These past few years have been rough ones for our teachers, our students, and our families. Remote learning and hybrid learning both had some highlights: Zoom dance parties, getting virtual tours around a student's house or yard, learning how to use the chat box. But I am continually reminded this year of why it's so valuable for our students to be together in the same space. Giggling happens in a different way in person whether it's when they all fall off the slack line in the woods while singing "TiYaYa" or when a guest reader gets to a particularly funny part of a book. They bounce ideas of each other during writing time and help each other solve math problem. They have time to be a little bored then dig into their imaginations for the next new game.
Our 3rd-5th graders decided to throw an early solstice party for our younger grades. It had to be a surprise, of course. They made lots of snowflake decorations, blew up a bunch of balloons, made hot chocolate, found music to play, and covered up the big room where they were hosting it with a sheet so they could have the big reveal.
This is executive functioning at work. They have a big idea, figure out the steps they need to do to make it happen, make adjustments to different complications as they go, and ultimately end up with an end result that makes them proud. I believe in the importance of this time to be together, and it is a joy to watch it unfold.
PK-2nd Grade Reflections
Our letter of the week this past week was "f," and we met Fifi Fish. The 1st and 2nd graders were sorting words by "fl" and "fr," talking about blends and how we can listen for them in words. Our first few snows have inspired many of our writers to create personal narratives about favorite sledding or snow sculpting memories.
In math, our PK and K students were working on number books, practicing writing and counting all of their numbers. Morgan also had them throwing "snowballs" (cotton balls) into jars, solving addition and subtraction problems, and singing some math songs. Our first and second graders have been solving riddles with base 10 blocks to help them develop their understanding of place value and numbers.
3rd-5th Grade Reflections
The kids are taking the world by storm.
Several of the older students have decided that they want to have a bake sale to benefit the Schoharie Animal Shelter at the Miracle on Main Street. They have corresponded with the Middleburgh Area Business Association, who told them that they needed a "Certificate of insurance." They then went on the hunt to track down the school's certificate of insurance. They are discovering that there is a LOT of paperwork in every action. They have organized a sign-up sheet for people who are baking things and are talking about how to staff the table for the three and a half hours of the event.
They also requested "grades" for an essay that they wrote. Usually, Country Classroom supplies the kids with comments and verbal feedback, but these kids really wanted grades. We made a rubric, so that they knew what they would be graded on, and then the grades were given. The kids asked lots of questions, like, "Why do I lose points for EVERY missed period?" and "Do we have to write a title?" Their grades were not as high as they would have liked them to be, but they know what they need to do to get higher grades.
Our Theme: US Geography
Each of our students is learning new things about their states starting with some basics like where they are on a map of the US. It gives us a chance to review the cardinal directions and the compass rose, but in the context of figuring out the bordering states. We have been learning about state flowers, state birds, state trees, and state flags. To find all of that information, we have been using the table of contents, the index, and search engines. It's another time when older students are helping younger students learn to use resources, reinforcing their own learning as they explain the process of finding out what we need to know.