I regularly tell the children how much I love my job, and I have lots of little moments during the day when I feel so very proud of them. There was the moment this week when someone spilled water and instantly three children were there cleaning up with rags without me saying a word. At recess the other day, I watched one very frustrated child walk away from a situation, pace around the playground for a little, and then come back in a better frame of mind to try to solve the problem. During "Relax and Read" I saw one of the children start to glow as she read a book to me with newfound skill and confidence. It makes me feel lucky.
Then we head out on a field trip, and I have even more opportunities to feel proud of our students. I always love watching their faces as they are mesmerized by a performance. Mermaid Theater of Nova Scotia had them laughing and clapping. Our students were enthusiastic audience members and many of them had questions to ask the performers. They were steady hikers as we wended our way through the streets of Albany, navigating traffic lights and pushing our way through strong winds. Then they demonstrated some of the knowledge they have gained about the solar system and planets during our program at the Albany Heritage Visitors Center. The instructor there mentioned that they could answer one of her questions that eighth graders often don't know. You could see their pride and enthusiasm for space. The planetarium show deepened their understanding as well, particularly of the constellations as we watched the stars track across the sky. Thank you to everyone who helped to drive on this trip.
Last week we threw a bit of our normal routine out the window to celebrate the seasons. We read Wittilda, a story about a witch trying to find the right job for her. Ask your child what she ended up deciding to do. Children made jack-o-lanterns, bats, ghosts, and witches. With the first snowfall on Thursday, we worked on making "real" six sided snowflakes. It was an interesting math lesson as we took our rectangle, turned it into a square, folded that into a triangle, and then worked on folding in thirds. The children cut, opened their snowflakes, folded them back up, and cut some more. There were some sad moments when the cutting got too extensive and the snowflake became a series of smaller pieces. There was some frustration trying to cut through that many layers. But the children persevered and came back to it during Friday's free choice time to cut out even more snowflakes.
I introduced (and re-introduced) the children to the 3 guidelines Zaner-Bloser Handwriting uses to help children form their letters this week. Everyone tried to do some careful writing to make labels for our solar system using the guidelines for reference. We started to learn the song "There Are 8 Planets in the Solar System," and I think we all got it stuck in our heads for a portion of the day. Thinking, reading, and talking about all of these big ideas of space has prompted the children to have some pretty interesting conversations during our discussion times. This week during morning circle we tackled some big questions (all asked by children). "Where did Earth come from?" "How do planets form?" "Where did people come from?" "How big is the Milky Way?" "What would happen if you got really close to a Black Hole?" Some of these questions were answered in part by the children themselves. Sometimes Theresa or I offer some answers. We do our best to tap into the knowledge the children already have and then push their understanding to the next level. I always try to share some of the awe I feel in contemplating these big questions and the idea that many of these questions are still being answered by scientists.
Hopefully your children are sharing some of their wonder and questions with you at home as well.