Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Day 1

Here are the 2-3s on day 1 in music, finding their inner dance stars. 

We shared the book, Stand Tall, Molly Lou Melon, one of my favorite picture books about a teeny tiny girl loving herself in spite of being clumsy, buck-toothed, and having a voice "like a bullfrog being strangled by a boa constrictor." While others might find this cumbersome to getting along in the world, Molly has always heard from her grandmother that she should believe in herself. And so she does. 

Molly's confidence is put to the test at a new school with a boy who belittles her. Repeatedly. Molly stands tall, proves herself, and wins everyone over, including that boy. 
This book provides a great jumping off point for us as we form friendships, work on our friendships, and build a strong community. It helps us talk about how we should treat each other. And it reminds the children to stand tall and believe in themselves. 

It was a fantastic first day with your thoughtful and talented children!!

Monday, April 13, 2015

Classroom Life in Pictures--Part 4 Sciencing

Parker students "do" science. They observe and record findings from our land. They utilize tools to expand their observations. They move. They think. They share. Science class is active.

As we begin our spring unit on China, science learning is circling around inventions as so many were created in ancient China. Activities right now are all about kid-created inventions.

Our Hudson Valley Community College student teacher, Hannah, led a lesson on inventions. Each child was given a collection of items, from puff balls, nuts, and washers to googly eyes, plastic utensils, tape, and glue. The children were tasked with creating devices, tools, or creative renderings from these humble materials. The group was completely absorbed and with such an open-ended assignment, their imaginations took over!

Right before spring break, Kate took the group down to the creek. Their task: creating inventions from only sticks and stones for use by forest creatures. There were bird houses, bird gyms, fairy houses, and the like. The children worked in teams and then explained to us what they had designed.

Here they were earlier in the year, learning the basics of pH testing in the science lab:

Exploring the pond's turbidity:

Using microscopes to look closely at wooly bear caterpillars, the Isabella tiger moth, and other moths.

Observing wooly bears and measuring their segments:

There is still so much sciencing ahead!!

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Classroom Life in Pictures--Part 3 Making Our Learning Visible

This is a group of makers. Over the course of this year, the 2-3s have created countless things to both discover and share new knowledge.

In art class, the 2-3s drew dinosaur skeletons and are now making paper mache models of their dinosaurs. This work deepens their learning and makes their understanding visible.

While working on last semester's theme--How Our Land Changed Over Time--these creatives never tired of building their model landscapes and structures to complement their research on Native Americans, colonial settlers, or cities.



Their life-size paintings also demonstrated a connection to period clothing styles. 

To complement her exploration of water turbines during our theme study, one 2nd grader worked at home with her dad to construct a miniature water wheel that actually powered a light. She presented her work to us and we all got so much out of that fantastic extension of learning.

The 2-3s also make things as an expression of artistry. Here the 3rd graders kicked off our unit on 2-D geometry by celebrating their talents with geo-boards and pattern blocks. Yes, they went 3-D with the pattern blocks. They couldn't help themselves. :-)

If you offer these makers a chance to make mini-apple pies, they are immediately on board. ;-)
Sarah, last semester's fantastic Hudson Valley Community College student teacher, closed out her time in the 2-3s with this baking experience.

Give a 2-3 a piece of paper and you never know what might emerge. 

Origami and paper airplanes, for sure...

...and also one fine day, signs to advocate for endangered animals.

Followed by an impromptu rally in the hallway to raise awareness among middle schoolers.