Kindergarten Preview

This afternoon, our PKRG class got the chance to visit Ms. Mohlmann’s kindergarten class! The children got a chance to hear a story from the teacher and pair up in small groups to have a kindergartener read to them. They got to ask some questions about kindergarten life as well. We will visit one more class this week as well as have lunch in the cafeteria one day. This way, the students can feel a little more comfortable and confident going in to kindergarten next year!

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Taking Care of Living Things

Our PK students have been learning so much about what living things need in order to survive. Ask any of your children and they can tell you that living things need air, water, food, etc. During the past couple of weeks, the kids have been caring for silkworms in our classroom. Everyday the children will supervise each other in cleaning the home for the silkworms, throwing out the excrement and old leaves, adding new leaves and watching them grow! They’ve also been taking care of their own plants in the classroom. We hope that this will provide an early opportunity for them to learn to treat all living things with respect. They are all doing a fantastic job with their assignments. Great work!

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Trip to the Pet Store and Veterinarian

Going along with the third trimester’s Project Based Learning- Living and Non-Living Organisms, our PKRG class went to a couple of local pet stores and a veterinarian clinic! The children have been learning about animals and their habitats, so a trip to the pet store to see live animals was exactly what we needed. We saw all kinds of pets including dogs, cats, hamsters, rabbits and even some chinchillas! Through their visit to both places, the students learned what animals need to live a healthy and happy life.

We broke off into two groups and went to two different pet stores. Mrs. Gandara’s group also went to an animal hospital adjacent to one pet store. There, they learned about how the veterinarians care for sick or injured animals. Please check out the photos of the trip below. The students will continue to learn about animals, plants and their habitats for the next few weeks. Please feel free to talk with your children or read some books about these subjects. They’d be happy to share with you the things that they are learning!

The following are topics of conversation or areas of interest to read about:
 Excitement  to classify living and nonliving things
 Share about  the characteristics of living things
 Read and share that living things grow, change, and reproduce
 Talk about  different animals and their different environments or habitats
 Through games categorizes living things using appearance and behavior
 Share that that living thing go through a growth cycle

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Visiting Authors

At SAS, we have a spring tradition to invite internationally renowned authors to pay a visit to our students and share their work. This happens at every division of SAS, that is, the elementary, middle and high schools.  In preparation for their visit, classroom teachers often prepare an author study.  As a parent you may ask what an author study is?  Glad you asked… the study of an author includes reading as many books written (and illustrated) by the author, observing the themes in the books, discovering the genre of the different books, learning about about the life of the author and finally reflecting on why as a reader enjoyment is gleaned from reading the books written by the author.

This week the elementary school had the pleasure of hosting two authors. Todd Parr spent his time with the lower elementary grades while Awame Alexander spent his visit with the higher elementary grades. Our library and hallways were filled with children’s artwork relating to their books and the themes of those books.

During an assembly and small group visits, Todd Parr read several of his books to students. The children particularly enjoyed, It’s Okay to Make Mistakes and It’s Okay To Be Different.  In between readings he shared about himself some things about his personal life and skills that influence his writing and illustrating of his books.  Mr. Parr shared that he lives in Berkley, California with his three dogs. He includes his dogs in the illustrations of his books. Children learned that he likes to eat tacos and would like to open a taco restaurant someday. He writes and illustrates his books using a computer program that he designed. Todd Parr works with his editor, who he said is like a teacher. The editor sends his work back to him when his writing and illustrations need to be changed. He encouraged students to listen to their teachers when they ask you to edit/redo your work. He said that this helps students become better writers and prepares them so that they do not feel discouraged when they have redo assignments.

Todd Parr has written about forty books. His books are about feelings, life experiences, family and friends and caring for the Earth. He spoke about how he comes up with ideas for his book writing. He shared that he gets his ideas concerning what to write about by considering things he likes, what he observes others doing or needing to do. He also writes to help others learn how to be happy and get along with others.

We encourage your family to begin recording the titles of the books read and enjoyed.  Then see if there is a pattern in the selections, be it author, theme-story line, genre or author. These books can serve your child as mentor books to get ideas for writing his/her own books.  Your family can author a book together.  Here is a link for some suggested books that can spur you on your journey to learning about authors through their works as well as serve as inspirations to writing your own books.

Ruth Gandara


Learning geography through the use of books, songs, puzzles and walking field trips around SAS has been a very joyful and productive way to learn about maps. Children have learned that the maps are drawing of places, they are birds-eye views of any place. Furthermore,  the students have learned the purpose for including a key & compass. As they drew and painted a map of the world they learned that the Earth consists of water and land. Students have learned to name and identify the location of the seven continents by singing a song about the continents. The PK-PR students have collaborated in painted some of the different landscapes we find on Earth, mainly the desert, the forest, the beach and the mountains.

Singing the Continents Song

The children have enjoyed learning to name and identify the seven continents through a song.  Watch the video to see and enjoy how the children point to the continents as they sing the name of each of them as well as demonstrate their knowledge of the general location for each continent.



The Importance of Healthy Snacks for Children

Proper nutrition is important as kids grow, and snack time should be just as healthy and delicious as breakfast, lunch and dinner. Instead of reaching for something packaged and processed, parents can make the best of this opportunity by creating healthy and delicious snacks that will keep kids (and their bellies) happy and full until dinner.

 Snack time accounts for about 10-15% of kids’ daily calories, so why no take the opportunity to include fruit and veggies? Adding a (healthy) dip is a great way to get kids more excited about eating fruit and vegetables. Hummus and plain yogurt that contains live cultures are great options.

 Healthy snacks are an important part of helping children develop healthy eating habits and a regular eating schedule. Many nutritionists recommend eating five small meals a day than three large ones. Well-portioned snacks between meals can help children make a habit of grazing throughout the day, and encouraging nutritious snacks will allow them to develop a healthy relationship with food. They also learn that healthy food can be tasty food at an early age, building a foundation for healthy eating habits as adults.

 Healthy snacking also provides a great opportunity for kids and parents to spend time together. Allowing kids to choose and make their own food is a great learning experience, and parents can make it a lot of fun! Portion control is also a vital component of healthy snacking. Younger children require less calories.

 Remember that while healthy snacking is great, everyone needs an indulgence, especially kids. Don’t make treats entirely off limits, it will only make children crave them more. It’s OK to go out for ice cream or have a cookie after dinner, and by making these food accessible (in limited quantities,) children will be more willing to eat healthy snacks.  With a little creativity, healthy snacks can become a main ingredient in every child’s daily meal plan.

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Writing about Our Winter Vacation

Welcome back from your awesome and memorable vacation. The children arrived to school sharing what they did with their family while on vacation. In preparation for writing about their vacation we made lists about: places traveled, modes of transportation used, accommodations-homes, hotels, and the different landscapes visited and enjoyed. Each student was guided to retell how their vacation began and  to share their highlights. They then drew pictures to illustrate their vacations. Finally they were invited to include text to their illustrations. It was so exciting to see the children’s face light up with pride as they shared their book with the teachers and peers.  Feel free to drop by to read these exciting books authored by our children.


Dear PK -RG Families,
Welcome back from your vacations! We are happy that everyone returned happy, rested and full of memories.
Of course, with the holidays many children were gifted a variety of toys. With the release of the new Star Wars movie and perhaps the holidays that brought gifts to some, there has been an increase in inappropriate items being brought to school. We have had Lightsabers, toys, joke items that can shock, and even what may have been an eye brow trimmer brought to school.
Please monitor what your child may have in backpacks, pockets, and in general the choices they are making of items that they want to bring.  More importantly, we encourage having a family discussion about leaving personal items at home unless there is a teacher invitation to bring items for projects or to share.  We hold in high regard our student’s safety and happiness while in school. Thank you for your support.
With warm regards.
Ruth Gandara

Scientists in the Kitchen- Carving Pumpkins-Making French Fries

PKRG students have been learning about materials, what they are, their names and identifying them in classroom and around the school. Students have made special visits to the SAS Elementary School Kitchen to find what materials the utensils in the kitchen are made of. The students have observed that utensils are made of different  materials as well as learned that the materials selected for each utensil can better serve their purpose as well as be efficient when preparing food.  An example, of this learning can be observed as they first tried to carve a pumpkin with a plastic knife and a butter knife.  Students decided that a metal shape knife is more efficient and practical to carve through the hard and thick skin of a pumpkin. When preparing the potatoes for french fries students experienced that though a metal spoon is strong it was not sharp to peel or cut the potatoes. What students have concluded is that there are different utensils to help get every job done efficiently. When they made French Fries they decided to use a potato peeler to remove the peel, a metal butter knife to cut out the rectangular shape potato, and a metal frying pan to fry the fries. Materials are the things from nature that  people use to made the things they need. Enjoy the photos!

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