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We made our annual pilgrimage to Middleburgh's Pollinator Garden this last week with two flats of zinnias in hand. The children started the seeds months ago, watered them daily, thinned them, and pulled off the occasional slug. It was wonderful to actually put them in the ground under Bill Morton's careful direction. He talked to us about how the zinnias help attract bees, butterflies, and hummingbirds. We talked about butterfly and bird migrations.

Meanwhile, Morgan's class has been observing and nurturing some caterpillars who we hope can be released into the garden when they turn into butterflies. We have all been studying birds as our theme. I love it when we can approach a topic from so many angles as we read and write, plant and observe. It's making strong connections for our kids between the web of life that makes up ecosystems.

Morgan's PK and K Class

*Made an edible butterfly life cycle.

*Worked on the number 28.

*Explored our live painted lady caterpillars!

*Practiced our songs for the end of the year celebration.

*Worked on our cutting skills.

*Read books on the bird life cycle and enjoyed looking at the baby birds on the porch.

*Played a look-and-find game with alphabet letters for things that start with a certain letter.

*Worked on learning how to understand tally marks and groups of five.

*Enjoyed a dandelion celebration with Cheryl - a dandelion story, making dandelion cookies, and a tea party with the whole school.

Tracy's 1st and 2nd Class

We had our final publishing party of the year. It was fun to see so many of our children able to both read and write in ways that they couldn't back in September. Our school community offered feedback to our writers, and we talked about what it felt like to have lots of people read our work.

In math, we played with place value rolling 3 dice, in a partner game that also worked on comparing two numbers. We did a pizza topping survey in anticipation of Phoebe's upcoming pizza lessons this coming week. We practiced more with time and money, trying to help cement some of these skills before the end of the year.

Theresa's 3rd-5th Class

This week, the big kids at Country Classroom delved deeply into the post-apocalyptic novel, "The Giver." It is a gripping tale that is replete with Christian imagery that went right over the kids' heads. This is one of the first times that we really considered symbolism and "deeper" meaning in a book. Some of the kids were really excited about it. Others were quite confused and refused to believe that a story could be anything more than a story. It led to several spirited conversations.

In math, the 4th and 5th graders are continuing to work toward the end of their books. The 5th graders have one more week to finish, and they have slightly less than one unit to go. Will they finish? We'll see! The third graders are reviewing. We are making sure that everyone has a strong understanding of place value as we enter the final stretch of the school year.

The kids' weekly paragraphs have shown great improvement!! We will definitely be doing some variation on this next year.

Our Theme: Birds

I admit that I have tried to discourage birds from laying eggs around the school because I always worry that the constant motion of the children might make feeding hungry chicks difficult. An intrepid Easter Kingbird ignored my warnings and nested right over the steps that lead to our back door. Needless to say, watching the chicks hatch and grow has been thrilling - the kids are almost as tickled by the growing pile of poop on the step. We also found robin eggs in one of our apple trees. Clearly our kids aren't as scary to the bird population as I thought.

During theme time, we have been working on identifying some of the common birdsongs of our area, learning about all the amazing ways birds use their beaks, and studying feathers up close and personal. Each kid picked a bird to study that lives around here and started a model to paper mâché. We are doing our best to make it scientifically accurate, measuring and re-measuring its size and wingspan. The children are also on the lookout for their birds in the woods and fields around the school.


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