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Nurturing Imaginations

Our in-person time is limited this year, and it's easy as teachers to worry about trying to pack in as much academic work as possible. Luckily, we keep reminding each other that one of the most important parts of that time together is to let our kids play and stretch their imaginations. I love to see all the learning that happens in that play.

Sunshine and outdoor time had our older kids "cooking" up a restaurant in our "mud/sand kitchen." Orders included ice cream sundaes, salads, pizza, and at least one fancy soup. One of my favorite parts of multiage learning is the way the younger kids often draw the older kids into their imaginative play. We've missed out on that this year, and yet our older kids still pretend to be horses or chefs or spies.

Meanwhile, our younger students were using their imaginations and careful tracking skills to figure out what has happened to the deer skeleton. A buck died on the property last November and was given a send-off by our younger students. They were curious to watch to see what would happen to it over time. The trail camera we set up captured pictures and short videos of many of the animals that live in our forest eating the deer. We also have enjoyed the chance to look for new tracks, scat, and other animal signs over the course of the winter. When we went out this last week, they noticed it wasn't in its original location. They followed some different patches of fur and found where it had been dragged. They used a combination of their observations and their imaginations to talk about why it was somewhere new.

Theresa's 3rd-6th Grade Reflections

The big kids are getting things done!

In Social Studies, they are reading "The History of Us" by Joy Hakim. This book takes readers from the crossing of the land bridge into Alaska through the 1600s. The kids have been imagining life as it must have been for early hunters and gatherers.

The students continued their studies of biology with a look at the lily. They sketched lilies then added color with pastels or watercolors. During a zoom lesson, we dissected the lily, learned about all of its parts, and sketched the organs.

We are working to raise the care that the kids put into their school work. Starting last week, the oldest kids are getting graded for some of their assignments. By now, all of the kids' work should have appropriate grammar and punctuation. Answers should be in complete sentences and be written with care. Grades are new for these kids, but I am sure that they can handle it.

This week, they will be finishing up their latest fiction piece.

Tracy's PK-2nd Grade Reflections

The endangered species research has all of our kids talking about animals (and playing "endangered animals" during recess). We're making books to hold some of what we are learning. On Monday and Tuesday, the children created pages about the geographic region and habitat of their animals. During the rest of the week, we wrote about foods they eat, predators, and their place in the food chain. This gave us a great chance to review the big idea of food chains and transfer of energy. We also are using these projects to review some of the useful parts of non-fiction books like table of contents, index, and glossary. While some of our kids are able to read their research books independently, we also read lots of them out loud so we all have a chance to learn more about these animals. We've read books on otters, penguins, zebras, aye-ayes, tigers, tapirs, and macaws. All of the kids are also working on models of their animals - lots of paper mache is in our not too distant future and lots of paint too. Then we'll be hosting an outdoor Animal Safari for our families.

One of our students recently did a biography on Albert Einstein, and I was looking for resources for him (to try find Einstein's favorite color), I was reminded of his lovely quote about imagination. "Logic will get you from A to Z; imagination will get you everywhere." I hope that is true for all of our students.


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