• Sep272014

    POSTED AT 07:38 AM

    The entire school celebrated Jonathan Chapman's birthday with Apple Day this Friday. OG children decided it would be fun to dress in green or red to represent apples and come to school with pots on their heads. 



    Pretty sweet! 

    We had several activities planned for the whole school celebration; a visit from Johnny Appleseed at the outdoor stage, apple games on the field, apple print making in the kindergarten, making apple head dolls, and apple desserts at the end of the festivities.

    The OG started preparing the snacks on Thursday, since there were so many different apple recipes they wanted to prepare. On Thursday afternoon, some of the OG children made apple crisp and apple bread. The on Friday morning, other children prepared apple pie.



    Making crust dough ~ mixing in the butter.







    Lucy helped with the baking.




    The also made caramel apple slices.



    While some of the children were baking, the others were in art, drawing still life with apples. Brian showed them still life paintings by some of the great masters, and had an appealing display of apples for the children to draw.




    Since all of the children in the school would be making apple heads in the afternoon, the OG children helped by pre-peeling the apples in the morning so we would have more time for carving in the afternoon.



    It was painstaking work, to peel the apples in such a way as to maintain their shape.

    I'm sure the chickens were happy to eat the apple peelings!


    Some of the YG had requested a parade. Knowing this, we practiced The William Tell Overture theme  in band last week and this week. Children who felt confident in knowing how to play and with marching and playing, played their instruments for the parade, with Eleanor leading the parade as baton twirler.




    This was one great parade, launching the afternoon of apple activities.




    A wonderful time was had by all!

    After the parade, we split into groups to go to the different activities. Since I was in the art room to help the children with the apple heads, I did not get any photos of Johnny Appleseed, the games or the printmaking. The apple head making was a fun activity. The OG partners went around to each activity with their kindergarten partners, and the YG partners went around to the activities with their nursery partners.





    The apple heads all have such unique personalities already. 





    Now the apple heads need to dry and shrivel. After the apple heads finish curing, the children can keep them as they are or make dolls with them.

    We finished to afternoon activities with a delightful feast of apple crisp, apple bread, apple pie, and a caramel apple slice. The OG children are really good chefs ~ everything was delicious!

    Happy birthday, Jonathan Chapman , and thank you for your contribution of apples across the country.




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    Sep242014

    POSTED AT 12:27 PM

    We celebrated International Peace Day as a whole school this past Friday. First we gathered together in the art room, the OG children with their kindergarten partners, and talked about peace, as well about some of the activities we had planned for the afternoon.  As this was our first whole school event, it was set up a bit in advance with some planned activities. 


    Children could make individual peace banners in the art room.



    They had cloth and paint set out to use and explore the idea of peace artistically Many children were absorbed in this project for quite a long time and they made some lovely artwork.




    Outside were a couple of different ways to explore the theme of peace artistically. One was a hoop suspended from a tree to have various images of peace, as a more sculptural approach.





    This sculpture is looking particularly lovely in the school yard, especially with the morning light shining on it.





    In addition, there was a peace banner the children could work on. Almost everyone contributed to this beautiful peace of art, and children worked on it so beautifully together.





    The finished piece is gorgeous, and hanging in front of the school.




    At the end of our afternoon, we all gathered together near the peace mobile to sing. The children chose to sing Peace Like a River, with some of the OG children accompanying the singing on ukuleles.

    I wish the whole world had the love, acceptance, generosity, and problem solving skills of these children.
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    Sep222014

    POSTED AT 05:37 PM

    We had a busy day today. 

    This is the first day of National Banned Books Week, so to celebrate, I pulled out many of our delightful books that are samples of books that have been banned by school libraries around the country. These were displayed on our library shelf. I had the children look over the books on the shelf, many of them very beloved books, such as The Watsons Go to Birmingham, 1963, The Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler, The Great Gilly Hopkins, Julie of the Wolves, The Cay, and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. After they had a chance to look over the books, I asked them what they had in common: "Really good books" "Fiction" "Books that have been turned into movies" were some of the ideas the children came up with. They were surprised and shocked that these books have all been banned in different school libraries around the country.

    Their assignment this week is to select one of these well written books to read and consider what attributes each one has that might result in them being banned. 


    Monday is usually the day new spelling words and spelling rules are introduced to different spelling groups and today was no exception. We go over the rules and examples, as well as examining prefixes and suffixes as we go through the words. The children write their words in their spelling notebooks, as well as a list to take home to practice over the course of the week.

    Most of today's math groups were concentrated on reviewing and/or memorizing math facts.

    Last Monday, one of the children asked if perhaps we could walk to the pine forest on one of our walks. It's a bit of a distance, so we decided to leave for our walk earlier today than we usually do.



    There's nothing like finding a wide, suspended log to walk across. This has for many years been a favorite long to walk.






    I really miss the swinging bridge, which has not been in existence for the OG children's entire lives. We have to take a long detour to get to stepping stones to cross the river and get on the path to the pine forest. However, the old bridge frame makes a nice resting stop for tired hikers.





    It was a gorgeous day for a long hike and we had many pleasant stops along the way to walk along creek beds, sit on rocks, and explore. When we did get to the pine forest, we all enjoyed sitting and playing on pine logs….



    along with a lot of singing and dancing. What is a log without a conga line???



    After a pleasant stay in the pine forest we headed back, with a stop at the stairs to nowhere.


    Who wouldn't want to climb this?





    These are the steps that used to go up to the swinging bridge.  It is now missing a few rungs so it's a bit of a challenge to get to the top.  

    I'm looking forward to a day full of music and reading tomorrow. Each day an adventure!


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    Sep182014

    POSTED AT 04:32 PM

    Dennis was ill today, so he was unable to be here for music class. So instead of the classes we had been anticipated, the children and I reviewed some of the musical notation we have learned. It was important review, but nowhere near as fun as working with Dennis playing music.  Hopefully, Dennis is feeling much better!

    Sally was out as well today, so without classes with Brian, Bill, Sally, or Dennis, I had the whole group to work together on whole group activities all day.  This gave us opportunity to write about and share our reflections on our trip to Ohio Cavern and Cedar Bog yesterday. We really loved the trip and the children wrote (and drew) some excellent reflections on our experiences. 

    There was a lot of music going on in project time today. Quite a few children got out their band or orchestra instruments to play, another group got out the ukuleles to play and compose some songs, and Olivia and Samantha had guitar lessons with me. Another group of children got out clay to sculpt with, and made some amazing creations.


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    Sep172014

    POSTED AT 06:16 PM

    We had a magical trip to Ohio Cavern. It is such a beautiful cave with lovely cave formations.




    Each room as as lovely as the next, with stalactites, stalagmites, and soda straws.



    The tour of the cave was over too soon!






    After our cave tour, we picnicked in the picnic shelter, and some children played on the playground. A few parents decided a side trip to Marie's Candy Shop would be a pleasant addition to our expedition, so most of the group took a short expedition to Marie's between Ohio Cavern and Cedar Bog.

    Cedar Bog, it turns out is not a bog, but a fen because the water flows rather than remains still.

    We met a corn snake in the Cedar Bog classroom, before seeing a slide show about the many endangered plants and animals that make their home in Cedar Bog. 




    Many of the endangered plants are bloom in the spring, but we saw many lovely flowers, including a sundew carnivorous plant in the fen.



    Sundew





    This is also the home of the massasauga rattle snake, a shy but venomous snake. I was hoping we would see one (from a distance) but none made an appearance.




    This is also the home of the massasauga rattle snake, a shy but venomous snake. I was hoping we would see one (from a distance) but none made an appearance. We did see a pretty garter snake out basking. Children also saw a juvenile skink. We also saw a praying mantis and banded garden spider.











    Thank you to Teri, Cindy, Jennifer, Amy, Chasilee, Sally, and Brian for helping to make this happen. What a memorable day!

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    Sep162014

    POSTED AT 02:58 PM

    It was a lovely Tuesday morning with music in the forefront. Our band and orchestra classes on Tuesdays and Thursdays are such a pleasure! 

    During the morning folder work time, children studied their spelling words and worked on their spelling packets and math assignments. I had some geography 'Thinkersizers' for children who finished their work. Just for a little extra challenge, my beautiful map of Africa is written in French, so brains had to do even a little more stretching than usual. 

    I noticed that quite a few children got out jump ropes at free time the past two days, and have been doing some group jump roping. So this afternoon looked like a good time to get out the jump rope skills video, which goes from level 1 to level 4; with some amazing jump rope demonstrations at each level. Quite a few more children got out jump ropes the next free time and were working on some more intricate jump rope techniques. Timmy and Galen chose to work on their unicycle skills and are really making progress!

    During Tuesday project time, many of the children wanted to continue to work on jump rope and unicycle skills. Dallas, Selah, Eleanor, and Lida had been working writing a song and play during the past few project times. Today they were ready to perform their play for the group, so we all enjoyed their play at the end of project time and before chores. 









    Delightful!
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    Sep152014

    POSTED AT 04:45 PM

    How can you lose when the day starts out with a Dayton Philharmonic Woodwind performance?  They were particularly delightful today. Each musician introduced his/her instrument, let children ask questions about the instrument, and played a short solo followed by a quintet piece featuring that instrument. They were all every engaging and they played a fun selection of music.









    We spent the rest of the morning working on spelling and vocabulary skill. Bill met with his math grouse, while my math groups had review work to practice on their own while Sally and I had spelling lessons. 

    We finished reading The Penderwicks last Friday; this week I started reading a manuscript of a mystery, a kind of parody on Sherlock Holmes. This is a book in progress written by Antioch School, Zac Katz-Stein. It is so much fun to be reading a manuscript written by a former student to this class. Zac is so happy that we will be reading his story in progress and giving him feedback. So am I!

    We had a delightful afternoon for our nature hike. This week, we went to the Yellow Spring to try our hands at drawing water (with pencils ), not an easy task.




    But everyone was game to try, and some very nice artwork came out of their efforts.








    After drawing, many children had fun with a favorite activity at the Yellow Spring ~ face painting with the iron deposits.





    Eleanor and Sylvia became kitty cats.

    On the way back to school, Sylvia discovered an interesting insect….



    I'll post what it is, if and when I can find out. Or maybe you know. Feel free to post your information in the comments. In the short time we have been hiking so far this year, we have found some very interesting fungi and insects. Last week, we found a spiny micrathena spider, but alas, my photo was very blurry.

    I can't wait for our trip to Cedar Bog on Wednesday, there are some very unique plants there.


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    Sep122014

    POSTED AT 02:24 PM


    Cheers!



    National Chocolate Milkshake Day was awesome.   


    We waited until almost the end of the day before enjoying our milkshakes, but it was worth the wait. We had two kinds of chocolate milkshakes, some for children who are lactose intolerant, and some for children who are not. Not everyone got to make a batch, but children took turns making the milkshakes in blenders.



    Yummy chocolatey goodness. 

    We had a busy morning. Bill is in for math on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays, so this was a Bill Day ~ always a special day. Bill worked on math facts practice with children who are still shaky on their math facts.  I worked with both Bill's math groups and mine on geometry.



    Today, we worked on drawing and measuring angles using a protractor, and reviewing identifying triangles by acute, right, obtuse, scalene, and isosceles. 



    We squeezed a little pre algebra into our geometry class today. The children learned about how to find the measurement of an unknown angle in a triangle without using a protractor if the measurement of two angles are known. I had time this morning for our spelling tests and for two math groups. Three of the Younger Olders will work on this lesson on Monday.

    Speaking of Monday, we are all looking forward to a visit from the Dayton Philharmonic Wind Quintet on Monday morning. They will be here at 9:00 am to perform for us. The OG will have another event filled week, with the Dayton Philharmonic coming on Monday morning, and our trip to Ohio Caverns and Cedar Bog on Wednesday. It will be an event filled week for parents as well, I am hoping to see many parents at the Faculty Panel on Tuesday evening, and to having the opportunity to answer questions people may have about how our wonderful and unique school works.

    I hope everyone has a happy weekend!
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    Sep102014

    POSTED AT 12:33 PM

    Did you know that the faculty meets for several hours every Tuesday after school to share ideas, work on curriculum, plan events, and discuss how things are going with the children?  These meetings are very productive and we accomplish a lot, on many fronts, each week. But this did mean that I did not have time to make a blog entry on Tuesday, and this will likely be the case on many Tuesdays. Wednesday may become 'blog catch-up day.'

    As we looked at the calendar at the beginning of the week, we noticed a couple of fun days to observe. Yesterday was National Teddy Bear Day, and Friday is National Chocolate Milkshake Day. Who knew? We decided that both would be fun to celebrate in the OG and yesterday, most children brought in their teddy bears and other favorite soft friends.


     

    Making it a very cozy kind of day.



    You can't tell, but someone is actually under this delightful pile of animals!



    Several children have now requested 'Teddy Tuesdays.' We'll see what develops from here.


    After lunch, we watched the Unicycle Skill Levels video. We invited children from the YG to join us, and many did. I love to show the video at the beginning of the school year because children can see some of the amazing things that can be done on unicycles. After watching the video, many of the children went out to try either to learn how to ride, or to try new skills.



    Ibi decided to try 'Walking the Wheel.'  This is accomplished by moving the unicycle by walking your feet along the wheel instead of using the pedals. It is not an easy to keep your balance doing this, or to keep moving in a steady forward (or in more advanced wheel walking, backward) direction.



    Persistence pays off! In a relatively short time, he was able to wheel walk almost to the post. I don't think it will be long before he is able to wheel walk around the cycle circle.

    We also had music in the morning. Some of the new musicians had their instruments and were able to meet with Dennis to see how to begin making music with their instruments. Now we have a new clarinet, a cello, a violin, a xylophone, bells, a French horn, a trombone, and trumpet to the group. We are really rounding out our band/orchestra very nicely.

    Of course, we do have time each day for academic learning. One of Bill's math groups is working on percentages, and another is strengthening their memorizing multiplication facts. I am still teaching geometry with both my groups and Bill's. Yesterday we used protractors to both measure and draw angles.

    Now that we finally have a full week to work on spelling units, children have begun working with spelling packets of 20 words to learn over the week. The children get their packets at the beginning of the week, and work on a page a day for Monday through Thursday, as well as study their spelling words. On Mondays. children write their words in their spelling notebooks so they develop a running list of spelling words that they can later use for reference, and they also write a list to take home to practice. 

    We are also working on cursive writing skills. This week, we have covered the pointy letters, i, t, u, w, j, r, s, and j, and the loopy letters, e, l, b, f, h, and k. Already, by week two of cursive practice, their cursive is looking lovely. 

    We are continuing our study of where different countries are located in Africa, and a brief overview of the history of each. Soon children will select an African country to learn more about and share the information with the rest of the class, so we can go deeper into the cultural history, nature, art, etc. of these diverse countries. We will also be cooking some African cuisine. Is anyone going to Jungle Jim's? I may have a short shopping list for you.  I am quite certain we can find recipes with available ingredients though.

    I'm looking forward to our visit from the Dayton Philharmonic next week, as well as our geology trip to Ohio Caverns and Cedar Bog. 
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    Sep082014

    POSTED AT 03:46 PM

    This is our first 5 day week of the school year, and we are on a roll. This morning, we started working on our first full spelling packet. We went over the new words and spelling rules, then the children entered their spelling words in their spelling notebook and on a separate paper to take home to study over the course of the week. Spelling groups may change over the course of the year, as I see whether words are either too easy or too hard for any individual child. Often children will recognize that they are ready to move on to a more advanced list and ask to change spelling groups. So, as with the math groups, the spelling groups can be a bit fluid.

    Today's math was check-in and review. We worked with addition and subtraction of decimals, then reviewed perimeter, triangles, and angles. So far we have worked on perimeter and area of squares and rectangles, and perimeter of triangles, as well as identifying and naming right, acute, obtuse, and straight angles, and equilateral, isosceles, and scalene triangles. Bill has been working with one group on strengthening their math facts skills, and with another group on geometry.

    We also worked on our unit on Africa today. The groups each had different countries to read about and report on verbally to the rest of the class, as well as help the rest of the class locate the countries on the map. Each child is labeling a map of Africa in a notebook. Today's countries were Cameroon and The Democratic Republic of The Congo.

    One thing I love about Mondays is our nature hikes, and today was a fabulous day for a hike! First, Ceron led the way to the earthstar mushroom he found last week so the whole class could see it. Ceron, Sylvia, and I were at the end of the line last week and we were the only ones to see it. It changed a bit since we saw it last, and has taken on more of a puffball appearance.





    We had so many discoveries today! Everyone got to see the earthstar mushroom and then Ibi and Timmy found another interesting mushroom that looked like a banana.





    We found several different kind of spiders, and when Selah and Lida were working on a fort, they found a nest of baby spiders, incredibly small and delicate.





    After exploring around their favorite rocky terrain, everyone found a special spot and sat with their notebooks to write either observations or stories. 



    It was a very focused writing session and several children chose to read what they wrote to the whole group. Each child wrote with such a unique style and perspective. It is delightful to hear what they have written.





    We were happy to have Antioch School graduate and naturalist educator, Emily Foubert, join us for our nature walk before she heads home to Minnesota. The children really enjoyed her last week and loved having her join us. as did I. We hope she will join is again the next time she comes back to visit Yellow Springs.

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