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Spring, Snowshoes, and Suffrage

Our students bring such passion to all that they do. I watched them this week building intricate structures with blocks, tackling snowshoeing, and feeling the outrage of half the population of our country being unable to vote. They are constantly asking questions and seeking answers. They are given the time to really sink into each activity, and I watch their intrinsic motivation push them to do more.

Cheryl's PreK Reflections

I hope my excitement and joy for the official first day of Spring wasn't too silly with all the snow around us. Children loved observing a Spring picture book with no words, telling me the story of the season, which led us into a fun craft of cutting tulips and pasting them in our own cut grass. We recited and did finger plays to a poem about a robin fleeing from a cat, passed around a pussy willow to touch, and practiced writing the letter 'Y' on personal chalkboards, molded it with play dough, and oil crayoned it.

Now that our pre-K class has grown, Tara has graciously volunteered to help us on some Thursday mornings. This help was much appreciated during a Lucy Ladybug math read-aloud/ rock craft. Taking the children's lead with the excitement and curiosity upon finding a real ladybug in our grass jar (and taking turns letting her crawl up their hands to their glee), I happily read this book that celebrates diversity, going against the norm (black spots-why not rainbow?) and loving yourself. The kids were inspired by this story, raising their hands with lots to share. Egg hunts are all the rage during free choice play inside, and outside their imaginations are running wild as they become a Snow Queen's puppy or go belly first down the slides into the slowly melting snow. It was wonderful to learn and collaborate during our teacher professional development time Friday and looking forward to a celebration when we complete our alphabet next week (then on to numbers!). The magic of Spring is in the air!

Tracy's Math Class

My math kids have been measuring up a storm. Everyone has been practicing the process of picking a reasonable unit, estimating how many it will be, then doing their best to accurately measure. Does it make sense to use inches, feet, or yards? Or when we're practicing with metric units, should we use centimeters or meters? Their estimates are becoming more accurate as they start to become more familiar with the units, and all of them are starting to know which students in the school are a meter tall or that their pinky nail is a centimeter across.

Snowshoeing with Nancy

Nancy brought in an amazing collection of snowshoes this last week. The children looked closely at the lacings and were fascinated to learn that they came from intestines. Talking about intestines allowed us to do a quick review of our earlier work on the human body and the digestive system, but then we were back to examining the different designs of snowshoes. Why are some really rounded and others long and skinnier? Why do some have "tails" that come off their ends? The children came up with some different theories, and then it was time to suit up. Everyone helped as we put snowshoes on each other and headed into the woods. The deer that have been sleeping in the "deer hotel" under our cedar tree showed us how their skinny legs punch down in snow that we glided over. It felt quite magical.

Our Theme: Women's Suffrage

We focused on learning more about two important figures in the suffrage movement this week: Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony. Hearing their stories, the children were struck by how long they fought for their beliefs and how they didn't actually get to see the constitution change. They were also outraged to think that a father could say to his daughter, "I wish you had been a son." Everyone is working on a small book highlighting these key players in the suffrage movement.

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