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Breadth versus Depth

When I was in graduate school, we had extended conversations about breadth versus depth in education. Do you try to give kids a sampling of as much different information as possible, or do you dig deeply into a more limited number of topics? We try to do a bit of both - letting kids follow topics that interest them but trying to spend enough on a topic that we have some depth of understanding.

With our Indonesia study, I was feeling a little frustrated that we didn't have more time to dig deeper. But then we were talking about everything they had learned compared to what we knew a few weeks ago when we started, and I was truly impressed by the depth of their collective understanding. They all know some folktales with kancil the mouse deer, heard about the daily life of kids, know some more about rice and its cultivation, have an appreciation for Indonesia's place on the Ring of Fire, learned a little bit about Islam, have tried to do some Indonesian dance, know what a gamelan orchestra sounds like, can hopefully find Indonesia on a map, and know what Indonesian sounds like and maybe even a few words and phrases. That's not bad for a month's worth of work, and I'm proud of all they learned.

Morgan's PK and K Class

We played and worked on so many different things this week:

* Spanish math bingo: practicing our numbers 1-10

* The # 27

* Touch and feel books and using descriptive words to talk about what we were touching

* Look and Find books: some children worked together and other worked solo

* Created Bingo dabber art

* Used magnifying glasses to look for bugs outside

* Guessed what the end rhyming words were going to be in Dr. Seuss books

* Worked on our jumping, rolling, balancing, climbing skills in different types of nature

* We created a playdough bakery shop. The children counted all of our creations and talked about what ingredients were used and how much they needed (measurements: cup, tablespoon, "a pinch", etc.).

* Painted on different textures (rocks, thin/thick paper)

* Voted on what songs we want to perform for the end of the year celebration. The children then counted how many hands were raised.

Tracy's 1st-2nd Class

In math, the kids worked in small groups to plan lunches for the week on a limited budget. They practiced making different amounts with coins and dollar bills, and there were some good discussions about what they needed to stay healthy - all food groups were represented. We also figured out how many of each coin we need to make a dollar and timed ourselves to see how fast we could count them. The second graders are continuing their work with multiplication, and the first graders are practicing their math facts a little bit each day.

In writing, almost everyone is done with their alternative world stories. We'll be publishing these and sharing them with everyone on Thursday. Many of the kids have expressed interest in helping me to write the morning message, so we are taking turns doing this between now and the end of the year.

Theresa's 3rd-5th Class

This week, the big kids spent a lot of time organizing the class trip to the Forest Farm Campsite. They talked with the owner, made packing lists, made shopping lists, estimated expenses and so much more. This week, we are going to determine who is cooking and cleaning up, and we are going to make some plans of what we want to do. They are learning that it is not easy to take a trip. That said. we are all very excited.

The 5th graders have a test on Monday, and it looks like they are going to finish their books before the end of the year.

In reading, most of the kids are reading The Giver, by Lois Lowry. It is a beautiful story about dystopian society. It is another nail biter! The kids are loving it.


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