• Nov212014

    POSTED AT 12:13 PM



    Carson had constructed a paper tube zombie puppet around Halloween and was looking forward to showing the YG how to make them. We finally had a time that would work for the YG and for Carson, who suggested that perhaps paper tube Santa puppets would be more seasonal. He gathered together the needed materials and two helpers, Selah and Zay, to work with the YG on constructing them this afternoon. He did an excellent job of explaining and demonstrating to the YG children how to build them. Everyone had a great time, and their puppets are delightful. When I popped my head in to the YG to take photos, everyone was happily at work with their puppets and Carson said, with glee on his face, "This is working really well!"

    It was wonderful to finally get to the Wellness Center for gym and swim. It has been too many years since we were able to walk to the gym and pool on Thursday afternoons. It was a chilly walk over and back. What a day to start back, with record cold November temperatures! However, the children all have stamina ~ our weekly nature hikes help prepare for cold weather hikes, plus everyone came dressed with warm clothing. We played Pac Man tag in the gym before heading to the pool for our first swim of the year. This is a fabulous pool for our swim days.

    We have begun our planning for our all school Thanksgiving feast this comint Tuesday. The OG will be baking pies as we always do, the Nursery will be making cranberry sauce, the Kindergarten will be baking a turkey and stuffing, and the YG will be making mashed potatoes and salad. Parents round out the menu with side dishes and hopefully, another turkey. Our Thanksgiving feast is a tradition we all look forward to each year. It is such an enjoyable Antioch School community event, and the children are so pleased to be the main contributors. We can't wait for next week!

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    Nov192014

    POSTED AT 12:40 PM

    Sometimes it's just nice to be the only school in the entire county open and have a school day filled with snow adventures and cozy inside activities. The beauty of the outdoors inspired us to write, although not necessarily about what we were seeing outside. Some children wrote haiku's about the snow, others worked industriously on the stories they began in creative writing class with Amy.


    We bracketed much of our inside activities with outside activities. The snow was fine for fort building and snow balls on the 'golf course', but there was also big excitement  about a possible new sledding hill, the top of the new tunnel. I dug the sleds out of the annex, and after deciding on safety rules and sledding boundaries, the children made a sled run from the top of the tunnel down into the swale. It is the best sled run we have had ~ ever!   
    Because the roads were much worse in Delaware, Brian was unable to come in on Monday, so Christine and I decided to walk with the YG and OG together. It was an amazing walk! The honeysuckle bushes had not yet lost their leaves, and the early snow was heavy. The branches were so weighted down that our normal hiking paths were in some parts unrecognizable.

     In many places we had to crawl or stoop down to pass through. Each arch was a potential blizzard. The children had a lot of fun getting under the overhung branches and shake them, letting loose a blinding blizzard of snow and leaves. 


    The 'landscape' of places where we frequent on our walks had changed so much by snow cover that we had a lot of new exploring and discoveries to make. It was a magical walk, really.
    It was cold for a long walk so we kept it just long enough to enjoy the afternoon and come back before we were uncomfortable. I hadn't been expecting that kind of snow or cold, so I didn't have a warm snack for a chilly afternoon. However, there were beans that we had cooked for our taco meal left in the freezer and cornbread left over from the soup supper, so we had the makings of a nice hot bean soup and cornbread snack to warm up with after our hike.


    Amy has been coming in on Wednesdays to lead a writer's group for the OG. She has been inspiring and wonderful, and the children (and teachers) look forward to writing with her. The stories the children are writing are rich and vivid. I am really enjoying listening to their writing when they choose to read. This week, Amy had a conflict with our regular Wednesday morning schedule, so she came in yesterday instead. We had a lovely afternoon of writing ~ although we really missed her this morning.
    Thank you, Amy. Your time with us is so appreciated!
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    Nov142014

    POSTED AT 12:13 PM

    We have been so busy in the OG these past few weeks. The children are working on their research about different African cultures, animals, and countries. There are so many interesting things to learn about Africa! We have already benefited from some of the research. Last week, along with baking copious amounts for bread for the Harvest Soup Supper, the children also made two African soups, Tilapia/Avocado Soup, and Callaloo, and some African bread, Fufu. It was so delicious, the children decided to prepare and African meal for the the OG this Friday. Perfect food for a chilly Friday afternoon!



    Sylvia, who is learning about African food for her research selected Callaloo to cook. This is an African spinach soup with coconut milk and lime juice, with some hot peppers to make it spicy.




    Selah, who is also learning about African food, selected the tilapia/avocado soup, and an African bread, fufu, to prepare. The fufu is a bread made of wheat and potatoes and cooked on the stove top.




    So appetizing!

    The children have also been engineering contraptions for our egg drop. The contraptions are designed to protect an egg from a drop off of the school roof, and also thrown a distance. They have been having a great time coming up with ideas for keeping their eggs safe.



    Maya has built a parachute.


      



    There are as many contraption ideas as their are children and we are looking forward to our egg drop contest this afternoon.  Warning: eggs have been injured in this experiment. 

    We are also hard at work learning new music which the band and orchestra will perform at our holiday concert next month. We are coming along quite nicely; the new material is hard, but gratifying.





    We are not quite ready to perform at the Schuster Center, but we did enjoy a really nice concert this past Wednesday. The Dayton Philharmonic Orchestra performed Nature in Music. One of the pieces was Vivaldi's "Spring," which inspired Zay to find the music and start learning parts of "Spring" on her violin. These concerts are inspirational and it's wonderful to see when they are so inspiring that our musicians want to stretch their musical experience in this way.

    The OG and YG decided to go together to the gaga ball pit at Antioch College yesterday afternoon. What a great time they had! It's fun to get both groups together for these kinds of activities. We had a big plus, too ~ snow! The walk over and back was chilly, but snow makes it ever so much more fun.

    We have had a great week and are looking forward to our next big project: the Thanksgiving feast.



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    Oct272014

    POSTED AT 05:12 PM




    Bill is still working with one of his groups on story problems, with one on long division, and his third group on memorizing multiplication facts. My math groups are also working on their multiplication facts. These are so important as we move into division and long division. It is one area where I recommend home practice. Knowing multiplication/division facts really helps with solving long division problems and with understanding fractions.

    The spelling groups are changing and shifting. This group of children loves challenges, and many have asked for more challenging words to learn over the week. Some children who love the more advanced words, but still need some background on the general rules of spelling, meet with me for practice in basic spelling patterns in addition to taking on the more challenging words.

    I am continuing to teach cursive writing to children who do not yet have that skill. Shirley Mullins has been coming in on Mondays to work with Selah on her cello lessons. She walked into the OG room while I was teaching a cursive writing class, and you should have seen the delight on her face! It's true, cursive is a dying art. But not under my watch, cursive is important on many levels

    Ibi and Sanaa brought in the cutest cupcakes to share today. We had ours during story time (The Luck Uglies) and before our walk. It seemed like the best way to hike off those yummy cupcakes!




    It was great to take advantage of this unseasonable weather to play around the river and not get wet. This part of the river is really lovely, and everyone seems so content exploring, writing, drawing, and today, reminiscing. Such a great day for our hike!









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    Oct222014

    POSTED AT 05:53 PM

    Amy Korpieski has generously offered to have a Writers' Workshop with the OG children. Today was her first day with the group, and so many of the children were very enthusiastic. She started out with a warm up exercise of 'emptying the mind' or just writing whatever we were thinking about for a period of time. The children chose a length of time for the warm up and Amy set the timer. What I believe seemed like a long time to them when they chose it, turned out to be an amazingly short time once the time ended. They were really engaged. They next developed two characters with some opposite characteristics. I got to join the first group of children for their writing session, but was teaching math during the second group. It was a wonderful experience for both groups and we are looking forward to our next session with Amy. Thank you, Amy!

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    Oct202014

    POSTED AT 03:28 PM

    We really lucked our for our walk today. It looked like it could be a gloomy, rainy afternoon, but it was bright and sunny and just the right temperature for enjoying a fall hike. 

    As so often happens, the children found some lovely discoveries. Sylvia found this beautiful maroon/pink fungus growing on a log, one I've not seen before.



    We have seen quite a few unusual fungi this fall.

    Then Olivia discovered a sweet chunky slug.




    It had amazing little eyes!

    Our walks are always inspiring and the children make many wonderful observations. We have a special location in the Glen where we go on a regular basis to make observations about weekly changes in the Glen, to write, and to draw. Some really good writing and artwork comes out of their time to observe and reflect.



    After writing, we gather back together and the children who wish to share their writing with the group reads what they have written and/or drawn. 

    We get so much from our hikes; study of nature and the environment, art, writing, exploring, building, hiking, and joy. I thought you might enjoy this article about the joy factor of hiking.


    I feel so fortunate to be able to teach and learn here!



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    Oct162014

    POSTED AT 05:38 PM

    We had two birthdays to celebrate today, Zay's and Carter's. While Carter is officially a graduate, both he and Ellie, another graduate chose to spend their day off of school here at Antioch School with us. It was fun to celebrate two birthdays, and to have two wonderful grads join the group for the day. 

    While we were in music class this morning, Zay asked Dennis is we could play Aura Lee. We have played Aura Lee many times, and Dennis is moving on to more advanced band pieces with the group, so we don't play that particular piece in music class any more. I have been feeling a bit guilty about not getting the same kind of extra practice time in yet this year as we did last year. We've gotten off to such a busy start, I've had a hard time fitting it in. However, Zay's request was a great impetus to get some fun practice and review time in. The kindergarten were out walking on this lovely afternoon, so we had the art/science room to meet in. We set up chairs for all of the group and took turns playing requests, band and orchestra together. It was fun for the more advanced band and orchestra accompany the beginning musicians on Hot Cross Buns, Lightly Row, etc. Some of the children who took band last year added harmony to our old pieces,  as we enjoyed accompanying the newer musicians. Each group took turns with requests, playing, and listening. We had so much fun, many children did not want to stop. I'm looking forward to more of these practice and jam sessions.

    After our music session, we began preliminary plans for our Enchanted Forest. The initial planning can be a bit slow, as children decide what exactly they want to the Enchanted Forest to be like, and what their skits will be like. We went down to the Enchanted Forest for planning and inspiration. It was a lovely day to get out; I hope we have such great weather for this year's performance.

     


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    Oct152014

    POSTED AT 09:14 PM

    For today's blog, I thought I would talk about how the OG works.


    Children in the Older Group are reaching toward independence. They are holding on to childhood, while pushing toward teen-hood, vacillating between wanting to be a young child and wanting the maturity and responsibility of an adolescent. Their thinking is shifting from more concrete to more abstract understanding of their world, and their minds and bodies are beginning to be affected by hormonal changes. It is an exciting, and sometimes challenging, period of transition in their lives.


    The Older Group is a mixed age group ranging from 9 - 12 or 13 years old, covering what would be 4th - 6th grade (or in some cases offering an extra year as needed) in a traditional school setting. The mixed age groups promote a more natural and family-like setting for learning, everyone bringing their particular strengths, ideas, concepts, and learning styles to enrich the learning of all. The children are not grouped according to grade or age, but according to what skills they are working on at the time. The groupings are, therefore, fairly fluid and allow for easy movement from group to group.

    What does this look like in the Older Group? We begin the day with a morning meeting. This allows children the opportunity to check in with each other and talk about what is on their minds. This can range from telling about what they did yesterday, to what they dreamed, to an illness in the family. It sets the tone for the day, and lets all of us know ‘where we are’ as the day begins.


    At the core of our philosophy, is a respect for children as learners. They love to learn; their brains are growing at a rapid pace and they have a thirst for knowledge. Children learn at different paces and different time tables, and with different interests driving them. The size and structure of our groups permits this to happen. Children are not taught all of the same skills at the same time. Children work independently on class work and projects, while Sally Dennis, Bill Mullins and I work with small groups to teach math, or I work with small groups on other subjects, such as reading, spelling, grammar, etc. At scheduled times, small groups go to Brian for art and science.


    Curriculum is in large part built on the interests of the children. Those are taken into consideration first, and from there, I also incorporate those skills that I know they need to make a successful transition beyond Antioch School. The room is set up so children can explore many different ideas, topics, and skills as they work independently.


    It is not a ‘you can hear a pin drop’ environment. There is much going on, with children pursuing different activities throughout the day. Discovery and learning often entails moving around, working together, and making use of areas beyond the classroom. The children share ideas and knowledge with each other, and are teachers as well as learners. In fact, what better way to strengthen what you learn by sharing that knowledge with someone else? Children in the Older Group also partner with the Kindergarten children as swim partners, reading partners, and often are partners on walks and other activities. The relations they build with the kindergarten children are very valued and carry well beyond their Older Group or Kindergarten years. Frequently an Antioch School graduate, in college or beyond, will fondly mention their kindergarten partner by name.


    Looking into any room at Antioch School, the observer will see multiple activities going on at the same time. Children will be curled up someplace comfortable reading, working in little groups on a project, drawing, working with a teacher, checking in before going outside to practice riding a unicycle, sitting in quiet contemplation, writing a story, working intensely on a difficult math problem, or any one of an endless possibility of choices. While it may not appear so to the eye of someone used to a more ‘traditional’ structure, this is a truly structured environment. Children are learning how to structure their time, their learning, their social interactions, and developing total confidence in their ability to do so. They are learning in the way the human brain works best, motivated by their interests with time to process, and plenty of room to explore, and play.


    Play is a respected element of learning throughout the school. Playful moments are learning opportunities. Play promotes development in a number of domains, problem solving, creativity, social development, longer attention spans. Children need breaks (as do we all) to assimilate things they have already learned, process new information, to work through difficult emotional issues, and just to have fun.


    Children need time to build things, draw, think up jokes, make up magic tricks, invent and play new games, and just relax and day dream. A child who has time to absorb, assimilate, pursue his or her own interests, to play with ideas and other children can learn more deeply, trust in his or her intuitions, ideas, and judgments.



    Structure at Antioch School is the spinal chord, the central nervous system, less visible to the naked eye perhaps, but at the very core of everything we do. It is vibrant and energetic. Learning is propelled by the very nature of children’s minds. They want to learn because growing is learning. They do not learn in isolation. They share ideas, pass on traditions, support each other, delve into exploration with each other.


    “Do you think we can dig connecting tunnels in the sand pile?”


    “Let’s do a report on penguins!”


    “How do you figure out square roots and what are they?”


    The children have self-direction because no one has told them that they are not

    competent to learn without being told to. On the contrary, this self-determination is valued and nurtured. It is this trust in children and respect for their innate desire to explore the world around them, to take in information, to create and explore ideas, that forms the backbone of Antioch School structure. These qualities are what the children take with them into their next schooling experiences and on into adulthood. They have internalized structure, know how to tackle difficult problems, and have confidence in their ability to do so.


    My mission: To have children graduate from Antioch School generating motivation, knowledge, courage, self-confidence, ideas, resourcefulness, love of their own individuality, and respect for the individuality of others.


    Years of teaching have taught me to trust in the in the Antioch School process, what are traditionally called academics absolutely flower and flourish, dramatically so, so as to lead them to be award winning writers and scholars the minute they enter the middle school ; they capture more than their share of achievements and honors as they go on in school. I have the honor and pleasure to see this year after year after year.




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    Oct142014

    POSTED AT 06:36 PM


    I just thought I'd share with you my view on the way home; a lovely welcome home after another wonderful day teaching at Antioch School. 


    This week we have begun learning about fractions in math class. Right now we are working with problems with common denominators, as an introduction to the Younger Olders and a review for the rest of the children.  I already had this question in my fraction introduction class, "Can the denominators be different?" Oh yes, what fun is this math group!!! They are amazing, really. We were able to move forward to adding and subtracting mixed numbers by our second class    We will continue our work nailing those multiplication facts as well as moving forward with fractions.
    While Dennis taught music classes this morning, I taught math and reading, while Sally worked with children on spelling and helped children with any independent work they needed help with.  
    After lunch, I finished reading The Giver. The children loved the book, although the children had mixed reviews about the end; as in many excellent books, the conclusion is not wrapped up and handed to the reader.  The next book on my list to read is The Luck Uglies, written by none other than Bill Mullins' son-in-law, Paul Durham. We have a signed copy of course!
    The rest of the afternoon included silent sustained reading, active games, and project time. One of the really neat projects the children are working on is painting  ceiling tiles.  Ceiling art is a wonderful addition to a room! The tiles are looking great, and will come down to be part of an art exhibit downtown this fall. 
    Getting the tiles down.
     
    Love this project!
     
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    Oct132014

    POSTED AT 04:54 PM

    We had another lovely Monday nature hike. We stopped at Strawberry Nook to observe our surroundings and write poetry. For today's blog, I am sharing several poems that children wanted me to share. We have such great writers!


                                                         


    Falling, draping, drooping, dying.

    These words pretty much sum up Autumn.

    The leaves are falling, the temperature dropping, the plants drooping,

    And the insects are dying.

    Then winter comes and lays a blanket over everything,

    So they can sleep.

    And when everything wakes up

    They can grow

    And grow

    And grow

    Until they are again ready to sleep once more.


    By Selah


                                                                


    In autumn, it’s not getting any warmer.

    The wind blows and the leaves

    Turn to green, to yellow

    And then they fall off.

    Autumn is my favorite season of the year,

    With all of the holidays in autumn.

    In November animals gather food for winter.

    I want it to be fall

    All year long.


    By Dallas


                                                                    



    The ground is covered

    Yellow, brown, and wet from the previous rain.

    The air is crisp,

    Radiant beams of light fall down,

    Weaving its way through the canopies of trees,

    Glowing and bouncing

    Among the moss covered rocks,

    Hitting the rippling water,

    And my hot toes.


    By Lida


                                                                           





    Fall is coming very quickly.

    The leaves are falling,

    They look like they are dancing

    In celebration for fall.

    The air is getting a bit cooler.

    As I look above me,

    I see yellow, orange, and brown.

    I no longer see the color green.


    By Olivia



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