Welcome to the K/1 Site

Welcome to the K/1 Site!

Below are our weekly newsletters:

Chapter 1. Monthly Newsletter

  • Honey Bunches of Notes May

    As we work through our final theme unit, My Journey Through the World, students have been learning more about weather. We have been discussing how meteorologists study weather and how weather forecasters use various tools to gather information about weather conditions and report it to the public. Students have been making their own observations of weather conditions and will talk more about how making these observations and noticing more about weather patterns can help them make choices. Students have also learned about the reason for the seasons and talked about how the position of the sun and the earth changes throughout the year which causes the seasons to change. We have also learned about the water cycle and discussed how the cycle is a pattern.

    Students are currently working in their table groups on weather reports that describes the severe weather events that their tables are named for (blizzard, hurricane, tornado, flood, etc.).  They will be making sure to include how to keep safe during these events. Make sure to join us at Curriculum Celebration to see the finished videos and all of the props that the children have been working so hard on! 

    K-1 will be taking a field trip to Argo Park on Wednesday, May 17th to help the community by pulling out invasive garlic mustard plants. We’ll be volunteering with Ann Arbor’s Natural Area Preservation Group (NAP) for a stewardship work day. We’re excited to be able to lend a hand and dedicate one of our field trips to serving the community!

  • Honey Bunches of Notes April

    To finish our third unit of this year’s theme, My Journey Through the Community, our Resource Use unit is coming to a close. As mentioned previously, this unit focuses on the environment in a variety of ways. Students were engaged in different activities including learning about compost and why composting is important, sorting through a typical bag of garbage to identify which things could have been reused, recycled, or composted, and making our own paper.

    Soon we will begin our final theme unit for the year: My Journey Through the World. During this unit students will focus on the following understandings: that learning about myself and the world helps me to see the patterns in the world and my role within it, that I can make observations to discover world patterns, and that when I see patterns in the world I can make informed choices. We will learn much more about the severe weather events that each table group is named for and what precautions should be taken for human safety. We will also be busy tracking and describing weather and learning about the four seasons.

    Our final theme poem for the year is as follows:

    My fourth journey’s through the world

    It has sun, seasons, weather, and it twirls

    There are patterns I’ll see

    If I know the world’s geography,

    Then the world can be

    The best that it can be!

  • Honey Bunches of Notes March

    In our third thematic unit of the year, “My Journey through the Community”, children will begin to learn about resource use. Social Studies and science goals for this unit include describing ways in which people modify and adapt to the environment, describing ways in which the physical environment in a place or region affects people’s lives, constructing an argument supported by evidence for how plants and animals (including humans) can change the environment to meet their needs, and communicating solutions that will reduce the impact of humans on the land, water, air, and/or other living things in the local environment.

    We will end the unit by identifying possible service-learning projects related to resource use. Service-learning is a teaching and learning strategy that integrates meaningful community service with instruction and reflection to enrich the learning experience, teach civic responsibility, and strengthen communities.

    We have been recently participating in mindfulness practice on Monday afternoons. So far, we have used our mindful ears to listen to the sound of a singing bowl and signal when it has stopped producing sound. We learned to zip ourselves up to get into a mindful posture with a straight back. We have also been practicing mindful breathing:

    • we noticed how it feels to take some slow deep breaths (holding up one finger, breathing in to “smell the flower,” breathing out to “blow out the candle”)

    • we passed the “breathing ball” around the circle (a Hoberman Sphere) and practiced breathing in when the ball expands, breathing out when the ball contracts. This amounted to about 3 minutes of mindful breathing, and the kids reflected that they felt calm and relaxed afterward.

    • we briefly noticed how our bellies rise and fall when we breathe, and we can place on hand on our bellies to take “belly breaths” to calm ourselves down when we’re upset.

  • Honey Bunches of Notes February

    As part of our Fairness Unit celebrating the work of Martin Luther King Jr. and other civil rights activists, we are reviewing the conflict resolution technique we use at school called “S-O-S.” Students are taught how to use it in the classroom and teachers help them work through the process until they are able to do it independently in most cases. If there is a conflict, students work through these steps:

    S = Story: each child takes a turn to explain their side of the story (without interruptions) to the other child. They are asked to look at the other person, to use a kind voice, a calm face, and “I-Statements.” For example, “I felt sad when you built the Lego car I built.” “I feel mad because you take those pieces every day and I wanted to use them.”

    O = Options: Both children propose options for solving the problem. For example, “You could use them tomorrow.” “You could let me have them now.” “I could give you the piece you want the most and use a different piece on my car.”

    S = Solution: They settle on a mutually agreeable solution. “Okay, you can give me that one piece I really want.”


  • Honey Bunches of Notes January

    Returning from break we will be starting our third thematic unit of the year, “My Journey through the Community.” In this unit, children will work toward developing the following understandings:

    • Learning about myself and my community helps me to see the patterns in our community and my role within it
    • I can make observations to discover patterns and when I see community patterns I can make informed choices.
    • Learning about historical patterns of unfairness and patterns of how people worked together to work for justice helps me make informed choices about how to treat others.
    • Learning about resource use and conservation helps me see patterns in how we take care of the environment that can help me make informed choices.

    We begin with a Fairness Unit, in which we read age-appropriate books about different forms of discrimination (patterns of unfairness) and the children learn how people throughout history have stood up to unfairness and gotten laws changed to make things fair for different groups of people (women, people with disabilities, people with different religious beliefs, and African Americans). The children then make the connection to how they can make sure things are fair in our own community, by using I Statements and SOS to resolve differences, and how they can stand up for justice (fairness) when they see something that is not fair. This unit provides a deeper context for the meaning and celebration of Martin Luther King, Jr. Day. 

    This unit will be followed by a Resource Use Unit in which the children will learn how people get what they need from the environment and how our actions affect the environment.

  • Honey Bunches of Notes December

    We are just beginning our next thematic unit, “My Journey Through School.” During this unit, students will be learning about how maps can show us where things are in our classroom and school, how people use maps on their journeys, what habitats are, and how plants and animals get what the need to survive from their habitats. We’ll discuss patterns students notice in our school and how learning these patterns can help to inform our choices.

    In K-1, we support a policy of limited homework. Most homework we provide is optional, however, twice a year we ask students to complete a book project with help at home. Book projects allow children to experience the joy of reading to their parent(s) or listening to a story read by their parent(s). Book projects are also designed to reinforce language arts speaking and listening standards as well as standards for reading literature that the children have been working on at school. This first book project should be completed and brought to school any day between December 19 and January 20.

  • Honey Bunches of Notes November

    In our thematic unit, “My Journey”, children are working towards understanding that learning about families helps them to see family patterns, they can make observations to discover family patterns, and that when they identify patterns in families, it can help them make informed choices.

    We recently read the book, “Me and My Family Tree” and the children were asked to create their own. We are connecting this activity to an author study of Patricia Polacco. A pattern in her family is to tell family stories. We have learned about Patricia, her family, and some of her family stories. Whenever we read one of her books, we have identified the family members using Patricia’s family tree. The children are now working in their table groups to retell one of the stories, create a diorama, and reflect on their learning about families.

    Additionally, we will be learning about heredity by exploring animal families. Through various books and activities, the children will develop the understanding that young plants and animals are alike, but not exactly like their parents, and parents and offspring have patterns in their behavior that help their offspring survive.

  • Honey Bunches of Notes October

    Journeys is our year long theme in K-1. We have four thematic units over the course of the school year which we refer to as “My Journey,” “My Journey Through School,” “My Journey Through the Community,” and “My Journey Through the World.” Throughout each thematic unit is the overarching concept of patterns in journeys. The children are working toward understanding that learning what we teach them helps them to see patterns, they can make their own observations to discover patterns, and when they discover patterns, they can make informed choices.

    We introduced the children to this year’s theme by discussing the definition of a journey, different types of journeys, how life is like a journey, and how learning helps you on your many journeys. We read the Dr. Seuss book, “Oh, the Places You’ll Go” and the children got a blank map to draw some of the places they might want to go to or journey to some day.

    My Journey” is the name of our first thematic unit this school year. In addition to learning about family patterns in this unit, the children are learning about patterns in the sun, moon, and stars. On October 28th, we will go on our first field trip to visit the planetarium at the UM Museum of Natural History to attend a program called “Patterns in the Sky”. We will be gone from 8:30-12:00 that day.