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Classroom Updates

Acorn Nursery News from Ms. Jan:

We had some wonderful expressions of Spring coming in our yard this week and the children have been there  to watch the magic of it all.  The teachers were on watch as three of "our" Swallowtail chrysalises emerged into butterflies.  We watched as they basked in the sun and slowly fluttered their wings to dry them.  There is a beautiful story about butterflies and their delicateness which compares the butterfly drying its wings to the slow and careful development of a child.  Nature asks us to stand by and watch the butterfly as it slowly and painstakingly prepares for flight in its own unique way and we must use much patience to do this as we might want to blow on it to help it get dry.  (Some of you may have read this story.)  If we blow on the butterfly trying to help it hurry and dry the story tells us that it will wither away and die.  We are to slowly let it progress to readiness with patience and stare (but not touch) as it prepares itself to fly away much as we must patiently (and sometimes painstakingly) watch our children grow and develop in their own time not interfering or rushing them to keep on pace with our timelines.  We actually got to watch one fly away and say "goodbye" to it and I was surprised how emotional I felt seeing it fly to freedom after watching it for so long through the process of caterpillar to chrysalis and finally to butterfly ready to fly, much as our children get ready to fly.  We are also watching our seeds sprout and grow this week.  Each day the sprouts stand more "upright and grow to reach the warm sunlight."  It is such joy to watch the excitement on the faces of the children as they watch the growth of their seeds each day!

Jasmine Kindergarteners explored Urban Roots Garden Center on a fun-filled field trip.

Jasmine Kindergarten News from Ms. Diana:

The Spring circle journey has grown and the children can recall now many joyous songs, verses and games. We’ve created little gardens and planted our wheat-grass. Every day, after watering the seeds we had whispered: Grow little seeds grow...and the grass magically grew into strong, beautiful blades of green. 

On Thursday we took a little trip to the  Urban Roots garden center. Ms. Kim and I were very proud of all the children since their behavior at the center and walking down the street showed us how much they’ve grown! We are looking forward to next week and especially taking our little gardens home. 

Magnolia Kindergarten News from Ms. Heidi:

Spring can take us unaware. We are often so grateful for the beauty and softness of this season after the dreariness of a New Orleans winter. We may forget that spring is a birthing, and just like any birth, there is fear, pain, reluctance, maybe a sense that it will never happen, and finally a great new being, whether it is a baby; a bud that has opened into a flower; a chrysalis that has split to reveal the unfolding of  new wings; a little shoot of  pale green pushing up from the earth; or a bird that has found the strength to emerge from the  hard shell that has contained it. All of these new beings must use  force and perseverance to enter the next stage of their lives.

Spring bursts forth! Life follows an eternal rhythm of its own, an eternal rhythm of which we all play a part. It is more obvious in our children, as we observe their growth and changing capacities, but we also dance to and are moved by the rhythm of the universe. Knowing this, we might find it easier to look at and accept all the “spring storms” around us as the life force rises. Have you noticed heightened conflict at work or at home, on the road, or standing in line at a business? As adults, we often push down or ignore little conflicts, thinking they will go away or that they don’t matter. Until  conflict is resolved, however, it doesn’t go away. Don’t be surprised if it bursts forth this month!

Our children haven’t yet learned to judge their emotions as “good” or “bad.” They don’t have the filters that adults develop to determine when or how  it is appropriate to release anger, grief or disappointment. Our children let it burst forth!  They often carry bits of our own hidden or unresolved conflicts inside; if we don’t express the issues, our children express them for us! We can be grateful for the opportunity to look at ourselves and to take the time to resolve or heal the hurts or angers we may have been carrying around with us.

Grade 1 News from Ms. Contento:

We had an exciting week in the first-grade classroom.... I found many costumes in our collection to add to the base clothing that the students will wear on Tuesday for dress rehearsal. The plan is for students to show up on Tuesday in the base of the costume with a change of clothing in a paper bag. (please label the bag with your child's name) Students will then leave the base costumes overnight so it is ready for the day of the performance. 

Wednesday the first-grade class will put on the play “The White Snake” for the whole school!

Grade 2 News from Ms. Mullen:

This week in main lesson, the class continued working through our geometric skip counting and writing out times tables. We continued to discuss the foundation of multiplication and division and how they relate, practiced some vertical 2 and 3 digit by 1 digit multiplication, and met a very hungry alligator who taught the class how to use the greater than, less than, or equal to symbols. The children heard a story about the creation of the rainbow and a Chitimacha story about the birth of the Bayou Teche.

A few of our students are currently taking a weaving class taught by the former handwork teacher, Ms. Lena. They were so excited about what they are doing in the class, the excitement caught on and several students asked about it! I thought I would include a little note from Lena, in case you want to reach out to her about future classes. 

Grades 3 / 4 News from Ms. Flores:

The class did a great job with their animal reports! From their reports, it was obvious that the children put much care and attention into their observations. I really appreciate how hard the students work on the art portion as well. Each student was also asked to do a little presentation to tell us about the animal they observed. Despite some nervousness, each one did a presentation and answered questions. We did, in fact, have so many questions that the presentations went into Friday. The class did a really nice job listening to one another and asking good questions. 

Aside from presentations, we have been working to finish up all the zoology main lesson book pages. At this point, this is more independent work as the students all have a page or two that they need to complete. While we are done with our zoology block, we will continue to finish up a those pages next week. 

Monday will be the beginning of our play block. Before break, each student will know his/her role and have the script to take home.

Grades 5 / 6 at the 2019 Pentathlon in Austin, Tx.

Grades 7/8 News from Mr. Pauzolis:

Space Camp was an amazing experience, and I think the children would agree it was a once-in-a-lifetime event! Upon returning to school and with most of our students choosing to take advantage of the Optional school day, the week we got back was abbreviated and consisted of us wrapping up and reviewing our Physiology block. We also had a great turnout for our Service Day! The people at the New Orleans Mission were extremely professional and welcoming, and the entire experience was very positive. I would absolutely consider volunteering at the Mission in the future, as well as at Covenant House! I loved seeing the children being so kind and working together to help those less fortunate than we are, and putting others ahead of themselves. It was very touching, and once they were there, many of them demonstrated their best qualities in spades. 

We began our new block: Early American History. We spoke this week about the foundations of the original 13 colonies, and the challenges the colonists had to face in an incredibly harsh environment. We studied some of the native tribes who already occupied North America, and some of the challenges faced between the colonists and these original Americans. We discussed what motivated the newcomers, including religious freedom and economic advantage, and talked about the increasing streak of independence that drove them to establish their own ideas of freedom and how government should be structured. We ended the week with the French and Indian War, which not only made Britain the dominant power in North America but also set the stage for what would eventually become the American Revolution!  


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