We finally had a whole week without snow days, ice delays, mass sickness, or holidays. It was great to be able to get in the groove. I am often quietly amazed at this point in the year. How can it be that what had started as a class of squeaking recorders can now pop out "Hot Cross Buns" or "Mary Had a Little Lamb" with clear skill? When did they figure out enough Spanish to understand as Theresa does her whole morning circle in that language? How can it be that the child sitting next to me is reading a book with fluency and expression that would have been completely beyond her in September? Learning is sometimes dramatic and flashy, but more often it comes from ongoing effort, a steady rhythm of work that gets these children to amazing places.
Our Theme: Science Experiments
What makes a good scientific question? How can we control for different variables? All of the children have been answering these questions as we work on our science experiments. We have talked about making a hypothesis and how to make our procedures as clear as possible, like a recipe, so that someone else could read our procedure and do our experiment just right.
We've also been tracking some experiments that we started before our February break. The last throat drop finally dissolved (after 3 weeks!). We used that experiment to talk about the importance of asking more questions once we've completed an experiment. The children had all sorts of interesting ideas about how our mouths might be different than the cups of water we used for dissolving the throat drops. Maybe we should keep the water warm like on a stove because our mouths are warm. Or maybe we should chop the drops into smaller bits because that's what our teeth would do. Or maybe we should try to fill up cups with saliva because spit is different than water. They were particularly graphic in their description of how spit is unique - it's not often they get the okay for that kind of topic at school.
Dr. Seuss' Birthday
I admit that I think some elementary school teachers can get a little carried away with school celebrations. Celebrating is an important way for a community to bond, but I'm still probably not going to celebrate Turtle Day, Pancake Day, or Opposite Day unless I have a very motivated student who wants to make a party happen. But I do love Read Across America Day. Celebrating the birthday of Dr. Seuss is a great reason to be an little extra silly. We wore our pajamas and brought in some of our favorite Seuss stories to share. We played with rhymes. In small groups, During math time, the older children played tic tac toe with "green eggs" and "ham." While the younger children, made "Ten Apples Up On Top." We did choral readings of The Foot Book and Mr. Brown Can Moo. Reading together in a group helps the children read more fluently. I read The Sneetches to the class, prompting a deep discussion about being inclusive regardless of what someone might look like. We lightened up the mood afterwards with Sneetch tag where everyone ended up being starred or not (depending on the round). I'm sure your child can explain it better than I can.