• 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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    Sep052014

    POSTED AT 05:07 PM


    Ceron found this mushroom and pointed it out to me. It is really amazing. I had never seen one before and have found out that it is called an earthstar mushroom. What a find!

    We made our first OG community meal today; our bean burrito bar, rice, and salad. We cooked all morning, making the beans, rice, homemade salsa, grated cheese, etc. The morning did not start out on the best note. I went in to check on the beans and there was a gigantic popping sound, accompanied by a little smoke, that came from the stove. Followed by not one part of the stove functioning. I hope I didn't completely blow it up. Sally got the table top burner to finish cooking the beans on, but we didn't set the temperature correctly ~ it appeared to be on 'high', but was on 'low' so the beans didn't cook. Brian saved the day by microwaving the beans to finish their cooking while we were finishing up our spelling/geography/math quiz.  Sam, who had completed all of his work, went with Brian and cooked the tortillas on the griddle while Brian saved the beans. 



    In spite of some set backs, lunch was delicious. We certainly have great cooks in the OG!



    One of the great pleasures of the day was having graduate, Emily Foubert, come back to visit for the morning. Emily is an environmental sciences educator in Minnesota now. She had been wanting to check back to her 'roots' at Antioch School to build on her teaching skills. She is so obviously a wonderful teacher already. It was delightful having the opportunity to talk to her about what she is doing now and her reflexions on her life at Antioch School, which she credits to who she is now. I am hoping that Emily will be able to join us on our nature hike this coming Monday before heading back to Minnesota on Tuesday. 





    She was very interested in the earthstar mushroom, which she had never seen either. I let her know where we saw it and hope she gets to see it.

    I enjoyed meeting with parents on Thursday evening. Great discussions and ideas! I will send more information about some ideas we shared on our announcement page. 


    Have a wonderful weekend!



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    Sep042014

    POSTED AT 05:52 PM

    Today was our second day with Dennis this year. We are a bit rusty, but it's great to get back into the swing of things. We worked on rhythm and started to sound better almost right away. I'm looking forward to the children new to band and orchestra getting their instruments and joining in on the fun.

    Yesterday afternoon was taken up with our delightful walk. I forgot to post a photo of the unique mushroom one of the children pointed out yesterday. I'll have to post that tomorrow; it was incredible.

    Even though we had a wonderful time, some children were disappointed that we did not have time for geography yesterday. So today, I made certain that we had plenty of time to work together in small groups on our geographic exploration of Africa. The Younger Older Group children (YOGs) read about and discussed the Sahara Desert, and the Middle Older, and Older Older Group children (MOGs and OOGs) worked together reading about and locating Eritria, Camaroon, and The Democratic Repbulic of Congo. The YOGs shared the information they learned about the Sahara with the rest of the group. The MOGs and OOGs will share what they learned about the countries they read about tomorrow. I was happy to find my African cookbook, so we can try some recipes from different African countries.

    Speaking of cooking, we are planning our first OG community meal tomorrow. On the menu are burritos with homemade salsa made from vegetables from the garden, rice, and a salad. Several children washed the pinto beans and put them in a pot to soak overnight. Can't wait!

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    Sep032014

    POSTED AT 03:43 PM

    This morning we worked on math (perimeter and area, as well as math facts), spelling ~ including pretesting for which commonly misspelled words are causing people troubles, and cursive writing. Bill, who will be in on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays, worked with three math groups this morning. As is always true, there will be shifting and changing around with math groups, depending on which skills individual children need to work on. 


      It was a pleasant and busy morning. 

    After our afternoon reading of The Penderwicks, we went for our first nature hike of the year. The children found some interesting things including a healthy, and active crawdad and a small snakeskin.  At the river's edge, the children sat to observe, draw, and write about what was around them.





    This is a lovely drawing of rocks under the water and water bugs skimming the water ~ not an easy subject to draw. 




    After time to observe and record the natural world around us, Ceron began an engineering project after observing that some people had a difficult time crossing the stream. It wasn't long before classmates joined in to make a 'natural bridge.'  





    We had a great time today!
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    Sep022014

    POSTED AT 07:03 PM

      
    It was so great to start band and orchestra again! Most of us were rusty after a summer of not practicing very much, or not at all, but it didn't take long to get back in the swing of things. We could see and hear improvement with each piece we reviewed. After the people who had band and orchestra last year met, Dennis met with the children who are new to the program. Then he met with the children who were considering taking up a new instrument. He discussed the advantage of sticking with one instrument for at least two years before deciding to change instruments. Some children have decided to add on another instrument to the ones they started last year. I love the enthusiasm!

    I have missed our nature hikes. Stella and I took nature hikes all summer, but it is a different kind of pleasure to hike with the Older Group and see the trails through the children's eyes and experiences. Last year, I had purchased some pocket guides of Ohio butterflies and birds, but they were not comprehensive enough to identify much of what the children were finding. I found some much better guides of Ohio butterflies, wildflowers, birds, and trees that will fit in my backpack. I'm looking forward to having them available on our hike tomorrow.


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    Sep012014

    POSTED AT 12:13 PM

    We are off to a wonderful new school year! Everyone is so happy to see each other, and be back together after various summer excitement. A not-so-happy event at Stivers School for the Arts, a fire in the drama department, had Stivers closed for Wednesday and Thursday. I am glad that the damage was limited and they were able to reopen by Friday, but I must say, we enjoyed having Carter, Zenya, and Ellie join us for both days. I didn't expect to see them so soon after school began; it was wonderful to start the school year with them.

    Dennis came in on Thursday to talk to the children about this year's band and orchestra program. We will be starting back up with band and orchestra this coming Tuesday. Can't wait!
    We are starting our school year with geography in Brian's class, geography in the OG, as well as geometry for math to round out the 'geo' theme.  This past week we have been learning about the continents and where they are located, and began learning about the continent of Africa. The children will do a brief survey of all of the countries in Africa, then select one to do a short research project about. The plan is to learn about each continent in a similar fashion.
    In math, we have been learning about squares, rectangles, angles, and triangles. This includes measuring perimeter, and this coming week, area. We have been identifying and labeling angles and triangles as well.
    Our school garden is growing and looking lovely. The OG is planning to make a community meal for the Older Group this coming Friday. We will make salsa from our garden veggies and prepare bean burritos for lunch. 


    This lovely swallowtail was visiting our garden. This summer I purchased a better butterfly guide than the one I already had in the OG, as well as guides to Ohio birds, trees, and wildflowers to take along on our walks. I am really looking forward to resuming our Monday walks!

    The first book I am reading to the class is The Penderwicks, by Jeanne Birdsall.
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