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Back to School

When I sit down to write this blog post each week, I look back at my plan book and the pictures we have taken, and I look for some inspiration to help be the glue for my writing. What struck me this year was how much we managed to fit into just two days of school! One of the strengths of our school is the extent to which our returning students help to hold our expectations, our routines, and our values. They know how to clean up spills and get ice packs for bumps. They can find watercolors, graph paper, and pattern blocks. They sing out in full voices and gently pull our new students into dances. We read It Takes a Village on the first day of school, and I asked the second through sixth graders to reflect on how they help create our "village." They talked about setting the tone for circle, listening carefully to each other, helping to solve problems, and being teachers. I am grateful for their hard work and for the chance to dive into new areas of learning.

Morgan's PK and K Class

Welcome back! *This week we got to know our new and returning classmates. *We read some books about coming back to school (or beginning school) and recognizing our emotions. *We played with play dough, dolls, pretend food and cars! *We realized we needed to decorate our school school with our works of art, so we explored different thicknesses of paints and paper. We also learned how to care for our brushes and avoid making "crusty" brushes. *We went on adventure walks in the woods! We looked for bugs, worms, and fossils. Many children also started to build fairy houses or added on to ones they found.

Tracy's 1st-3rd Graders

The book Lily Brown's Paintings served as inspiration for two days of exploring watercolor paints. After the first day, we pulled our paintings together on the carpet and did some critiques. What do we notice? What worked well? What do want to do differently? What else might we try doing? These are the same questions that we ask as writers, as mathematicians, and as readers throughout the year. In this case, they helped to shape the second day of painting, and the children continued to reflect as they created.

Theresa's 4th-6th Graders It is so wonderful to be teaching this group of children! I am so relieved that the past few years are, for the time being, behind us, and we can sing, play and breathe in the same space.

We spent the first few days focusing on creating a learning environment that works for everyone. The students wrote essays about where they wanted to work this year. They also used several papers where I asked them to think about their learning style, and what they need in place to succeed. These accommodations might include:

-Where they are sitting in the classroom for various subjects.

-What technology they might benefit from (Noise cancelling headphones? Headphones that play white noise? A clip on light? Visual barriers? Technology to assist reading or writing?).

-What sort of instruction they are most receptive to (Direct instruction, collaborative work, using art to understand ideas?).

I am very proud of the conversations that they have been having, and their ability to reflect on themselves as learners.


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