Butterflies and Breathing
Every new year starts with some nervous butterflies for me, and with all of the new COVID-19 protocols in place, we had a few more things to wonder about this year. When our older cohort first arrived, I could see it in their body language and hear it in their voices. They were feeling pretty nervous too. When I asked the PK through second graders how many of them felt a little nervous about the first day of school, lots of hands went up. But with both groups, I watched them start to relax after a short time - laughter rang in the air, eyes crinkled up (even if their smiles were hidden by masks), and they were just so glad to be in the company of other kids again.
We've always spent a significant amount of time outside, but this year we've taken that to a new level. Desks and tables let the kids do their academic work that requires a pencil and paper. They also get to set up a blanket under a tree for "relax and read" or spread along the top of the hill for a recorder lesson. If the weather gets really difficult, we have the room inside to spread out - right now we're reveling in the opportunity to learn outdoors.
One of my kindergarten students was busily working away in the sandbox, mixing up a concoction in a cup. "Tracy would you like a sand shake?" Of course! She picked up the cup, looked over at me, put the cup back down, pulled up her mask, and came over with it in her outstretched hand. I was happy to "gulp" it down and thanked her for the yummy treat.
Taking a break from mask wearing when we're all spread out on the hill or sitting down at our desks for snack is welcome, but the actual mask wearing is much less onerous that I thought it might be. Score one for the adaptability of kids!
Building Our Community
Tracy's younger cohort worked this week on their "All About Me" books. We have been reading lots of books together to help us think about rules and expectations: Officer Buckle and Gloria, Bunny Cakes, and What If Everybody Did That. Today I Feel Silly, The Hello Goodbye Window, Dog Loves Books, The Watermelon Seed have given us opportunities to talk about our feelings, our families, and things we love. We started our yearly tradition of making buckets and paper "wishes" by reading, Fill a Bucket. Everyone had lots of ideas of things we can all do to help make other people feel better, and we talked about how when do that, it also "fills our bucket."
Theresa's Reflections on the 3rd - 6th Graders
We are back! We are back!
I am so glad to be back.
This week was chock full of new things. We will be working extra hard in the next few weeks to make sure that all of the kids are comfortable on the computers, and able to manage working independently.
We are also making time capsules! We are making two different capsules. The personal time capsule will be created by each child, and we will put it away until the end of the year. It will include some of the students writing, drawings and reflections.
We are also going to work on a more permanent time capsule. We have been discussing what makes the moment that we are living in right now especially important. We have been talking about what are some "artifacts" of our lives, that might be different or obsolete in 50 years.
We have sent out letters to various local historical institutions and libraries, to see if they would be interested in "hosting" the capsule for us. This week, we are going to write about what will be in the capsule.