Exploring Together

The cooler damp weather on a few days this past week was good weather for bubble making. A few children whipped up a batch of giant bubble mix, and almost everyone joined into the fun. As experienced bubble-ologists, our kids like challenging themselves to see if they can blow bubbles using just their hands, if they can make bubbles around each other, if they can make a bubble around another bubble, and if they can catch bubbles or stick their arms through them. When they got near the bottom of our buckets, they decided to use the rest to wash Morgan's car.

Morgan's PK and K Class

This week we:

* Rolled dice and matched the number on the dice to our papers then graphed our results. * Worked on identifying lower- and upper-case letters. Our paper had a picture of a tree with lower case letters on it then we matched our upper-case letter stickers to the lower-case letters. * Used different shapes and colors to recreate mice from the story "If You Take a Mouse to School" * Worked on threading yarn through different colored felt shapes with English and Spanish words on them. * Made bead bracelets for special people in our lives and called them "kindness bracelets." We talked about how it's kind to make something for someone once in a while and not just keep the creations for ourselves. * Worked with "wiki sticks!" * Played letter and number bingo!

Please check your child's communication folder each day. Thanks!

Tracy and Theresa's Classes

We are getting into all the routines that will carry us through the rest of the year. Everyone has morning workbooks to work on literacy or math skills and supplement the instruction we do at other times of the day. The children know the daily schedule and transition readily from one activity to the next.

Each child has a writer's notebook, and we are publishing our first writing piece this coming week. We have been talking about our writer's voice, looking at different ways to tell the same story, and celebrating the language that really makes a piece sing. We have also been building our phonetic knowledge, working at different levels of understanding. Some of our students have been focusing on short vowel sounds, while other kids are looking for vowel teams (like ea, ee, and ou) in our writing and reading.

In math, many students have been working on place value. Again, this looks slightly different at each age, but there are strong overlaps. Tracy's class used the hundreds blocks (that come in ones, tens, hundreds, and thousands) to model a million. Theresa's class helped explain why estimating was a useful life skill and taught some of the younger students how to round to the nearest ten and hundred. Meanwhile, they were practicing rounding to the nearest thousand or ten thousand. Our sixth graders have been developing their understanding of algebra and collecting data from the rest of the students in the school.

Theme: Utopias

Our children continue to explore what their perfect world might look like. After creating their idea of utopian living (aka the perfect house), we started to figure out what sort of settlements there would be. Would your utopia have a mix of urban, suburban, and rural places like our current world? Would everyone live rurally? Would there be only cities or only small towns? We talked about how our world population is continually growing, but there is a limited amount of habitable land. We discussed food and food distribution, transportation, and government. We read Lima Beans Would Be Illegal: Children's Ideas of a Perfect World to get some ideas from other kids. We are going to be building dioramas of our utopias, so please start collecting shoe boxes and interesting materials. Ask your child(ren) about how what they think they might need.

Volunteering at Country Classroom

We welcome volunteers at Country Classroom. In the past, we had an engineer give us a lesson on gears, a parent teach everyone how to change a tire, and a bird expert help us learn to use a tracking device. It's a wonderful opportunity for our children to widen their perspectives and for family and friends to enrich our school. Each week we have a guest reader come in to share a story. This year we are also starting Mini-Courses in October, and we are looking for individuals willing to teach four 45 minute lessons (1:30-2:15) to a small group of students around a given topic. Maybe you are an expert knitter or maybe you know how to build solar powered robots. If you are interested in helping to teach a Mini-Course or volunteering in any way, please let Tracy know.

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