Mrs. Vander Lugt's Classroom

  • Beginning a New School Year

    Posted by Tammy Vanderlugt on 7/29/2019 10:25:00 AM

    This summer I spent some time traveling around the U.S. getting inspiration for integrating real-world learning into our existing curriculum. Next month I will be attending classes on our new science curriculum which I am very excited about. We will be studying matter, earth materials, and ecosystems.  We will continue to use Ready math curriculum with some changes and Wonders for our reading curriculum with additional differentiated lessons using the iReady online learning program. I plan to continue integrating the arts and technology into our curriculum.  

    This year, we are welcoming a new teacher, Ms. Rouse, who will be teaching a 1/2 blended class. I am looking forward to working with her and continuing to work with Mrs. Allen. It's going to be a fun year!

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  • Worms 2013!

    Posted by Tammy Vanderlugt on 2/24/2013
    Checking out earthworms!
    We had another great visit from Colleen Minion who brought worms to our class to touch and examine.  We learned about how earthworms change food scraps into castings.  We also learned about the different worm parts.  Did you know earthworms do not have any eyes, teeth or ears?  For more information about earthworms, check out the Journey North website: or one of the links in the last post about earthworms.Checking out the worms!
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  • Worms!

    Posted by Tammy Vanderlugt on 2/25/2012
    On Wednesday, we had a visitor, Colleen Minion, from the Thurston County Solid Waste Department.  She brought her worm bin and shared her red wiggler worms that she uses to create compost from food scraps.  We learned about the differences between a worm and a snake and saw a picture of a worm that was longer than a person's arm! We learned that worms breathe through their skin and about why they create slime.  We also learned that worms eat decaying matter and they would choose to eat a rotten black banana over a yellow one.  After we learned facts about worms, we examined Ms. Minion's worms using hand lenses and magnifying glasses.  Everyone was SO excited to check them out (well, almost everyone!)  We plan to have a class worm bin so if anyone would like to create one for us, just let me know!  I would welcome the help.  If you would like to learn more about worms or worm composting, click on the following links:
    To learn more about composting from experts, take a visit to the Closed Loop Park in Lacey.  This park is on the site of a closed landfill.  Here you can see low-impact gardening and composting techniques in action.  On Saturdays, Master Gardeners are present to answer questions you or your child might have.  Click on the link below for more information: 
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  • Snow!

    Posted by Tammy Vanderlugt on 1/15/2012
    Well, we finally have some snow here in Olympia!  I hope everyone is having fun making snow people and enjoying the snow.  For more snow fun activities, check out This website gives directions on making ice cream snow (a fun way to learn scientific concepts) and how to simulate an avalanche and much more!  For some snowy art fun, try bringing in a tub of snow and letting your child use eye droppers full of food coloring to experiment with color or fill spray bottles to create food color paintings out in the snow!  Have fun and stay tuned for school emergency information on Tuesday!
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  • Winterfest Painting

    Posted by Tammy Vanderlugt on 12/2/2011
    Come to Winterfest tomorrow, December 3, and check out the beautiful watercolor painting our class made for the silent auction! This is our way to help contribute to our school community since the money generated from Winterfest comes back to the classroom to fulfill the "wants" we have.  Each child created a unique watercolor/ink flower that was then arranged and framed as a group to create our class picture. I think it is pretty special and hope you do too! Our Class Watercolor Flower Picture
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  • Pumpkin Seed Counting and More!

    Posted by Tammy Vanderlugt on 11/19/2011 has been waaaaaay to long since I posted!  
    Past events:
    On Halloween day, we had some fun activities that helped develop place value and sequencing skills.  For the first activity, we got into groups of four and five and estimated how many pumpkin seeds were in our small pumpkins.  We then counted the seeds by putting them into groups of ten and then into groups of one hundred.  After we finally figured out how many seeds the pumpkins had in them, we wrote the total down and put the totals into order from least to most.  We also made pumpkin face pizzas by following recipe directions.  Yum!
    This week:
    We started new math workplaces and are working on our addition and subtraction facts.  Everyone was very excited to get to work! 
    We also continued to work on our poetry projects and read a great book called The Plot Chickens.
    This book is about a chicken who loves to read and then decides that she wants to become and author.  The story takes the reader step by step through the writing process as the chicken learns how to write a story.  It was eggsactly right for learning more about plot!  
    Next week is Thanksgiving and we will be reading letters from a fictional pilgrim and Wampanoag child  to learn more about the first Thanksgiving.  We also will read the book, Giving Thanks, A Native American Good Morning Message, written by Chief Jake Swamp that reminds us to be thankful everyday for the world around us.  We will use this book format to write our own message of thanks.  
    Happy Thanksgiving everyone! 
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  • Symbolic Monarch Migration

    Posted by Tammy Vanderlugt on 10/1/2011
    As we raise our Painted Lady butterflies, we are also participating in a program where classes send symbolic butterflies on a journey south to Mexico.  We are currently in the process of getting our symbolic monarch butterflies ready to send to Mexico.  Did you know monarchs fly nearly 2,500 miles from Canada and the United States to spend the winter in Mexico? In Mexico, they live in just twelve locations that have the type of habitat they need in order to survive the winter.  We each made a life-sized monarch butterfly and they will cluster together in our class butterfly, along with a few souvenirs of our area.  We will send the butterflies to Mexican school children who will receive them in November, close to the same time that the real monarchs arrive there.  Our butterflies will serve as a ambassadors to cultivate friendship with the children in Mexico and hopefully, in the spring when monarchs travel back north, we will receive a symbolic butterfly in return.  We will be comparing and contrasting our community with the childrens' community in Mexico and will watch a film highlighting the daily life of two Mexican children. Check out more information on this educational project that integrates science and social studies at  I hope to post a picture of our butterflies soon!
    We also watched a great slideshow that featured a time lapse view of a caterpillar changing into a chrysalis here: (hint: you have to keep clicking on the double arrows at the bottom right to see the change which is very slow!) Amazing!  The Journey North website is a wonderful resource, not only for butterflies but for many other migrating species.  Check it out!
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  • Time to Learn

    Posted by Tammy Vanderlugt on 9/25/2011
    It has been two and a half weeks since school began and we are already fully immersed in the learning process.  We have written and illustrated a class book, began an insect unit and are raising caterpillars and mealworms, explored three different math work places, learned about many different reading strategies, and so much more!  We are truly a learning community now.  Next week we will begin our Storytown reading curriculum, write letters to our pen pals in Arizona, and learn about non-standard and standard measurement.  
    In the classroom, we are working independently, in small groups, and as a whole class. We are learning how to work together so that everyone has a chance to take a turn, share their ideas, and learn.  Last week, we worked in three small groups to create list of community workers using phone books.  This helped students become familiar with this resource, search for community members using a source that is organized in alphabetical order, and learn to effectively work in a small group together.  Being able to independently find information is a valuable skill.  When your child wants to find information at home, help them search for that information by guiding him/her towards a children's dictionary, a thesaurus, a search engine on the computer, an encyclopedia, or head out to the library to search through their resources.  Let your child be the one that discovers the information and you will be helping your child develop an important life skill.
    I would love to hear comments on what your child has most enjoyed learning in class and what you would like to read about on this class blog! 
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  • Welcome to school!

    Posted by Tammy Vanderlugt on 8/28/2011
    Welcome to a new school year!  
     This picture was taken in Prague, Czech Republic.
    This is a picture of me taken on the bridge in Prague, Czech Republic.  
    We hiked all the way up to the castle in the background and it was beautiful!
    I hope everyone had a great summer and is looking forward to the new year like I am!  Over the summer, I spent three weeks touring Europe seeing amazing sights and getting ideas to enrich our curriculum.  I was also able to spend time reading and meeting new people while I was there.  I had a great time!
    Our open house is scheduled for September 6 from 4-6 PM.  This is a good time to have your child bring his/her supplies so that they are ready to be used on the first day of school.  I am looking forward to meeting everyone!
    I hope to use this blog as an additional tool to communicate and as a way to add information that is not in the weekly newsletter.  I welcome your comments and hope to create two-way communication through this blog.  
    I welcome all volunteers and hope that you will be able to share your talents with our class.  There are many ways to help, even if you are not able to volunteer regular in the classroom setting.  After school begins, I will have a volunteer information meeting to to go over important information as well as to answer any questions that you may have.
    Please contact me with any questions or concerns that you might have either by phone or e-mail.  
    See you soon!
    Mrs. Vander Lugt 
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