Small Group Learning
One of my favorite parts about working in our new space is having two teachers for collaborations, conspiring, and creativity. It's fun for me to know that Cheryl and Theresa are busy teaching in other rooms (and outside) while I am working with a small group of students. Much as I believe in multiage education, I love these chances to craft our teaching to a smaller range of ages. But I don't know what they're doing in those other rooms, and I wanted to make sure that parents (and I) got to celebrate their learning. I welcome Theresa and Cheryl's additions to our weekly update - hopefully they will give all of us a better picture of everything happening at our school.
Despite our themed read-alouds about adjusting to being in school and all things Fall, Summer seems to be lingering! Horse jumping is the pretend game du jour at the playhouse and our rocking horses have been enjoying the dress-up center. The 3 and 4 year olds were super into practicing B's in flour along with watercolors, play-dough and 'drawing in the air'. Besides our nursery rhymes (Ba Ba Black Sheep while holding some real wool reminded us to sit with our hands in our lap) for circle, we've been working on two poems: one about leaves falling (where we spin in the wind!) and another about slicing apples in the middle to find a beautiful star. Look in our lunch room for our apple stamp burlap flags to see how shapes/math can be found in nature-how cool!
Fall treasures acquired on our forest hike had us talking about seeds (maple seed 'helicopters' were stuck on our noses for the sole purpose of laughing) and signs of Fall while our senses were used to fully experience it (one student exclaimed: 'I smell leaves beginning to rot"). Treasures found their way into our water table, into our play-dough, and, we weaved them into our 'magic sticks'. Friday Forest Recess had the older students lifting us up and small trees were shaken to make leaves whirl down. Fall is here, slowly but surely, and with a nudge from us!
What a pleasure it continues to be to teach your children.
The elder kids are actually conversing in Spanish! Each day. a different student is the leader, who leads the class in songs and reading. I introduce a new story, then the kids answer questions about the story, all in Spanish!.
The younger kids are growing in their confidence. For many of them, this is their first time working with a second language. We have been singing "la Granja" which is a song about all of the animals at the farm and what they say.
My kindergarten and first grade math-a-letes are counting forward and backward by 1s, 2s, 3s, and 10s. We will begin to work more with 5s next week. The first graders have zipped through a workbook on subtraction that they will bring home this week.
Kids often ask me if I believe in magic, and I tell them about the magic I find in the natural world. The life cycle of a butterfly is right up there for magical transformations in my book. We didn't get to meet these monarchs as eggs. They came to us as caterpillars and chrysalises. But we did get to watch the caterpillars munch there way through lots of milkweed each day, and then join the chrysalises on the top of the container. This last week we watched as black and orange wings became apparent in the chrysalises and then our butterflies came out. We watched their wet and crumpled wings stretch out and took them outside to send them off to Mexico with lots of wishes for a good trip. When one student asked, "Where is Mexico?" We figured out a possible flight path on our globe and world mapsSm. Sadly one butterfly's wings didn't stretch out properly. We carefully placed it in our tall grasses. When we came back later to check on it, it was gone. One child suggested it had climbed on the back of a friend to make the journey.
"Nancy's back! Nancy's back!" the children chanted Thursday afternoon. Our new students were swept up in the excitement. We were thrilled to have her stories and nature knowledge in play once again. This week she shared a story about how the big bear ended up in the sky being chased by three hunters for all time. Then she showed us the pelt of a black bear. The children noticed the way the fur changed from its ears to it back, and how the underfur was different as well. The looked at how the front claws were longer than the back claws and wondered if he spent some time walking around on his hind feet. They observed, asked questions, and shared ideas.