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Loose Parts Play

Sometimes kids ask me why our slides aren't fixed in one location, and then I remind them how they have used them as sleds in the winter, ramps for launching cars, and models of the water cycle. This week they pulled them all over to the log pile and set up a "slide fun park." They realized that there were some issues with slope, log locations, and use. They developed rules, enforced the rules, argued over the rules, and modified the rules to work better. I'm expecting that they will continue to evolve this week, or then again, the slides may be dragged across the playground to be turned into a drum circle.

Each day our children have lots of time to actively shape their play, their learning, and their world. During free choice time in the morning, recess time, and adventure walk, they actively engage with a wide variety of materials from scraps of fabric to big blocks of wood. They know they can create what they want and move things as needed. They make plans for creating robots or restaurants, then work to make those plans into reality.

Morgan's PK and K Class *Enjoyed bringing the dress-up clothes into free play time! We came up with some creative stories to go along with the outfits.

*Used our fine motor skills to play with velcro play food, slime, play dough.

*Explored magnets and searched around upstairs to see what was magnetic vs. not magnetic.

*Blocks has been very popular during morning free choice for building car ramps, houses and other creations. We've also been talking about how if it's not your sculpture, you can't knock it over unless you ask first.

*The children are very interested in using their writer notebooks. They have been practicing writing words through copying Fall poems and songs as well as sounding words out. They like to put different letters together then ask me what the word says - a great way to build phonics understanding. We have had a good laugh at some of the words the children have made up!

* We played dominos this week for math. Some children knew how to play, and for others, this was their first time. We counted the dots and matched the dots to the ones already out. We made big domino lines, and the children thought it looked like a map!

*Learned about the letters Mm with the help of "Mimi Mouse."

*Created beginner reader books. The children like creating these small books then reading them to each other and myself.

*We also enjoyed the challenge of using eyedroppers to squeeze colored water out onto small circle suction cups without going over the edge.

*Used push pins to trace upper-case and lower-case letters!

Please keep checking your child's folder. Also, we are looking for a few multicultural dolls, wooden food with velcro, and a very small cutting board for our playroom. Please let me know if you can help!

Tracy's 1st-3rd Grade Class

Each day for math class we have a "songster" who picks our math song of the day. We sing about the months, days of the week, skip counting, combinations of ten, and more. I see the children using these songs when they try to figure out what day tomorrow will be or how many groups of four there are in 28. Our first grade math class has been focusing on those combinations of ten, using the ten penny grab game and our tens song. We all worked together on "turn around facts" (aka the commutative property) for both addition and multiplication. Our second graders are continuing to work on counting and comparing money. Many of them have been running a store during their math choice time. Our third grade math class has been focusing on multiplying and dividing, solving word problems and creating their own.

Our utopia writing projects are done, and we are laying the groundwork for writing interesting fiction stories next.

Theresa's 4th - 6th Grade Class

I am so glad to be back in the classroom. The goal of this week was to tie up loose ends. We wanted to make sure that everyone knew the routines for each subject and came to lessons ready to learn.

The kids finished writing reports about their utopias. The kids had a lot of ideas! They considered housing, urban planning, education and food systems. We reviewed the basics of report writing, making sure that every report had an introduction, conclusion, and organized body.

In math, the 4th grade students are working on geometry. They are learning how to notate line segments, angles and rays. The 5th grade student is learning about cubic volume and measurement. The 6th grade students are almost done with their first unit on data and statistics.

All of our reading groups are deeply engaged in a book, and everyone knows they need to settle into a cozy spot during their independent reading time.


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