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Learning and Being Inspired by Each Other

Finger knitting has been a very popular activity, but this week that morphed into string games. Our kids quickly put their nimble yarn fingers to work making everything from "mosquito" to "winking eye." It's a fun, cooperative challenge that involves both dexterity and strength, and I enjoyed watching as they taught each other their favorites. For some of our younger students, they were willing and appreciative audience members. Others signed up for lessons to learn how to do it all themselves.

We had some other special learning this week. Glenn shared a fun game with us called "Bats and Moths." It was a great compliment to the book we read Beautiful Bats by Linda Glaser and gave the children a little insight into what it's like to hunt by sound. We also got to learn a little bit about a nifty machine - the apple peeler, corer, slicer - as we processed and ate some tasty fall apples.

PK-K Students

We welcomed a new student to our PK class this week, and it made me realize how much these kids have already learned. Everyone enjoyed the chance to help show him around, tell him favorite parts of the schedule, and teach him some of our songs. We were focusing on the letter C this week and met our AlphaFriend "Callie Cat." We talked about how she's a little tricky (in the way of some cats) stealing the sound of "K" and sometimes even "S." We have been working with different combinations that make 10 using tens frames as a "bus," using 10 beads on a string, and tossing 10 pompoms towards a pumpkin.

Some combination of being inspired by the older kids' stories during the publishing party or fully settling into the rhythms of the day has contributed to some amazing writing time for the first and second graders. I generally circulate around the room, checking in with students about their stories (big ideas, spelling, punctuation). Sometimes I need to help set an expectation to make sure that writing happens and not just illustrating. But this week they were all writing lots of sentences with no prompting from me, and they all groaned when I told them it was time to stop for lunch. They were eager to share parts of their stories with their classmates and so proud of the work they were doing each day.

3rd - 5th Grade Reflections

The Country Classroom kids have continued to organize their work space. New cardboard "Cubicles" have been ordered and will be arriving this week. The kids have created decorations, wall calendars, memo pads and other materials to help make their "Office Spaces" comfortable and productive.

In math, the 5th graders took a test. We talked about test taking, study skills, and managing test-anxiety. The unit they were tested on included:

-Using formulas to find area and volume,

-Understanding decimals through the hundredth place, and

-Prime factorization.

All of the kids brought their completed stories home. After a bit of conversation, we decided to write another fictional piece. This time through, we will be working on character development.

Theme: Chemistry

We experimented with Naked Eggs this past week. First the children put eggs in ball jars with vinegar. They immediately noticed bubbles rising up from the eggs. "It's a chemical reaction!" "It's making a gas!" By the next day, the hard shell was largely gone, but the eggs were still held together. It gave us a chance to talk about membranes and predict what would happen if we put different things in the liquid around the egg. Please ask your child to describe what happened!

Our November theme is always government. We review or learn about the 3 branches of government. This year we're focusing on the legislative branch and how a bill becomes a law. Let Theresa and Tracy know if you have any good resources for them.


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