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Settling In

We have a working list of rules that the children created. Even the new kids are starting to remember the schedule and what they need to do. New friendships are forming. It all still feels pretty fresh, but they days are starting to take on a solid rhythm.

Theresa's 3rd-5th Grade Reflections

This was a lovely week. Let me tell you about our days.

Every morning, the kids all have morning workbooks that allow them to practice grammatical and mathematical skills. The kids come in, and without prompting, know what they need to do. It is really helpful to have kids there as close to 8:30 as possible. A big "Thank You" to everyone who has been making that happen. Then we have circle as a whole circle. They have been dancing and singing and sharing. Circle is followed by Math. Math has been pleasant. We are still waiting for the 5th-grade textbooks, so we have not been able to truly get into a routine yet. Instead we have been doing a series of explorations into data and graphing. The books are ordered and should arrive any day. We have snack and recess outside. We have been assigning seats, to encourage kids to get to know each other across grade levels and to make it easier for the new kids to assimilate. Jump rope has been really popular at recess. This week, jump rope rhymes trickled into writing class, where the kids re-wrote jump rope rhymes. "Cinder-oodle, dressed in noodles, went downstairs to kiss a poodle!" was a favorite. Writing is, at the moment, magical. All of the kids are excited to write their own stories. I am not looking forward to informing them that we cannot write fiction all year. Lunch has been really lovely. In previous year, lunch duty has not been a part of my schedule, and I really missed out on being able to sit and chat with the kids. They have so much to say!

Reading has also been lovely. They are all excited to read. I have found good reading group books for the 3rd and 4th graders. I am still looking for a book that will both challenge and engage the 5th graders. In the meantime, they are lost in their own books. I am really glad to be teaching in person, again!

Tracy's PK - 2nd Grade Reflections

On the literacy front, our letter of the week is "T," so we are looking for words that start with "t." We're working on making just the "t" sound rather than "tuh" or "tee." Figuring out how to isolate individual sounds is something that our kids do as they are writing, reading, and speaking. In writing, we're working on an "All About Me" book. For our PK and K students, this involves illustrating and doing some writing/dictating about what is happening on each page. The first and second graders are writing a little more on each page, crafting sentences independently. It's a writing sample from the beginning of the year that can serve as a touchstone later in the year as we reflect on our progress.

The PK and K students have been talking about the number 2 in math and practicing shaping it and writing it. "Around and back on a railroad track. Two. Two. Two. Two." We have also been sorting colored chips, counting colored chips, and making patterns with them. The 1st and 2nd graders have been continuing their work with number lines and learning/reviewing ones, tens, and hundreds using base ten blocks. We played "Roll to One Hundred" on Friday, and while I had originally planned on transitioning into other work, we just stuck with it the whole time. They were eagerly rolling two dice, adding them together, collecting the ones and tens necessary to represent that number, trading in 10 ones for 1 ten, and then taking 10 tens and trading them in for one hundred. When the first group got to 100, they said, "Can we please keep going?" Of course!

Theme Time: Lemmings

Our town is progressing, and there have been some spirited discussions about what businesses and jobs are really crucial to have our town run. As of right now, the train station and airport have been shelved, so I guess residents of Lemmings will have to travel to a different town if they want to take a big trip. We'll be finishing up our building this next week and then letting our "peeps" loose in the town to see how it actually runs.

It is wonderful seeing everyone start to settle into the routines of this new year.

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