We like to say "Yes!" to our students. When two children asked if they could share a science experiment with the rest of the school, we said, "Yes!" They brought in their materials and wowed their classmates with their demonstration. It prompted a lively discussion as we talked about what we observed and what it might mean. We brought that same "Yes!' to reading with younger friends, having a Spanish café, and making lots of Peep babies for Hamsterdam (though we may need another teacher for the school).
Playing restaurant (and variations on this game) has always been a popular part of both indoor and outdoor play. Theresa worked with a group of waiters, staff, and chefs to create a Spanish café with the children during our morning choice time. Others played the crucial role of customers. Everyone got to practice asking for different foods in Spanish. The children and Theresa all had ideas for improving the whole experience, and they plan on making it a fairly regular morning choice.
Storyteller Super Powers
I've had the pleasure of listening to Nancy tell stories to our children for years now, and I am pretty sure she has super powers. As soon as she puts that "Once upon a time" out into the air, she has a classroom of children hanging on her every word. This year the older children are going to each get to practice telling a Brother Rabbit story, and she has told us two over the past two weeks to start getting the children in the mode: "How Rabbit Rode Fox" and "How Rabbit Got Fish from Bear and Fox." We've been working on our expressive faces and using our bodies to help make the story come alive. Nancy also shared fox and rabbit skulls and pelts with the class. We looked at the skulls for clues about the animals' adaptations to their habitats.
Literacy in the Multiage Classroom
It seems as if almost all of the children find their way into the library during their free times. I am tickled as I see younger children sharing their new reading skills with older friends, and more able readers helping readers in the early learning stages. This last week I was part of a lively debate on which Piggie and Gerald book is the best. I also had the pleasure of talking about how words come to be with some students reading "Frindle." We use Houghton Mifflin's Alphafriends to introduce our younger students to the sounds of each letter and help them see the shapes of the lowercase letters. I hear the older kids using those Alphafriends as reference points for younger classmates trying to figure out how to spell words for their writing. While everyone is aware of relative skill levels, there is also always someone else who is working at a similar level.