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Feeling Competent and Taking a Leap

We want our kids to feel like they can impact the world around them, and we encourage them to be willing to take some risks to do it. Sometimes those risks are literal like this week when they were jumping off of our pile of logs. It was such a hit that a number of our kids were having a hard time climbing up the stairs the next day. But more often the risks that they are taking are less physical: knowing they can take charge of their learning space, reaching out to a new friend, or organizing fundraising for a particular cause. We want them to know that they can try things beyond their current experience and grow in the process. And we do our best to give them the tools they will need to find some success.

PK-2nd Grade Reflections

We met the AlphaFriend for L this week, "Larry Lion." When we talked about how to know if it's a lowercase l or a 1, the kids talked about the importance of context.

The PK and K class used their pipe cleaners and beads to figure out different combinations for 6, our number of the week. Some of the kids are ready to write these down as addition number sentences while others are just working on accurately counting 6. Morgan did an assessment game with them where she was working to see what numbers they can identify (0-20) and what numbers they can actually count to.

The first and second graders have been building algebra foundations with frames and arrows problems. There's a rule (like plus 10) that helps to determine how numbers are changing. Sometimes we have the rule, and sometimes we need to look at the numbers to figure out the pattern. We have also been playing a whole lot of games including Guess My Rule (with attribute blocks), mancala, chess, and Connect Four.

3rd-5th Grade Reflections

This week, the Country Classroom kids continued renovating their space, to make it most conducive for learning. The kids thought about what situation works best for them. Kids have put up calendars, decorations, and divider "cubicles," so that their space will help them learn.

After parent conferences, we decided to start several more kids in spelling textbooks. We also talked to some families about taking their workbooks home, so that kids would have more "choice" time in the morning. For most kids, it works well to have them do their morning work at school, before Choice Time. For some children, though, who tend to arrive later or take longer on their work, it makes sense for them to do some of this work at home. Please reach out if you have any questions.

In writing, kids are working on their second short story of the year. In class, we talked about what the expectations are for a finished piece. We listed things like:

-Have your name

-Have a title

-Be free of grammatical errors

-Use correct spelling

-Have characters

-Have a plot that rises and falls, and

-Use revision strategies.

When they turn in their next pieces, they will check to make sure that they have met the expectations. I will then check, as well!

On Wednesday, November 17, I am going to be leaving for a family adventure to the Grand Canyon. I will be missing 4 instructional days. I will be leaving ample and carefully prepared sub plans to be sure that learning continues in my absence.

Our Theme: Government

We started to delve into government this week. We talked about Election Day, voting, and what government does. One Vote, Two Votes, I Vote, You Vote, Grace Goes to Washington, and What's the Big Deal About Elections all helped to spark discussions. Everyone made a little flipbook about the 3 branches of government, and we worked to figure out what each branch does. Our focus this year is on the legislative branch, so I asked the kids to come up with a law that they thought should be in place. There ideas ranged from kids being able to vote starting at 8 to not allowing ATVs and other loud vehicles after 7:30 pm. I had them think a little bit about what level of government would be appropriate for their law: local, state, federal, or international. We'll be working individually or in small groups to do a bit more research around their ideas then writing letters to our representatives to let them know what we think.


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