Explorations of Elementary 2016 – August/September Newsletter
The first two weeks and the month of September have seemed to fly by! We have really enjoyed getting to know our students and watching them learn to be a part of a team. Our team building games allowed many different students to have the opportunity to be a leader. We picked teams at first, then allowed the students to choose their own to figure out and assist each other in their strengths and weaknesses. During our first two weeks we introduced and reviewed the rules of our classroom. Having a multi-age classroom allows the returning students to be guides for the younger ones throughout our environment. Seeing returning students take the lead and feel a sense of responsibility for setting the example is always exciting to watch. We discussed the Constitution and its history, then split up into groups to make one for our classroom. To get to know each other, we shared timelines of some important parts of our lives so far!
While we were getting to know each other, two new friends joined our environment! Vinny the Guinea Pig and Kernel the Corn Snake are now deeply loved parts of our environment and Biology curriculum. Learning about and taking care of these pets has been such a great experience for all the children, and us. We feed Vinny and clean out his cage together. We give him extra love every Wednesday, and occasionally some fruit at lunch time. Kernel is still warming up to us, so we have discussed his scientific classification (Pantherophis guttatus), his natural habitat, how long he will eventually get (5 feet!), and how he will eat. While we are waiting for him to come out of hiding, we created “Snake Handler” licenses that qualify each student to observe the snake, one at a time, carefully. As long as the children follow the snake’s safety rules their license will not get revoked. They took such pride in making these licenses and it helped them realize how important it is to make sure we are treating our animals carefully and kindly, even if we are so excited about them.
Our students participated in Montessori’s Five Great Lessons and their supplemental lessons. We have discussed many different viewpoints of how the universe was created, how life came to be on earth, how humans came to be on earth, and the invention of language and numbers. During the supplemental lessons we discussed the Story of Geometry, and how the Ancient Egyptians used a right-angled triangle to measure fields, and the Story of the Babylonians and their creation of the symbol for degrees. In Physical Science, we have studied the Laws of the Universe. Students especially loved practicing the laws of Inertia and Centrifugal Force. In Biology, some students have started classifying living things into five kingdoms, some have started classifying animals by phyla, and others have learned the order of taxonomy. In Math, we have started comparing fractions by greater than or less than, reviewed subtracting with the Golden Bead Material, practiced writing equations for squaring and adding and subtracting decimals. We have discussed the shapes in our Geometric Cabinet, as well as, the size of angles and the intersection of straight lines to form oblique or perpendicular lines.
During our Morning Meeting we allow five students to share exciting news from the day before. This gives children time to share their exciting news without interrupting work time. Sometimes during Morning Meeting we talk about important life skills. One morning, we discussed being kind to others and how, according to Kid President, “If you don’t have anything nice to say, you aren’t thinking hard enough.” Each student drew another’s name out of a basket and wrote something kind about them on the board for everyone to read during the day. We saw children interact with others they usually may not, and expressing that gratitude by working together or simply giving each other a hug.
In Reading Group, we have two groups reading different stories of our Junior Great book series. Another group is reading The Tale of Despereaux. Our final group is reading The Indian in the Cupboard. We have introduced and reviewed the parts of a book, including the title, author, illustrator, copyright date, publisher, and dedication page. We have discussed and listed various fiction and nonfiction books in the classroom. We have also started learning about the elements of a fiction story. The students have enjoyed comparing the settings from their different reading selections.
Our students were so happy to go on our first field trip to Stan Hywet. Many of them want to return during the holidays to see the decorations and lights. While on the trip we learned about the history of the Seiberling family and what their 65 rooms and 70 acres were used for while they were living there. We learned about the famous musicians that played in the music room and the way firewood was moved throughout the house to their many fireplaces. Our guide introduced us to the kitchen and the numerous work-spaces for butlers and maids. Our students wanted to know where they kept their televisions! Our class explored the grounds independently where we got a close look at the butterflies and different habitats of Akron wildlife. Although there was a splash fountain in the Playgarden, our favorite part of the grounds was the Japanese Garden. At the time of the service, Adelaide based pest control experts will identify the nature of your problem and the appropriate treatment, eco-friendly/government-approved method we can use. The students walked all of the different paths and found frogs. We took a picture together on a large rock and on our way out past a fountain.
Spelling and Enrichments
By Ms. Sara
Some of our students went to the Taekwondo demo where they enjoyed learning a few basic moves and playing some fun games. A few of our students went to the Kids Bop dance demo where they learned a few basic stretches and the beginning moves to a dance. In Art class the students have been working on Mandalas. Mandalas are geometric figures representing the universe. They have really been enjoying this fun and colorful project. In Music class the students have been working on reviewing musical terms and symbols including beat, forte, double bar line, repeat symbol and many more. They have testing their knowledge of these terms with games.
In Spelling groups 1 and 2 they have been working on the short vowel sounds. We have gotten through a, o, and i, and this week they are working on u. They have been doing activities in class including rainbow write, word family charts and writing sentences using their spelling words. Next week their homework will no longer be writing their words three times each, they will be bringing rainbow write home instead.
In Spelling group 3 they have been working on the long vowel sounds. They have done a,e,o, and are working on u this week. Their lessons include learning the different letter combinations that make these sounds. They have done activities including definitions, sentences, alphabetical order, word family charts and rainbow write.
Spelling group 4 has been working on long e sounds and all the different letter combinations that make the long e sound. This week they are working on long i. Their activities have included writing paragraphs, definitions, word family charts and alphabetical order.