Sunday, September 20, 2015

First day of Kindergarten and Third Grade

Eric is more than ready to show Noah the ins and outs, while watching out for his little brother as he enters the same school as him. It is the sweetest thing. Noah is more than ready to learn. Momma and Dadda are ready for their two boys to be at one school :)

Monday, September 07, 2015

Happy Ninth Birthday Eric

Happy birthday  to my sweet, careful, confident boy. You light up my life with your energy, enthusiasm, and smile. You rise with the sun smiling, laughing, and talking  about everything. You love sports of any kind and it is so perfect  that  we will run the Raiders 5k at your request  for your first 5k. Math, carrying out instructions, and following (and making) rules  are your  strong points. You love with a big heart and give the biggest, best hugs. You now read  to me and share your  thoughts. You recognize emotion in others, and you  thrive on reassurance that your effort in all things is accomplishing the goal. We love you. I  love you  and am grateful that I  was chosen to be your Mom. You  have brought more love, challenge, joy, and learning  into my life and I  will  love continuing to watch you share this with the world...along with  that  beautiful and contagious  smile. Happy ninth birthday.


Monday, August 17, 2015

Noah's Fifth Birthday Party & Pre-K Graduation

My sweet and expressive baby boy turned fiver years old this year and graduated from CLIF BASECAMP. After five years and one of two boys to go through the entire CLIF BAR BaseCamp child care program, he is going to kindergarten. I have some mixed emotions but we are all developmental ready for this next phase. Noah can feel it and expresses he desire to learn more and more. I am ready to have what kindergarten and Eric and Noah being at the same school will offer. It is funny to me that I am not more sad to walk out the Basecamp doors. I am definitely nostalgic for time gone by, but my readiness to have more time with my family in new ways and more independence for all far overshadows sadness. Developmental readiness is not just important for kids but, also us parents who never stop developing in our constantly adjusting roles as parents.

Congrats Noah on turning and summiting all the major peaks:

Mt Hood - infant room
Mt Shasta - toddler room
Mt Rainer - junior pre-k
Mt Whitney - pre-school
Mt Denali  - pre-k

Noah’s last day as a pre-ker will be August 14th. Of course we will be dropping in plenty J Noah and Eric are pretty excited to be in the same place again. Eric likes to keep track of his bro and Noah likes doing what his bro is doing! And we like having one drop off and one school to keep track of. Our time at base camp has been extremely special and we are so grateful for all the love and attention our children have received, right next door.
Taavi has been Noah's best friend since Mt Hood - like brothers

Thursday, June 18, 2015

June CLIF BAR BaseCamp Newsletter

 Mt. Denali-Graduation Day is Here!

June was full of hellos, goodbyes, and celebration as we welcomed a new, yet familiar face, into the classroom, Abhaya Keatts! Abhaya's spunky, fun personality is a great addition to the classroom and if you haven't done so already, please don't hesitate to welcome Charles, Kate, and Abhaya into the Mt. Denali family!
Excited for new friends entering the classroom, we also had to say goodbye to a very special teacher, Ms. Keri, as she prepares for the arrival of her baby boy in July. Although we were sad to see her leave, we made sure to send her off with big hugs, warm wishes, and a list of potential baby names. Ms. Keri has been such an amazing teacher and support system throughout the year, we have no doubt she will make an amazing mother as well. We wish her the best of luck and anticipate her return in the Fall.
While Ms. Keri is out on maternity leave, we welcomed Ms. Jeanie into the classroom and couldn't be more excited! Already familiar with the children and the routine, Ms. Jeanie has jumped right in and made this transition a smooth one. We are confident that she will be a great addition to the classroom and make an amazing teacher. Welcome Ms. Jeanie!

With a month filled with hellos and goodbyes, it was time for celebration! Starting the month off with only three days until graduation, the children wasted no time getting ready for the big day, which meant practicing songs, going over dress rehearsals, and thinking about our aspirations for the future. The children sang three songs for moms and dads including the infamous "I Know my ABC's!" and two Mt. Denali originals called "Graduation Day is Here," and "I'm a Graduate!" Prior to graduation, each child was asked what they are excited about the most to learn in Kindergarten and what they will miss about Base Camp. Each response was then read as they received their diploma. Graduation was concluded with a slideshow of the graduates' journey throughout each class starting from their first day at Base Camp. Fortunately for us, this was a very special group of graduates, having transitioned all the way from Mt. Hood! Thank you to all those who came and joined us on our big day, we could not have done it without the loving support of all our families. Below, are Mt. Denali's Class of 2014 graduates along with a quote of what they are excited to learn about in Kindergarten and what they will miss about Base Camp.

"I am excited to play outside in a new place!" "I will miss playing outside at Base Camp." -Colt Hitchock"I am excited to play outside in a new place!" "I will miss playing outside at Base Camp." -Colt Hitchock
"I want to do math!" "I will miss Ms. Lisa and Ms. Keri." -Eli Dao Hoang"I want to do math!" "I will miss Ms. Lisa and Ms. Keri." -Eli Dao Hoang
"I am excited to play with legos and make robots!" "I will miss Share Day." -Reza Huemmer"I am excited to play with legos and make robots!" "I will miss Share Day." -Reza Huemmer
"I am excited to play outside in a new place!" "I will miss seeing Colt." -Lilian Briones"I am excited to play outside in a new place!" "I will miss seeing Colt." -Lilian Briones
"I am excited to learn about science!" "I will miss the toys at school." -Noah Thies"I am excited to learn about science!" "I will miss the toys at school." -Noah Thies
"I want to read more books!" "I will miss Lincoln Logs." -Taavi Walle"I want to read more books!" "I will miss Lincoln Logs." -Taavi Walle
"I want to learn more about letters!" "I will miss playing with my friends at school." -Cruz Hurston"I want to learn more about letters!" "I will miss playing with my friends at school." -Cruz Hurston

Congratulations Class of 2015! We wish you all the best in Kindergarten and may all your dreams come true!
With Love,
Ms. Lisa, Ms. Keri, and Ms. Jeanie

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

May 2015 » Mt. Denali: "May" the Force Be With You

Happy Mother’s Day!
What better way to start off the month of May than by celebrating mothers! Working hard to keep our Mother’s Day surprise TOP SECRET, the children showed off their writing skills by practicing letter recognition through making heart tags with the words “Love (and their name.) To make the task easier, we used shrink paper that allowed for the children to write in normal size while challenging their fine-motor skills to stay
within the lines of the heart. Once decorated, we heated the oven to 350 degrees, slid our heart tags inside, and watched as the paper shrunk within minutes. Wanting to create something for our moms that would give them some much needed R&R, the children rolled up their sleeves and went to work making a lavender sugar scrub. To do so, the children labeled and measured three key ingredients: sugar, olive oil, and lavender essential oil. Developing basic math skills through number recognition, each child carefully measured every ingredient by identifying the numbers on the recipe and the measuring utensil. Using gross-motor skills to stir the mixture, we had to keep reminding ourselves that we weren’t going to be able to eat the scrub. Once our scrub was no longer liquid, we scooped it into individual mason jars to package up for our moms. Then, quizzing ourselves on how well we know our moms, the children answered a questionnaire that required them to think cognitively and recall previous information. We hope you all enjoyed your special gift and shared a few laughs as you read through our “All About Mom” fill in the blank sheet. Happy Mother’s Day!

With our alphabet-inspired curriculum all wrapped up, we noticed that the children had taken a great interest in robots and decided to explore the topic further by integrating math, science, and art through a variety of hands-on activities.
Collecting recycling materials from home and school, and reading a class favorite “Randy Riley’s Really Big Hit,” by Chris Van Dusen, the children were inspired to build their own giant robot using three large cardboard boxes as our base and body. Determining how wide and tall to stack our boxes, we wanted to make our robot as realistic as possible and measured ourselves
against it to make sure it was life-size. Then, using glue and tin foil, the class broke up into three groups and glued foil over every exposed area of the box so that our robot was “covered in metal.” Once our robot skin was ready, we rummaged through the recycling material we collected and used our inmagination to bring our robot to life. Adding pie tins for ears, bottle caps for eyes and buttons, and plastic tubing for arms, we had our very own robot!

Wanting to reintroduce our manipulative area and give the children the opportunity to create robots through the use of multiple manipulative materials, the class was given free reign and one-step instructions to create a robot using however many legos, conncecting cubes, and zoobs they needed. In doing so, the children were able to explore different textures, manipulate different shapes, and develop fine-motor skills. Along with 3D representations, the class also worked cognitively to create 2D robots identifying shapes and constructing their own robot from shapes cut out before them. In doing so, the children used these pictures as a platform for narration and created stories for their robots, narrating where they came from, what their job was, and what emotions they were feeling. Who knew robots had feelings too! And better yet, who knew they could taste so good! As a special project to stimulate creativity usingdifferent mediums, we made robots using large marshmallows, pretzel sticks, raisins, cheerios, graham crackers, and white frosting as our “glue.” Challenging ourselves to piece together a robot using all edible materials, the children went above and beyond as they created their robots with ease and overcame the challenge of making their robot stand without falling. Some robots lost their arms and buttons along the way and suspicion has it that they may have ended up in a few friend’s stomachs. Hopefully some of these robots made it home in one piece!

Practicing basic math and cognitive skills, the children were quick learners when it came to playing a game of dominoes where instead of matching numbers, we matched robots. Laying all our dominoes out on the table, the children took turns adding to our domino line, understanding we could only match one domino at a time. When a turn came around when we did not have any to match, we practiced good sportsmanship passing up our turn and cheering on friends who had matching robots. After awhile of teacher-guided facilitation, the children were able to facilitate the game on their own, following rules and instructions along with teaching the game concept with new friends joining the game. Way to go guys!

Star Wars has made a comeback and is all our friends have been able to talk about! Overhearing conversations about Yoda, R2D2, and Darth Vadar along with multiple Share Day items revolving around Star Wars, we decided to explore the topic further, with the exclusion of weapons of course. Curious about starships and what they look like, we recalled on previous information from Star Wars books and used our imagination to create our own 2D representations of a starship on paper. Once all the arms, legs, controls, and traps were added to our starship design, we used our handy thumbs-up technique to cut out our starships and glue them onto black paper to represent “space.” Posted up inside the classroom, the children were able to use these 2D pictures as a blueprint for the construction of 3D starships out of legos for “Racing for Freedom” race. In this race, the children tested out two locations, inside and outside the classroom and quickly discovered inside the classroom was not big enough. Practicing balance and control, each friend was able to participate in “Racing for Freedom” outside in the big yard running laps individually and with partners. But what is a starship without a pilot! R2D2 to the rescue! Using fine-motor skills and following 3-step instructions to create our own R2D2 puppet, the class had to first identify shapes and sort which shapes they needed to complete all of R2D2’s body parts and controls. Once sorted, the children worked in pairs to glue and piece together their puppet, coming up with different functions for every “button” on R2D2’s body. Noticing our puppet was too large for our starships, we constructed our own star station out of wooden blocks and created our own Star Wars scene for friends to act out and narrate. May the force be with you!
Happy May!

With Love,
Ms. Lisa and Ms. Keri

Saturday, June 13, 2015

Camping attempt

Friday-night post-work camping trip in Tennessee Valley is apparently wildly ambitious. Not until pulling into the parking lot at 9:30pm did we realize the full extent of the feat before us. A half mile hike to our campsite, too much stuff to carry or roll in bike trailer , one child sound asleep and the other telling us his legs were too tired after just getting out of the car. We are now driving back home. I am laughing at our attempt and wondering what about this idea sounded good enough to us that we set out in the first place. Chalking it up as good learning for our second attempt. I know! It was waking up in the outdoors. Now to pitch the tent in the backyard!

Saturday, June 06, 2015

Noah's White Board Inspiration

When your son visits your office and entertains himself while you try to finish up "just one more thing that will be done in a minute" It would be wise to make sure that the permanent markers are not within a four-foot radius of your white board.

This white board has been stationed near my desk for months. We had high hopes for this board's ability to hold inspiration and help us track on things that might otherwise be forgotten. Alas, most of the time it exists only to isolate us in our open and "collaborative" (never distracting...oh no) work space. So when Noah drew his beautiful design on the board my first reaction was "oh shit, where did you find a permanent marker?" The real question needing to be asked was how would I not suspect he would find a permanent marker.

So in a world wear nothing is permanent I have decided to be thankful for Noah's creativity. It is the most creative and inspiring this silly white board has ever been.