|“Look beyond methods, though, and consider goals. What’s the point of educating students in the first place?…we have reason to worry when schooling is discussed primarily in the context of “global competitiveness” rather than in terms of what children need or what contributes to a democratic culture — and, indeed, when the children themselves are seen mostly as future workers who will someday do their part to increase the profitability of their employers.”
– Alfie Kohn
This week was all about…
• Library Time: We’ve been revisiting some of our favorite books. Yoko, Stop That Pickle, The Little House, Rhyming Dust Bunnies, Flying and more poems from Where The Sidewalk Ends. We also read I Like and continued with our own likes.
• Choice: The meeting leader chooses the book to be read, if others wanted another book we discussed and made sure all books were read.
• Scooter City: Student used their fine motor skills and space awareness to create their city.
• Mouth School: I am currently attending student led “mouth school” where I learn if I’m saying a word correctly or not. Some students write words for me to read, others create boxes and either check it or x depending on my response. Their journals are quickly filling up!
• Clay and Lego building: both help strengthen our fine motor skills
• Map Making: students collaborated on a map, including a checklist
• Math Workshop: Early in the week students omitted math workshop from their schedules, but Thursday we briefly did some shape building.
• Student Lesson: Build a shape ship that you can fit in. We measured ourselves and skip counted by 10s. We followed each step until we saw the measuring tape retract. Then we experimented with it! They wrapped it around items to see if they could move the items. They began planning ways to use it as a tool to make their lego kitties fly. The rest of the day was spent building gliders, testing up and down steps, making longer wings, etc.
• Farms: We continued to add more animals to our farm. Students also explored dry clay; how it feels, does it crumble, what if you smash it? A student added a tractor to our farm. I brought in some sheep wool and we briefly explored.
•Ride-On Day: We picked “hay” from the church planters and used it for our Berry Farms. We discussed animals that eat hay and others who do not eat hay. We gathered it and planned to take some back to our farm.
• Scooter City: Students, teacher, and parent volunteer collaborated and created a city. Many of our paths and buildings were still visible from last week. We added an airport, shoe store, grocery store, repair station, gas station, stop lights, and each drew our own “Berry Farm.”
• Map making: While some students went on a hike, other buried treasures and made a map so those returning can find the hidden items.
• Personal Schedules: While we are working on autonomy, we have also been coming together as a group more often and flowing through our day as a whole while still expressing different ideas. Students have been using the Cozy Corner or hallway when seeking a quieter space.
• Leading Meeting
• Responsibility: Cleaning up crayons after schedule is made, snack pack up, eating at snack table, checking in with the teacher, etc.
• Park Day & Outside time: hikes, climbing, map making and treasure hunting
• Ride-On Plan: a blend of gross motor skills and fine motor skills, safety concepts, problem solving, and cross-curricular goodness!
• Taking Turns: Some students have been thinking about animal check-out: the challenge in switching up the routine, trying new things and trust. Some have been working on what ownership means and establishing boundaries for “finding” and borrowing.
• Sharing Ideas: clay animal creations, math workshop, Scooter City
• Divergent Thinking: looking at things differently, making different versions
•Perserverance: supporting each other on sticking with a task…even when it is long or difficult. At Park Day we had a lost crayon that required extra attention to find.
• Personal Space: Observation of spatial relation to other students, safe distance for ride on plan.
• Yoga: meditation, breathing, stretching (I’m trying to implement more often; we are full of energy most of the time so this can be challenging for some.)
• Physical Needs: Moving outdoors to release physical energy
• Crafts: Student led lesson on painting shirts and fabric. Drawing farm features. Clay.
• Music: Nick Young visited our class for a music lesson. We danced and moved to music, acted out songs, and played instruments.
Overheard in our Classroom/Play Yard:
In response to a page in the book Flying I asked what students do in the car so you don’t get bored? Watch a movie, play video games, read, annoy my mom! How do you do that? Say “are we there yet” over and over again. Repeat the same thing. Keep tapping her shoulder. I think they could have gone on forever!
I wonder what this (plastic) knife is for. Maybe it’s for what’s in here. A hot dog! I get to put on my own catsup!
I’m saving up for fishes. Four regular and four cleaner fish so I never have to clean the tank.
S1: What’s that? An earthquake. (students look out the window for clues) S2: I guess you are right. S1: Yeah, but we are so far away so we can only hear it and not see it.
Things to reflect on over the weekend- in preparation for next week:
• Monday park day: Which trails do you want to take? Rope swing? Meeting tree? A new way?!
• Thursday: pajama day! A student mentioned this idea; we discussed and picked “the last day before the last day” for this plan. Your child is welcome to wear their pjs (still non-branded please) and bring in any blankets, pillows, animals, etc.
• Friday (whole week prep): It’s carnival/party time! For our last day students would like to have a carnival in our classroom. All family members are invited. We will be working on invitations, tickets, rides, food booths (making ice cream) and so much more this week. Your child is welcome to begin making items at home as well as bring in any items they may need for their plan.
• Tours and visitors: We will be having guests in our room most of the week.
• TKG memories: anything your child may want to revisit in our last week!
• Minimizing branded toys, items during school time
• Working on going outdoors or play area when physical energy is bubbling up
For your reference, below is our key to planning lessons and scaffolding emergent plans:
- CONSTRUCTIVISM(expanding existing knowledge)
- WHOLE CHILD (emotional/cognitive/social/physical)
- BRAIN FUNCTION & DEVELOPMENT (developmental readiness and willingness)
- CAPACITY BUILDING (critical thinking, skills for the global marketplace)
- CO-OPERATIVE LEARNING (learning from one another)
If you have any questions, please reach us as follows:
CLASSROOM/CURRICULUM/PARK DAY – Michelle Goldbach-Johnson
PARENT VOLUNTEER/JOBS/FIELD TRIP – MJ Garcia
ADMINISTRATIVE – Trish Valdez