Classrooms‎ > ‎

Eric's Room (Lower Elementary)

Eric's Update 12-17-18

posted Dec 17, 2018, 11:26 AM by Cynthia Friedman


Friday, 12/21 Last Day of School before Winter Break -regular Friday release time.
Tuesday, 1/8 Classes Resume

This week…
We just finished a nice round of Native American presentations, and as always, your kids taught me many new things. Thank you for helping them with their projects as needed. Today the students picked their next research assignments based on the Plains Indians and those projects will be due the week of January 14th. Their choices are at the bottom of this update.

Since the last update, we have studied volcanoes, layers of the earth, the rock cycle, water cycle, and erosion. We also looked at the skills Native Americans needed to have in order to survive and thrive in their respective climates.

Next week and beyond…
In the coming weeks, we will learn about Lewis and Clark, Sioux warriors, layers of the atmosphere, the carbon cycle, and zones of the earth.

Our next field trip will be to Dorris Ranch and the details will be forthcoming. This trip will supplement the Native American studies taking place in the classroom and research projects happening at home.

We wish you a safe and happy winter break full of memories and laughter.

Eric and Emily

Eric's Bi-weekly Update 11-16-18

posted Nov 19, 2018, 11:14 AM by Cynthia Friedman


Friday, 11/16 Barnes & Noble Book Fair 6-8pm

Tuesday, 11/20 Bring vegetables to slice

Wednesday, 11/21 Stone Soup - bring bowl & spoon

Thursday, 11/22 NO SCHOOL - Thanksgiving

Friday, 11/23 NO SCHOOL - Thanksgiving Break

Saturday, 11/24 Tree Sales Begin

Wednesday, 11/28 Picture Re-takes (return your picture packets)

Wednesday, 11/28 RCO Service Project 6-7:30pm

Past two weeks…

We finished our presentations last week and then chose new Indian nations to research. You may have seen the new presentation sheets come home.  The new research assignments are due the week of December 10th. 

Our last field trip was a big success.  I would like to thank all the volunteers who came and kept the students safe and on task while we scouted for pumpkins. 

In the past weeks, we have looked at the names of various geological features and made a booklet to help us remember the names and shapes.  We saw how Native Americans made birchbark canoes and learned about the layers of the earth and why our planet is so unique.  This included learning about the life-saving gift of a magnetic field to protect us from solar winds and radiation, and the forces that operate deep beneath the surface of the earth’s crust.

Next week and beyond…

As part of our America studies, we will take a close look at Alaska, Canada, and Greenland.  We will discover how the older inhabitants of these areas lived in the sometimes-harsh climate, and how the natural resources there are used today.

Later we will look at the rock cycle and the active volcanoes through North America.

Our Stone Soup celebration will be on Wednesday but on Tuesday all students are invited to bring herbs or vegetables to be cut up for use in the community soup pot.  Please see the eNews for more information.

We also have the unique opportunity to hear from Richard Sempala, from Uganda.

Richard is the founder of the Africa Life Youth Foundation – an organization dedicated to improving the lives of young people, including orphans, street children, civil war victims, etc.  Richard is only in town a short while and I think his insights could be important for children to hear.  He will visit on either the 19th, 20th or 26th of November.  I am still working on the details.


There will be no school on Thursday and Friday. We hope you all have a wonderful Thanksgiving!


Eric and Emily



Eric's Weekly Update 10-19-18

posted Oct 22, 2018, 12:03 PM by Cynthia Friedman

Calendar:   Coming up: Picture Day, Curriculum Sharing, MOD Pizza, Conferences


This week…

We managed to cover everything in my lesson book this week, and I am both surprised and happy!  We learned about some of the early explorers that came to America, had an interesting discussion about ecology and biomes in general, and revisited the lifecycle of stars as we began our studies in functional geography.

In addition to learning about the early explorers to North America, we looked at the original 13 colonies.  Soon we will discuss the influence those early colonists had on the shaping of the United States, with the briefest of discussions on the Revolutionary War and eventually the War of 1812.  More details on these two wars will be available as students move into the upper grades.

Finally, we looked at Newton’s Laws of Motion, which is taught to all students for mass effect.  Get it?

I shared information with the class about how to prepare their presentation boards, with some pictures of boards from last year.  They were just examples, and we talked about how presentations could be a Power Point, a diorama, a video of themselves if they don’t want to stand in front of the class, and many other options.

Next week and beyond…

In the coming days we will play some colonial games, enjoy colonial style music, and discuss the foods typically found in an early American home.  We will also look at biomes in more detail, and discuss the fundamental needs of humans.  We will also revisit the Sun’s Family, and look closely at the characteristics of the moon.

Please remember to get the Lone Pine permission slips in ASAP.  We can take up to 6 chaperones along.  If you are interested please let me know.  On this trip, each participant is required to pay the entry fee:(

Hope you have a grand weekend.

Eric and Emily


Eric's Weekly Update 3-15-18

posted Mar 15, 2018, 11:05 AM by Cynthia Friedman

Monday, 3/19                    Site Council meeting, 6:00-7:30 p.m.

Wednesday, 3/21              Eric’s class to OMSI, 8:15 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.

Friday, 3/23                       DDD ends

Friday, 3/23                       Yogurt Extreme fundraiser

Mon., 3/26-Fri., 3/30          Spring break

Monday, 4/2                      NO SCHOOL: professional development day

Tuesday, 4/3                     Classes resume

This week


This week we looked at the political boundaries of Australia, learned about some of the amazing seasonal changes that take place there, and even heard some of the words used in Australia that are not used here in the US.  We didn’t get a chance to learn about Nikola Tesla as I had planned, but we did take another turn at exploring electricity courtesy of Popular Mechanics for Kids.

Our Great Barrier Reef art projects are almost done.  We did them in the style of Eric Carle (Very Hungry Caterpillar) and they look great.  I will make colored copies of the originals and bind them in a book to keep in the classroom.  The students will take the originals home.


Next week…

The coming week will be very busy.  Presentations will begin with 3rd years presenting on Monday, 2nd years on Tuesday, and 1styears on Thursday. We look forward to learning all the things your students will share.

In the new week, we will begin a new art project and learn about the aboriginal people of Australia, as well as a final look at the power of invention made possible by electricity.

The OMSI field trip is on Wednesday.  Things look pretty solid now, so hopefully, there will be no surprises. 

Remember: bring booster seats if required, a lunch, and arrive at school by 7:45.  We will depart no later than 8:15. We will return about 4pm.  Updated chaperone packets will go home Friday.

Eric and Emily


Eric's Weekly Update 2-2-18

posted Feb 2, 2018, 2:32 PM by Cynthia Friedman

Tuesday, 2/6 RCO Meeting – “Growth Mindset” by Sharon Martin 6-7:30pm
Friday, 2/9 Fundraising Committee Meeting 8:30am-9:30am
Friday, 2/9 Re-enrollment deadline
Saturday, 2/10 Pre-lottery Information Session 10am
Monday, 2/10 Sibling Lottery Application Available
Monday, 2/12 Site Council Traffic Work Session 6-7:30pm
Thursday, 2/15 Board Meeting 6:30-8:30pm
Monday, 2/19 NO SCHOOL – Presidents’ Day
Thursday, 22 Eric’s class to OMSI

This week…

We were really attracted to this week’s lesson on magnetism. We will continue to look at how the magnetic shield on our earth and that on Mars are different. Some scientists believe that the smaller mass of Mars caused the core to cool faster and then the magnetic shield failed. The result is that the solar winds stripped away the atmosphere and oceans. Our core is going strong but some scientists think our core is changing too.

As promised we saw the Archimedes screw in operation. It’s amazing how many places it can be found once you look for it. As part of our science exploration, we made some polymer worms using an activation agent that turns a liquid into a squiggly, slimy, solid.

Here’s where you can learn more or buy your own kit to make lots and lots of worms!

Finally, over the course of three days, we played Jeopardy, Eric style. I asked questions from the first half of the year to see how much information students retained and to refresh their memories. As a whole, I was very happy with how much the students were able to recall.

Next week and beyond…

You may have heard that we are making some shields inspired by African Zulu warrior shields. We have looked at designs and the materials used to decorate them. Next week we will begin to paint our very own. These will be based on classic forms, and we will use traditional colors or as close as we can get.

If we have time we will make some mini pyramids that can be put together to form a very large one. Beginning with one the size of a paper plate, we will eventually find that they rise above our heads. It will be a group effort, just like the real thing in Egypt!

You should have received an orange permission slip about our OMSI field trip to sign. I know the form is long but please read the entire form. It has important information on it and I don’t want to have anyone miss out on the trip due to a technicality.

Eric and Emily

Click here to ReplyReply to all, or Forwar
Using 6.46 GB

Eric's Weekly Update 1-23-18

posted Jan 23, 2018, 12:11 PM by Cynthia Friedman


Friday, 1/19                       6-8 Grade Assembly “Above Between Below”

Monday, 1/22                    Site Council 6-7:30pm

Tuesday, 1/23                   Pasta Dinner Planning Meeting 1pm

Friday, 1/26                       Middle School Winter Formal 5-8pm

Monday, 1/29                    NO SCHOOL – Grading Day

Tuesday, 2/6                     RCO Meeting – “Growth Mindset” by Sharon Martin 6-7:30pm

Friday, 2/9                         Fundraising Committee Meeting 8:30am-9:30am

Friday, 2/9                         Re-enrollment deadline

Saturday, 2/10                   Pre-lottery Information Session 10am

Thursday, 2/15                  Board Meeting 6:30-8:30pm

Monday, 2/19                    NO SCHOOL – Presidents’ Day



This week…

Since I last sent out a Brief we finished up round three of Africa presentations, looked closely at simple machines (lever, wheel, inclined plane, axle, screw, etc.) and discovered the changes that occur in the African deserts over the course of the seasons.  We also looked at the surprising number of parts that make up a leaf, including some of their functions. 

When we first began our discussions about deserts I wrote down the perceptions that the class had about what they were like.  Nearly all of those perceptions were incorrect or depending on the season, mostly incorrect.  We discovered together that there is an abundance of life both above and below the surface.

Next week and beyond…

Coming up we will take a look at Egyptian hieroglyphics, spend some time using them to write our own names, and maybe write a secret message to a friend.  Later in the week we will look at typical shields of nomadic groups in Africa and try our hand at designing our own.  This project will last a few sessions.


Finally, as part of our Physics curriculum we will look more closely at the Archimedes Screw, sometimes called the Perpetual Screw as an extension of our lesson on simple machines.


I am waiting for a final confirmation from OMSI on my preferred date for our field trip.  I can’t give you a date for certain until I hear back from them…sorry.


Eric and Emily




Eric's Weekly Update 10-26-17

posted Oct 27, 2017, 10:14 AM by Cynthia Friedman

Monday, 10/30                   NO SCHOOL - conferences

Tuesday, 10/31                  NO SCHOOL – conferences

Wednesday, 11/1               Fall Boxtop Deadline

Sunday, 11/5                     Daylight Saving Time Ends

Tuesday, 11/7                   RCO Meeting 6-7:30pm

Friday, 11/10                     NO SCHOOL – Veteran’s Day Observed

Thursday, 11/16                Board Meeting 6:30-8:30pm

Friday, 11/17                     Fundraising Committee Meeting 8:30-9:30am

Friday, 11/17                     Barnes & Noble Bookfair 6-8:30pm


This week…
We are ready to begin discussing research projects. This year we will not be studying individual countries within Africa but instead look closely at the plants, animals, and geological features. We may look at individual cities. Each student has chosen an area of study and will then present their findings to the class the week of November 13th. As the date approaches, I will give you details about how you may come and observe your child’s presentation if you are able. Presentations are usually not longer than 5 minutes and simply convey information about the subject area that the student discovered during research. Practice at home is very helpful, especially if there are big or unfamiliar words to recite. Students have seen several examples of a presentation board this year, but if you have questions please let me know.

This week we also observed pressure as it is related to buoyancy. To that end, we made a classic Cartesian Diver. You probably know this experiment, though maybe not by this name. It is simply a bottle filled with water and within the bottle is a structure that can hold a bubble of air. As the bottle is squeezed the air is compressed and the ‘diver’ sinks. This is very easy to make and the kids loved it. If the bottle gets jostled it may need to be reset and the diver pulled out and filled with the proper amount of air for it to work again.

Next week and beyond…
Conferences are this Monday and Tuesday. There is no school. Make sure your child attends the conference because they are leading it. I will help them if they feel uncomfortable or are unsure of themselves.

In the coming days, we will be spending time learning about reptiles and amphibians and may look at hull design and displacement.

Eric and Emily

Eric's Weekly Update 10-19-17

posted Oct 19, 2017, 2:45 PM by Cynthia Friedman

This week…

We had a wonderful trip to the Lone Pine Farms on Monday and I want to thank our many chaperones profusely.  These trips aren’t really possible without the support we receive from you.  I was a bit nervous, as this was our first outing of the year but it went off very smoothly.  I saw lots of smiles while kids were hunting for the perfect pumpkin and heard lots of excited voices coming from all over the corn maze!

This week we were able to look at the political boundaries of Africa and color in the countries. We made some simple dioramas of African animals of the Savannah, which will be coming home soon. We also looked at the parts of a fish and labeled them to reinforce the lesson we had last week.  Finally, we learned about buoyancy, which will come in handy when we revisit the concept during our planned visit to OMSI and the USS Blueback later in the school year. Fascinating!

Our Philosophy Friday lesson was on self-awareness.  We asked ourselves what 5 words describe me best?


Next week and beyond…

In the coming week, I will attempt to fit in some science experiments that support the lessons we have already had.  These are always fun and add to the interest in science we try to foster. With the obvious change in the seasons, I hope to have a short walk near the school to see differences between evergreens and deciduous trees.  It’s pretty easy to identify those differences this time of year.  We will also look at the African resources map, learn about forests, and prepare for the student-led conferences on the 30th and 31st.

Eric and Emily

Eric's Weekly Update 10-6-17

posted Oct 6, 2017, 12:31 PM by Cynthia Friedman


Friday, 10/6                       Fundraising Committee Mtg. 8:30-9:30am

Friday, 10/6                       Ridgeline Reader Deadline

Tuesday, 10/10                  4th Grade Support Panel 6:30-8 pm

Friday, 10/13                     NO SCHOOL – Statewide In-Service

Wednesday, 10/18             Curriculum Sharing 3:05-4:05pm and 6-7pm

Thursday, 10/19                Board Meeting 6:30-8:30pm

Friday, 10/20                     Vision Screening 8:20am-1:00pm


This week…

In the previous week we learned about the scientists’ story of the Coming of Humans.  It’s a story that is still being written and a lot of editing has been required along the way.  This week we saw latitude and longitude lines on a globe, looked at the Cardinal Directions of N, S, E, and W and did a few extensions related to that.  We saw a video that helped us understand which mammals came after the dinosaurs and then looked at the humankind obsession with time.  I say that because a few times this week I really wanted to just sleep in!
We began our Philosophy Friday curriculum this week.  We took some time to relax and become mindful of ourselves and our breathing, and then I posed the following question for the class to consider: Should people be forced to apologize even if they aren’t sorry?
There are not always satisfactory answers to all the questions we ask in this strand of the curriculum, and that’s how I prefer it.  I’m interested in having students consider other possibilities and points of view, and to let go of the idea that their first impression or opinion must be correct.  Our class was split in opinions on this matter.  We talked about examples of when it might be and when it might not be.  Ask your child what they thought!


Next week and beyond…

On Monday we will start our study of the African continent.  The students will have consistent work related to this continent, culminating in several group presentations.  The initial lessons will be a general overview by me, but soon after follow-up research will be done by the students.  We will also continue our studies in botany and zoology, mostly on alternating weeks.  As a result weekly cultural lessons will usually include work in the following areas: geography, history, physics, botany/zoology.  Additional work will include grammar lessons (parts of speech/word study), geometry, and algebra for third years (in addition to the regular core work).  This is enough to keep students busy and still allow for some other interesting side-work if they are willing.


Please note that next Friday there is a statewide in-service and there will not be school.

Eric and Emily

Eric's Weekly Update 9-15-17

posted Sep 19, 2017, 11:10 AM by Cynthia Friedman


Wednesday, 9/20 Picture Day (retakes 10/25)

Thursday, 9/21 Board Meeting 6:30-8:30pm

Friday, 9/22 Family T-shirt Orders Due (form goes home 9/8)

Monday, 9/25 Site Council Meeting 6-7:30pm

Tuesday, 9/26 Laughing Planet Fundraiser

Friday, 9/29 JOG-A-THON

This week…

It was nice to see everybody who came to the parent meeting on Tuesday.  I hope it was worth your time and you have a picture of what we will be doing this year.

We have had a busy first full week of school.  We have discussed the creation of the universe, the birth and death of stars, how elements are created in the furnace of super nova explosions, and had an introduction to the Niels Bohr diagram to see what makes up those elements.  We even spent some time learning about planets and moons. Big brain stuff! Remember to supply your student with comfortable and durable inside shoes or slippers (covered toes) ASAP if you have not already done so.  As the weather changes it becomes critical to keep wet, muddy shoes off the carpet upon which we work.


Next week and beyond…

In the coming week we will be talking a lot about our own solar system, starting with Sol, our sun.  We will learn about the size of our sun and the relative sizes and distances of our local planets.  We will discuss the layers of our own planet, how the scientists say our earth evolved into what it is today, and then learn about the coming of life on earth (Second Great Lesson). Since the solar system is a big deal, we will be spending most of our afternoons talking about this and will revisit it throughout the year as we discuss functional geography.

I’m hoping to fit cell mitosis and dinosaurs in there as well if we have time.  Sometimes I’m a bit too optimistic…


I am nailing down the details of our first field trip to the Science Factory, and I will keep you informed.  I’m still learning about the dynamics of our new classroom community and the critters are a tad squirrely right now.  It’s possible I may move the date into October. 


Eric and Emily

1-10 of 109