Building Community Again
We're back! This past week marked our first chance to have all of our students learning together 5 days a week. That was two big transitions for one week - 5 days in person and 22 students all together. For some of our newer students, it meant meeting some people that are brand new to them. So we played some name games, reviewed the daily schedule each morning, and checked in about how everyone was doing with all these changes. We did our best to embrace the wacky swings in weather, playing "Drip Drip Drop" to cool off and wearing our winter hats to stay warm. We brought out our "buckets" activity. "I love this! I love this! I love this!" chanted one child as she skipped around to everyone dispensing good bits for their buckets. We are building our school culture of kindness and having opportunities for new and rediscovered friendships.
Wildlife Rehabilitator Kelly Martin
Kelly Martin was back too! This time she brought lots of baby animals. We've talked about how many animals come into the world during spring time, and we got to meet a big array on Thursday: a painted turtle, a sparrow (being fed with a syringe), a crow, a weasel, a groundhog, and a porcupine. Typically, our kids had a ton of questions. "Why do painted turtles have all those colors? How old is it? How old will it get? Can they climb trees? Do they have any predators? What do they eat usually?" Even with all of her expertise, Kelly occasionally had to offer an "I don't know," and I'm always grateful when children get to see adults saying those words. They also had a bunch of stories, but they managed to wait until the end of the presentation to share those.
We are jumping into our plants theme, and this one is interesting because our kids already know quite a bit about plants. Teaching them about how a plant needs soil, sun, and water isn't going to be very interesting for them. Instead, we worked in small groups to make lists of things we didn't know and would like to find out. We zeroed in on dandelions, reading Dandelion Adventures, looking closely at the parts of the plant (roots, leaves, flowers, and seeds), drawing those parts, and even drawing with dandelion flowers. We talked about how we all see dandelions all the time, but there's still lots of new things to discover about them. We also read Redwoods and talked about some of the amazing characteristics of those giants of the plant world.
Tracy's PK-2nd Grade Reflections
My writers made mini books about life during Covid-19. They had pages for things they liked (more time with Mom!), didn't like (no playing with friends), and things they can't wait to do (eat in a restaurant). We talked about what they had written and what they thought they would remember from this year. We've also started stories from our imaginations, and we talked about how these can be realistic, but they need to be something other than a personal narrative.
Theresa's 3rd-6th Grade Reflections
The big kids and the little kids were all back together again, and it felt so good. The big kids have very much enjoyed the playful vibrancy that comes from a bigger group of kids. They were thrilled to be playing some of their old games, such as Ghost in the Graveyard, which is hard to play with just 6 kids.
The writing classes merged! Tracy's 2nd grade writers joined in with Theresa's 3-6th grade writers. They have all finished their first draft of a personal narrative about life during Covid-19. This week, they will revise their pieces. They will be done just before school dismisses.
Theresa's 3rd and 4th grade students have finished their math workbooks! A whole year's worth of curriculum, completed. Nonetheless, these last few weeks are important. We are studying geometry, but we are also thinking about how we are going to set the tone for next year. We are going to have 12 kids in our class! If we establish some routines now, next year will be easier.