I spent what was supposed to be our first professional development day shoveling, moving wood, and keeping our woodstove burning. We rescheduled it for this week, and I am so grateful for this time to reflect and organize. We spent time talking about each student, examined our schedule, and developed some new policies. Each teacher also had time to do some crucial room organization - clearing out, sorting, and finding new systems to keep things tidy. When I plan lessons and themes for our children, I do my best to build in this same space for reflection. It's a gift when we give it to all of the teachers as well.
Rachel's PreK Reflections
Music is a cherished part of the culture at Country Classroom, and our young students love having it incorporated throughout their entire curriculum. They have special songs they request for Circle Time, transition times, and even for learning about ideas! This year, they've already learned valuable pieces of information through songs and rhythmic chants, like the Continents, how to dress for going outside in winter, and some Spanish vocabulary. They also regularly study the lives and music of famous Classical composers, and are sure to remind me to put on the songs they love most, like Vivaldi's Four Seasons or Bach's Tocatta and Fugue in D Minor, if I forget! It's been an honor to see their love for complex music develop, their memory for melodies in various keys/modes/time signatures grow, and most of all--to see them delight in the stories, songs, and development of music all around.
This last week, it was especially neat to consider all of this when Tracy asked the full-day Preschoolers to teach the "older kids" the continents when the whole group was being introduced to world geography. Without hesitation, the Preschoolers began singing "the continent song" to the group with glowing faces and confident voices--and then the rest of the group learned the song and joined in with them!
Our Theme: World Geography
Everyone had a chance to get their hands dirty as they made salt maps of the continents. They added mountain ranges and labels to show the location of each continent. We started to run a little low on blue play dough prompting the reflection that our globe really has a whole lot of ocean on it! Theresa talked with the older students about population distribution, and they were all surprised to find out that only 5 percent of the world's population lives in the United States. Tracy took the younger students on a plane ride to Kenya where they noticed some of the ways Nairobi was similar and different from cities they had visited before. Then they headed into the savannah on safari - ask them about all of the amazing animals they saw. It was tricky getting back in time for adventure walk, but luckily Imagination Airlines has some very speedy flights. They're looking forward to visiting other parts of the world in the days to come.
Writing Workshop: Biographies
Everyone is immersed in learning and writing about different individuals. The older students are using multiple resources to gather facts about a famous person and are sorting those facts into different categories. They have found that sources can offer differing perspectives and sometimes even information. At snack right after writing workshop, I hear them chatting away about all of the interesting things that their people have done. Meanwhile, the younger students interviewed someone they admire. They are taking those answers and organizing them into a logical order. We're looking forward to publishing all of this great writing and sharing it with the community before winter break.