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Learning in the "Between Times"

"Tracy I was thinking about the plane experiment, and when we had kids making different planes, weren't we changing more than one variable?"

Amidst the busy flow of kids lining up to head outside for our adventure walk, one of our sixth graders asked me this question. We wrestled with the answer and 3 or 4 other kids chimed in with some thoughts as we put on our boots and mittens. I loved that she asked this question and was really thinking about what we had just done, using her experience with designing a good experiment to reflect on this procedure. I loved that we were having an important discussion, and that while technically science class was done, clearly we were all still thinking about science.

This happens regularly to me. I continue conversations with kids about the big idea we grappled with during math class while we are eating snack, and sometimes we model problems with crackers or grapes. We talk about books we read while we are walking to the bus. It can take a while for an idea to percolate through our brains. I love that, because we are with our kids all day, we have lots of space to keep working through a process or to make connections to other parts of our lives.

Morgan's PK and K Class

*Welcomed a new friend to our class!

*Played restaurant, dolls and dinosaurs.

*Worked with blocks to create different structures.

*Used watercolors, oil pastels and textured paper then compared how the items looked on regular paper.

*Created ramps for cars to go down and had me time them to see which car was the fastest.

*Made "snowstorms" in plastic bottles.

*Sang many songs and read lots of beginner reader books!

*Explored the stream looking for beautiful rocks and sticks.

*Practiced our number recognition with the game BINGO!

*Used our fine motor skills for cutting and gluing the letters in our names to make snowmen. Then compared the snowman to see how many letters there were. Talked about the biggest and the smallest snowman.

Tracy's 1st-3rd Class

In writing, we are doing research projects. Everyone has a topic. We made lists of things we know and things we want to know. Then we looked at those lists for big topics. For many of our students who are studying animals, they talked about their habitats, diets, predators, and babies. We made pages in our writers' notebooks for each big topic, and then started taking notes. Everyone is working on putting notes in their own words, so we aren't plagiarizing from our sources.

In math, the first grade class continues to work on modeling two-digit numbers with ones and tens. Everyone continues to look for the important parts of word problems and underline them. Our second graders are reading time to the nearest five minutes (though some of them are also working on reading time to the nearest minute). We practiced using open number lines to solve double-digit addition and subtraction problems. Our third graders are working on understanding perimeter and area. They are starting to solve all of those multiplication problems much faster. I introduced them to the "nines calculator" this last week - ask them if they can explain it to you.

Theresa's 4th-6th Class

Writing: This week, the eldest kids began independent reports in writing. Each child has a topic and an outline, and will be doing independent research and writing this week. Many of the children are writing about sea creatures, though some are writing about aspects of history. The kids are also writing a quick paragraph everyday upon entering the classroom, so we can be sure that kids are getting daily practice with expressing their ideas, grammar and punctuation.

Reading: The kids read articles about the destruction of Pompeii. After a two-week exploration of non-fiction, we will return to a fictional piece this week.

Math: The eldest kids will have a test on Tuesday, to make sure they understand ratios, decimals and percentages.

Play at recess has been fun and joyful. Many of the older kids are shepherding younger children down sledding hills and into new games.


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