It is 7 o’clock on Thursday morning and I’m writing this while having a cup of tea. We had the most incredible experience together yesterday on our third New York trip. I was happy that so many parents could join us, and I thank them for all of the things they added to the trip. My class was amazing as they sat waiting with anticipation for the scenes to unfold. I sat in the row behind our group so I could watch their reactions. And just as I had hoped, they were completely immersed in the action of the play knowing it, seemingly at times, word for word. The play was the centerpiece of our trip but it was complemented by experiences before and after as we took in everything that the city had to offer that night. Included in those experiences were cold, throngs of sports fans, abundant diner food, and much, much more. It is now 7:10 a.m. and I am no longer alone. We had an hour and a half breakfast time with early risers doing most of the cooking and organizing the food. As each person woke up they were greeted with a hot chocolate. What a great group of people! One of our assignments on the schedule for today is to write a review of the play Richard the Third. The reviews are glowing!!!!
This week our schedule included math workbooks, we finished reading The Shakespeare Stealer, we had group sessions to read our essays comparing two people, we made a larger than life pastel of Richard the Third, we read Amazing Facts and did extensions, and each person filled out a questionnaire on 10 of the countries on display.
Sara brought in one of the handmade dresses she made when she worked for Poricy Park.
We also read several articles, did the crossword and read the mini play in a new Scope Magazine.
Magic, Harry Potter and the Magic Thief are big topics in my class. There has been a big resurgence of interest in the Harry Potter books and lots of discussions about the stories and the characters. Magic wands seem to be everywhere and there is usually an imaginative game based on the books going on during snack or lunch. It is exciting to see these books and characters being shared, extended and how they come alive for the children.
We are starting the second Magic thief book. We are all excited to find out what Conn’s next set of adventures will be.
Meeta’s third Panchatantra group has enthusiastically jumped into the project after waiting for the other groups to finish.
All of the reading, book discussions, writing lessons and imaginative play can be seen in their creative writing and animal research paragraphs. Writing work includes working on skill packets on how to write a paragraph as well as editing their creative stories. The class continues to share their work with each other during the writing process and in Writer’s Workshop.
This week Meeta and I are helping students go through work to date and tie up any loose ends. With snow days, vacations and sick days everyone has small amounts to review or catch up on.
The children are so happy to be outside any chance they get as we have had several days where the weather has kept us in. Thanks to everyone who has sent in snow gear and change of clothes. My rule is that they must have hat, gloves, winter coat, snow pants and boots to be out in the snow when it is below freezing. Except in the extreme weather, we encourage them to spend some time outside. Please make sure that everything is labelled as many of the children have the same or similar items. If your child does not have their change of clothes or snow gear in school, please try to send them in so they have the option to join in outside play. Please check lost and found periodically as snow pants and coats have been reported missing and there were a few in the bin when I last checked.
Thank you to Chris C. for braving the weather to take each of the classes outside for Phys Ed. and for working with Robin, Jay and I to help the children moving up play with both the class they are in and the one they will be moving into next year. This is such an important piece of helping them to make stronger connections with students and teachers, learn the rules, and to work toward gaining conflict resolution skills.
Last week was a short week, but we had a wonderful bird counting day at my house on Friday. We were lucky to have a Cooper’s hawk sit in a tree close by all morning. The kids all got to get a good look at him! It was very exciting.
We have finally started getting birds to the feeder at school. The kids have been identifying and counting all of the birds. They look frequently and can’t wait to report to me what they see. I’m so proud of all that they have learned. The kids are all working hard to get their bird facts done so that we can hang them up before conferences for all the parents to see. Next week we will start the bird art projects and creative writing stories. We will be going to my house again tomorrow for our 4th bird count. We have been posting our counts to Cornell each week.
Last week we had an impromptu science/math activity. My son had noticed a huge icicle on Thursday morning. He and Jay knocked it down so no one would get hurt. Susan collected part of it for us and the class found the rest of the pieces. We then reassembled it, measured it, and weighed it. The kids then guessed if it would weigh more or less after it melted. On Friday we weighed the melted icicle. To most of the class’s amazement, it weighed the same! The class learned about conservation of mass thanks to a giant icicle that needed to be taken down. Thanks, Susan, for the idea! This is a great example of how learning experiences at The New School take so many different forms. If I was forced to follow a strict curriculum, there would be no time to take advantage of these learning opportunities that just come about and to which the kids can really connect.
Conferences start next week. Please make sure you check your time. Written conference reports for third year students will be sent home today or tomorrow so you can read them before your conference time. Conference reports for the rest of the students will be written for the May conferences. I look forward to talking to all of the parents over the next two weeks.