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Making a Mess

"Wow! We are really good at making messes." I appreciated this observation, and I couldn't agree with it more. As we have been working on creating our town each afternoon, the children pull out our bins of cardboard tubes, random plastic containers, bits of fabric, boxes, and hundreds of other small treasures. These bins are often dumped to facilitate searching, and while a small part of me sighs, the rest of me understands that it is much easier to find the perfect piece when you can truly rummage around. Each house and business has all sorts of wonderful details - desks made from egg carton dimples, miniature books from scrap paper, an x-ray/MRI machine made from a plastic tube. I love their creativity, but I also like watching them learn how to clean up. They will sometimes cheer each other on, take on a particular job like collecting all the glues, grab a rag to wipe up paint spots from the floor, or become whirling dervishes picking up small scraps from the carpet. So yes, we make big messes, but we also clean them up. I figure it's one of the more useful life lessons we can teach at school.

Filling Our Buckets

Every year we read one of the bucket books by Carol McCloud and Katherine Martin. We talk about the invisible buckets we all carry that hold our happiness. The children offer ideas of things they do that help to fill other people's buckets, and we talk about how bringing happiness to others makes us happier too. Then we make it all concrete. Each child creates a bucket, then we find cool pictures or tear up paper or write little notes that we can give away. Then we walk around filling all of our buckets. It's magical, and it's a touchstone activity that we can pull up throughout the year.

Wildlife Rehabilitator - Kelly Martin

Everyone was very excited to have Kelly Martin share some of her current batch of animals with us on Friday. Before she even came, we talked about her job and broke down the two parts in its name - wildlife and rehabilitator. She had the kids think about how an animal might get hurt, and she introduced them to a variety of individuals, answering lots of questions along the way. Kelly also helped the kids to identify some of the important traits of reptiles, birds, and mammals. For students who had been there last spring, it was neat to see how much the painted turtle and porcupine had grown since we last saw them.

Theresa's 3rd - 5th Grade Reflections

The week was delightfully normal! The kids all know what they are supposed to be doing, almost all of the time. The days unfold with a remarkable ease - even when I am not there!

In math, the 5th grade students finally got their textbooks. They spent some time this week getting to know the text books and their reference books. We have instituted a new "Flash cards" task in the morning. Each week, the kids are studying 5 number facts. Each Friday, they quiz themselves, and assess if they are ready for new numbers.

We are going to be finishing up written pieces, soon. We hope to have a publishing party in the next few weeks so keep an eye out for when that is happening.

Tracy's PK - 2nd Grade Notes

In math, our K and PK kids were working on writing the number 3 this week as well as identifying all their numbers 0-10, making and completing patterns, and practicing counting. Our first and second graders are working on recording and interpreting data - they're getting really good at tally marks and bar graphs. They are also continuing to develop their ability to identify and count money. We are always working on building our understanding of place value - seeing the ones, tens, and hundreds that make up a number.

In our writing, we finished our "All About Me" books and shared a favorite page with our classmates. Our letter of the week was B, and while our PK and K kids searched for "b" words, our 1st and 2nd graders talked about "b" blends like "bl and br."

We'll probably keep making messes. Our next theme is chemistry after all. But I take comfort from the plans behind the mess, the learning that I see happening, and the knowledge that we can make a mess, and we can clean it up.


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