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Reading, Writing, Math, and Voting

When we sat down at our morning meeting on Monday to talk about our week, one child raised a very enthusiastic hand to share, "Tomorrow is Election Day!" Voting is a huge part of our school experience. We use it to decide if we are going to do buddy reading in a week when there is no school on Friday. We voted to pick student representatives to our board. But we also talk about how in a majority rule situation, a large number of people can be unhappy, so sometimes we try to build consensus, or sometimes we alternate between ideas. It's an interesting and complicated balancing act.

Morgan's PK and K Class

* Read a bunch of books about Thanksgiving, numbers and letters.

* Looked at the new book orders. We worked on seeing the pictures to try and guess the titles. The children also talked about which books they liked or might want. We talked about how they liked certain books but might not be able to get all the books they wanted.

* Some children started in their new handwriting books.

* Used pattern blocks to create the Mayflower, Pilgrims, Native Americans and turkeys with print outs of where the blocks go. I also told the story of the Pilgrims and the first Thanksgiving.

* The children took the pattern block pictures a step further by using tracing paper to make their own pictures!

* Worked on cutting and gluing to create turkey paper bag puppets!

* Made name bracelets with beads and pipe cleaners.

* Explored shaving cream, water beads, blocks, water and food coloring, magnets.

* We explored the idea of campaigning and voting while helping to create a Country Classroom mascot. We came up with ideas, drew pictures, and explained why our idea should be picked for the school mascot. We brought our ideas to the whole school at morning meeting and then everyone voted. We are the Country Classroom Knights! Later in the afternoon the Pre-K and K class found a chant to sing and came up with hand movements!

Tracy's 1st - 3rd Class

In math, we used Double Tens Frames to represent numbers between 10 and 20. They practiced making a ten and then noticing how many ones they had. Our first grade class has been working on skip counting in song and on number lines as well as counting down from a given number. Our second graders were working with addition and subtraction fact families using triangle facts and dominoes. The third grade class also explored fact families, but they were doing multiplication and division. They are learning how to divide using equal share number stories.

In writing, we finished our fiction pieces. We had the pleasure of welcoming our community into the school for a publishing party. Afterwards, we read through the comments and talked about ones that especially resonated with us (not surprisingly specifics were valued here). After all the hard work of getting those books done, we enjoyed playing "The Writing Drawing Game" on Thursday.

In reading, we continue to work on vowel teams and knowing if it's the long or short vowel sound. The children are also noticing where paragraphs and chapters happen in a book. We have been discussing how authors use paragraphs and chapters in their writing, and how we can use them in our writing.

Theresa's 4th - 6th Class

It was a lovely, sunny week.

Math: In math, our 6th grade kids are breezing through ratios and percents. All of that multiplication practice is paying off! Our 5th grader aced her first test, and the 4th graders are learning about area and patterns.

Writing: We have fallen into a healthy writing regimen. At the beginning of each week, the kids write either a paragraph or an essay, depending on their level. This week's theme was "Should we decrease the voting age." I had expected all of my savvy, worldly children to want to lower it, so they could participate. Wrong! They all want to preserve their childhood, and not get involved until they have to. That said, we have had a number of interesting conversations as part of this theme, that just happen to occur during writing time. This week, the kids walked away with a decent understanding of the electoral college. I love teaching somewhere that I can freely explore ideas with the children.

Reading: The kids are reading Frindle, The Watsons Go to Birmingham, and The Canning Season. The "Findle" kids will be finishing this week! The "Watson's" kids have read through the fun part, and we are soon to be hitting the sad parts. The book has inspired a lot of stories about the fight for racial equity. The Canning Season is full of wit and sarcasm. It has been fun to watch the light bulbs go off as the kids understand the language.

I am continuing to offer more direct instruction in spelling. Each day at reading, the kids who would benefit from this instruction and I study the week's spelling words. If you want to reinforce this learning at home, let me know and I will give you the title of the book we are using.

Our Theme: Government

Tuesday's Election Day had us discussing why people vote. Today on Election Day, Vote, and What's the Big Deal About Elections helped to introduce and reinforce key concepts and vocabulary around voting. We also looked at voting in this country historically and how originally it was just a right for white men with property.

While Morgan's class delved into campaigning for a mascot, the first through sixth grade students picked a project to focus on for the rest of this theme. Some of the children are setting up their campaigns for president (watch out world).

Others are learning about the role of town supervisors and developing questions so they can interview their town supervisor. One student is taking a historic approach to understanding our government by doing a research project on the Constitution.

We also paired off this past week to play "Win the White House" on iCivics. The kids developed a candidate, learned about issues, won their primaries, and advanced to the campaign trail. We debriefed after they had been playing for a bit, and they offered each other useful strategies about successful fundraising, polling, media, and personal appearances. As I walked around, I heard, "We're swinging Texas - it's really happening!" and "We have to target lowering taxes, that's what they care about in this state."


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