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Listening to Each Other

We were all keeping an eye on the weather this week to see what might happen with the storm that was coming Thursday into Friday, and by late Thursday morning, it looked like we were going to be calling our first snow day of the school year.

One of our older students wrote me a letter during lunch asking if we could please skip buddy reading for the week. She explained that she was really excited about the book she was reading, that she felt like independent reading was one of her favorite parts of the day, and that while she was willing to do buddy cleaning (because she knew it was important to the whole school), it would make her happy to not have buddy reading. It was a strong piece of writing, and I was glad that she knew I would take her thoughts into account.

I asked my class if they wanted to maybe skip buddy reading for the week, and they answered with a resounding, "NO!" They offered to survey the whole school. They tallied up the results and found 21 students in favor of buddy reading and 4 against.

I sat down with the author of the letter and suggested that she could read independently if it was really important to her, but she looked at the results and said that she was happy to be a buddy reader if everyone else felt that strongly about it. As one of the other older kids told me, "It's nice to know that everybody wants to hear us read to them."

Morgan's Class: PK and K

This week our Pre-K/K class:

  • Helped make cloud dough with cornstarch and conditioner

  • Worked on the number 12

  • Talked about the letter Yy and sang "Old McDonald Had Some Vowels"

  • Did a science experiment with warm salt water vs. regular warm water to see if things would float/sink more or less in the different water bowls

  • Worked on rhyming words

  • Listened to stories

  • Played restaurant, took care of dolls, worked on puzzles and enjoyed outside times

Tracy's Class: 1st and 2nd

My math kids have continued looking at fact families (ex: 2,3, 5 make 2+3=5, 3+2=5, 5-2=3, and 5-3=2) with triangle flash cards. It's something the second graders did last year, and they have been helping to teach the first graders how they work. We keep talking about how in any subtraction fact there is an addition fact - we can say 5-3=? or we can say 3+?=5. For children that find addition easier, it can be a faster way to solve subtraction problems. We have also been working with word problems.

In writing and reading, we have been using word detective skills to figure out how many syllables are in a word. As we looked at "y" last week, we reviewed the rule for "y" on the end of word. If it's a single syllable word, it makes a long i sound (ex: my, fry), but in multisyllable words, it makes a long e sound (ex: happy, elementary). They don't all quite have this rule down yet, but they are noticing the sounds of words and the spellings of words. One student was writing "hy" for "he" in the story he was working on. I celebrated with him the fact that he was remembering that y could make a long e sound, and then gave him the standard spelling of the word.

Theresa's Class: 3rd - 5th Graders

Crushes.... what is a crush? Why do we have them? Turns out that even very young children have waves of strong feelings. We have been working with our students this week to understand that waves of strong feelings are ok. They happen. They are part of the wonder and the glory of being human. They neither need to be squished or proclaimed. They just are.

We had several lessons this week about how to engage in physical or rough play. Allowing physical play is one of the important elements of our curriculum at Country Classroom. That said, kids have to play rough in a responsible way. This means that kids can wrestle not punch. They can also never, ever play rough if they are angry. We talked to the children about checking in with themselves - all the time - to make sure that they were having fun and not angry. We also talked to them about checking in with their friends to make sure that everyone is enjoying the game. That means that we check in with our words, "Can I wrestle with you?" and with the other person's face.

In math, we are recognizing that many of our students struggle with tenacity. When work is hard, sometimes they give up, or rush to extreme reactions, like, "I hate ALL math," or "This is stupid." We will be working to help students understand that it is OK to struggle. Math.... school.... life are not always easy. We all need strategies to get though hard things.

In writing, we are working to revise our third stories. This cycle we have been focusing on editing as kids work through their stories. In particular, we want everyone to understand how and why to use quotations.


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