This week saw the presentation of our student made magazines which had been inspired by actual magazines on the market. This was a month long project with a total of 17 minimum pages being assigned over that time period. As you read in an earlier bulletin, I set down the guidelines and gave them several concrete examples of magazines I would think of doing. The final bound magazines are a wonderful mix with each student exploring the entire process of putting a magazine together from designing an attractive and eye catching, as well as, informative cover to what makes up a good article and dealing with left over white space. All of the magazines are hanging on the wall in my classroom and you are welcome to look at them. We will be spending time examining each magazine and talking about what it offered to the reader.
We will finish our work on Fresh Water this week. We have been reading together from the book Earth Matters. We learned yesterday that a dragonfly spends its first two years underwater as a nymph and then develops its wings and takes to the air for the rest of its life. Amazing information. This got the class to wondering if there were other animals that had such interesting transformations. J continues to present his fish each day, and K has a new duck for us as well. We have made two life-sized birds to signify the end of this project, but hopefully we will be able to do another one before the end of the week. We have only two more ecosystems to cover and they are grasslands and temperate forests.
I asked the class last week to write down very specific things that I could do to make their daily life more enjoyable. I got a list of thirty items that I read each morning before school and I have already been able to work on eleven of these. Sometimes I point out to the class that I have done something that was requested, and sometimes I have told them I have just done things and hopefully they will see a positive effect as time passes. There was also a suggestion that we put a box in Jill’s office for students to place papers with things that happened that were good and bad during the day. I am asking them to be as specific as possible to help me understand what they are saying – they can sign these notes or be anonymous. The good thing about having the box for good and bad things is that if someone does see a student putting something in the box they will not have any idea which of these it could be – also keeping them in Jill’s office helps to keep comments more confidential.
Work this week also included a new Scope Magazine with its mini play and articles, math work books, reading The Hobbit, vocabulary words, writing, work with apps., reading partners, music, phys. ed., and a new encyclopedia project. This project is to encourage students to use the encyclopedia as their main source to conduct research for their writing and only use the computer for updating information as needed. Each student chose a letter and is to write a page a day on a different topic in that specific encyclopedia.
We selected cooking groups out of a hat and the first group will be cooking on Friday.
I would like to restate the older class’ phone policy. Students should not bring phones into the classroom, if they need to bring them to school they are to be kept in their lockers or in Jill’s office.
I hope to see everyone at Graduate Night next Tuesday. It’s always great to see our graduates and hear of their experiences in high school.
The middle class has been busy getting back in the swing of things after the break. We have planned a trip to Deep Cut Gardens for a Wintersowing Workshop. Each student will need to bring in a clean 1-gallon milk or water jug (if you are sending in a milk jug, please make sure it is cleaned really well). I will need some parents to drive so please let Jill know if you are available. We plan to spend the morning there—we will leave school as soon as possible in the morning and return to school by 12:30 for lunch.
First I would like to start my bulletin by thanking everyone for being so wonderfully supportive about my decision to not teach full time next year. This was not an easy choice for me since I love my class and have really enjoyed being the Little Class teacher for the past eight years. Having L at the school has been both wonderful and challenging and I am really looking forward to having an extended period of time focusing on L and our lives together. TNS is an unusual school which allows us to create unusual situations, in any other school if I wanted to stop teaching I would have to leave the school, but here I can step down as lead teacher but still stay involved as much as I can. I am really looking forward to spending time in the other classes, getting to be with some of my former students, enjoying who they are now verses who they were in my class. I am also grateful that L can still be involved with the school and all of the students who I know she already thinks of as her extended family. Change can bring such wonderful results to small collectives like TNS, I am excited to see what next year will bring to all of us.
Second, I would like to congratulate Pervin on her new job with Big Brothers and Big Sisters organization. This is one of her dream jobs and I am so excited that they were able to see how talented and caring she is and offered her this position. Unfortunately for us it means that she is no longer able to be a helper in my class, but I know we will continue to be in touch and see her from time to time.
This week we have had a great return after winter break. We finished the predator project right before vacation and have now started work on learning about habitats. My class decided that they wanted to work in pairs on habitats, researching and creating models or dioramas that they then would share with the class in a few weeks. So far they have done a great job working together and I have been very impressed by how much they already know about their chosen habitats. We have also worked on reading, journal writing, math, music, and Spanish and enjoyed meeting visitors on Wednesday.