Learning Updates for Week of May 3 to May 7

May 7, 2021

Pre-kindergartners Create Giant New Dinosaur Sculpture and Friend

Measuring 71 inches tall, 13 feet long, and three feet wide and taking over six weeks to complete, the pre-kindergartners are proud to share a completed Giganotosaurus sculpture! Grown from a love of dinosaurs, this project started as an example of an emergent curriculum that ultimately flowed into our spring sculpture curriculum. While the final result is truly a phenomenal showcase, the process and learning behind the product is where the true magic lies.

Early in the year, an interest in dinosaurs emerged as we were drawn to dinosaur books and figures. As the year continued this fascination continued to be a predominant theme in play. Next, we embarked on a collaborative large-scale project using recycled material to create our very own Giganotosaurus. We learned a variety of painting techniques and tools during the process.

We began by painting large cardboard boxes. We added a base layer to cardboard pieces using sponge brushes. We practiced “bunny hopping” movements that added an important layer of texture for the next layer of paint to adhere to. Once that dried, we moved to a different shades of green paint that would ultimately be the color of Giganto!

As we moved through the various stages of the project, we researched, or referred back to the illustrations of Giganto to provide us with accurate information as we moved through creating the various parts of Giganto! Returning to the source, is a crucial information literacy skill that children will continue to explore over their academic journey.

After lots of painting, we learned how to make paper maché using glue, water, and newspaper. We dipped the newspaper in the gooey glue water and then placed it on the chicken wire framed tail, arms, and hands.

As we moved towards our spring curriculum of sculpture, the children discovered that they were actually sculptors themselves now that our Giganotosaurus was finished. No longer was Giganto just a dinosaur friend in our classroom, we referred to it as a sculpture! We learned that a sculpture is a piece of art that can be seen from all sides, and we can do exactly that!

–Kate Oznick, pre-kindergarten teacher

Seventh Graders Explore the Issues of Food Justice

In seventh grade, students are learning about food justice, specifically analyzing food policy in the United States. After watching the documentary “The Garden” about the push and pull of different stakeholders over a 14-acre plot of land in South Central L.A., students were given the opportunity to present their own thoughts on how funding should be distributed.

In teams, the students created percentage pies that demonstrated their distributions and then presented to class with explanations for each sector.

– Gretchen Fogelstrom, middle school social studies teacher

PE Update: Kindergartners Love Parachute Games

There is no better feeling than the wind in your face and all your classmates smiling and laughing and bright colors surrounding you. This week in kindergarten physical education classes, the students developed their teamwork skills while taking part in parachute games. Cat and mouse tag and big ball blast off were the favorites among the groups. 

– Abbey Nyland, physical education teacher

By John O'Neill, Director of Athletics |

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