Sunday, September 22, 2013

Mice, hiking, and more!

Month: September 2013
Peacemaker: Jane Goodall
Civilization: Early Humans (pre-history)
Art: Lessons on Color
Music: Steady Beat

Whew! The last two weeks have flown by!

There was the big trip to get our mice friends, Ragweed (named after the read-aloud book we're all enjoying):

And Cutie (the more skittish of the two):

The children are enjoying uncovering the different mice personalities and our animal caretaker (K) has been working daily to get them used to small, gentle hands in their environment. 

We also went hiking on the Greenbelt and christened our home-made Nature Journals with their first entries. The students found a very interesting tree here:

Everyone worked really hard this week and on many individual projects (timelines, research, books). We also welcomed a new student to our classroom and we're so glad he's joined us!

Some of our other activities included knitting with our friend Susan:

landform work:

chess club:

and a really fun experiment on gravity's effect on drinking water:

We also continued our study of Jane Goodall, early humans and the formation of stars. We will be gearing up for some new themes in October: Mesoamerica, Mexico, Day of the Dead, the planets, and early human civilizations (Phoenician, Egyptians, Mayans, and more) as well as beginning our animal and plant studies.

Hope you all have had a wonderful weekend!


Sunday, September 8, 2013

Field Trip and more

Month: September 2013
Peacemaker: Jane Goodall
Civilization: Early Humans (pre-history)
Art: Lessons on Color
Music: Steady Beat

Thank you to everyone for coming out to orientation last week. There is so much to look forward to in the growth of this program! The children are all still hard at work in class, and out of class (as you'll see below).

Our Week

Art has been extremely compelling lately. There were serious sessions with Ed Emberley's drawing books:

Also, we started our study of peacemakers and art by creating peace paintings. We will continue working on concepts of color throughout the month (color wheel, mixing colors, shading, tinting) and our peacemaker studies with Jane Goodall.

This past Friday was our field trip to The Natural Gardener. 

Below, Ms. Rosina is showing the students beet cotyledons (seed leaves). This tied in beautifully with our large group lesson on living and non-living this week since there had been discussion about into which category to place a seed. 

We also got some great ideas on what to plant in our planters in front of the schoolhouse (rosemary, thyme, inland sea oats), picked up a fall planting guide for our raised bed, and had a great time using all of our senses in the gardens. Here, the children are in the lemon garden, smelling lemon thyme:

Since an expert gardener was leading our tour, we were allowed to partake in freshly shaken pears from the tree, still warm from the sun. After eating these, we were happy to share our cores with the excited chickens.

It was hot, but Good Pop popsicles cooled everyone off!

E and L above are in the Tropical House, a place we visited 3 times, and the place where everyone chose a plant to take home. Succulents definitely had the day on Friday.

The children were asked to measure their plants at home so that we can track their growth over time. Some of them may wish to focus on diameter instead of, or in addition to, height since not all are tall-growth plants.

The Natural Gardener is one of my favorite places in Austin and I was thrilled to be able to share it as a class.

Update on Rockclimbing!
We are gearing up to begin this activity as part of our P.E. program. I have been in conversation with Austin Rock Gym about the structure and cost and will update you and send home forms as soon as we are ready to roll. The idea is to spend two Friday afternoons a month in the rock gym working on skills, culminating in a half-day or day-long trip to an outdoor climbing location at the end of the program.