Conferences, Population, and Art
On Friday, we had a conference day, and I always enjoy the chance to reflect on how much our kids have grown over the year. One of the gifts of our small school is that I get to teach the same kids year after year. I watch them go from barely writing their names to composing chapter books. I listen as they first begin to understand the sounds that letters make and continue to listen as they use different voices for characters in a story. I celebrate as a student who needed support to ask someone to play on the playground leads a group game with all of her peers. Sharing all of that learning with the kids and with their families leaves me feeling joyful.
Tracy's PK-2nd Grade Reflections
We spent a part of this week making lists of all the various things we have done this year: writing pieces, math concepts, work skills, and social skills. "Wow!" reflected one child, "We've really done a whole lot." The children were preparing for their student-led conference on Friday. I am always intrigued to see how accurately they see themselves, and I'm rarely disappointed.
We also continued to learn more about Italy. I had asked our community if anyone had any connections to fluent Italian speakers. Our families came though, and last week, we had two mini Zoom lessons with Italian speakers. Besides trying to say everything from grazie (thank you) to maiale (pig), the children asked about Italian holidays, food, and weather. We did "Head, Shoulder, Knees, and Toes" in Italian, so now we've sung it in 3 languages. We also continued our exploration of Italy through picture books, reading Leonardo and the Flying Boy, Angelo, Olivia Goes to Venice, Let's Visit Florence, Papa Piccolo, Pizza from Pienza, and Pizza for the Queen. Somehow I keep getting hungry during these read-alouds!
Theresa's 3rd-6th Grade Reflections
The big kids at Country Classroom are preparing for the return to a more normal schedule. They are already a bit nostalgic for the fun that they had this year and a bit nervous about the change. This year has been really special for all of us.
We did a lot of art this year, taking some of our in-person time each week to explore different projects. At the beginning of the year, we did a study of figure drawing with pencil. As the year carried on, we explored with paints, pastels, and collage. This week, we studied colors while creating a portrait of a reptile. I introduced the color wheel, and we talked about complementary and analogous colors. The kids first picked a color scheme, then created their pieces using those colors.
A conversation about world population led to an activity where we imagined that the world population had 100 people, and we tried to guess how it would be dispersed, The kids placed 100 tokens on a map where they thought the most people were. They were shocked that the US only has 4.4% of the world population.
The kids are finishing up another piece of fiction this week, and writing a book report. Next week, when we return to a daily schedule, we will reconfigure all of our classes to better engage with the younger kids.