We have two weeks worth of school happenings to condense into our blog this week. It's a big job, but we'll do our best to give you some accurate snapshots and some of the highlights.
Cheryl's PreK Reflections
The preschool got to continue their tour of our school's community and went to the Middleburgh firehouse. I was not surprised by this groups' raised hands and thoughtful questions and answers. We talked about how grateful we are to our farmers and firefighters for helping us all in different ways.
With the arrival of November came (stuffed animal) Tom Turkey who now peeks in on our circle time filled with music, movement, finger plays and nursery rhymes. Scarf dancing catching along to Laurie Berkiner's song "What Falls in the Fall?" (rain and sometimes snow falls... which we got to experience outside this week) was a hit. Ask your child if our school likes to go outside in the rain.
Camping shelters were made more cozy with show-and-tell stuffed animals outside, we "hunted" for mushrooms and examined one after asking adults if it was safe, practiced our scissor skills, and got to taste freshly popped corn gifted to us from Farmer Cindy at Barber's Farm (and Rebecca who seasons it amazingly). It was a fun week of warmth, leaning on and appreciating friends (and stuffed animals) as November brought with it the precipitation and chill.
It was really great meeting with parents, last week. We treasure this chance to listen to any concerns and observations from our children's families. It is always good to realize that we are all working together for the good of the kids.
Our older writers are working on biographies, conducting research and figuring out how to put ideas in their own words.
Our younger writers continue their exploration of fairy tales from around the world. We've read The Emperor's Nightingale, Chinye, Puss in Boots, Forty Fortunes, King Midas and the Golden Touch, Sylvester and the Magic Pebble, and many others. The children have a quick list of things they look for in fairytales: talking animals, magic, fantastic locations, happily ever after's, royalty or people in power (queens, emperors, chiefs), and similar events happening multiple times (often in threes). They are also working on their own fairy tales, letting their imaginations and magic run wild.
Theme: Legislative Branch of Government
This month for theme, we are studying how a bill becomes a law.
The littler kids are studying concepts like "country," "state," and "town." They came up with a song to help them remember some of the steps about how a bill becomes a law (to the tune of "The Farmer in the Dell"). When some of the older kids joined the class, we acted out the process for multiple bills generated by pairs of students. Some bills died in committee. Some passed the House of Representative and Senate unanimously. Others had supporters and detractors. The president had the chance to sign each bill and make it a law or veto it and send it back to Congress for a second vote.
The bigger kids are working to understand how the three branches of government work together to make a system that prevents any one branch from getting too strong. They are making "How a Bill Becomes a Law" board games, where they will create bills and run them through the gauntlet, to see which ones actually get approved by all three branches.
For most of these kids, we will be visiting this topic again in three years, as our curriculum is on a three year rotation Our goal is for the kids to understand the process and the system of checks and balances by the time they graduate.
Sharing Our Learning
Some of the kids prepared and delivered a presentation for a group that funded our Earth Day Project with the Schoharie River Center last year. The River Center received a grant form this organization to teach the Country Classroom kids about the insects that indicate the health of a body of water. While many of the students were nervous, they were proud of their delivery and learned some interesting facts about vermiculture from the other student group that presented.