All Spanish Classes
During the month of October, all students in grades PK-8 learned about the holiday Día de los Muertos in their Spanish classes. Students built an ofrenda in the breezeway by the administrative building on the Carmel campus. The ofrenda was in place during the week and included many of the traditional elements of an ofrenda, plus student artwork and photo remembrances of people that students choose to honor. All community members were invited to contribute to the ofrenda. Click here to see images of this project.

Students also were invited to enjoy samples of Pan de Muerto, or a sweet bread deeply integrated with Día de los Muertos. The bread is typically eaten with foods favored by those honored with the ofrenda or is placed on the ofrenda itself to provide those honored with the essence of the food for energy following their journey on Día de los Muertos.

If you would like to learn more about Día de los Muertos, this site is a very thorough and beautifully designed resource:

Pre-kindergarten had an hour of fun STEM experiments on Halloween inspired by a “witch’s” spellbook. Students made spooky lava lamps, witch’s brew, and floating ghosts. Ingredients needed for each experiment were cleverly altered to add to the thematic joy—the baking soda was mummy’s dust, glitter became unicorn’s sneeze, and the oil was troll drool. The class enjoyed adding the unique ingredients to our potions and saying incantations like oozel kazozal bubbly brew, as they watched potions and spells come to life. Click here for a collection of images from the pre-kindergarten classroom.

In addition to experiments conducted during October, pre-kindergarten students also spent time honoring Veterans. Kierstin Pastrana, Brody’s mom, visited the class and talked about Veterans. The class then made cards and honored family members who are Veterans by sharing pictures, making signs, and displaying them in front of the class.

Throughout the month of November, students embraced kindness and gratitude. Each day the class chose a random act of kindness for each student to complete during the day. Some acts of kindness included: asking someone how they are, saying hello to someone in the hallway at school, or offering to help mom, dad, sister, or brother with a chore at home. Students also produce daily gratitude journals. Journal prompts include what smell makes you smile, who makes you laugh, and what is your favorite comfort item.

Grade 3
Grade 3’s nature journaling skills were on display in the classroom this fall. Each student journaled and water-colored a leaf from a local big leaf maple tree. They learned the skill from professional artist and scientist John Muir Laws. Students will continue honing their skills this year as scientists and citizens observing our local community. Click here to see some maple leaf projects.

Grade 5
Grade 5 recently learned circuitry and coding to construct instruments and sound machines (mostly out of cardboard) that play sounds on their Chromebooks. Click here to view images that show their beautiful mess while building and also the visit by grade 4 students where they got to test out the instruments.

Grade 7
As an introduction to their unit on energy types and transfers, grade 7 students designed(and redesigned) rubber-band powered cars following the Engineering Design Process. They simultaneously prototyped, documented details in an engineer’s report, and created a documentary about the process with their partners. Click here to view images of their work.