Wednesday, January 17, 2018

We're Swimmers!

The students at Seabury School have a yearly opportunity to take swimming lessons during the school day as part of our PE curriculum. How awesome is that!? And how convenient and beautiful is our local community athletic center, 
the Center at Norpoint.

Thank you, Norpoint, for partnering with us on this fun, educational, healthy, important endeavor, learning how to swim! 

Thursday, January 11, 2018

Inventions: Reverse Engineering

One way to discover how something works is to take it apart. 

So we got out our screwdrivers and began the task of disassembling a variety of wind-up toys. 

First of all, we took a close look at the outside of the toy.

"It moves its arms and legs. This is what the winder looks like."

We wondered what the inside looked like and how it worked.

Then we slowly started to open up the toys, drawing each part as it came apart. 

We found a white box inside and had to pry it open.

This is what we found inside!

Comments heard during this activity:
  • "I told you that this was one big yellow piece."
  • "I was not expecting that there would be so much room and just a little thing inside."
  • "I have a tool box at my Grandma's house."
  • "I'm not a master with a screw driver but I know Lefty Loosey."
  • "It comes with wheels."
  • "Those are gears!"
  • "Mine has 5 gears!"
  • "Can we put them back together?"
  • "What? There is something inside that we have to open?"
  • "Maybe there's something inside that and something inside that and...."
  • "There's sheet metal inside!"
  • "It's like a spring." 
  • "It's wound up with the winder. Look!"
  • "Can you straighten it?"
  • "Let's try this."
  • I didn't know this is how a wind-up toy works!"
  • "Man, this is so incredible."
  • "This is the best day ever."

So many lessons learned. Here are a few:
  • Prediction
  • Observation
  • Small motor skills
  • Drawing and labeling one's findings
  • Collaboration
  • Analytical/critical thinking skills
  • How a wind-up toy works
  • Inspiration for making our own inventions?

Wednesday, January 10, 2018


To get the creative, invention juices flowing, the Navigators have done several mind stretching activities. We started with a whisk.

What else can you do with an ordinary kitchen whisk?

The creative ideas start to flow. It can be used as a:

  • microphone
  • flinger
  • spaghetti spinner
  • idea light bulb
  • top
  • spanker
  • Harry Potter wand
  • instrument
  • tornado
  • wing
  • flame thrower
  • drumstick
  • sword
  • bouncy toy
  • head massage (if you cut the ends)
  • blush putter onner
  • hidden compartment
  • dubbing wand
  • hair curler
  • baseball bat
  • bell
  • earring remover
  • cake batter mixer
  • whip
  • rat catcher
  • arrow
  • and more

What if we modify it? 

Introducing S.C.A.M.P.E.R., a way of stretching our ideas to come up with even more innovative, inventive ideas.

S. Substitute: 
What if we filled a whisk with mirrors and hung it from the ceiling? a disco ball!

C. Combine: 
What if we combined three whisks together? a propeller!

A: Adapt:
What if we cut the top and put crayons in it? a crayon holder!

M: Modify: What if we tie two whisks together? A double sided, do-two-jobs-at-once, whisk!

What if we put a star on it? A fairy wand!

P: Parody: What if we do something to make it funny? a spanker!

E: Eliminate: What if we take away the tips and the handle? A scrubby!

R: Rearrange: What could you use it for if you bent it? ____________ (fill in the blank!)


Once the creative juices started flowing, the ideas started gushing! So many things to invent! Which should we start with first?!

Stay tuned....

Tuesday, January 9, 2018

Introducing INVENTIONS

Here's a sneak peak into how we introduce topics 
at Seabury School. 

We often use the Frayer Model to define what an invention is and what it is not. 
These are some of the ideas the first and second graders came up with.

Question storming is a great way to investigate a topic. Here we are asking about Mrs. Maitlen's socks! Fits perfectly with inquiry based learning. 


Did I mention that Mrs. Maitlen and I attended an Invent Washington class in the summer and are excited about inventions?

Innovation through Inspiration!

The goal of Invent Washington to have "every child in every school in Washington State
to have the opportunity to become an inventor and entrepreneur
and let their passions guide them through this journey!"

We're on a quest to discover problems that need inventive solutions!

And we're excited to come up with ideas 
for our upcoming Invention Convention!

Monday, December 18, 2017

What Is a Hurdy-Gurdy?!

Once a student, always a student. Such is true for our Seabury students and for this man, Jacob Breedlove, who came to share his 30+ years long passion for all things Medieval. 

He started out by asking us a simple question: "What are your impressions of the Middle Ages?"

Our answers were varied and quite knowledgeable for first and second graders: 

  • harsh
  • feudal 
  • hard labor
  • gory-bloody disputes
  • war and knights
  • serfs built their houses out of twigs and stuff
  • peasants were poor, too, but they could build better houses
  • the plague killed a lot of people and it was very sad
  • books were hand written and cost a lot
  • the nobles lived in castles
  • the kings had most of the money

Jacob was quite taken aback and said, "You are prodigious! I wasn't expecting this at all!" 

He then began, in his gentle, captivating way, to share more about the Middle Ages. Such an enriching way to continue our own life-long studies of the world around us!

The "Horse's Bransle" Dance:
Big to the left, big to the left
Small to the right, small to the right

Paw your foot like a horse
And kick, kick, kick, kick 

Clothing: notice the layers, the hood (a separate article of clothing,)  the woven belt (woven by Jacob himself,) hand made shoes (that are in need of a cobbler,) and even a hole in his sock. 

Also notice the tippits hanging down on his arms, and the handwoven, linen underwear that should last for over 100 years!

One student said, "Your outfit looks like a shield!" 
Keen observation.

When Jacob was younger, he worked as a paper boy to buy Medieval instruments. But some of them were way too expensive to buy. So he learned how to make them!

He played a variety of hand-crafted instruments 
from the recorder family. 

This is a double reed wind cap Krumhorn, one of several from this family of instruments that Jacob brought. 

"It sounds like the sound track from Mario."
"The bigger one sounds electronic."
"It's like a bassoon." 

Jacob also played the viola da gamba, 
a Renaissance instrument similar to a cello. 
Click here to hear his song. 

Its name is Licky the Lion, named after the beautifully carved lion head (in the place of a scroll) with its tongue sticking out. 

And finally, to answer the question, "What is a hurdy-gurdy?!"

"The hurdy-gurdy is a stringed instrument that produces sound by a hand crank-turned, rosined wheel rubbing against the strings. The wheel functions much like a violin bow, and single notes played on the instrument sound similar to those of a violin." ~Wikipedia

Jacob playing a 700 year old French dance song on his hand-crafted hurdy-gurdy.

The kids' reactions:

  • "Wow!"
  • "It sounds like a fog horn."
  • "I felt like I was in the Middle Ages."
  • "It was really beautiful."
  • "Magic."
  • "Calm, soothing"
  • "Mesmerizing."

We learn something new each day, including this teacher!
Can't wait to start studying the Renaissance time period!

Thank you, Jacob, for sharing one of your many passions with us. 
Check him out here for more information about him. 

Saturday, December 16, 2017

Snowflake Breakfast, A Seabury Tradition

Each year, the entire Seabury lower school gathers together for pancakes, syrup, bacon, hot chocolate with marshmallows, 
juice, and fruit. 

There is a seat for every student in the Pre-K and K rooms. 

Parents and grandparents come help serve.

The Navigators get plenty to eat.

And there are plenty of photo ops and props.

Finally, we have a Christmas Carol Sing-a-long, 
complete with the Twelve Days of Christmas.

"Five Golden Rings!"

So many fond memories.

Have a nice break, everyone!
See you next year!!

We're Swimmers!

The students at Seabury School have a yearly opportunity to take swimming lessons during the school day as part of our PE curriculum. How a...