Kindergartners in Ms. Dixon, Ms. Gong and Ms. Dawson’s classes at Burnett Elementary School were having an absolute blast learning about biomes and the creatures that live within each distinct habitat and ecosystem.
On this particular Tuesday morning, students were selecting their favorite animal, mammal, insect, bird, reptile, or arachnid; then identifying the corresponding biome; drawing a picture of their selection; and finally pasting them into their Habitat Lapbook.
Popping from desk to desk, “The _____ lives in the _____,” is what teachers asked their students. Responses included meerkat, scorpion, arctic fox, jellyfish, toucan, penguin, jaguar, rattlesnake, sea turtle, lobster, octopus, and beluga whale. Then, they named one of the five major types of biomes (aquatic, grassland, forest, desert, and tundra).
“The SEAL, or early academic language acquisition, strategies that our teachers use are so engaging and fun to be a part of,” said Principal Hanna Asrat. “I love walking into classrooms when students are learning new academic vocabulary or singing one of their chants; the “buzz” of learning in those moments is palpable."
Each classroom was decorated with colorful artwork of biomes, listing the identifying features and inhabitants of them. If a student was having trouble with their selection, the teacher directed them to take a look at the wall.
The kindergarten classes use Sobrato Early Academic Language or SEAL in their lesson-planning. It is a system for teaching academic language and English language development via content areas such as science and social studies. SEAL is hands-on, interactive, and lots of fun as witnessed by the sheer excitement from the young learners.
“The students get so excited to learn new content through SEAL strategies. We've noticed that their use of language matures after practicing oral communication and the songs/chants,” said Ms. Dawson. “It's fun to hear a kindergartener using 'big' words like habitat, community, and humid.”
The biome lesson culminates with a field trip to Happy Hollow Zoo to see many of the creatures that they learned about in class.
“Students are always proud of their new knowledge and love sharing their learning with others,” Principal Asrat added. “It’s exciting to see how students’ participation and vocabularies grow with each successive year they participate in SEAL with their teachers, from TK all the way up to 3rd grade.”
Transitional Kindergarten students grow sunflowers from seedlings
In Ms. Huynh’s Transitional Kindergarten class at Burnett, young learners scurry outside to locate their sunflower seedlings that have been growing for about a month.
Each student brings their CD case of seedlings inside along with a small pot filled with soil. This is part of TK’s early academic language acquisition lesson in learning the different parts of a plant.
“We are going to move the seeds into the pot today,” Ms. Huynh instructs her class. “The roots are very fragile so be extra gentle when you move them to the pot.”
Students, who will take home their sprouting sunflower at the end of the school year, have been taking notes in their Observation Log Book while learning about the lifecycle of a sunflower and plant parts in different ways such as a fun song they sing together as a class.
“The roots they hold the plant in place. And soak up water and food,” the lyrics read. “The leaves soak up the rays of sun. And help the plant make food.”
NOTICE OF PUBLIC HEARING:
The governing board of Milpitas Unified School District will hold a Public Hearing on Tuesday, June 28, 2022.