Jay’s Older Class update:
I have had a good summer and hope that everyone has enjoyed their summer as well. Over the past few weeks, I have been working in my classroom and have many projects to start off the year. One of the main projects under the animal theme is about dogs. This work will involve researching a breed of dog, looking for dogs in advertisements and in the media, dogs in the news, famous dogs, and an art project of drawing a dog a day for 16 days in a row. I have also found interesting information in National Geographic on the evolution of dogs from wolves. This work will lead into a broader study of what animals we currently have as pets and animals that may be pets in the future.
Another project I am very excited about is having each student choose a Grimm’s fairy tale — read it and then recreate the story in a 12-frame format. Each frame of this format will have a writing and a drawing to retell the story. I have given this project to a TNS graduate, who is amazingly talented in this type of work, and hopefully he will have work that I can use as an example to start this project off. I am also doing this project as I often do with work that I assign. I do this so that I can show students my ideas for the project and also to see how much work is involved in doing it. This gives me a good idea of what I am asking each student to do, and I am often surprised at how much work some of my ideas require. I am working on the Tale of The Owl, and I am really enjoying it.
I have many other projects that you will see when we have our back to school picnic in September.
In addition to our many computers, each class will now have two iPads this year. I attended an apps workshop at the Apple Store this summer and found it amazing and overwhelming. I have added some apps and hope to add more as the year progresses. I thought it was reassuring however that our presenter at this meeting said that he thought that our focus for education should be to teach people to be human. This was interesting to hear from a person who has so much knowledge about the technology that is available today. We can now secure almost any information we need within a matter of minutes. He clarified his thoughts on what it meant to teach people to be human by mentioning two skills that he thought were of the utmost important. These skills were in the areas of communication and collaboration, and to me this is exactly what we have been doing all these years by teaching our students to think for themselves, be an active participant in group activities, and make the most of who they are as people.
I am looking forward to seeing everyone at the picnic or on the first day of school.
Kathey’s Middle Class Update:
It is lovely here in Vermont. The weather has been beautiful so far and we have been able to take advantage of it by doing lots of swimming and walking. It is a bitter sweet vacation as we were here in Wilmington last year when the town was devastated by Hurricane Irene. Vermonters are incredibly tenacious and have done an amazing amount of restoration but still have much to do. One of the reasons I vacation here is that the natural beauty of the land, the “can do”, independent spirit of the residents and the creative force that resides here is incredible. I use part of my time here every year to renew my spirit and to look for new and exciting projects to bring back to share with my class. Yesterday we visited a small museum in Brattleboro that is chock full of organs from the turn of the century manufacturers, the Esty family. We had a great tour and fascinating conversation with the docent that covered everything from how organs are made to how to preserve history while still embracing new technology as a way to share it with future generations. We also discussed the difficulties of being a small organization trying to do big things. The museum is trying to start a maker lab for kids about the science of sound and music. I hope to be able to connect with them via the computer and share our interest in the hands-on approach to learning and also hope I can arrange a virtual field trip to the museum for the class.
We will be starting the year off with planning a project about our backyard habitat. The project will include identifying what animals and insects live in our backyard, learning how to identify the plants and trees that are growing around us, looking for signs of Monarch butterfly migration, and planning a year long natural habitat project. We will be using drawing journals to document our year and I would like to keep a class video diary using the iPads that we will be able to share with parents at the end of the year as well.
A few practical notes:
Children need to wear clothes and shoes that are comfortable and practical for walking/playing in the yard/gardening etc. Everyone needs a change of clothes in their locker.
We have many children with specific dietary requirements that include allergies, gluten free, vegetarian, vegan etc. Children also have their own personal preferences. We honor these choices and all try to help one another feel comfortable with them. The children are especially good at following a few rules that we adjust every year to make it easier to accommodate these many variations. The rules this year are:
- The Middle Class room will be a nut free zone. If your child needs to bring in nut products please speak to me about it.
- Label any homemade treats sent into school with all ingredients and store bought treats should come with ingredients labels still attached.
- If your child has specific needs, please send in a shoe box sized container with tight fitting lid, marked with their name and filled with alternative wrapped snacks/treats that can be substituted when they can’t eat what is being served. We keep these in the kitchen so children can access them whenever necessary.
If your child has particular dietary guidelines please make me aware of these.
I would like to welcome everyone back to school especially our new families and I’m looking forward to seeing everyone at the picnic.
Rebekah’s Younger Class Update:
I hope everyone has had a wonderful summer and is excited for September!!!!! I have been working in my class, thinking a lot about all the possibilities for wonderful projects focused on and inspired by our theme of Animals. We will be starting the year with a project on Underwater Animals. I would love donations of magazines and calendars with underwater animals, fish, etc…. for collaging and other art, if you have any please bring them on the first day of school. Also just a quick reminder that my class will be continuing to follow our peanut rules: NO nut products and I will go over all of our rules at my Parent Meeting on Tues, Sept. 18th but if you have any questions please feel free to call. Also please make sure you child has their extra change of clothes and shoes with them on the first day — you never know when mud, water, accidents might strike! Have a great Labor Day see you on the 8th, Rebekah