Wet rain, snow, and wind all brought their challenges to our outdoor classroom this week. Our kids responded by layering up in snowsuits and hats, building fires, and running around during breaks to warm up. When we couldn't feel our fingers or our pencils immediately ripped any paper (from the damp), it was time to head inside for some academic time before coming back out for recess and our afternoon adventure walk. Settling inside with a book for relax and read feels extra cozy after being outside gusted about by the wind.
Theme: Our Human Body
After tracing each child onto paper, we have been adding parts of the body each time we learn about a new system. This past week, the children were intrigued to learn that the average small intestine is 20 feet long. We had to measure that to figure out exactly what it would look like, so we got out rulers and laid them end to end. "But then how could that fit inside me?" asked one child. "It's all twisted on top of itself, like spaghetti" was the ready answer. Everyone measured out 20 feet of small intestine to glue onto their body, and once it was all pulled together, it really didn't take up that much space. One kindergartener was chanting to herself, "Mouth, esophagus, stomach, small intestine, large intestine, rectum" as she drew each part onto her paper. I love how readily that adopt all this new vocabulary.
Many Different Math Ideas
For our youngest learners, math is about starting to play with numbers, sorting, noticing patterns, and seeing all the many places math happens in our lives. We played the "Penny Sums" game this week to keep practicing adding two dice together. The PK and K kids used paper phones to keep working on number identification and practice dialing some of the important numbers in their lives. Our first and second graders developed strategies for approaching number problems like underlining or "boxing" the important parts of information and keying into important words that let us know what operation we need (more than, less than, all together, etc.). We keep making up number stories that we can solve using ourselves and the world around us - though to be fair sometimes we need to transform into squirrels or chipmunks first to make it more fun.
Theresa's Reflections on 3rd-6th Graders
Each week, we settle into more of a routine. Even our weekly Zoom meetings have become more enjoyable. Last week, the kids all had fun changing their names in the chat boxes. We finally arrived at a place where we could be funny and relaxed, and STILL learn. The History program that the kids have been watching, "Liberty Kids" seems to be a smashing success. We are going to begin watching 2 episodes each week. The kids have new Science books, with experiments and a weekly reading. Book groups are going. The books that we read in book groups are supposed to be a bit more challenging than the books that the kids read independently and for fun. The kids are going to have to read the books with an adult and discuss them in order to get the most out of the experience. Some of the kids started spelling words this week, and more kids will be starting next week.
We're looking forward to meeting with families at the end of this week to talk about their kids and their learning. With parts of every week remote, it's extra important that we're all on the same page, and we want to make sure that the lines of communication are clear and open.