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Enthusiastic Sponges

Our children were vibrating with excitement for much of this week building up to our party at the end of the week. We took that energy outside for math class, let the children work industriously to make decorations (and a quilt), and enjoyed the release of singing and dancing. I love that our children are so excited about learning EVERYTHING! From animals to people in other parts of the world, they want to know more. They ask questions, look for answers, ask more questions, and eagerly share their ideas. It makes so much of our teaching easier.

Expert Visitors

Nancy came on Thursday and helped everyone work on some of their storytelling skills. She had the children work on facial expressions, hand gestures, and tone of voice. She also shared one of her strategies for remembering a story as she told us the story of Beaver getting fire from the pine trees. Then we studied and drew a stuffed beaver she brought into the school. Our scientists had some careful observations about its feet, teeth, tail, and fur.

Ann came on Friday to tell our class about her time working on a tiny island in the Pacific Ocean through the Peace Corps. She shared shells, pictures, and stories. She told us about atolls, volcanoes, coral, lagoons, and coconuts. The children had lots of questions for her, and it was an great opportunity to learn a little about a new culture and place.

Our PreK Classroom with Cheryl

Although our 5 senses will be discussed and used throughout the year to learn about our world, this week we got into how we 'see our breath', 'hear the crunching leaves', 'taste pumpkin seeds and apples' and 'touch the first frost'. Ask your child which herb s/he ground and smelled. The letter 'G' was interesting this week as we again talked about how letters can have two sounds-for both 'giraffe' and 'ghost'. Along the ghost topic, each little one was eager to share their Halloween costume idea after exploring books on jack-o-lanterns, trick-or-treating, and celebrating fall with community. You may even hear your child call their jack-o-lantern a 'pumpkin moonshine'. Skills such as cleaning up after one's own mess and helping others when it isn't our own mess are skills that can be reinforced and praised at home as well. We glued candy corn colors of orange and yellow and many felt inspired to make rainbow colored ones during free-choice time! We hope you enjoyed our spider handprints, spider yarn webs and possibly heard 'Itsy Bitsy Spider' and 'Little Miss Muffet' being sung at home. What I loved most is how we questioned the nursery rhyme: many in this group didn't understand how a spider could be scary and frighten Miss Muffet away - these creatures 'are our nature friends' is what I heard.

K-1 Math with Theresa

This week, we began working in small groups in math class. One groups does math free time, while the other works with a teacher.

With the younger students, we have been practicing our numbers. Four has proven especially tricky for many of the kids. We have been saying "Down and over (lift pencil) then down some more, that's the way we make a four!" The elder kids are intent on storming through their workbooks. They are working on subtraction.

I look forward to sharing more details with you at our conferences next week.

Math with Tracy

Our math class has been working hard on addition and subtraction strategies. Ultimately we want the children to know their facts automatically. We're working towards that by identifying fact families and learning 4 related facts at once (ex: 7+4=11, 4+7=11, 11-7=4, 11-4=7). We've been using "helper facts" as well. Many of the children know all their doubles facts and can use these to solve problems that are close to the doubles fact. If I know that 6+6=12, then 6+7 and 7+6 have to be one more than 12, and 6+5 and 5+6 have to be one less than 12. The children are working on being able to explain their strategies to each other. We have also used a basic fact with single digits to add numbers in the tens or hundreds (ex: 2+3=5, 20+30=50, 200+300=500). We took our math outside this week. Our pavement has been a great place to get out the chalk and practice writing numbers in the hundreds as well as identifying the number of hundreds, tens, and ones in a given number.

Our Theme: Government

This week we read Rules and Laws, watched a movie about local government, and continued to figure out the ways that government impacts our lives. .Many of the resources we use work on a basic assumption that laws are fair and just, but we have talked about how that is not always the case and sometimes laws need to be changed or getting rid of entirely. The children were outraged to learn that 100 years ago it was against the law for women to vote. We came up with a list of actions they can take if they think a law is not fair.

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