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How School Should Be

For our full day students, this has been a week of science experiments. They saw the chemical reaction of Mentos and two different sodas and tried to figure out how to determine the "bigger" reaction. Does bigger mean longer lasting or more bubbles or a bigger puddle? They tasted two different sugar cookies - one made with white sugar, and one made with brown - to see which they liked better and how the difference impacted the taste. But before they even got to the eating, there was a heated discussion about the procedure. Was it important to have kids close their eyes and not know which one they were eating, so they really just focused on the taste? Or did the visual and the knowledge of the ingredients not matter? They worked in a small group of 3 or 4 students to start a fire using different fire starters, but first we had to make sure that each fire had similar materials and construction. Important takeaway: potato chips may be oily, but they don't work well when starting fires. Ask your child what the clear winner was.

Morgan's PK and K Class

This week our Pre-K/K class worked on the

  • number 11

  • the letter V aka Vinny Volcano

  • writing words, numbers, and letters

  • adding and subtracting

  • starting Valentines cards for family members

We talked about the difference between cylinders, cones, spheres and cubes then found items around the room that matched. They all loved playing in the snow outside. They helped perform and watched different science experiments designed by the first - fifth graders take place. They enjoyed the dress-up box, watercolors, "light bright", slime and many stories and rhyming name games.

Tracy's Class

In math class this week, we have been working with collecting data and putting it in Picture Graphs and Bar Graphs. We have also talked (and experimented) to see what we can do in a second, a minute, and an hour. Our kids managed 72 jumping jacks in one minute! The older kids in my class helped explain how we can use dominoes to help us find fact families - the two addition facts and two subtraction facts that are related to a given set of 3 numbers. We also worked on number stories. Everyone picked a strategy of underlining or boxing the important words in the problem, and we identified important words that tell us if something is a subtraction or addition problem like "in all," "more than," "less than," and "all together."

In writing time, we have been getting inspiration from some pretty wonderful authors. This week we read Extra Yarn, I Lost My Bear, The Adventures of Beekle the Unimaginary Friend, Arnie the Doughnut, and Nibbles the Book Monster. We have also been on the lookout for double vowel combinations, magic "e," and other combinations that make long vowel sounds happen. I love how the lessons we do on this are always bouncing back and forth between writing and reading times. They notice these words when they are reading and then are more successful when it comes to writing them.

Theresa's Class

Our 5th grade kids had their third math test of the year. Their test taking abilities have improved! While testing is not a big part of the Country Classroom curriculum, preparing for and taking tests is an important life skill that we want to be sure our students have. They all did well! Their work on shapes had them making shapes out of ice chunks on our adventure walk. I love it when someone runs up to me saying, "Look! It's an equilateral triangle!" Soon everyone was bringing over different shapes they had made.

In writing, we are working on memoirs. The kids can't stop! They are so excited to work on their stories. Most of the kids are revising, which is a crucial step before editing. While revising, the kids use strategies to improve their writing. They also read with a partner, to make sure that their stories are clear and comprehensible.

On Friday, we had some kids who were chilly and grumpy outside, so we built a fire! After the fire was burning, they did not want to go in. We had Free Write Friday by a cozy fire, while the snow fell gently around us. This is how school should be.


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