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Archive for April, 2009

We began our day with a spirit walk followed by a project depicting what we saw, heard, and felt, as we walked through dewy grass and a gentle drizzle.

 

Our study of Kenya continues with a tale that teaches the importance of rain for all living things. We read Bringing the Rain to the Kaputi Plain by Verna Aardema.

 

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The story celebrates the connection of human beings, animals, and sacred water through a powerful archer who gets the storm clouds to rain with a special arrow.

 

We celebrated Kate and Sebastian’s birthdays with homemade waffles and maple syrup. (Thank you to Joanie, Liam, and Josie who prepared the waffles for our feast!)

 

We have been working in our workbooks in math.

 

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Topics include addition, subtraction, decoding puzzles, and recognizing patterns. We are continuing our work with greater than and less than. We’ll follow our workbooks with relationships within numbers up to 100 using our 100 charts. We practice together, and then older students “take off” exploring the concepts they’ve learned to thousands, ten thousands, millions, etc. (For now, however, we working on adding 10 to any number using our number charts. Just so you know, we work collaboratively, sharing materials (charts) and learning how to use them together. Often, we take the time to explain how we got to an answer. This does help instill confidence in partners, and teaches the old adage that “two heads are better than one.” I am present, watching, and available to ask questions to help friends “arrive” at the correct answers. What I am watching for is the process of arriving there, which is the foundation of developing and understanding concepts. One of the most common mistakes using the number charts is reversing numbers (37 for 73, etc.), so practice recognition of numbers with your child. Numbers are everywhere so grab each teachable moment! Thanks!

 

Our study of poetry continues with an old favorite Animal Tracks by Charles Ghigna and John Speirs. These are wonderfully silly poems that bring forth thoughts and observations from an animal’s perspective. (For example, why do we call them butterflies? Aren’t they flutterbies?)

 

 

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Today we colored eggs, using masking tape and making some elaborate patterns. These signs of fertility, and the earth’s return to full bloom are a joyful reminder that perhaps our nights will move out of the 20s and 30s, and our days will be filled with some much anticipated sunlight. (Thank you to our pagan ancestors for their rich tradition of celebrating Gaia’s yearly rebirth! We also read some rhyming books (Thank you, Dr. Suess!) made rhymer lists, and practiced our sign alphabet.

A reminder that Wacky Pajama Day and our Spring Potluck is next Friday, April 17. Friends should wear their pajamas to school for a wacky day of backwards schedules and mixed up silliness. (Please be sure to send clothing to put over PJs if the weather happens to be on the cooler side. School will begin at 10:15 and end at 4:30 p.m. Please plan on arriving at 4:15, deposit a potluck dish to share upstairs, and come down for a brief tour of our learning community space. We’ll share our puppet play about Japan and then have dinner. We will resume school, after our vacation week, on Tuesday, April 28th.

 

 

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April is National Poetry Month. For the next few school days we will be using the ASL alphabet to decode words and make lists of “rhymers.” Then, we’ll be fashioning some rhyming poems about spring and new beginnings. We will also return to the concept of syllables, and do some Japanese haikus.

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Today we reviewed our ASL alphabet, took shelter in a nature walk (hurray for sunshine!) out of the wind, and got ready for rhyming words. Whenever possible this month, read poetry, rhyming books, and sing spring songs. This is the month for new life (bursting buds, lambs, singing birds, goslings, etc.) and rebirth! We are all much ready for spring!

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Today we finished the scenery for our puppet show, and took our show on the road to Ruth’s home. Friends were excited to share what we know about Japan, and, as most of you have experienced, they love to perform.

 

Before leaving we had time for greater than and less than, and demonstrated concepts with stones, wood blocks and other manipulatives. Thus far, the equal sign has been the only sign at the end of the equation; greater than and less than are new concepts. (Liam came home with a terrific way to remember that the larger part of the sign always is closest to the greater number. It is: “The alligator’s mouth always opens wide for the greater number (or the largest amount).”

 

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We’ve polished our collective Japan story, and we are getting ready to take our puppet show on the road. We’ve been practicing number sentences, learning about fact families, and exploring the concepts of greater than and less than.

Today we had a beautiful spring day and spent an hour outdoors. Friends enjoyed looking for signs of spring and drawing what we experiences when we returned indoors.

We welcomed our friend Zoe back from her trip to visit her Giagia in Greece. Several times during her trip she was able to converse with friends using Skype and a webcam. Thank you to Maribeth and Susannah  for keeping up with our peace travelers across the sea!

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