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Building Context

Throughout our day we do our best to make sure that the children's work has context and that it feels real and relevant to them (even when we are traveling in our imaginations). They learn those high frequency sight words by reading them in morning letters and books. We try to place them in history with an awareness of some of what came before (Gandhi's work in India) to understand what they are studying now (US Civil Right's Movement). They read and sing and craft spaghetti. We activate our current knowledge base and then build on it - whether we are figuring out how to spell "rectangle" or questing into Ancient Egypt.

Rachel's PreK Reflections

One of the beautiful things about Country Classroom is that we have the freedom to let the children’s interests lead our learning. In preschool, this is particularly wonderful because it develops critical thinking, brings repetition, and grows a love for knowledge acquisition among the students. This week was a good example of these sorts of activities.

Grandma Barb, as the children affectionately call her, comes to read with the full day Preschool and Kindergarten students on Tuesdays. During this last reading session, a student who had been carefully studying a children’s book on Ancient Egypt brought the book over and asked Grandma Barb to read that one. What ensued was a full 30-minutes intently listening to details about the lives of the Ancient Egyptians...and asking a lot of questions!

After reading a book version of the song “On Top of Spaghetti,” it was requested of me to read (sing) it again. And again. And again! After approximately 74 rounds over a week and a half timespan, we ended last week with a “spaghetti and meatballs” craft. We will see what this next week brings—I have no doubt I’ll be continuing to sing about meatballs and sneezing until I return the book to the library!

Play is an area that provides ample opportunity for the young students to be self driven. You’ll see them choose activities that range from academic work, to imaginary play, to building or art formation. They work independently and together, learning how to wait until someone’s done or how to include another person when possible. It allows each child to gain a sense of pride and accomplishment after completing something, and also helps to develop the perseverance in figuring things out which will then carry on to benefit them in the rest of their lives. We love to watch them work!

Author's Celebration

An important part of the Writer's Workshop model is the sharing of work. While we love having our families and community come for these celebrations, this last week we enjoyed having a kids only book party. Theresa's writers were sharing their fractured fairytales, a take on "Goldilocks and the 3 Bears" while Tracy's writers shared their alphabet books and "how to" books. It's such a pleasure watching them revel in their writing. They are also starting to develop more specific critiques for each other, focusing on specific elements of their craft.

Theme: US Civil Rights Movement

This week we have been continuing out study of the Civil Rights Movement. The kids are learning about the important role that individual people took to make things happen. We studied the Montgomery Bus Boycott, and we pretended that we were at the meeting the night that Rosa Parks was arrested. We talked about the different ways that we could respond, and sought a response that would bring change and keep everyone safe. Some of the students decided that they would, in fact, support the boycott. Other students wanted to wait and see if more negotiations would bring about change. Still other kids wanted to get more aggressive to demand fair treatment. The kids then thought through the steps that they would have to take to put their plans into effect.

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