Kids as Teachers
When people ask me how it works to have so many different ages together, I say it's a little like a family. The older kids help to model expectations, teach skills they have developed, and support the younger students. The younger kids are an eager audience (most of the time), help make sure the older kids use their imaginations, and bring their unbridled joy and wonder to the table. Our older kids supported younger ones as they planted our zinnias, and our younger kids trumpeted the first sprouts to appear. I am grateful for what they all bring to our community.
Morgan's PK and K Class
*Explored shaving cream, coffee grounds, play dough, magnetic letters and water play.
*Enjoyed the bubble machine outside!
*Played ABC BINGO and dominos.
*Worked with wiki sticks, stretch exercise bands, chalk, puzzles, and Lincoln Logs.
*Re-told fairy tales using puppets, animals and our imaginations.
*Looked at spring books and space books!
*Played restaurant, veterinarian and family.
*Made our own galaxies with tissue paper and sticky contact paper.
*Worked in our writers' notebooks, made pictures with connect the dots and color by number.
*Enjoyed tracing pictures and how to draw animal books.
Tracy's 1st - 3rd Class
In math, our first grade class has been working on adding multiple numbers, and we have talked about strategies to make that as efficient as possible. The second grade class continues to work on double and triple digit addition and subtraction. When they get stuck, we use a physical reminder of the numbers like tens blocks or our number grid. The third grade class has been really jumping into fractions, finding equivalent fractions and comparing different fractions using greater than, less than, and equal.
In writing, we enjoyed the chance to watch and judge the students in Theresa's class as they debated: macaroni and cheese versus corn on the cob, pizza versus spaghetti, apples versus pears, and lollipops versus gum. Having just had our own debates, it was a neat illustration of where more research, writing, and practice could get my students. "They really know what they're talking about!" remarked one of my students. We also worked on writing letters. Check in to see if your child needs help finding the address of a friend or family member!
In reading, we have been making lots of "silly" words that let us practice our phonics rules. If we know, magic "e" at the end of CVC (consonant vowel consonant word) makes the vowel say it's long sound, then we know how to pronounce "yake." When a child really understands the phonics at work, they know how to say a word even when it's not a real word.
Theresa's 4th - 6th Class
Time is flying by, as we work to make sure the class is ready for their next adventures. Many of the students have a mixture of excitement and sadness as they think about moving beyond our school.
This week in math, the eldest students were learning how to evaluate equations with variables. The middle class is working on their stamina, as they learn to stick with the math for the entire lesson. The youngest students are working on word problems with fractions.
In writing, we worked on writing based on fiction. The kids also took multiple choice "tests," similar to the standardized tests offered in public schools. After the initial shock, the kids all demonstrated a decent ability to read and understand challenging passages. The eldest kids practiced writing literary essays, and the younger ones worked on summarizing a story.
In reading, the eldest kids are going to begin "Tuck Everlasting." It seemed like an appropriate and poignant book for this moment. It is about what would happen if we could live forever. I am very much looking forward to the conversations it is going to inspire. The younger kids are reading one-on-one with me daily.
We used our paper planet models to model relative distance from the sun. All those inner planets are really quite close, and Neptune was way off at the top of the wild field. We also compared Earth's diameter to the Sun's - conclusion: the sun is really big (even if it's considered just "average" for a star).
We listened to a few stories about how constellations came to be and noticed that both the Romans and Greeks had some pretty angry gods. We talked about how one culture's Big Dipper is another's Big Bear and still another's Skunk. Then everyone made their own constellation and told a story about how it came to be. Tracy and Theresa's kids wrote out their stories and are looking forward to sharing them.