March 7, 2018

Dear Families,

Another week has flown by, and I can barely believe we’re already into March!  School begins to speed past us as we readily approach some big end of the year excitement.  Thank you to all of you for enduring two straight weeks of field trips, a rainy morning at Trader Joe’s (with an awesome guide), and lots and lots of emails. We have been DOING a lot here in Kindergarten, and it’s exciting to see the engagement from the class as they gain independence and skills.

This week we will turn our attention to our investigation of Ponds as part of a school wide study of our local watershed. We visited our school’s pond last week in Life Lab, and learned about its history and role in our community. In the coming weeks, we will learn about the life in ponds, what the needs of ponds and pond animals are, and critique the role we (as humans) play in the watershed. After Spring Break we will continue to engage in our study of community by taking a closer look at the genuine needs of the places, people, and animals that make up our community. During the month of April we will have many opportunities to meet and interview people who work or serve in different aspects of our community. As a class we will then reflect and decide upon a need we would like to further investigate. We will then develop a plan to best meet this need and take action. So. Exciting. We have also not forgotten about offshore drilling! We are still forming opinions, and hoping that what we learn about water, our local watershed, and some native animals will help inform our opinions as this discussion deepens. I will also keep them up to date on any “actions” that are made.

If you want to read further, I wanted to spend a minute to talk about patience. If not, please peek down at the end to see some important dates. This time of year, and in your child’s stage of development this can be a constant reminder of humanity. It is also a topic that can open up a lot of larger conversations about technology, what we have available at our fingertips, boredom etc.

“How long does THAAAAT take?!” While these words make me smile a bit, it is a reminder that being patient can be tricky at times but it is a very important skill that cannot be overlooked. We are continually working on building our ‘patience muscles’ while at school.  Whether it’s giving everyone thinking time before sharing an idea, waiting for everyone to be served before we eat during shared snack, giving another student time to finish talking with the teacher before sharing their story (not interrupting), to stretching out a tricky and new word in writing workshop, our young friends need to actually practice how to be patient. As an educator and adult, I feel it is important to actually teach how to be patient now more than ever since our seemingly ‘on demand’ lives make it so easy to get everything when we want it.

While I was at the Learning and the Brain Conference a few years back, I was reminded of a fascinating series of studies known as the ‘Marshmallow Experiment’ that was led by Psychologist Walter Mischel during his time at Stanford University.  The purpose was to study delayed (or deferred) gratification in 4 to 6 year old students.  In these studies, a child was given a choice between a small reward provided immediately (which they could eat) or two small rewards if they waited for a short amount of time (approximately 15 minutes or so). During this time the child would be left in the room on their own with the reward (marshmallow, pretzel, or cookie) on the table. Mischel observed that some children would “cover their eyes with their hands or turn around so that they can’t see the tray, others start kicking the desk, or tug on their pigtails, or stroke the marshmallow as if it were a tiny stuffed animal,” while others would eat the marshmallow as soon as the researchers left.  (Mischel, Walter; (1972). Journal of Personality and Social Psychology) What I find most interesting is that in the follow- up studies, Mischel found surprising correlations between the results of the marshmallow test and the success of the children many years later.

While many studies have continued to explore what this looks like in terms of brain activity as well as the factors that influence a child’s ability to defer gratification (such as whether or not the adult, ‘the tester,’ was able to follow through with prior ‘promises of rewards’ or had made false promises prior to the test), I found it worth sharing with you. This is also NOT to say that if your child would instantly take the marshmallow they WON’T be successful adults 😉 This is to point out the importance of strengthening our patience muscles, the good it does for our brains, and how it can help us in life. It’s constant work (even for us adults).

Alright… Onto some nuts and bolts…


  • Sight (aka “snap”) Words: the, of, a, to, you, was, are, they, from, have
  • Specials: Music, PE, Life Lab, Disco, and Art
  • Writing Workshop: Opinion Books: Using our written words to help make the world better.
  • Numbers 1-20
  • Ten Frames & Number talks- 12 & 13
  • Handwriting: Lowercase letters d, b
  • Community & Ponds

Events/Save the Dates!

March 9th: First Friday 8:45am

Half Day Inservice Day. Noon Dismissal.

March 16th & 19th: No School: Parent Teacher Conferences

March 20th: Field Trip to Westlake Pond at 10:15am

March 24th: Gala! Hope to see you there!

March 29th: Ocean Day

           (School-Wide Open House to see the learning we’ve been engaging in about the watershed- You are welcome and encouraged to attend. It will be from 1-2pm)

April 2-April 6 SPRING BREAK- No school

April 13th: First Friday 8:45am

April 20th: One World Day- More information to come

May 5th: Santa Cruz Mini Maker’s Faire

May 11th: First Friday 8:45am

May 12th: Spring Concert 1pm, The Rio Theatre

May 16th: Half Day: Noon Dismissal

May 28th: Memorial Day: NO SCHOOL

June 1: First Friday 8:45am

June 4th: Kindergarten Play 9am J Mark your calendars!!

June 7th: Step Up Day 9am LAST DAY OF SCHOOL. All are welcome from 9:00-10:00 we hold a “promotion day” or Step Up day filled with singing, speeches and fun. Families come and have a great time. K-2 dismissed at 12pm. Graduation at 1pm. All are welcome but not required. Please ask me for more details as needed. More information will come as we get closer.

As always, please let me know if you have any questions!