As I have said several times, the older class this year loves to have contrasts in their learning. This group seems to get an enormous amount of energy from these projects. An example of this occurred this week with E finishing her reading of Fahrenheit 451 and our making of Bob books. Fahrenheit 451 is a very sophisticated book and E has done an excellent job of reading it to us (except for the time when she was away and we read the book by passing it around the class). It was written 60 years ago and it is amazing how Ray Bradbury was able to predict this future world. As E read parts of it I kept thinking I was in a current action movie, particularly the part in which Montague torched Beatty and then made a run for his life. She has taken full ownership of this project including decorating the walls with pictures that the students had colored of the original illustration of a fireman from the first edition of the book. Contrast this with the students making Bob books. Many of my students have written stories with Bob as the name of their imaginary character, so when I walked through Robin room and saw the beginning reading series books listed under Bob books, it gave me an idea. Robin has five boxes of these simply written books with each box containing about 10 books. I asked her if I could borrow the books and give my student a project of writing their own books for the younger class. The classes’ books are delightful using the same cover format, the same simple storylines and drawings, and the same use of colored highlights. We even took one of the boxes apart, traced it, and made our own boxes to hold our books. C and E volunteered to decorate these boxes and they did a wonderful job. On Thursday, students will read their books to their younger class reading partners and then we will donate these books to the younger class.
Our history project is well under way with many students going into depth on their research. Sara and I have worked with many students on a one to one basis, and I have really appreciated parents helping their children with this work. In my last bulletin writing, I listed three reference books we were using and the number of books we have found since then has tripled those reference materials. When I was working with E, who has ancient Rome as one of her pages, we found an entire book that had a hundred different facts about Rome. I told her that it would take at least six pages for her to cover even a portion of that material for our class book. I am hoping that this is the kind of information and involvement that I will get from every student in the class and then that we can share this information with people who have looked up other things. The first person to present her pages will be H because her research on the earliest time period covered in the book.
Helen did her annual review of music material covered for the year by using the format of the game show, DO YOU WANT TO BE A MILLIONAIRE. As always it was a lot of fun because Helen made up her own questions, used a device that produced applause and bussers, and had prizes for the entire class. She also incorporated items from the show like call a friend using two plastic cups connected by a string.
Our schedule also included math workbooks, reading with the younger class, and amazing facts and extensions.
Susan read a 100 page quick biography book on Shakespeare. It provided a lot of information, much of which the students already knew, so part of it was a review and acknowledgment of what they had learned so far this year. On Friday, we will start our next Shakespeare play which is Macbeth. I will show the 25 minute animated version. We have many varied resources for our study of the play, including a two hour BBC version on YouTube. J had asked if we could watch a 30 minute documentary on the finding of the remains of Richard the Third, and I put that into the schedule for Thursday. J also found a Lego book in which they used the blocks to illustrate four Shakespearean tragedies. This is a beautifully produced book with full-color pages.
On Friday we will be starting to do some research on the tenements of New York City to help us get ready for our trip. All I keep thinking is what an exciting year this is!
We will take the train to Penn Station. We will walk 35 blocks to the Tenement Museum. On the way we may stop at FIT to see a new exhibit by graduate students on the history of the leather biker jacket and its impact on current fashion. We will have lunch before our appointment. Our visit will include a talk about people who live in tenements and then a visit to an actual apartment where an actor will greet us and talk to us about her life and family. We will leave the museum and head back to the village where we will eat at the Ghandhi Cafe. We will stop at Washington Sq., Park on the way. After dinner we will take the subway back to Penn Station. We will get Krispy Kreme donuts and wait for the train to take us back to Middletown.
We have been busy working on Doodle for Google designs. This year’s theme is “If I could invent something to make the world a better place it would be….” The class brainstormed world problems then discussed what you would need to invent to improve the situation. We have looked at current inventions being worked on and breakthroughs in scientific research. We are watching the PBS series Making Stuff and various TED talks that highlight innovations in science and design. We looked at various everyday objects and tried to think how we might repurpose them and what attributes make them suitable for that purpose.
We read The Lorax in connection to possibly applying for a grant being offered through the Lorax Project to “spruce up” the library. The children also made drawings of how to create comfy reading spaces on the loft and floor.
Thank you to all the parents who attended graduate night. As always it was wonderful to see our graduates. They do such a great job of sharing their experiences and answering questions so openly and honestly.
Please make sure your child is dressed for the weather as they really want to be outside at lunch and snack.
As I sit to write today’s bulletin, I have just watched my daughter, my first born, pull out of the driveway for the first time by herself. I have been driving with her for a year, and I know that she is a good driver, and is ready, and I’m not feeling worried. But the emotional piece of watching her leave was harder than I thought. Although a child’s life is full of steps of independence, and therefore steps away from parents, this by far feels like the biggest. In another year and a half, she will leave for college. As cliché as it sounds, enjoy every minute with your children; the time truly does pass by in a wink.
The class is very excited to have parents come to view their bird project. They have all worked incredibly hard, and I am as excited as they are for you all to see what they have accomplished. As the email invitation stated, our bird project presentation will be tomorrow. Please let me know if you will be able to come. And if you cannot come, please let your child know so that they are not waiting for you. Grandparents, siblings, etc. are welcome as well.
We have begun preparations for our whole school play, The Boisterous Bard. The children have watched a parts of the video of the play that was made 10 years ago. This has given them an idea of the role that the little class will play. They have started rehearsing a couple of songs that they will be singing. Each child will also be given a line from one of Shakespeare’s sonnets to memorize. I will let you know if there is anything that you need to do at home with your child as we go forward.
We started our new project today. It is a project centered on Shakespeare’s life and times. We will look at the clothing, music and dance, children’s lives, food, theater, etc. The children have been so interested in learning about lives of the past through our reading of the stories of Laura Ingalls Wilder (Little House on the Prairie series), so I thought learning about people’s lives from another time period would interest them.
With today’s bulletin is a copy of the DVD of our Midsummer Night’s puppet show. A huge thank you to L (in the older class) for putting together our video. And another thank you to Debbie for donating the DVDs for me to make copies. We hope you all enjoy it!
Also attached to the bulletin are the questions for our next show and tell that I told you all about in a recent email. I think it will be interesting, and hopefully something that you will enjoy doing with your child.
I look forward to seeing parents next week as we wrap up conferences. And tomorrow for our bird presentation.