June 2016 archive

Once A Beaver, Always A Beaver!

Our last day was truly bittersweet (a word we discussed at some length at Morning Meeting, and which we all agree is the perfect word to describe the end of our school year).  For the sake of posterity, we did some of the usual activities – Garden outside, Morning Meeting, singing songs – but we also provided some opportunities for closure (for the students AND the teachers!)

We had a special snack of … Compost!  But not the kind you’d expect.  Using chocolate pudding, crushed Oreos, and gummy worms, the Beavers created one last compost stew to enjoy at the end of the morning.

We also had a Collaborative Work Auction.  Over the course of the year, the Beavers have been prolific.  We gathered all of our collaborative projects on the rug (murals, the puppet theater, classroom charts – to name a few) and drew names for selections.  The Beavers were “easy breezy” about their choices, understanding that everyone was getting a special part of our classroom.  They cheered their friends on as they chose artwork that truly represents the work we’ve done together over the course of the year.  The Beavers exclaimed, “Good choice!”, and, “I love that piece!” as each student gleefully brought their selected piece to their locker.

Choice Time was a bit different this week.  After a discussion about all the learning, exploring and fun that has taken place during this favorite time of day, we opened the entire room up and all of the classroom materials, for our first ever Open Choice.  During this period of time, the Beavers were able to play, explore and create in any of their favorite areas of the classroom.  We loved watching their ownership over our classroom as they made special requests for favorite materials to be put out.  After our final Choice Time the Beavers reflected on their favorite aspects of Choice. Ask your Beaver to share with you their thoughts.

To close out the year, we empowered your children to help us get the classroom ready for the next year’s group of students.   We spent time stuffing cubbies with work from the year, organizing shelves and materials, counting puzzle pieces and game pieces, taping ripped pages in favorite books, testing markers and bagging donations for Ndonyo Wasin.  A favorite clean up job was the job of the “sparklers.”  With wet towels in hand your children scrubbed surfaces, chairs and tables to make our classroom shine! We loved seeing the Beavers in action caring for a classroom they love so much.

We had our last summer birthday celebration!  Happy Birthday to this summer Beaver!


I remember when we…


Vivian: …had birthday celebrations

Elfie:… played with Hollow Blocks, especially the basketball arena

Pearl: ….played Jingle in the Garden

Téa: …had Field Day with everyone, and had all the birthday celebrations, and really played at Garden with just everyone!

Charlotte:…. had Denisse’s baby shower

Asher: …..when we played with the friends and I love to play games with them in Garden

Harper: …..when we had Denisse’s baby shower

Steelo: ….when we first went to Library

Harry: ….had Denisse’s baby.

Jalen: ….we went to Yankee Stadium

Alex: ….me too!  Yankee Stadium!

Lucia: …..Had denisse’s baby shower

Ruby:….. went to see the statue of the girl who first saw Packer in the Chapel

Kaleem: …. made our video and I got to see what a superstar each Beaver was!

Milo: …..crunched up together

Arjun: …..played Dragons and Chickens

Carmen: …..had all of our Birthday celebrations at Packer

Jake: …..made the Eye of the TIger movie!

Cate: …..had the baby shower!

Ava: …..had Choice Time, and playing in Hollow Blocks

Emerson: ……went to the Met and the fun playground after.

Erica: ….when we first came to school on the very first day.  There were some old friends and new friends! It’s amazing to see how well we know each other now.  You really learned to love and respect each other this year.

Sara: …… when we had our first trip together, and made vegetable soupl!  And then the teachers added too much pasta so it was more like pasta stew with a little bit of veggies, but we all loved it because it was our recipe.  

Thank you to all of the Beaver families for an incredible year.  We have cherished coming to school each day to warm waves, hugs and smiles from your adorable children.  We have learned alongside the Beavers, sharing in discoveries, overcoming challenges, and investing in ideas.  It has been our honor to call ourselves the Beavers’ teachers.  They truly were a special group!

We wish you a wonderful summer and we look forward to seeing you next September! Please remember…. ONCE A BEAVER, ALWAYS A BEAVER!!!

Lots and Lots of Love,

Erica, Sara, Kaleem and Denisse

Last Full Week in the Lodge… :(

The last full week of school kept us busy!  We filled the week with fun, celebratory activities, taking advantage of every minute together.

We kicked off the week with a preschool-wide Pool Party in the Garden. Complete with blow up pools, water squirters, beach balls, and inflatable rafts (thanks Awad family!) the day was one for the books!  After an afternoon spent splashing each other, and SOAKING their teachers, the Beavers enjoyed time in the sunshine picnicking with their friends. We left school at the end of the day, tired, sun-kissed and soaked, with huge smiles on our faces, and memories that will last a lifetime!

Another highlight from the week was an end of the year collaborative art project. After Ms. Po brought in a huge tree branch she found on Clinton Street, the Beavers shared ideas about how they wanted to repurpose this found material. After a group discussion, they conducted a vote and decided to work together to paint the stick, using paint colors they had mixed.  As we painted, we spent time remembering all of the group projects we have shared this year. We reflected on how much we have learned about what it means to work together and the immense pride we take in the community we have built. When our branch was completed, we talked about our legacy and how the branch might serve as a symbol of our time together. When Milo suggested hanging our branch somewhere in the school, as opposed to our classroom, the Beavers agreed this would be some place we could always visit (no matter what class we’re in) to remember our time together. Next week, we will decide where we plan to hang our branch and hold a small celebration to honor our work and time together.

Another culminating event that took place this week was a surprise farewell assembly for Ms. Po, The entire Lower School and Preschool (380 students all together!) gathered in the Pratt Theater to shower Ms. Po with love and best wishes.  Mr. McCauley presented a book all classes created together, and the 1st, 2nd, 3rd and 4th grade classes sang an original song in Ms. Po’s honor.  Ms. Po will be missed dearly!

After a year of writing, drawing and creating, the Beavers have accumulated LOTS of scrap paper. As you’re well aware, your children have become quite the environmentalists! When we explained to the Beavers that they could repurpose their scraps to create new paper, they were ecstatic! We spent the week learning the process of paper-making. First, the Beavers sorted their scraps into warm and cool colors, ripping the paper into small pieces. Next, with just enough water to cover the scraps, we blended the paper to make pulp. Pouring the pulp into a large tupperware bin full of water, we created our slurry from which we would make our paper. Using a mesh screen (much like panning for gold) and a wood frame (to mold the paper), the excess water drips out from the screen and you are left with wet paper mush.  Laying a piece of newspaper on top and squeezing out the remaining water, you then lift the screen to reveal the wet recycled paper. After drying overnight, you will have a beautiful, usable piece of paper, each in an individual hue (every batch is different!). The Beavers loved learning this new art technique and by the end of the week, were very independent with the process. If you are interested in purchasing a paper making kit, we love the Paper Anew kit, available on Amazon! This is a great summer activity, one which we know your Beavers would love!!!

Speaking of summer, the end of the year is days away. We spent the week visiting kindergarten classrooms, to help ease the transition and allow your children an opportunity to familiarize themselves with their new classroom settings. For the past couple of weeks, we have very informally, been discussing the idea of our moving on. Transitions always bring up mixed feelings, therefore, the kindergarteners and the current kindergarten teaching team, spent time showing us their classrooms, fielding questions about your children’s nerves, wonderings and enthusiasm. While we are still very much in the present, it was fun to see the Beavers get excited about all that they have to look forward to next year!

Field day was a huge success!  Thank you to everyone for finding time in their busy schedules to partake in such a glorious afternoon.  Babysitters, Nannies, Cousins, Aunts, Parents and Grandparents alike all joined us at Cadman Plaza Park for a picnic lunch and some fun and games.  The Beavers taught the grown-ups how to play “What Time Is It Mr. Fox?”, a Mother-May-I inspired classroom favorite.  We then played Four Corners, followed by wheelbarrow races and a three-legged race for the adults in the group!  Of course, time outside with the Beavers wouldn’t be the same without some good, old-fashioned digging and playing with natural materials!  The entire excursion was a real treat, and an incredible way to end the year with your children.  We loved watching everyone enjoy the “play” just as much as the kiddos! The Beaver grown ups are most definitely young at heart!

After our Field Day activities, we returned to the classroom for the world premiere of … THE EYE OF THE TIGER!  Friends, family, and faculty gathered together to watch this labor of love – a true representation of the hard work, dedication, and passion that your children bring to every moment of their learning and classroom endeavors. We are brought to tears watching them in action and we feel so lucky to have been able to share in their joyful process.  The pride we have in this project is immense. The way the Beavers rally around an idea and work together to see it through is unique. From the creation of their costumes to the choreography of the dances, and to everything in between, we are honored to work with students who engage so deeply. Videos are available on our Google Photos account and we hope you’ll enjoy watching this video, as much as we enjoyed making it!

A HUGE thank you to everyone for the beautiful books.  They are a wonderful keepsake of your children’s adorable faces and kind words.  They will be treasured for years to come!


Three more Beaver birthdays!!! Happy Birthday to our summer babies!!!

Coming Soon To A Classroom Near You…

This Week In The Beaver Lodge…

Today, we had our second dance party with DJ Sary, as well as some very special guests … our Buddies!  The energy and excitement in the air was palpable as the Beavers and their Fourth Grade Buddies embraced and danced to their favorite songs.  Shining in the light of the strobe light, all of the students were quite literally glowing with joy!

A huge thank you to the Awad family, Alicia, and our Buddy Class for dedicating their time to help organize such a special event!

We also celebrated another summer birthday this week!


Have a great weekend everybody!