The Beauty of Routines
We are in the rhythm of the year. The children know when they come in to hang up their backpacks, sign in, and get to their morning work. They settle into circle time, snack, or math with little fuss. Having a predictable schedule is reassuring to all of us and the transitions from one activity to the next are, if not seamless, smooth. Now that we have the routines in place, it's easier to break from them. When we headed to the pumpkin patch this week, I was proud of how easily our children settled into listening to stories of children living on farms many years ago. They sat quietly and raised their hands to answer and ask questions.
Our 3 and 4 year olds read The Squiggle by Carole Lexa Schaefer which if borrowed from your library may have a magical way of triggering hours of pretend play (not that this group needs much nudging)! Their very own squiggle ribbons immediately became dragons, ripples in puddles, thunderstorms and jumping ropes. October crowns were created and the letter 'D' explored fully. During free choice time, students have been gravitating to a numbers chart and playing 'teacher' with each other: one child reciting the numbers and having the others count how many items make up that number. The book Patient for Pumpkins resonated with all as we explored that very hard concept of 'patience' and practiced it as we counted down to Friday's field trip to the Pumpkin Patch! Everyone was mesmerized by the wild girl in the book Swatch who rides colors and tries to tame them (with little luck). They may just bring you all of their artwork for the fridge and call it their 'masterpiece' because that word was discussed and of course they are all artists. Overall, it was a wild, free, and celebratory week: Fall finally feeling like it has arrived and, with it, a settling in to our environment, digging deeper into treating ourselves and each other kindly while exploring new concepts joyfully through play.
Spanish with Theresa
During Spanish, we do lots of singing, dancing, and story telling. This is the CD that we most heavily rely upon for Spanish songs: De Colores and Other Latin American Folk Songs for Kids by Jose-Luis Orozco. Your kids would be tickled if this showed up on the family CD shelf. You could then listen to them belt out all of the fabulous songs that they have been singing in Spanish.
K-1 Math with Theresa
The K-1 math class has a routine! Every day, they come in, and rotate the chore wheel. The day's leaders runs through the activities, which include skip counting, singing number songs, counting the days of school and calendar work. Then we explore the concept of the day. At the end of the class, they are dismissed when they answer a math problem. We love routine. Now that we have that firmly established, we get to get further into the fun stuff: exploring concepts. We are starting with the 100 number chart. The kindergartners are learning their simple facts, and the 1st graders are working to master the facts. If you want to help them at home, print out a hundred number chart and leave it lying around the house. They would be thrilled to tell you about it.
Our Theme: Government and the Judicial System
How do you approach the big ideas of government with children? We started by telling the story of The Kingdom with No Rules, No Laws and No King by Norman Stiles. Ask your child what happened about the challenges of trying to eat ice cream cones in this land. We then started to develop our class rules. We talked about when we could use one broad rule to include lots of smaller rules like "Respect other people's bodies." But then we also spent some time trying to come up with specific examples of what that rule looks like. We'll be discussing the rules a little more before everyone signs off on them. We'll also look at the three branches of government and learn how the judicial system helps to interpret laws. What's fair? Who gets to decide? What sort of punishments make sense for a crime? The children will be exploring all of these ideas over the next few weeks.