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Mixing It Up

We are all in a groove at this point in the year. Our kids know that when it's writing time to head to their desks, pull out their writers' notebooks and pencils, and open to their current piece or the first blank page. The kids know what to do when they spill at lunch: grab a rag from the pile, mop it up, and put the rag in the "Stuff It" laundry bag. They know how we line up at the end of recess, where our check-in points are as we head into and out of the woods, and what they should do during "Relax and Read."

It's the perfect time to do some things a little out of the groove. This past week we had math classes where students were making Epsom salt crystal snowflakes and mixing up some play dough. They were creating gingerbread houses based on careful plans they had mapped on graph paper. They were tickled to find that our playground space had been transformed and were eager to balance on the new logs that ran around our wood chips.

It's fun to be able to change the pattern and know that our kids can adapt to the change and enjoy the chance to try something new. It's another one of those life skills we want all of our students to develop during their time with us.

Theresa's 3rd-5th Grade Reflections

Every year in December, it's time to create a gingerbread house. The kids were asked to consider the importance of a sloped roof in a wintery environment and asked to think about how they would determine the size of the roof and the gables. The older children had a brief lesson about calculating slope, and some of the children used the concept of "slope" to create chimneys that would be properly situated on their roofs! They made paper models based on the designs to make sure that all the edges come together correctly, and the angles match up. Then they have the challenge of translating those drawings onto dough. They carefully rolled, cut. and arranged the dough on cookie sheets. And of course, when they were done with those steps, they helped to clean up a rather large mess. Next week, they'll be using some "glue" to try to make all the pieces come together.

We took a hike in the back yard for recess and scampered up an imposing cliff. There was true teamwork and cooperation to reach the top!

The kids are working on their state reports in both writing and in theme time. This week, we explored statistics. We used data to answer questions such as:

-What is population density?

-How do our states compare to Schoharie County?

-What is the racial make-up of our states?

-What might be the historical reasons why some states have a much higher percentage of racial diversity?

During these conversations, we discussed how there is no biological "Marker" for race, yet race does "exist."

We also talked about culture and worked to define what that meant.

It's fascinating watching these children grow and grapple with some very big ideas.


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