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Choosing to Build

I'm a big fan of loose parts play. We have lots of different blocks of wood, pieces of rope, and of course, tons of sticks that children can use to make all sorts of things. This week, one industrious student, spent more than an hour making a swing - there were many different iterations and modifications to get to something that met her vision. Another pair of students were using a long rope to experiment with making waves. They took turns originating waves, made waves together, and even figured out how to cancel each other's waves by starting at the same moment. Morgan and I keep an eye on things to make sure they feel safe, but mostly we just let the kids go as they shape our outside place to fit their needs.

Morgan's PK and K Class

*Played Number Bingo. The children wanted to challenge themselves by using more than one bingo board. A few of the older children were helping the younger ones with finding the numbers.

*Learned new Fall songs. They worked on the days of the week, months of the year and what's the weather. They also took turns fixing the magnetic calendar.

*Explored wiki sticks, sand, coffee grounds, shaving cream and clear blocks filled with different things from nature.

*Heard stories about Johnny Appleseed and did a fingerprint counting activity inspired by Johnny Appleseed. We also talked about the different types of apples and what we could do with apples.

*Did roller ball paintings. They really liked learning a different way to paint!

* Listened to Halloween/bat poems and songs, then created their own colorful bats!

* Listened to the story "Leaf Man". We then went out into nature collecting materials from nature. Most of the items were pressed in thick books, then used on paper to create their own leaf creations.

* Worked in their writers' notebooks on what they like about Fall. They made Fall leaves as well.

* Started "mini courses" in art, cooking, dance, or primitive skills. They were all very excited to do something different at school.

Tracy's 1st - 4th Class

In math, we have been working on deepening our understanding of place value. In second grade math, we have been working on counting a pile of coins or bills to figure out the total. In third grade math, our focus has been interpreting data (including range, median, and mode) as well as developing more money math skills. The fourth graders have been honing their estimation skills (to the nearest ten thousand, hundred, etc.) and figuring out their favorite way to solve multidigit addition and subtraction problems.

In writing, the research projects are nearing their completion. Everyone is done gathering information and working on putting all of that information into an organized format. Some of our kids are typing their reports, some are hand writing them, and some are using voice typing to get the job done.

In reading, our fourth graders went back over the first seven chapters of "A History of US" to look for important ideas and wrote them down in their reading log. Our "Clementine" group is almost done with the book and just had a big revelation about the pigeon problem.

Our Theme: Seaside City

This theme is another chance for our kids to come up with a vision, use what's on hand, modify as they go, and stretch their imaginations. The children had lots of fun putting the finishing touches on their buildings and then we made our city work. Our peeps went to the restaurant, the beach, school, the park, the library, the bakery, and the farm. There was a fire where one of the volunteer firefighters was injured, but luckily, they patched him up in the hospital with a cast for his broken arm (life lesson: be careful on ladders). There were some parties at various houses, lots of visits to the medical center, and some phone calls. Any minor disagreements were solved by the peeps, prompting one student to note, "We really didn't need a jail" which was convenient because no one had made one.


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