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Memorable Moments

Teaching is full of rewarding moments, and it helps to feed those of us that are teachers. With the mild weather, we are now outside for the majority of every day, and it gives us that many more opportunities to connect with the world around us. During snack, the children were intrigued by circling vultures. Kids passed the word during recess that a bird was trying to nest in the playhouse on the hill, and everyone carefully quieted down when they came near that area. Dandelion bouquets, crowns, bracelets, and beds were made, and many of our kids took on a yellow cast from sniffing them so much. Clay collection spots are big right now. The children have been making paint, pots, and plates. They even experimented with "firing" some of the clay in a fire they made in our portable fire pit.

Morgan's PK and K Class

* Worked with the number 24: finding things that are 24 inches long and how many ways we can count to 24

* Used geoboards and tangrams to discover and talk about different geometric shapes.

* Used chalkboards to review letter and sound connections.

* Talked about the different kind of bees we've been seeing outside then watched a few short YouTube videos on the different bees.

* Listened to many stories outside.

* Looked for bird nests after another child brought one in from home - we have 3 on our back porch alone!

Tracy's 1st and 2nd Grade Class

In math this week, we continued to play with tangrams and pattern blocks, reviewing our geometry vocabulary as we went. We also played a series of games to help us practice math facts: 1, 2, 3 Add (a variation on rock, paper, scissors that your child can teach you), Race to 100 with 10's blocks, Race to 100 with a hundred chart, and Addition Top It (aka the card game war but with each player having 2 cards). The second graders are becoming more fluent with fractions and almost have the spelling of whole and hole firm in their heads.

In literacy, we wrote about what we would do with a million dollars after listening to If You Make a Million. We continued to work on writing about our worlds. Some of the kids are choosing to write stories of life in their worlds while others are taking the tour guide approach. We are identifying "ou," "ow," "aw," and "au" words while continuing to review long and short vowel sounds.

Theresa's 3rd-5th Grade Class

It was one of those magical days that teacher's dream of. We were approaching the end of a beautiful book. While only some of the kids actually read it, most of the other children were "listening in," and it became apparent that this was a real opportunity for us all to experience something beautiful together. The book was "Walk Two Moons" by Sharon Creech. We travelled with Sal as she retraced the path of her mother, who had died in a bus accident. We learned about her mother's sadness, and we got to consider what mothers' feelings are like. We saw Sal process some really important feelings, and we got to talk about it.

In math, I have divided up the work, so that some of the kids do their "harder" math first thing in the morning, while others do it at Math time. This has made it a lot easier for me to give individual attention to all of the kids. We are going to continue to use Splash Learn. If you have a device that your child can bring to school, that would be helpful. If not, we will share school computers.

In writing, the Paragraph-of-the-week is going strong. The kids really enjoy getting grades! They have been working diligently. Mondays, we talk about the question and take notes. Tuesdays, the kids write a draft. Wednesdays, they revise and edit the draft. Thursdays they write a final copy. Fridays are for free writing. Some of the kids finish this work very quickly. Those children are planning a camping trip. More information is coming soon. Look for an email from someone in the class this next week.

Our Theme: Indonesia

We are all getting pretty excited about Indonesia. Duolingo is helping us to get some basics of the Indonesian language, and a number of our kids have noticed that some of the word usage is closer to Spanish than English. We read a folktale called The Dancing Pig, listened to a Gamelan orchestra, and tried to do a little Balinese dancing. The dancing was a true challenge, and we learned that everything from toes to eyes are crucial parts of the dance. Watching everyone try to hold position while using their "serious" faces sent me into giggles which definitely were not part of our dance lesson. We were fact detectives while reading Indonesia and took a shot at some basic weaving. All of the extra paper strips led to further artistic fun and experimentation. The Sacred Banana Leaf introduced us to the mouse deer, a trickster character who shows up in many Indonesian tales. The younger students experimented with using crayons and watercolors to mimic the process of batik while the older students made mini books about Indonesia's amazing plants and animals. The Great Race, another tale with the mouse deer, reminded kids of The Tortoise and the Hare as well as Lion Vs. Rabbit. It's fun when we realize how different cultures can tell some of the same stories.


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