Sunday, September 27, 2009

Going Green

The recent hot weather seemed a perfect opportunity to learn about solar energy. The first graders built their own solar ovens and cooked lunch of muffin pizzas and s'mores on Friday. This was a huge project but very doable with the help of parent volunteers. Mrs. Shinyama gathered the materials and pre-cut the boxes. The students assembled them on Wednesday with the help of Mrs. Wong (Katie's mom), Mrs. Shinyama (Shannon's mom) and eight students from Mrs. Prentice's 6th grade special education class. Assembling took a while, but the students were very proud of their projects and happy to make new 6th grade friends.

Mr. and Mrs. Shinyama brought two large professional ovens to cook the pizzas while the students baked their s'mores in their individual ovens. We knew cooking would take awhile, so we had the students investigate other benefits from the sun. They played with a solar power toy car and made nature prints on photo paper with objects gathered on a nature walk.

The students were excited about the experience. Follow up activities will include journal writing, investigating uses of solar energy in the real world and learning how solar ovens are making a difference in the lives of women and children in developing countries. We might consider raising money to make a donation to purchase ovens for children in need.

A big Thank You to our parent volunteers: Daryl and Nancy Shinyama (Shannon), Mr. Haggerty (Akira's dad) and Mrs.(s) Wong (Katie), Shafer (Soraya), and Mrs. Sahakian (Enzo). We could not have done this project without them. Thank you for arranging your schedules to help us. Children really feel good when parents come to school, especially when they see other children's parents volunteering. As an example, an unnamed female student was really upset that her dad wasn't there. I had to reassure her several times that her dad had to work and he never said that he was coming. Evidently, it was important for her to share the experience with him.

I'd also like to thank Mrs. Serna and Mrs. Aguilar for helping during regular class times while I tested students individually. A Super-Duper Thank You to Daryl Shinyama. We will start gardening next week and he has already put in a garden bed for us. The grow boxes are nice, but students need to dig and get their hands dirty as they connect with the earth. Thanks, Daryl for making this happen.

I realize that not all parents are able to volunteer in the classroom. Please know that I appreciate your offers of help in so many other ways. It takes a village to educate its children and our village is strong. Thank you.

Units of Study for 9/27/09
Language Arts:
Penmanship/Word Study
Reading and Writing workshops-Focus on Procedures and operations
Math: Chapter 2-Addition Concepts
Science: Plants and their needs
(I have finished assessing most of the students and will share testing results with you at our upcoming Parent Conference)

School Events this week:
  • PTA Drive continues. 12 families have joined from our class. We need 8 more memberships to reach our goal of 100%. Grandparents, Godparents, uncles and aunts can join, too. The PTA keeps our school strong.
  • Scholastic Book Fair
  • Back to School Night-THURSDAY 6:00 p.m. I'm looking forward to meeting you and telling you about our class.


  1. Awesome, Mrs. H! Thank you for blogging about the endeavors of Room 34. The Chun-Frutos

  2. I miss you how are you?
    We have a sub teacher name Ms. I.
    She is nice.