This week our main focus was on the mural, independent projects, our culinary trip, our Earth Matters Review (T.V. style) on Friday, and the special edition of the newspaper. All of these projects are in full swing, and I am encouraging everyone to work on them. This week we had presentations by K, L, J, and K. These presentations have added so much to the class – I really appreciate them and have learned much from them.
We worked on continuing projects of phys. ed., music, helping the younger class and people in the class, reading partners, and humans. This week in the human project we covered factors that hold different societies together, languages of the world (everyone in the class should know the top 12 languages), and finally we had a great discussion on the microbes that live on and in our bodies. These 100 trillion microbes make up 1-2 pounds of our body weight and fall into 3 categories. Those that are freeloaders, those that are beneficial (which luckily makes up the majority), and those that are disease causing. This information lead to one of the most in-depth discussions we have had in the class this year.
Two new assignments were doing surveys and “’List 25”. Students chose things they were curious about and surveyed different groups in the school. The survey I shared with them was about ecology predictions in 50 years and was from The Smithsonian Magazine. My class agreed (to a greater extent than those people surveyed in the magazine) that most of the energy will come from sources other than coal, oil, and gas; there will be computers that can carry on conversations; there will be a cure for cancer, there will be artificial arms and legs that perform better than natural ones; scientists will bring back an extinct animal by cloning; and we will find evidence of life elsewhere in the universe. They agreed to an even greater percent that the world was going to get warmer. Areas where they had the biggest disagreement with the sample were in their belief that the world would not face a major energy crisis, the quality of the earth’s environment would not improve, and that the oceans would not be healthier. “ List 25” is a website that Kathryn Moore shared with me that listed the “top” 25 items in many different categories as the 25 important numbers, 25 scary insects, and the 25 usually crowded places with pictures of them without people.
Update on E and C’s book reading chart – we are now up to 160 books read by members of the class in the last two months. Another interesting project has been to take the life-sized charcoal cow made by A, K and E and transform it into a painted plywood cow. This was done by our soon to be graduates with Susan and Christopher’s help. As with many pieces of work in the class one can never tell where it will lead. This should be a reminder for all students to finish their independent projects and share them before we run out of time!
I will be spending 15 minutes each morning until the end of school talking to students about 6 important rules that I want them to continue to work on improving. These rules are no shoes, no Internet without permission, listening in bookcorner, no use of bad language, no gum chewing, and the no cellphone rule, which was broken by 3 students on Tuesday and started me down this road again. I have faith that when people believe in the importance of the process of living and growing together miracles are possible. I am actually very pleased with my class and what we have accomplished, learned, and experienced together this year.
Every week I have started my bulletin on Monday and have then added to it during the week. By doing this I have shared over 35 typed pages of information about my class with you. In addition to face to face communication, I feel the bulletin is a very important tool that I use to communicate with you about the many things we are doing and thinking about.
Instead of a sleepover, I have arranged for the older class to have an extended day and the class will be treated to breakfast at school the next day when they arrive. I will provide more details on the extended day in next week’s bulletin. This year’s trip fund has covered all of our trips except the waterpark which will be an additional $10 per student.
This week has been busy but productive despite changes in schedule. Unfortunately we had to cancel our trip to Poricy Park with the threat of pop-up thunderstorms. We are in the process of rescheduling. Thanks to all the parents who volunteered to go with us and for their understanding about the last minute change. Thanks to S and his mother for preparing a great introduction to geo-caching that S presented to the class on Wed. morning.
Despite the change, the time today was well spent on rehearsing and finishing costumes. Thank you to Helen’s friend, John who is a voice and acting teacher, for coming in and giving the children some pointers regarding their performance. Helen and the class have done such a great job in putting this play together. Thanks to Jay and his class for moving furniture for rehearsal and Salvadora for helping Meeta with last minute costume repair.
Micro society is moving along. The children have made model magic figures to represent their characters and have begun the process of making plants and animals for their bio region. Yesterday I heard a discussion of the merits of using camel skin to make tents if you live in the Sahara. According to one “expert” it can go moldy if you don’t tan it properly.
Despite the heat we had a great trip to Holmdel Park and Longstreet Farm. On the farm we had a complete tour and then played some old fashioned games. We then had a picnic lunch and hiked to the top of the park to play. Thanks so much to Kim, Lori, and Susan for chaperoning this trip. We have spent a lot of time this week getting ready for tonight’s Portfolio Open House for the parents in my class. I am always so impressed by how much work my class completes throughout the year. I am really looking forward to seeing everyone tonight. We have also been working hard on our musical numbers we learned with Helen, Kim, and Susan and as of this bulletin writing I am very hopeful that they will be videoed and ready for showing tonight. Tomorrow we will be planning Fun Week and I will put details in next week’s bulletin. Next week we will be going to Veteran’s park, which is just down the street, for a morning trip to see the animals and explore the park. Since we will be back at school for lunch students can bring cooked lunches.
MUSIC WITH HELEN:
I can’t believe we’re so close to the end of the school year and I look forward to our presentation next week. I have attached a notice for those who will be part of the evening’s performance.
Unfortunately, due to scheduling conflicts, the younger class will NOT be singing that evening but we hope to have their part of the performance recorded for viewing at the portfolio open house tonight.
The middle class is ready to go with Bebop with Aesop, and the older class’ musical exploration on rhythm, xylophone, recorder and cups is not to be missed!