Our Week – April 1

morning work Here we are at the end of another week. We’ve done a bit of everything, but we are always wishing for more time.

Creating A Map of Sassafras Springs

Most of the buildings and people have been made for Sassafras Springs. On Monday we’ll begin placing the building and people on the landscape so we can see what space there is for things like tables, watermelon patches, clotheslines and tress. It has been fun to see how the children think about houses and buildings.

Fractions as Fair Shares

readingWe’ve continued exploring fractions. Last week our focus was on how fractions are used to label parts of collections. For example, if three markers from a box of ten were used, we’d say 3 of 10 markers were used and that’s 3/10. We sorted and ate Skittles to find out the fraction of each color and we looked for common attributes in/on classmates and identified fractions that way. Six of seventeen have boots on so that is 6/17 of the class. This week we focused more having one thing cut up into even pieces. We’ve explore half and quarters or fourths.

There is something about fractions that makes kids wonder – as the numbers get bigger, the pieces get smaller. It makes sense, but it is a challenge to hold that thought and not second guess the logic.

Observing Growth – Looking for Signs of Spring

observationsOur seeds have sprouted.  It is interesting to observe the differences of how the seeds have sprouted in the clear cups. There are different germination times and different root structures. We have observed how plants  reach for the sun.  They have grown long and spindly – and some have broken off.  We’ve struggled to get our broccoli for the greenhouse to sprout. We have a couple, but not enough for everyone to plant. We’ll be giving that another try next week and will be looking to plant them out in the greenhouse at the end of the month.

Our “Spring” collection has become a list of things we remember seeing. I hope in the next few weeks we’ll actually add the photographs and the drawings so we are aware of actual changes. Our unit of study started by thinking about trees – our plan is to “adopt” a tree and keep track of how it changes through the month of April. We’d also like to plant some trees. When the children asked if that was possible, I wondered, “why not?” And that got me wondering, could we plant them in the paved area outside our windows. In the book Mr. Lincoln’s Way, that school has an atrium and the kids watch birds and plants would be gardenthere. Our class would like to try creating something like that too. We’ve asked Mr. Gamache if that would be okay. He said yes. We asked Mr. Boardman if that would be okay and he said yes too. So we have until the April 22 school board meeting to research and make our plan – if they approve our plan then we can begin the work. I have to say, that I am a little out of my league with this project (perhaps a LOT), so if any families have ideas about planting, design, equipment… we’d be very grateful for your advice and expertise. What will it take to turn this 30′ x36′ paved area into a place of growth and beauty?

Bits and Pieces –

  • artist writers workshopWe have been meeting with book clubs – two of the groups have completed their reading. Three of the groups are continuing. It has been challenging for all of the children to meet their reading deadlines and to take time to note what was important in that part of their reading.   Little by little, however, the children have noticed they have a responsibility to the group and for their own learning.
  • We have been taking time to notice learning accomplishments and the make plans for things we’d like to accomplish in the remaining third of the year. The children have looked at the goals and work they shared at the beginning of the year and have set new goals. They’ve also made plans for how they will meet these goals. You may want to ask your child about his or her plans throughout the spring so they keep them in mind and have the opportunity to feel pride in their accomplishments.
  • We have learned the entire cursive alphabet. I am noticing some careful handwriting and real pride in this accomplishment. It will be fun to see what alphabet we create. We’ve considered “signs of spring” and “chapter read-aloud memories.” I wonder what we’ll do.
  • We have a challenge with Mr. Caron next week.

Wish List

  • We would be very grateful for a few boxes of tissues. We are using them quickly.
  • If you have time to volunteer during the week, we could use some help with our tree observations in the up-coming weeks. If you have a time of day and day of the week that works best for you, let me know and then I’ll make a schedule. Thank you.

artist writers workshop