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Classroom Updates

Acorn Nursery News from Ms. Jan

We had another wonderful week with the children this past week.  Each day they seem to be a little bit better adjusted, a little more trusting of their teachers and a little bit more used to our rhythm and expectations.  There is so much to learn in this young Nursery Class.  Some of the things that we are currently focusing on:  "we listen to our teachers," "we all help with tidy up after playtime," "we sit at the table with food/water," "we get up from the table when we are excused," "we use our words to say what we want/need/don't want/don't like, etc."  These are the basics to getting along in a class/group setting and the first things we must practice as we form our community, our class.  The way that these skills are mastered is by constant consistency, every time with every child and as their parents you know that this constant observation and acting on behaviors is exhausting but so so necessary.  The children are doing quite well picking up these "Nursery ways" at school, we hope you see some of these skills carried out at home.  

This week I began with a very simple 'Circle Time" with the children.  Just four verses and songs as we learn to form a circle and move around a circle all together.  (Not as easy as it sounds with 13 tiny bodies who often take a while with imitation to learn what we are asking!)  I also began telling our very first simple story as the children learn to sit and listen to a story.  The story is the well known "Hickory Dickory Dock" told with a puppet show to go along with it so that the children can match the words with the action of the story for better understanding.  We will add a new verse each week for a few weeks as the children learn to sit for a little longer each time.  Many of them have already begun to repeat parts or all of our blessing before meals with us.  I will include it here for you:

Magnolia Kindergarten News from Ms. Heidi:

Our first fruit salad was delicious and many children ate two helpings. We serve it with a topping choice of shredded coconut, walnuts, or homemade granola. Once we start making bread, we will also offer bread with this snack. We have been very busy in the play yard, digging up grubs from our garden as we aerate the dirt, shredding leaves for compost, cutting back weeds from our potted plants, enjoying the lizards and bugs in our rain garden. The children are learning how to rake up the grass clippings and trundle them over to the garbage area with our wheelbarrows. The children have also discovered the pony reins and jump ropes, so they are getting good practice jumping and galloping through the busy landscapers. A beautiful mural appears almost every morning on the cement as our young artists discover the joy of chalk drawing together. With all the rain, the canvas is rinsed clean each afternoon, and beckons invitingly each morning to be covered again in bright and cheery colors. Inside, the children are sharing in the various chores that keep our kindergarten beautiful and safe. They are learning to wipe tables and chairs clean, sweep up after snack, fold our classroom laundry, and put things away where they belong. In another week or so, we will introduce our weekly jobs, so that every child has an important task to carry out each day. Not only does this fill the child’s need to contribute, but it also develops a feeling of competence and community.

Grade 1 News from Ms. Contento:

Students listened intently as I told the story of “Simeli Mountain.” Students retold this story in detail during the main lesson. Even more of my students participated in the retelling of this Grimms fairytale. The first-grade students drew a mountain into their main lesson books, with an emphasis on the “M” in the form of the mountain. They also drew a cave inside this mountain to show the “C” form. Once they get the images and the letters drawn into their main lesson books, we work with the sound of the letters. Students call out all the words they know with that beginning sound. I then write these words on the board. The “C” words brought up all kinds of great discussion about the how “C” sometimes sounds like “K” and sometimes ”S”. From there I challenge myself to come up with a story based on the word list they create. They giggle with delight when I use their word or name in the story. 

Next week I will tell, “White Snake” with an emphasis on “S”, for the snake, “W” for wave, and “F” for fish. We will work together to create illustrations from the story and work on the formation of these letters. Please do not let your child know what letters we are working on before I have introduced each letter. This guessing of what letter we are focusing on brings an element of surprise and wonder to the lesson.

Grade 2 News from Ms. Mullen:

Our class spent the week working with the concept of place value. We looked at place value blocks and also created our own system using counting gems for ones, cups of gems for tens, and baskets of cups of gems for hundreds. We discussed how to regroup ten ones into a single ten. We also discussed how to break down three digit numbers into their ones tens and hundreds components in the form of a math sentence. This concept is a bit challenging for some and we will continue to discuss it. They also have done a great job working on memorizing their threes skip counting and we have been connecting this work to times tables. They also are beginning to memorize their fours. Ask to hear the songs that we sing to learn them! Next week they will begin working on their own math facts flash cards. We will continue discussing this next week and will revisit it during math extra mains. Next week we will begin our first language arts block.

Grade 3 / 4 News from Ms. Flores:

In our Circle portion of Main Lesson, we are busily learning a poem, practicing speech work, working on our times tables through movement, and learning new songs! The class is really excited about a few concentration games we are working with as well. These games require them to work together while being focused on their own job. The students are also excited by our mental math practices this year. We continued our study of liquid measurement with a look at ounces, tablespoons and teaspoons. The class participated in two cooking experiences. On Tuesday, we made Ethiopian Spris. This is a type of layered smoothie that has avocado and honey at the base and the top is pureed mango and papaya with a squirt of lime. As far as the flavor, there was mixed reaction from the class, but I think most liked it! On Friday, we made caprese salads with basil grown in our garden. Next week will dive deeper into conversions as well continuing our cooking.

Grade 5 / 6 News from Ms. Nelson:

Circle Geometry: This week we completed our work with the circle by working on the most challenging 24-division in circles and in lines.  The students began a sewing project that replicated their final drawing (Figure 8).  We also kept reviewing our angles, especially with regard to identification, measuring, and construction to precise measurements using a protractor.  The story of Pythagoras, as well as his wife, Theano, continued, including some more information about the qualities associated with certain numbers by the Mathematicoi (their secret society of mathematicians and scientists).  On Friday, the class took their very first block quiz. 

Grade 7 / 8 News from Mr. Pauzolis:

This week, we reviewed the Magna Carta and made sure we all understood what it was and why it was important. We then explored the Hundred Years War. We talked about what it was about and why it went on for so long. We discussed two new technologies that profoundly changed Europe (and, eventually, the world): gunpowder and the printing press. Special focus was given to understanding how and why these two technologies would herald the end of the Middle Ages and usher in the Renaissance. Drawings were also begun for each technology.

We ended the week with the very dramatic life of Joan of Arc. The children were especially affected by the lack of justice Joan had faced!

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