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Learning from Different Teachers

"How am I supposed to decide? They all sound so good!" Children could pick from knitting, slimy science, improv, or cookie making for their December mini course, but the choosing proved difficult for many. Some kids gave me three first choices. Others gave me two first and two second choices. Can you tell they're used to a little flexibility in the way we do things? Ultimately everyone got a first or second choice, and Friday was our first class. Everyone was engaged, and it was neat to hear the kids share some of what they learned and did with their friends. I also enjoyed a quick survey of the classes (while my kids were so busy with their slime explorations that they didn't even notice I wasn't there). It's fun for the kids to be able to learn from different teachers and be in different groupings than usual.

Morgan's PK and K Class

* Played some dominos and worked on taking turns while counting and matching dots. We also talked about disappointment when someone is not the winner and being a "good sport."

* Worked on ten frames counting

* Read some winter themed books

* Made snowmen

* Read the story "The Mitten" then created our own story with a large mitten and paper animals. Then designed our own ideas for mittens!

* Started our mini course Fridays. My cookie group made cool whip cookies that earned an enthusiastic rating from the kids.

* We explored shaving cream, paint, watercolors, oil pastels, and water.

* We also worked together as a school to create beautiful decorations for our tree at the Gilboa Power Authority. The children picked snowflakes as their theme, and we read "Snowflake Bentley" for some inspiration. We made a variety of snowflakes: popsicle sticks/glitter/beads, Epsom salt/pipe cleaners, and paper cut out snowflakes

Tracy's 1st - 3rd Class

In math, our first grade class worked on adding and subtracting using a hundred number grid - a useful tool for noticing patterns in ones and tens. They also worked on ordering objects by length and comparing the lengths of various objects. Our second graders continue to develop subtraction strategies like using 10 as "a friendly number" to help them subtract more fluently. They are working on reading time to the nearest minute and continuing to always focus first on the little hour hand. The third grade class is working on different strategies for 3 digit addition and subtraction problems. There's been a little frustration with having to practice different strategies, but I have tried to explain that different strategies work better for different students and for different problems. Ultimately, they can pick one or two that work best for them and get super practiced with those.

In literacy, everyone made snowpeople inspired by our read-aloud "Sneezy the Snowman." Once their collages were done, the writing began. Some of the children wrote biographies about their snowpeople while others wrote specific stores (a day in the life or a special adventure). You can check out the results on the wall in our classroom. We have been working on the word endings -ed, -ing, and -er. Our reading groups have been enjoying some wonderful stories and doing a little "word work" in each lesson.

Theresa's 4th - 6th Class

It was a lovely week among the big kids!

In math, all of the classes are continuing their exploration of fractions, decimals and percents. It is really wonderful to teach all of the various grades at the same time. It becomes obvious how the multiplication that the 4th graders are mastering leads to the understanding of Least Common Multiple and Greatest Common Factor that the 6th graders were just tested on. We are also designing our own gingerbread houses. The kids have created their own scale models, and we will be making them into gingerbread soon. This is an amazing project, where the kids get to work on design, scale and construction.

In writing, at the beginning of every week, there is an assignment, in which the students practice organizing and presenting their thoughts in Standard Written English. This week, the kids wrote a letter to Santa. After they finish their assignment, they work on their own creative projects. Several of the kids are working on a book of poetry, and others are working on their own stories. Other kids are writing songs. I love looking over the classroom and seeing everyone busy with their own project.

In reading, the 4th graders finished their books, and are reading about current events last week and this week. With this group, I am working on reading with expression, and pausing at the end of each sentence and at commas. The eldest kids are still reading The Canning Season.


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