Coming Together to Celebrate

"Can we do this again next month?" asked one eager author at our tea this week. All of our students had a whole host of things to celebrate. We celebrated our first community theme by walking the streets of our town and comparing them to the town we created. We celebrated the personal narratives our children produced during Writer's Workshop. We also came together with families to put on costumes, share food and stories, and play some games at our fall party.

A Field Trip to Town

All of our students have walked around a town before, and they have all been to the doctor's office, but when we went on our field trip we had the opportunity to look a little more deliberately and closely. The students noted some key businesses that they missed in their town including shops for presents, shops for clothes, a hardware store, hair dressers and gas stations. We also looked to see how the businesses were laid out and what drew our eyes to a given business. Our visit to the doctor's office, with the luxury of being observers, allowed us to watch our stuffed bear go through the steps of checking in and going through a well visit. Everyone had the opportunity to listen to their heartbeats and see a real ear drum (a trip highlight for me). We also had the chance to run around a nice flat patch of lawn for some tag, Spanish songs, and other games. When it was time to head back to school, one student remarked, "Wait! It's been 3 hours that hardly felt like an hour!"

Writers' Workshop and Authors' Tea

During our writing time, we have been delving deep into personal narratives. Reading everything from Jane Yolen's Owl Moon to Theresa Heary's Grandpa's Coat. We discussed different writing techniques and noted parts of books that "popped" for us. We have identified the beginning, middle, and end of a story. We also have discovered some narratives that don't have that sort of structure. The children looked through their notebooks and found a particular piece (or in many cases a series of related pieces) to publish. At our author's tea on Friday, they read their works to our community and families. They also had a chance to read their classmates' books. Students offered comments to their peers and reflected on their own writing. Many of them said they can't wait to start working on their next books.

Our Theme: Physics

Vicki Cobb's book I Fall Down was a big part of the inspiration for our work in physics this week. We had "dropping races" off of our front porch where students predicted which of two objects would hit the ground first. They found a large number of ties and many were surprised that two objects with very different weights would land at the same time. We talked about what sort of objects did seem to take longer to fall - ones that the air could push on. We introduced the idea of force and mass as well as talking lots about gravity. Meanwhile, children used their choice time to experiment with different designs for building towers and experienced gravity at work firsthand.

All this celebration strengthens our school community and gives children an opportunity to revel in their learning and work!

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