really a parent breakfast. Thank you to all those who came and contributed food items and their time. As a teacher, I always become slightly nervous when parents come into class, however the students love it when their parents come into school and they have the opportunity to show off. Not only do students enjoy it but parental involvement in school has been shown to lead to better academic progress for students.
Ongoing research shows that family engagement in schools improves student achievement, reduces absenteeism, and restores parents’ confidence in their children’s education. Students with involved parents or other caregivers earn higher grades and test scores, have better social skills, and show improved behavior.
Becoming active in a school’s parent group is an important way to increase involvement. Involvement also encompasses:
The most significant type of involvement is what parents do at home. By monitoring, supporting and advocating, Parents can be engaged in ways that ensure that their children have every opportunity for success. There are many ways parents can do this but of the more important ones (in my opinion) are;
Be a role model for learning.
Pay attention to what your child loves.
Practice what your child learns at school.
Set aside time to read together.
Connect what your child learns to everyday life.
Connect what your child learns to the world.
Help your child take charge of his learning.
Don’t over-schedule your child.
This week we also continued making our planets. With the base made it is time to start adding color. We tried adding some glitter into the paint to see if it would give the planets a bit of a sparkle when the paint dries. Next task is to add the rings and any other details needed.
After the success and enjoyment that creating the bottle rockets gave us I had (what I thought) to be a great idea of creating our own 3D model solar system. Using balloons and paper mache. At PNA, we encourage students to take risks and make mistakes, to expand their comfort zone and grow. It is easy to think that taking risks and having the courage to take risks revolves around big, daunting things such as rock climbing or bungee jumping. However that is not always the case, for some, myself included they would happily climb a mountain before....
For some children and students it is similar. Some students would happily climb on stage and sing but become shy and nervous about answering a question in math. For some students coming to school is a new and scary experience and a challenge For some, raising their hand to answer a question in front of their peers is out of their comfort zone and requires lots of courage, for some even sticking your hands in a bowl of sticky glue and not being afraid to get messy is uncomfortable, scary and out of their comfort zone. However by giving students opportunities to explore and push their boundaries in a safe and encouraging environment, allows each child to individually expand and grow and develop. Opportunities such as field trips, science experiments, crafting and more, means students develop not just academically but as an individual as well.
So when we stick our hands in the bowl of glue, (and partially destroy the classroom) we are not just getting messy and having fun, we are constantly growing and developing be it creatively, socially or academically.
This week we also celebrated 100 days of school. We spent an hour in the gym taking part in various activities revolving around the number 100 to commemorate all that the students have achieved and the hard work they have been putting in during their time at school.
Last week we also had our annual Brown Bag celebration. Students are encouraged to come up and show off any talent they might have. It can be daunting standing up in front of your peers and being the center of attention and requires courage and confidence in yourself to be able to perform. However, Madeleine was brave enough to get on stage and demonstrate her skills with a recorder.
At PNA we strive to encourage students to take risks and grow. We aim to have students go from 'I'm too scared to try' to, ' still might be scared but I'm going to have a go anyway and I will be supported if I make a mistake.'
Students also were given the opportunity to learn about another person who took risks and who encouraged the country as a whole to grow during our annual MLK Jr. assembly and day of service. They can see how having confidence and belief in yourself not only allows you to accomplish great things but also encourages those around you as well.
Back in the classroom as part of our current project on Space we have been discussing gravity and how astronauts get to the international space station. We watched an exciting video of astronauts on the ISS and the launch of a space shuttle and discussed how it has to overcome gravity to escape into space. When I suggested we conduct our own experiments and make our own chemical reactions to cause explosions to defeat gravity and make our own rockets to launch there was a lot of enthusiasm. But first we had to collect bottles to use and design and then create our own Bottle Rockets!
After we had made our bottle rockets the next step was to gather the ingredients we needed to make our chemical reaction and explosion that would allow us to defeat gravity! For this experiment we used white vinegar and baking soda. The class was tasked with determining the best ratios to use to get their rocket the highest. Would more vinegar get it higher? Or more powder? Was it best to fill the whole bottle or only half or only a little bit of vinegar? How fast does the chemical reaction take place? How tight do we want to plug the opening? These were all questions we asked and tested.
The first few attempts unfortunately did not get the best results we wanted, but the more we tested and tried different things the better results we got. We nearly managed to get one stuck on the school roof!
Unfortunately I did not manage to get a video of the experiment as I as busy getting covered in vinegar! However, kudos to Alexandra who took on the challenge of being fast enough to create her own 'powder bomb', put it in the vinegar, put the rubber stopper in and turn it over ready to launch all before the chemical reaction took place and vinegar exploded all over her. We definitely had a lot of fun and learned something in the process. The 4th and 5th graders were also very impressed and wanted to stay and watch us setting off our rockets rather then go back to class!
Ms. Tuomi has over five years experience in ASD, where she taught first and fifth grade classrooms. An avid skier, Ms. Tuomi is a Magna Cum Laude graduate of Alaska Pacific University’s Bachelor of Arts in K-8 Education.