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Being Flexible

It's been an interesting few weeks for our Country Classroom community. Last weekend we went into a precautionary quarantine under the guidance of the Schoharie County Health department. We changed from our hybrid schedule to all remote learning, and the teachers swung into action. It was a new rhythm and a new set of schedules. We did a combination of whole group, small group, and one-on-one lessons. Our kids and families demonstrated their resilience yet again - reading, drawing, singing, writing, and dancing with us. It was wonderful to have a writing conference where I knew that no one would interrupt us (assuming pets and little siblings cooperated). I enjoyed the chance to see everyone's faces without masks, to get a tour of a blanket fort, and to have a chance to see a new pet fish. I don't know of any teacher who really thinks remote learning is the best way to teach, but it does have its magical moments and for these I am thankful.

A Few Pictures

I didn't manage to get any pictures from our time remote, but I do have some pictures to share from the previous week. We experimented with finger paints - using the primary colors to generate a whole bunch of other colors. In math, everyone has been working on visually representing numbers. From recognizing the numbers of dots on a die (rather than counting them one by one) to using tens frames and double tens frames, all of our students are working on making the connection between a number and the many ways it can be represented. As the temperatures have dropped, we are doing more of our work inside, and it means we can play with our cardboard blocks and some other materials that don't hold up as well in our outdoor classroom.

And One More

Last year we read Beautiful Oops! by Barney Saltzberg. It's a book about how when we make a mistake, it's an opportunity to make something beautiful. We reference it often and celebrate when we figure out how to incorporate a mistake into our work. It's an on-going struggle for some of our kids who can be focused on the product rather than the product. One student ripped her paper during our finger painting, and I braced myself for a struggle to convince her that this was workable. "Tracy, look it's a mouth," she exclaimed, "I made a beautiful oops!" In this case, the lesson had been internalized and the freedom of finger painting made it easy.


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