One of the challenges for me about Zoom is that the kids mute themselves during our large meetings unless they are actively sharing. It helps make group discussions, read-aloud's, and songs work much better. But I miss the magic that happens when a ripple of sound moves through the group. I'm grateful that we also have in-person learning time each week. I hear the shouts of laughter, the hum of excited discussion, and sometimes the deep quiet that exists when everyone is immersed in their writing. They're the sounds of engaged kids.
Theresa's 3rd-6th Grade Reflections
The big kids at Country Classroom are feeling good! We are having a lot of fun at school, playing blind man's bluff and hide and seek. We have found every game that can be played with just a few kids with all of them sort of spread out.
We are almost done with The Watsons Go to Birmingham. The book is set up to really develop the characters and their experiences. As we read the book, we are also writing our own stories and using The Watsons Go to Birmingham as a model. Kids are finishing up their stories this week. We will be writing one more piece of fiction before April break.
In Science this week, we are working with mold! The kids are allowing a piece of fruit to mold at their home, and we will be examining it in the week to come.
Read Across America Day and the 100th Day (observed)
Our hybrid schedule and a series of snow days have created a little havoc with our regular calendar, so we found ourselves celebrating both Read Across America Day and the 100th Day this week.
If you ask our kids, many of them will argue that it's not Read Across America Day, it's Pajama Day. It's that special day when we can all wear our PJs to school and bring a favorite picture book from home. We cozy up with a blanket or a stuffy and really settle in for some good reading. We made Pink Yink Ink Drink (aka strawberry smoothies) as a nod to Dr. Seuss with each small group of kids creating their own special recipes. One of our older students gave a little ukulele concert which immediately prompted a whole bunch of bands to pop up at recess. We also were on the lookout for "Cat in the Hat" hats that were hidden around the school. We're pretty sure there are supposed to be 100, but 2 numbers are still missing.
Which bring us to... The 100th Day which was a whole different set of special events. It started with "Chicky" (our days in school counting chick) officially catching up our felt board to 100 days in school. We made party hats with 100 dots, played race to 100, had a special treat shaped like 100, "popcorned" 100 balls in our parachute, and made our way through the 100 Museum (a collection of our Hundred Collections). It was interesting to contrast the space taken up by 100 black beans (not very much) compared to 100 letter cubes (a big plastic bag).
We've been studying the beginnings of the American Revolution during our theme time. We head out to the playground. "Traitor!" yells one child as she chases another one. I watch closely to see how this plays out, but after a heated conversation about who was loyal to the queen, everything seemed to resolve fairly well.
One student has been reading "The Hobbit" at home, and he always wants to talk about different parts of the story. This past week he was making me a map in the snow to hep highlight some of the important places.
All of our students are pretty excited about animals. We read about them, draw them, and write about them. A small group of students has been talking about the challenges endangered species face. Another student has shared his passion for wolves. Then, they go outside and pretend that they are sloths, lynx, and penguins. They climb trees, make nests and dens, and hunt for food.
In each of these cases, I love seeing how they are acting out much of what they learn in their reading. Each time they make these connections across their lives, I know that their learning and understanding gets a little deeper.