“the coolest field trip ever!”


This week we ventured to Pacific Publishing in Sodo to view how newspapers are printed.  Getting there was half the adventure.  The kids were blown away by the bus, the underground tunnel, and various signs and machines we saw along the way.  Below is a short slideshow of these things that inspired such awe.

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Numbers practice and Roman Numerals


The k2 class has been busy at work in their math books, and as a team we figured that numbers would be a good place to start in HWT.  The first official day the K and 1 groups worked collaboratively on building numbers, 1-10 with the wooden pieces.  Once they were finished we examined the numbers and made sure they were all in sequence and there were no reversals.  We fixed the mistakes and as they were in no hurry to leave, I invited them to attempt their names in the pieces as well.

The 2 group is very involved in their Greek Mythology and Terry suggested introducing Roman Numerals- WHAT FUN!  We also worked with the wooden pieces, first forming 1-10 in Roman Numerals and then basic addition.  Last I let the kids come up with a number 1-39 and had the group build the number with their wooden pieces.  We will continue this work throughout the week.  I really look forward to it!

We did it!


Well, the year is over and we all finished our workbooks.  The Preschoolers were particularly proud, as this was their first work book at CSWS.  The assessment is one of my favorite parts of the year because not only am I checking their progress, but my own.  The kids really liked the one on one attention.

Here are some bits I took away from it and wanted to share:

When I went to get them from their classroom

Donovan: “I’m going right now, I’m going to take the challenge!”

Jaxon: (as he did for most of 2012) help my hand on the way to my room

During the assessment

Zia: “I’m so happy it’s JUST ME!”

Mia S said “this feels fun, like a private lesson”.

Una was proud of herself at the end stating “I know a lot of things.  This is easy for me.”

Marcus after I tell him nice work: “That’s because I’m smart.”


Sami emerged back into the Studio: “OK, I’m done with my last page of my workbook!”

Sophia: “I like you Jen”

Roman: “How good is THAT???”

Sofia: “I did all my letters and numbers, and now I’m done!”

I love it.  It shows that not all ‘assessment’ even at this young age is bad.  This curriculum does a great job of making everything fun for kids, so of course they are excited to show what they know at the end.  I really enjoy the one-on-one too-it’s a nice farewell for both of us.  For those of you who are returning to CSWS, I am excited for next year.  For those who have moved on, thank you for everything.  Your kids are ready for Kindergarten and I am glad I was able to play a small part.

creativity and 8


This week we started the number 8.  Together we deduced that 8 is a very long line that twists and turns.  We began the week with making a very long line out of play dough and making it into an 8.  Next we traced an 8 in the play sand to see how it felt to make all those twists and turns.  Jaxon was excited to trace his 8 over and over and over again as infinity goes (see green crayon 8 below).  Last, we approached the 8 in our workbooks, with all of the multi-sensory practice we were all successful!  

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Tricky number 5


This week we started work on the number 5.  5 is a tricky one for even the “that’s easy- I already know how to do that”  kids.  The initial confusion seems to come from that backwards c- we just want to make our curves like we make C.

The way the HWT curriculum does 5 is as follows:

1- start at the top, do a small line down

2-make that little (backwards c) curve

3- LAST we come back to the top and do a little line to top it.

My daughter learned this way in Seattle Public Schools too- though not through HWT.

In the lesson for five we practiced as many times as the kids wanted to on the white board before we transitioned into the workbooks.  Looking for a way to pass time at a restaurant or a plane ride or a layover in the airport or any afternoon?  I encourage you to practice 5 (or 1-5) with your almost kindergartener.

While doing some internet research I stumbled upon this supplemental reading for you:


The end is near


As the 1st grade group and the preschoolers work hard every day to finish that workbook, the K group has entered the assessment phase of our curriculum.  HWT calls assessment THE FINAL CHECK (Kindergarten/1st Grade) or a READINESS CHECK (PreK).  The assessment looks like this:

K/1st: I sit one-on-one with the child and we talk about everything we’ve worked on this year.  I remind them that we start letters at the top and ask them what they liked about my class this year and anything they found challenging.  Then we begin the FINAL CHECK.  The FINAL CHECK consists of them forming all of the letters and numbers one by one.  I check things like: Did they start at the top?  Is it facing the right way?  Did they do it right away or hesitate?


The Pre K is a bit more simple.  We also sit one-on-one.  We identify colors and shapes and letters and numbers by sight recognition.  We also draw a human form and I check to see how many parts they include, last they are asked to write their name (in capital letters) on a single line and I check that too.


The assessment is quite fun and the kids like the one-on-one attention/recognition.  Some kids can finish it in one day while others prefer to do it in two- this is entirely up to them.  Once they are finished you will find their workbook in your parent pocket and you can review all of their exciting progress together at home.