Patience Grows through the Ox-Cart Man!

Disclaimer: I have tons of photos that would be perfect for this post. Unfortunately, I feel this way about most of my blog posts, so I’ve used all of my 3G of free space over the last four years of blogging. In fact, WordPress will not even load my media library because it’s so full! We’re working out the technical difficulties this presents, so for now, enjoy this post with your imagination primed!

Thank you so much, firstie families, for making this week’s Fruitful Event a success. Your precious children worked so hard all quarter, and they truly shined! Here is a recap for those who may have missed it!

The first graders performed a skit through which they explained what they learned about each subject area, the farmers market, and how Ox-Cart Man and his family provide for themselves.

They then invited family members and friends to accompany them to their farmers market, where they traded their homemade goods with one another. I overheard so many great conversations between saints and parents as they asked great questions and gave detailed descriptions of their products and the processes of making them!

After the market came to a close, families joined the saints through four activity stations. At the first station, visitors were challenged to use the information they gleaned from the opening skit to sort goods into two categories: produced on Ox-Cart Man’s farm, or purchased at the market. Families could use the text to further support their conclusions, which is a skill we practiced this quarter.

Another station encouraged saints to share the work they completed this quarter with our visitors. Each saint’s binder represented examples of work from each subject area. The saints also completed an integrated focus study project requiring saints to research Ox-Cart Man’s home state, and demonstrate learning in math, science, social studies, Bible, and language-arts!

During the skit, Ox-Cart Man asked for help with a special project. Every year, the man sells everything he has at the market, even his ox and cart. When he returns home, he must build a new cart for the following year. Ox-Cart Man asked us to help him measure his old cart using links, snap cubes, and rulers, skills we practiced throughout the second quarter, so he would have the dimensions necessary to build next year’s cart.

The most delicious station allowed saints and visitors to sample one of the goods produced on Ox-Cart Man’s farm: maple syrup! What better way to taste maple syrup than on waffles?

If you were able to see how patience grew throughout the second quarter at our fruitful event, we truly hope you enjoyed it. If not, we hope you’ve gotten a little taste of our learning here! Be sure to join us for the next one! 🙂



Patterns, Patterns Everywhere!

This week, the Patience Fruit Stand has been filled with patterns! Firsties have been noticing patterns in the world around them, identifying and classifying patterns, extending patterns, discovering patterns in sound, and playing pattern games.

Patterns in numbers


Patterns in sound


Patterns in words


Patterns in writing


Patterns in reading


Patterns in color


Patterns in counting the number of shakes it takes to make butter in a jar . . .


Welcome to the Second Quarter!

It’s hard to believe we’re already two weeks into the second quarter. We have been busy studying all things FALL, and kicked off the quarter with one of our favorite fall holidays: Halloween!

Check out our Frankensnacks!


The Firsties read a book about Frankenstein, then followed a yummy recipe to create a Frankenstein-themed snack. They all said it was their favorite way to eat a rice-krispie treat.

Our Fall themes have completely taken over math, science, and language as well – we’re using it to drive poll-taking, graphing, analyzing data, and measurement! Here is a peek at what we’ve been doing.


Notice that some of these bats are upside-down. Many firsties wanted to show how bats really “hang out.” 🙂


The firsties learned many things about bats this week. We read several nonfiction books and articles about bats, learned about all their parts, and were amazed to learn that a bat can eat about 600 mosquitoes in one hour! We also learned that although some bats to survive on the blood of animals, there are no bats that suck the blood of humans. A few firsties were disappointed. HA! We decided to serve a mosquito meal fit for a bat to help us visualize 600 mosquitoes. We figured out that if we placed 100 mosquitoes on each plate, we would need 6 plates to hold them all.


In the spirit of all things batty, we’ve been working on a project focused on one of our favorite fictional bats: Stellaluna. We’ve worked on using textual evidence to retell the story with a beginning-middle-and end, making inferences, using adjectives to describe the characters, describing point-of-view, charting character changes over time, and writing a summary. Some of these tasks required working in groups and others required working independently.



We also met a very special classroom visitor: Gobbles the Turkey. Did you know that Thanksgiving is coming very soon? Gobbles is worried that he might be eaten! He is looking for a good hiding place so that he’s safe until after our favorite turkey-eating holiday. The firsties wrote him a letter letting him know that he can hide here until after Thanksgiving. He has tried out a new hiding spot every day! The firsties spend the first few minutes of each day searching for him! He also writes us a letter each day asking for advice, sharing his favorite turkey-themed literature, and discussing his observations of our classroom. Turkeys aren’t always the best writers, though, so we always edit his letters for him, hoping to teach him some writing conventions before he leaves us.


On Tuesday, November 8th, our nation’s adults participated in the presidential election. In that spirit, our school held its own election: the Kindergarten Pumpkin Election. The Kinders created pumpkins to reflect the characters depicted in books they read. CCA Saints got to vote for their favorite.


Regardless of the outcome, participation in a fair and free election is crucial to understanding the democratic process. The firsties were thrilled to have their votes counted and see their voices be heard!

Fall is here!

Or so the calendar says. The thermometer doesn’t seem to agree! 85 degrees, today! Shew!

Well, we’re still celebrating FALL! It’s been all apples and pumpkins around here lately, and we’ve been using them to study math, science, social studies, writing, and the Truth of God’s Word! Check it out!20160923_081943


The firsties worked very hard to test their circumference predictions for their own apples using yarn.


They tested whether their apples would sink or float after making predictions. Boy were they surprised by the result!


The firsties found the weight of their apples using counting bears and snap cubes, discovering the properties of balance.


After making predictions, the firsties measured the height of their apples using snap cubes!


The firsties taste-tested their apples and decided which type of apple they like  best, then graphed the class’ results.


Did you know there is a star inside every apple?


It wouldn’t be an apple celebration without a little cooking. We made homemade applesauce!


The firsties each created a glyph to describe themselves and then used the glyph to write about themselves.


Finally, it was time to do a little pumpkin investigating!


We also measured its circumference using the string method we’d practiced on the apples, opened up the pumpkin to feel and describe its insides, and ultimately baked its delicious pumpkin seeds.


Finally, we allowed nature to take its course and checked out what happens to pumpkins when they are left out. It was pretty gross. We learned all about rotting and decomposition. After that, we dumped our pumpkin by the playground fence so we could continue to observe our pumpkin’s slow return to the earth. Unfortunately, that was right before Hurricane Matthew payed us a visit, so our dear pumpkin was washed away.


We learned all about the pumpkin’s life cycle, created a glyph and wrote about them, and recorded our scientific thinking. We also read a few books about apples and pumpkins and recorded our thinking about them.


We hope you are immeasurably blessed this fall season as well!


An Ambitious Project

Midway through the first quarter, the firsties are getting the hang of how to be first graders. Lines are formed much more quickly, workshop rotations transition more smoothly, messes are cleaned up more efficiently, and our stamina while reading and writing continues to build each day. It’s amazing, really, to see these little ones grow in their independence after only a few short weeks!

The firsties have been engrossed in several projects. The one that has most engaged them thus far sprang from their study of Noah. Although they have been learning about the patience of several Biblical figures, they seemed most interested in Noah. They wondered about his life and what it must have been like to follow God through something so incredible. They wondered what it was like to build an ark, to travel for such a long period with so many (stinky and loud) animals, and to trust God to fulfill His promise.

After reading the Biblical account of the flood, the firsties took note of each instruction given to Noah. Then they began to plan. Then they began to build.

20160913_11292220160913_11292420160913_11301020160913_11301720160913_11302020160913_11305420160913_11314620160913_11315020160913_11315320160913_11320920160913_11343120160913_13330320160913_13361620160913_133748This project continues to be ongoing as the firsties make discoveries, re-evaluate their thinking, discuss different ideas, and form new theories. They are working through math (measurement, addition/subtraction), Bible, physical science, social studies, and art concepts as they continue to pursue their ideas!

I can’t wait to see where their journey takes them next!


What is Patience?

Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience. – Colossians 3:12

But what is patience? The King James Version often uses the term “long-suffering.” Yikes. Who wants to suffer, especially for a long time? What kind of suffering, exactly, am I signing up for? These are some of the questions the firsties have been wrestling with these first two weeks. It sounds intense, but these ideas have emerged through almost everything we’ve been doing and learning!

Waiting is hard, but important work. It’s part of learning to collaborate with others, showing respect, taking turns, communication, perseverance, research, creative risk . . . the list goes on and on!

Here are just some of the ways the firsties have been grooming patience through their own exploration and development since the first day of school:

Flexible Seating


There are many spaces and places in which to work in the Patience Fruit Stand. What does where I sit have to do with developing patience? Ask the firstie who really wanted to use an exercise ball, but approached one after someone else was already sitting there! Making these kinds of decisions and working together to solve problems are part of learning to collaborate, make smart choices, have empathy for others, and respect one another. The firsties are also learning to be patient with themselves as they discover which areas are best to help them focus. Some firsties really need to bounce a little while they read, and others do their best writing lying on a yoga mat. Some feel their creativity flowing while standing! It takes time and practice to gain an understanding of self that will continue to develop as they grow!

Readers Workshop

20160831_09394120160831_09395620160831_09400120160831_09401520160901_094646020160902_10421920160902_10425920160902_10441620160902_10453220160907_09223820160907_09225020160907_09230120160907_09231820160907_09235420160907_093727Good readers don’t appear out of thin air. Good readers develop when children have ample opportunities to read and lots of access to varied reading material. Time spent engaging with meaningful and authentic texts is an important predictor of success, not only in reading, but also in life. Many parents tell me, “My child enjoys looking at books, but just can’t sit with them for long periods of time.” That’s where patience comes in. Reading for a long time without stopping requires stamina, and stamina takes time and patience to develop! Over these past two weeks, the firsties have spent their readers workshop practicing the routines and procedures that will enable them to engage with books for longer and longer periods of time throughout the year. They learned how to read independently – we call it “read to self” – and how to read with a partner (“read to someone”). The firsties created charts to help them remember to get started right away, work the whole time, use appropriate voice levels, and choose books that are “just right.” Children must be patient with one another when choosing a partner, coaching one another’s decoding skills, and asking and answering questions. All of these skills are crucial, and we spend a lot of time practicing at the beginning of the year to lay a muscle memory foundation for the rest of the year. We talk a lot about teaching our muscles to do things the right way (walking in the classroom instead of running, sitting “elbow-to-elbow, knee-to-knee” when reading to a partner, etc.).

Writers Workshop

20160830_09251420160830_09261420160830_09265720160830_09273520160830_09393820160830_09394520160830_09394820160831_10485820160831_10490620160831_10491820160831_10581520160831_10582620160831_105837We have been grooming patience in leaps and bounds through writers workshop. We are learning to be patient with one another while sharing our stories, and patient with ourselves as we try to think of writing topics, organize our writing, and use appropriate letter-sound correspondence and letter formation. It can sometimes be tough when we have to wait for share time instead of shouting and sharing at the moment an idea pops into our minds! We are learning to control our “volcanoes.” Just as we practiced building stamina for reading, we also practiced building stamina for writing! Sometimes it’s hard to write when we know we aren’t spelling every word just like the dictionary. It takes lots of training to allow children to trust their ears when sounding through words so that they aren’t asking for someone else to help them spell all the time. It takes patience to stop and think on our own, listening to the sounds in words and writing them down, instead of raising our hands at an unfamiliar word. The more children are writing authentically, about things they are learning or topics they find interesting, the better writers they become.


20160908_162558We learned about Creation, Adam & Eve, and Cain & Abel over the first two weeks of school. The firsties read the Bible to find out the truth of these events, then created their own books to show what they had learned. When learning about Cain and Abel, the firsties demonstrated that Cain had a heart that was bubbling over with anger and jealousy instead of patiently calm and obedient like Abel’s.

Math Workshop

20160831_13073220160831_13073620160831_13085520160831_13140420160831_13140920160831_13145820160831_13162120160831_13273920160831_13401020160906_13122320160906_13270920160906_13314920160906_13322020160906_13381520160906_13495020160907_13305820160907_13314920160907_13393420160907_13480520160907_13490820160908_13391920160908_13400920160908_13411120160909_13403220160909_13403920160909_134048Math workshop requires the same stamina building and procedural practice as its reading and writing counterparts. They learn that the manipulatives we use to represent mathematics concepts are tools, not toys, and should be handled carefully to help solve problems. Children do math in small groups, in partners, and independently to practice the foundational concepts and skills they need in order to creatively problem-solve.


20160901_14134720160901_14135020160901_14141120160901_14142920160901_14144020160901_14144920160902_13285120160902_13290720160902_13291020160902_13291620160902_13292320160902_13293920160902_13322020160902_133446The firsties worked very hard to capture their features through self-portraits. They needed to patiently examine their faces and hair in order to truly observe their physical appearances and represent their findings using watercolors. Patience and problem-solving were needed when the paint didn’t look exactly like a flesh color, or when blue dripped next to a freckle. The final pieces are hanging next to the first grade classroom door, so check them out when you have a chance!

One of the most important musical concepts, one to which we will repeatedly return, is steady beat. We used children’s literature, folk songs, and even syllabication chants to help us find and keep a steady beat. Often, children impatiently rush the beat, or switch to clapping/tapping the rhythm. Patience is required to find the beat and see it through to the end!

Listening and following directions requires patience! In P.E., we utilized teamwork to pass balls and hoops of different sizes from teammate to teammate over, under, and around one another, then sharpened our listening skills as we followed the leader while playing “Mirror!”

Grooming patience takes time, focus, and stamina, but it lays the foundation for everything else we need to learn and do through the year.




What a Great Year!

We learned, we laughed, we loved one another. See how we groomed, grew, glowed, and gave patience from the inside out!

Patience Gives

“You must do something to make the world more beautiful.” – Miss Rumphius

The firsties have been working on a class service project this quarter, and are ready to share their work with you and ask for your help!

Check out their commercial!

They have done everything from choosing the project, doing their own research, designing fliers and posters, involving and inviting teachers and students to participate, labeling donation bins, drafting facebook posts, to writing the script for the commercial!

Now they just need your help. 😉

The Soap Drive will take place from May 16th – May 27th.
The Patience Fruit Stand Firsties are partnering with Clean the World to host a Soap Drive! Please bring in new, wrapped soap and a dollar (for shipping). We’ve invited the whole school to help us, so place your soap in any bin located in the school lobby! Thank you for making the world a better place!

First Week Back and a Field Trip!

Welcome back to first grade! I hope everyone had a great Spring Break and wonderful Easter with their families. I missed my firsties and am so excited to kick off this quarter’s learning in a big way: with a field trip to Triple R Ranch!


Looking for bee-holes in trees on a nature hike!


We found one!


Heading to the tree house to learn about bees and honey making.
Climbing the tree house ladder!


Mr. Ben was really impressed with everything the firsties already knew about bees from our Ox-Cart Man unit.


Mr. Ben “smoking” the bees to help them get sleepy. Apparently the smoker wasn’t working very well, so we stepped back really far. 


Miss Katie told us all about the animals at the ranch and described the parts of each and the sounds they make.


This sneaky little goat climbed up and flipped over one of the fences to be near Miss Katie!
Hungry piglets


We all got to take turns grooming a miniature donkey! We competed with the second graders, who groomed a miniature horse, to see which class groomed best. We won!


Nature Josh took us to the pond to learn about fish and what they eat.


Finally, we visited the Nature Hut to see amphibians and reptiles, where we got to feed an iguana!


This rabbit hopped around the Nature Hut while we were there, and some of the kiddos fed him some lettuce. Don’t let the photo fool you; it was about the size of a backpack. 

Sharing & Giving

Sharing is hard. Right? And it can be hard for everyone, not just little ones. For example, as parents, we find ourselves sharing all that we have with our children. We share our food, our stuff, our bed space, our time, and our love. Sometimes, as a mom, I want to not share (especially my food and sleep – ha!). I want those precious hours of uninterrupted REM to myself, or to simply eat a peaceful meal without hearing “Mommymommymommymommy” 100 times in a row, but ultimately we do share the things we have because we love our children unconditionally and want to put them first. Even when our energy is low, our plates are nearly empty, and our patience is wearing thin; we give.

How much more does our Heavenly Father give to us? In the Patience Fruit Stand, we’ve been learning about the ways Jesus shows us how to live. When he fed the 5,000, the Bible says he was originally headed to a place to rest. He was tired. He’d been traveling and teaching, and honestly, he probably just wanted to grab a nap and some food. But when the people found out where he was going, they went there too, and suddenly Jesus was in the presence of a huge crowd of people. Did he turn them away? Did he remind them of his busy speaking schedule and retreat into solitude? Matthew 14 tells us that he had compassion on them. He put them first. He healed their sick. He gave.

This past week, we learned about the widow in Luke 21. Many people were going to the temple to give to God out of their finances. The Bible says that the rich gave “out of their abundance,” meaning, they had so much that their gift was no great sacrifice. Contrast this display to the widow who only gave two small coins. It doesn’t sound like much, but to this widow, who had very little, it was everything she had. We can imagine that the big gifts from the wealthy were what people were watching. Probably no one noticed the widow and her seemingly inconsequential gift. But Jesus noticed. He said to his disciples, “Truly I tell you, this poor widow has put more into the treasury than all the others. They all gave out of their wealth; but she, out of her poverty, put in everything – all she had to live on.” Her gift was a gift of proportion. The widow demonstrated sacrificial giving.

The Bible shows us over and over again how God gives this way to us. He gave His only Son, after all, and as our Bible verse this week described, “Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.”

The Bible doesn’t tell us the widow’s fate. Did she go home, her last means of self-support gone, to wither away and die? I don’t think so. “Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure [ . . . ] will be poured into your lap.” In other words, you reap what you sow.

Here are some of the clay coins the firsties designed to help them remember this moment in Biblical history, to remember to give to others, even when it means missing out on something they want.


I noticed many examples of sacrificial giving during the week, moments where a student put another first. One washed another’s paint-covered table after art without being asked. One helped a friend tie his shoe. One waited patiently after being called on when a friend bumped his knee and needed a teacher’s immediate attention, giving up her turn. One shared a part of her snack when a friend forgot his at home. One passed a friend the last piece of white paper, even though she was planning to use it herself.

These little moments might not seem like much. They might even go unnoticed by most.

Jesus notices.



The firsties share their attention with this week’s Star of the Week as he shares about himself, reads a story, and demonstrates his talent.


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The firstie saints devote focus to an assortment of scientific research and writing projects throughout the week.


The firsties give one another respect and grow patience while taking turns during math workshop and calendar.