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Talking and Doing and Thinking

The past two weeks have been a little short - conferences with families, holidays, and professional development have all taken us away from regular school days. I revel in those other important days too. I am so grateful each time I sit down for conferences that each family has chose to share their children with us. I love the chance to reflect carefully on each child, gain insight into behaviors that happen outside of school, and share a child's progress and challenges. Having our 10 to 1 student to teacher ratio means that I really have the chance to know how each child is doing and can offer lots of examples of the child's work and thinking. We also have the luxury of meeting with each family for long enough to really listen to all the insights their families have to offer.

Rachel's PreK Reflections

The natural world provides so many resources for us to learn through “doing.” During our last true week of weather that felt like Autumn, our preschoolers practiced leaf identification, gathering leaves of different colors, and then using those leaves to practice cutting skills. Many parents probably saw the result of this if their child was one who decided to create a collage by gluing the leaf cuttings to paper!

Our “doing” allows us to learn through multiple senses at the same time, and also gives us the opportunity to use abstract thinking to “create” new things. The preschoolers and kindergartners at Country Classroom have been studying the famous abstract artist Wassily Kandinsky, who had a condition known as synaesthesia. This condition allowed him to hear colors and to see music. Instead of being limited by this, he used it as a gift to bring a new genre of visual art to the world. The children went deeper with this topic as they used their own senses to create alternative masterpieces, including “painting” music in the air with scarves as classical songs played in the background, and also recreating Kandinsky’s work (or to make their own inspired piece) using cut out shapes.

Learn more about this fascinating artist in the article linked below!

Writing Workshop

Each child has been collecting journal entries centered around different things that make us thankful. Then we have been searching for the words that can truly make an idea "pop." We have listened to the words of other authors and worked to identify what we find truly memorable. It's also been a week of creating with paper mache so that we have a unique surface to put our memorable words. I can't wait to see how these come together this next week into a finished product.

Theme: US government

Theresa has been leading all of us through a variety of simulations where different children get to be part of the different branches of government. We had the opportunity to vote on a variety of important questions - cardinal or blue jay, apples or blueberries, red flag or blue flag. Some children made campaign flags and slogans to help win support for a particular idea. We talked about the roles of each branch and how there are checks and balances to help make sure that any one branch doesn't become too powerful. The children even made a simple round to sing about the executive, judicial, and legislative roles.

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