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Field Trip Tab on Homepage!

All Field Trip information and online signups are now on the Field Trip Tab at the top of the homepage.

If you have an idea for a great field trip please let me know!

If you sign up for a trip but can't make it please let me know.


Tuesday Writer's Group with Joy

4/24: Everyone is working on the introductory paragraphs to their animal reports.  They will put in more details on 5/8 and complete reports at the second to last class day on 5/15.  Author's are invited to share their reports with their class at our end of semester Writers' Celebration on our last class day, 5/22!  Please help your student organize their report at home so that they can type it into their Google Doc and be ready to "publish" on 5/16.

4/10: The Writers have been working hard on their animal research and note-taking.  Next week we will begin our rough drafts starting with an introduction.  Please help your student complete their research and begin to organize their notes.

3/27: Students worked on their animal reports by taking notes onto a sheet with headings of Description, Habitat, Diet, Enemies/Predators, Lifespan, and Interesting Facts.  We will continue taking notes on this page and then begin our rough drafts using Google Docs during April.

Home Extension: Continue finding out more information about your animal.

3/20: Students used a book or two to find out some facts about their animal.  We will continue our research and note-taking next week.

3/13: We talked about our Animal Reports which we'll be starting next week.  Students wrote a narrative paragraph according to a prompt.

3/6: We looked again at paragraphs.  Students rated 3 paragraphs according to good criteria: An interesting topic sentence, lots of interesting details pertaining to the topic, a conclusion that wrapped up the paragraph.  Students had some creative writing time with encouragement to complete their stories at home and bring in on 3/13.

Home Extension: Continue your stories or begin a new story at home.   Bring next week to share with group.

2/27: We learned how to write 3 paragraph stories following the "hamburger" method.  We wrote a story together and students began their introductory paragraph (the top bun) in class.

Homework: Add paragraph #2: the supporting details (lettuce, cheese, tomato, etc.).  Bring to class and we will write our conclusions on 3/6.

2/20: We had a small group so students shared their "Hamburger" paragraphs and then we took turns adding to a new story.  We will be delving into 3 paragraph stories in the coming weeks.

2/13: Today we learned the "Hamburger Method" of writing paragraphs.  The "top bun" is the Topic Sentence, the lettuce, tomato, etc. are the supporting details, and the "bottom bun" is the conclusion.  Students began their paragraphs in class and took home the pieces for details and conclusion.  Please help your student at home and send back the completed "Hamburger" next week.


2/6: Today we learned about paragraphs and practiced writing an introduction (Topic Sentence), a middle (Body), and an ending (Conclusion).  Students shared their writing and guessed the 3 parts of each other's paragraphs.

Home Connection:  Add more details to your paragraph at home and bring next time.  We will begin class with students sharing their work.

Past weeks' summaries on Joy's page.

1/30/18: Our group came together and we made some agreements: kindness and safety, positive feedback, and support for all writers. Then students found an object to describe in the room and each person wrote down some descriptions of their object, then we went around and read our descriptions and students guessed the object.  Everyone seemed to have fun.

Home Connection: Find something at home and write a description of it.  Bring in on Tuesday.  We will begin class with a share out of these. 

In this group students will create a body of writing using different genres including Personal Narrative, Creative Writing, Poetry, Research Writing, and Opinion Writing.  There will be extended home participation for all students.  We will use the Writer's Workshop format in which we begin with a mini-lesson, have writing time, share and get feedback, revise and "publish".  Every student will learn how to use Google Docs and will create a presentation by the end of the semester. 

Wednesday Writers' Group with Joy

In this group students will create a body of writing using different genres including Free Writing, Personal Narrative, Creative Writing, Poetry, Non-fiction/Research Writing, and Opinion Writing.  The emphasis of this group is to develop as writers, to share writing with others, and to give and receive constructive feedback.  Elements of writing and specific skills will be also be taught.


4/25:  All of the students have completed their research and began working on their rough drafts and final drafts.  We've only got 2 more weeks, after Testing Week next week, to complete the reports.  Please help your student keep working at home .  We will continue editing rough drafts on 5/9 and complete final drafts on 5/16.

Hopefully students will want to share their reports at our Authors' Celebration on our last class day May 23rd!

4/11: Most students completed their research.  We will begin rough drafts on 4/18.  Please help your student complete their research by then.

3/21 and 3/28: Everyone continued working on their research reports using online sources and taking notes. Students should be using a variety of sources and citing them in their Google Document.  Within the next two weeks students should begin their rough drafts.  I will meet with students each week to check their progress and suggest organizational structure.  Please also help them at home.

Home Extension: Finish taking notes on your topic from your second or third source.  Be prepared to begin your rough draft the week of 4/11.

3/14: We began with a 10 min. "free write" and optional sharing time.  Everyone worked on their Research Reports online. 

3/7: We focused on finding and citing good sources and how to take notes.  Students should be working on their research at home and put their notes on a Google Doc. so they can work on them in class.≈

A timeline went home with specific sections to work on each week.  (No class 2/28 but please help your student continue working on their report by helping them find a suitable source and teaching them how to take notes.)  We will go into depth on note-taking at our 3/7 class.

2/28: Research Reports!  Students brainstormed and chose their topics for their reports.  We talked about finding good sources and taking notes.

Home Extension: Think about what you want to learn about your topic and write down your questions.  Put them on a Google Doc and share with me.


A timeline went home today explaining the Research Reports, including suggested due dates and activities.   

2/14: Today we did some free writing and several students shared their work.  Students began a Google Doc on their school gmail accounts and shared it with me.

Home Extension: Continue writing on the Doc or share a Doc you've began already which you will add to this week.  Topic of your choice.

2/7: Students shared stories they created on Google Docs and learned how to do active listening and peer feedback.  Students picked a prompt from the book Yoga for the Brain and did a "free write" for 15 - 20 minutes.  Most students chose to share and give and get feedback.

Home Extension: Continue working on a story you started or start a new story using Google Docs and share with me.  Be prepared to share in class.

Monday Math Group with Joy

2/5, 2/12: Students learned coin names and their values and played several money games.  We played "Store" and students took turns being the "cashier" and giving change.

1/22:Students played again with pattern blocks and made and described their structures.

1/8/18: Students played a game with dice where they rolled 2 dice and added and built the numbers on their rek n reks, then they rolled a third die and added that in.  I also introduced the pattern blocks.  Students played and built with them and learned the names of their different shapes.

12/11: We drew our own Hopscotch and played with odd and even numbers.  Then we played "Hide the Beans" with sums and differences with numbers to 10.

12/18: We made Rek-n-Reks!  Students will use these to practice adding and subtracting within 10 and 20.


Last Semester Groups

The Potatoes Math Group

Tuesdays, 9:40 - 10:30

with Joy


1/9/18:  This was our last class and we spent time talking about all the activities we had done and what we had learned.  We spent the rest of the time refining the students' games, writing out clear directions and even playing a game or two.  The student games were a big hit at the Math Festival.  Thank you to those who came, it was a super, fun night!

We will get together one more time in this focus group to do a writing assessment on 1/23.  Writing Focus Groups will be formed using these assessments and a variety of other criteria.  Writing groups will start Tuesday, 1/30.

This group was very involved and seemed to have fun while learning a variety of skills, including multiplication.  Thanks everyone for a great group!!
Please check this page weekly and encourage your child to complete the "Home Extension" activity and bring the following week.  See previous weeks' summaries here

The Potatoes Math Group, Tuesdays with Joy Continued from Tuesday Page

12/5: Today we went over the "Function Machines" students made up at home last week.  We solved each other's puzzles and continued learning about multiplication and it's inverse, division.  We worked on an odd/even paper and built numbers divisible by 3.

Home Connection:  Do one or both of these riddles:

1. Mary likes to dress up her dogs.  One wears a hat, one wears a coat, and one wears a scarf.  Their names are Spot, Tag, and Barney.  Tag loves to wear a scarf.  Spot won't wear the coat.  Match each dog with what it wears.  Explain your thinking.


2. I have 6 coins worth 51 cents.  What coins do you think I have?  Is there more than one answer.

Explaining their thinking on both of these problems is important to our discussion on 12/12.



11/28:  Students used dice and beads to build multiplication problems, then recorded them on sheets and shared their equations and products. We reviewed Function Machines with multiplication and division (the opposite of multiplication).  

Home Extension: Make your own Function Machine where you are consistent with the rule. i.e. X3 or /2 or +5 or -8, etc.

11/14: Today students worked on a task where they separated numbers into odds and evens and then further separated them into numbers divisible by 3 and numbers not divisible by 3.  This turned out to be somewhat difficult for students even using manipulatives  We are working on multiplication with 3s and I need to teach/review the reciprocal operation, division.  We will revisit this task over the next several weeks.

Home Extension: Thanksgiving multiplication sheet went home for extra credit.


11/7: Today students did an investigation called "Birthday Bike Ride" where they worked with manipulatives to determine how many hours they could rent a bike with $20.00 at various bike shops.  This was challenging for some students and we ended up working through it together after each student had individual time.  We'll continue this investigation on 11/14. Then students learned about "Function Machines" where one number is entered and another number comes out based on a formula.  i.e. 3 goes in 6 comes out, 4 goes in 8 comes out.  They need to determine the rule, in this case, X2.

Home Extension: Fill in the "Function Machine" sent home. Remember to include one of your own on the back.

10/31: Today we worked more on multiplication by playing a game called "Commutative Cookies".  Students rolled a die for # of cookies and # of chocolate chips (not real cookies although they are trying to get me to bring real cookies and chocolate chips.) They then multiplied the numbers together to find out how many chocolate chips they had.  Then we played a game called "Buzz" and used multiples of 3 to play.  There was no homework in honor of Halloween.10/24:  The students graphed the results of the "Favorite Ice Cream" survey they did for homework.  We were surprised to find that most people liked flavors other than chocolate, vanilla, strawberry and mint chip.

The kids played a game "How Close to 100" where they used 2 multiples and filled in an array.  They tried to see how close to 100 they could get and they got to "build" multiplication problems.  We will finish this game and play more like it in the coming weeks.


Home Extension: Halloween Costume Math using multiplication and addition (sheet went home).

10/17: The students worked together in small groups to come up with as many combinations of "sandwiches" as they could.  They had a number of variables (turkey, tuna, 2 bread types, lettuce, tomato and cheese).  They used picture cards to build different types of sandwiches and came up with about 20 different combinations.  Of course there are many more.  We will work with these again and play with some algebra in the process.

Home Extension:  Surveys: "Survey your friends and family to see what their favorite ice cream is and mark in on your graph." Graphs went home with students Tuesday.  We will fill in graphs and combine information on a class graph next week.

10/10: Students guessed how many combinations of ice cream cones they could make using 3 flavors.Then they worked with partners building as many combinations of cones as they could and discovered many more combos than they first thought.They compared strategies, then we played "Buzz" with multiples of 3.

Home Extension: Same as last week: Find the value of your last name where value of letters is a=1, b=2,....z=26.           

10/3:Today the Potatoes added the value of letters in their names to find out whose name had the highest value.  (a=1, b=2, etc.) They worked together in groups of two or three to solve this problem with unifix cubes.  

They compared numbers to see the values of each student's name and lined up in order from highest to lowest. Then they decided on a name for their group.  Home Extension: Figure out the value of your last name and bring it in next week.


12/19: Students worked together and independently making math games for our upcoming Family Math Festival, Jan. 11.

We will finish these at our last math class Jan. 9th.  This has been a fun and productive math group and I hope everyone enjoyed learning more math in this way.  2nd semester groups will focus on writing. 

12/12: Today we went over the riddles from last week using drawings and the process of elimination for the first riddle and combinations of coins to find solutions to the second riddle.  We also used clues to solve a riddle about colored cubes.  We talked about creating our own math games for the upcoming Math Festival, Jan. 11.

Home Connection: Design and draw your idea/s for a math game you'd like to create.  We will use these ideas and drawings next week in class and begin making our games. 


The Sick Cartinas Math Focus Group continued from Wednesday page

This group will focus on finding new ways to solve mathematical questions using multiple methods, discussing and sharing strategies and coming up with different ways to look at math challenges.  The emphasis is on team work and supporting each individual to grow mathematically.


1/10/18: What a fun group!  The students refined the game they created last class.  They played the game to see where instructions weren't clear and they re-drew their game board.  This game was a big hit at the Math Festival.  Thank you to those who participated in the Math Festival!  It was tons of fun!

We will meet in this focus group one more time, on 1/24 to do a writing assessment.  This will be used, along with other criteria, to form our Writing Focus Groups for second semester.  Writing Focus groups will begin Wed., 1/31.

It was a real pleasure to work with this Math group!  Friendships were formed and fun learning took place every class.

12/20: In preparation for our Family Math Festival on January 11th, students worked together to make a game.  We will complete this at our last class Jan. 10th.  This has been a very fun and productive group.  I hope your student has enjoyed learning math in this way.

12/13: Today the group reviewed the homework and went over how to find 25% and 50% of a number.  They played "Find My Part", a game comparing fractions, decimals and percents.  Thank you to our guest teacher!

No Home Extension this week.

12/6: Today we reviewed factors from last week's homework.  We played "Frack Jack" where students created a circle (100%) out of different fractions to see who came the closest to 100% without going over.  We also played a game called "Match my Part" where students compared fractions, decimals, and percents.  

Home Extension: A sheet with prices where students will apply a 25% or 50% discount to the prices.


 11/29: More fun with fractions!  Today we played a fraction game with dominoes, a bit like War, where kids turned over a domino and ordered their fraction piece from least to greatest.  Whoever had the smallest fraction won.  We then worked on finding factors of numbers together and finding common factors.  This will lead into finding common denominators and least common denominator in the weeks to come.

Home Extension: Find the factors of the numbers listed on the paper and list the common factors.  Also: please bring last week's homework to go over together in class.

11/15: Students gained a deeper understanding of equivalent fractions by playing with a pizza fraction game.  We touched on the concept of finding a common denominator when adding unlike fractions.  This was a challenging concept which we will revisit over the next 4 weeks, beginning with factors.

Home Extension: Fraction Riddles (sheet went home).  Happy Thanksgiving!


11/8: Today students worked more on equivalent fractions and ordering fractions from smallest to largest.  We used fraction blocks and played a game.  Only 1 person did the homework so it was reassigned.  Please help your child with the extension activities as we go over these more in depth the following week.

Home Extension reassigned: Solving fraction story problems using different strategies and a line graph.


11/1: Today we talked about the strategies students used to figure out their fraction homework.  We then worked on a problem-solving sheet called "Birthday Bike Ride" where students had to work through a number of steps to figure out an answer.  We will continue this on 11/8.

Home Extension: Solving fraction story problems using different strategies and a line graph.


11/18: Students compared the number and types of "sandwiches" they could make using 8 variables (turkey, cheese, tuna salad, lettuce, tomato, 2 different types of breads.  They were surprised to find more than 33 different combos before they ran out of cards. The group played a game "How Close to 100" with multiplication arrays.

Home Extension: Try to deduce the numbers to fill in a Sudoku puzzle.


10/25: Students shared strategies for filling out their Sudoku puzzles.  

We talked about equivalent fractions and compared them using fraction pieces.  We played a game called "Frack Jack" in which students used fraction pieces with different denominators to equal a whole.  All of the students had a good working knowledge of equivalent fractions.  We will go more in depth with fractions in the coming weeks, using hands-on games so that the concepts make sense.

Home Connection: Using fractions to order costumes for "Halloween Party" (sheet went home).  This is a fun, simple way to apply fractions to whole numbers.


10/11: Today the students worked together to estimate the following: "If you had 3 flavors of ice cream how many different combinations of flavors could you make?" They discussed their estimations and reasoning and then "built" their cones independently using unifix cubes with 3 "flavors".  They were surprised to find out how many different combinations they could make.  Ask them about it!

Home Extension: Sandwich Combos (sheet went home).


10/4:Today the group used the numerical values of letters to estimate whose name equals the highest number.  They used unifix cubes and expressed different strategies for proving or disproving their theories.  (They came up with their group name using a combination of letters from each of their names and they picked this image for their group.)

Home Extension: Use the value of the letters in your last name to come up with the sum of your letters.  (i.e. a=1, b=2, etc.)  Bring next week.


Please check the Class Day Pages for more details about your student's Focus and Inquiry Groups.

Joy's Page

Welcome back to Ocean

I'm glad you're here!


I hope everyone had a fantastic summer and is ready to embark on another home schooling year of happiness and learning (happy learning and learning happiness)!


A little about me:

I was born in L.A. and grew up with 2 older siblings.  I moved to Santa Cruz to attend UCSC in 1973. 

I am married and have a daughter who is a junior in college.

I began my teaching career in 1985 as a bilingual second grade teacher at Live Oak School. I have taught at Ocean Alternative since the year 2000.

I love kids and my teaching passions are languages, English and Spanish, writing and reading, math, art, science and nature appreciation. I teach all grades and all of the days at Ocean.  I also organize Thursday Art classes and field trips.

My hobbies are gardening, animals, camping, singing, social justice and spending time with my family.


If I can help you along your homeschooling journey please let me know.


Have a great year!