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Tracking Our Learning

The fresh snowfall and mild weather combined for some pretty great tracking this past week. When we found a series of deer prints with blood in them, they were eager to follow them and had a number of potential explanations for what happened. They were examining scat, noticing how far apart tracks were spaced, and collecting bits of fur. There were some heated discussions about who had left some of the fur, but everyone stayed respectful even when they disagreed.

Morgan's PK and K Class

This week our Pre-K and K class:

* Decorated our Valentines bags * Worked on the number 13 & letter Qq * Looked at different animal tracks in the snow and tried matching the prints to pictures in a book * Tried climbing different sized tree and talked about being safe while climbing * Practiced counting by twos and tens * Celebrated our 100th day of school * Read "What If I Know My Feelings?" & "Love You Hoo" * Practiced making numbers, letters, and our names with play dough * Worked on our cutting skills by using paper and different dried nature materials

Please check your child's folder to find some of their work from the week. Any papers that are in the folders do not need to come back to school. If there are blank papers, those are to practice what we've been working on, or your child didn't get a chance to work on them in class.

Tracy's 1st and 2nd Grade Class

In math, we continue to work on word problems, place value, and fact families. The second graders have started working on rounding to the nearest 10 to come up with a "ballpark estimate" to help them double check that an answer makes sense. We use the poems, "4 and below, down you go," and "5 and above, up like a dove" to help us remember which direction we need to go. We also had some fun with function machines, designing our own machines that will follow whatever rule we "program" into them.

Many of our writers have been experimenting with using dialogue to help tell a story, so we spent some time wrestling with how to use quotes this week. After writing part of a story together as a class, I noticed even more quotes popping up in our writers' notebooks. I did a few one-on-one lessons to try to get down some of the finer details of the process. As so often happens with literacy, that writing lesson showed up in our afternoon reading groups as kids really zeroed in on the conversations happening in the books we are reading.

Theresa's 3rd - 5th Grade Class

The big kids at Country Classroom have been diligently working on a number of projects.

Kids took a break from their memoirs in writing to prepare and take an essay exam. The students prepared for the test on Thursday by thinking of their thesis statement and reasons to support their thesis. On Friday, the kids used the outline they made the day before to complete an essay.

The kids have been reading some really interesting books! One group is reading, "The Confidence Code for Girls." Another group is reading "Hidden Figures" about the African American female "Computers" of WW2, while other children have been thoroughly enjoying "Bad Kitty."

The kids continue to work on their personal spaces, to make them conducive for their learning styles. Many students have realized that they work better if they have noise-blocking headphones and a visual barrier between themselves and their classmates. We love these modifications and encourage all of our students to do whatever they need to do to learn.

This week, we will finish up memoirs and have a publishing party on Thursday at drop off. These stories are loosely based on something true, but oh the places they went!

100 Days

We celebrated the 100th day of school on Friday. Everyone made a collection of 100 "somethings" for our 100 Museum including everything from 100 popcorn kernels to 100 tooth flossers. We talked about different ways to count 100 - 10 tens being the most popular strategy. We figured out how to divide one student's chocolate chip collection equally among all the students. Theresa helped all of us count to 100, and we did 100 (or a few more) jumps while counting.

Our Theme: Haudenosaunee

Before diving into this month's theme of the Haudenosaunee, we tapped into our collective knowledge. "What do you know already?" They had all sorts of interesting information drawn from past studies, visits to the Iroquois Indian Museum, books, and other life experiences. It's a great way for me to see where there are gaps and where I want to focus some of my teaching. I also asked them what they wanted to know and that will also shape our studies.

The children listened to and helped tell a few stories this week: Rabbit's Snow Dance, Bear's Tail, and How Turtle's Shell Cracked. We talked about some of the values that are taught in these stories about being patient, respecting the season, thinking about the words we put into the world, not bragging, and respecting work. We will be learning more stories and picking a few favorites to focus on more fully.


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