Sarah Johnson

Blog

Favorite Sport Day!

Our students got into the Nerstrand School spirit today by wearing clothes that represented their favorite sport.  It's great to see that we have some teammates in our classroom!  It's also wonderful what a wide variety of sporting interests we have.

We have superheroes, hockey players, football players and cross country runners...
We have superheroes, hockey players, football players and cross country runners...
  • We have superheroes, hockey players, football players and cross country runners...
  • We have dancers, soccer players, superheroes, volleyball players, and football super fans...
  • We have volleyball players, soccer players, dancers and BMX riders...
  • We have basketball players, soccers players, swimmers and dancers...
  • We have soccer players, hockey players, volleyball players and baseball players!

Science Rules!

We have been having a great time in Science this month.  There have been so many experiments to observe!  With our plant unit we put some lima beans in a plastic bag in the hopes that they would sprout and grow into a little lima bean plant.  We carefully watched our beans and predicted when the roots might break through.  It didn't take long.  Just two days later we had little roots beginning to grow.  We saw as the roots began to branch off and the green plant broke out of its shell.  Unfortunately, that's about as far as they got.  At that point they stopped growing and started turning brown.  Tara's beans, on the other hand, did quite well.  She was able to plant some of her's in the dirt.  When the beans come down next week, we will discuss the variables between Tara's room and ours and how that may have led to the different outcomes.  I think it may involve the amount of watering (I may have done too much) and the strong sun of our western facing window.   We also put carnations in water with red dye, blue dye, and purple dye that we mixed ourselves.  We figured the red and blue water would turn the flowers those colors.  We were not as unanimous on the purple dye.  Some thought the flower would turn purple.  Some thought the flower would be half blue and half red.  Still others thought it might be blue with red dots.  We discovered that the flowers turned the color of their water.  The color showed up in lines at the ends of the petals.  Very cool.  We also split a celery stem in half with each half in red or blue water.  We found that half the celery leaves turned red and half turned blue.

Our little lima bean roots
Our little lima bean roots
  • Our little lima bean roots
  • Those roots started growing little branches
  • Some of them really took off
  • Our red carnation didn't do much until I added a lot more dye.  Then the color came through.
  • Our blue carnation
  • You can see some of the celery leaves beginning to turn blue.

Prairie Appreciation Day

Last Friday we headed out to Caron Park to explore the prairie for our Prairie Appreciation Day.  Over a decade ago, Nerstrand students transformed this former crop land to a prairie filled with native grasses and flowers.    We can now see the prairie as it was when the settlers first arrived.  Teachers paired their homeroom students together, a younger student with an older one, to choose a flower.  They measured the flower and leaves, described the petal and leaf structure, and looked for insects on and in the flower.  Then the older student drew a pencil sketch of the flower for the younger student to color in.  It was great to see the kindness and responsibility shown by the older students for their younger partners.  Larry Ritchie, our school naturalist, then described to the students how the local Native Americans would move from the prairie into the woods as fall arrived.  A great afternoon in the outdoors was enjoyed by all!

Getting a close look at the prairie flower
Getting a close look at the prairie flower
  • Getting a close look at the prairie flower
  • Older and younger students worked together to analyze the flower
  • Some of those grasses were taller than the students!
  • A close up of a bee squeezing its way into the bloom of a bottle gentian
  • Young botanists hard at work
  • Enjoying the prairie on a fall afternoon
  • Sketching the chosen flower
  • Looking for insects
  • Prairie partners
  • We brought some "hitchhiking" seeds home with us.  Some more than others!
  • They can even stick to your face!
  • Then we came back to the classroom and finished coloring in our flower sketches.

Our First Sci Fri!

Today was a big day for the Savannah.  We had our first Sci(ence) Fri(day)!  Tara and I are hoping to start a tradition of doing a science experiment every Friday afternoon.  Today's experiment was Elephant Toothpaste.  Be sure to ask your student how we created this unique concoction!  It is something that could easily be done at home as well.  Here are the instructions  http://www.stevespanglerscience.com/lab/experiments/elephants-toothpaste  Here is the link to the video we watched in class  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZDd3pGIyS7IHave a great weekend, and happy experimenting!

Weekly Peek for the Week of September 9-13

Hello Savannah families!  What a great first week we have had!  I'm having a wonderful time getting reacquainted with old friends and meeting new ones.  Here is some information about our upcoming week.  If you have any questions, feel free to email me at sarah@nerstrand.charter.k12.mn.us  or call 507-333-6863.  Have a super weekend!

Summer is Winding Down...

Welcome back, Savannah!  I hope you have had a great summer spending time with your families and getting a chance to relax and have fun.  I spent a lot of the summer reading up on some ideas to make our classroom even better.  I even took a class for a week this summer.  I went to summer school!  My returning students will find a few fun changes this year.  I also tried to have a healthy summer by swimming whenever I could.  At first, I could only do the front crawl halfway across the pool before I had to stop and catch my breath.  Now I can do two laps without stopping!  Even teachers have to practice things sometimes.  My highlight of the summer was going to Colorado with my friend.  We visited my brother, went to see a concert, and hiked and drove through the mountains.  We saw almost every animal I wanted to see!  Below are some pictures of my trip.  I'm looking forward to seeing you all again at Open House on Thursday night to start our new year and hear about your summer adventures.  Keep your eye on my blog for all the updates on our thrilling activities this year!     

On my trip to Colorado I drove up Mt. Evans.  Some big horned sheep walked right by my car!
On my trip to Colorado I drove up Mt. Evans. Some big horned sheep walked right by my car!
  • On my trip to Colorado I drove up Mt. Evans.  Some big horned sheep walked right by my car!
  • Up at the top of the mountain, I got to see some mountain goats up close.  They didn't seem scared of people at all.
  • It is pretty hard to breathe above 14,000 feet, but the view is worth it.
  • A beautiful day hiking in Rocky Mountain National Park.
  • A baby elk crossed our path while we were hiking.
  • I love being in the mountains!
  • Even the marmots like to sit and enjoy the view sometimes.
  • A mother and baby moose enjoying some lunch.

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