Friday, June 14, 2019

Week #38 - Closing Up

     This was a week full of end-of-the-year activities and reminiscing. Students who have been attending other classes at JES joined those classes for a portion of Monday for field day activities at Mills Riverside Park. It was a beautiful day for outdoor fun! There was also a 4th grade moving-on ceremony and breakfast on Tuesday morning in which our 4th graders participated. They will be heading to Browns River next year.

     Outside of all of that we have been wrapping up our school year with students playing games and preparing to say goodbye. Students are feeling sad about Mr. Z's move as well as the 4th graders moving on.  On Thursday we dug up the time capsule that we buried at the start of the school year. It was exciting to reminisce about who we were then and who we are now (even if some people's things in the box got a little wet). Students who weren't in our class at the start of the year were not really sure what to expect, but they were able to enjoy the surprise of it all right along with us.

     As some students will not be at school on Monday we did some closing activities today including a slideshow (which will be emailed to parents) and a cleanout of cubbies. Students have been helping teachers pack up the classroom and prepare for the move across the district as well. The walls are starting to look bare, the bookshelves are getting cleaned off, and there are some moving boxes ready to go. We look forward to Monday and celebrating the last day of school with students who can attend. We will keep it fun. We will say goodbye to Mr. Z, Kayden, and Justin. And, we will say "see you soon" to those students that Ms. Davis and Mrs. C look forward to seeing again at the end of August. 

It will come faster than we all expect...

Friday, June 7, 2019

Week #37 - Wrapping Things Up

     It was another busy week in our classroom. Students worked hard to complete end-of-year assessments with teachers in both literacy and math. We have seen great progress for a lot of students. We tried to mix in some fun with all the hard work including games, building breaks, movement breaks, and outside fun in the beautiful weather!

     The end of the year has also brought with it some exciting opportunities in the larger school community. We give our students the option to attend or not attend these large group activities because they can be fun but also overwhelming. One morning there was a dance assembly, and one afternoon the 4th grade performed a play about Vermont history. Both were enjoyed by those who attended them.

     On Friday students learned the sad news that Mr. Z will not be with us next year. He is relocating to North Carolina over the summer! Fellow teachers are sad to see him go, and students seemed sad to see him go. But, there were lots of great questions and kind words expressed! Plus, we all still have 6 more days to enjoy him being with us as this school year wraps up. We will miss you, Mr. Z!

Friday, May 31, 2019

Week #35 and #36 - Busy, Busy, Busy!

     It has been a busy few weeks around the multiage classroom. Students have been reading; students have been writing; students have been playing math games; students have been building; and students have been having fun! As the end of the school year approaches there has been a rise in 'bumps' for students each day. This is common for this time of the school year as students anxiously anticipate or anxiously worry about the impending summer. We have been utilizing our social cognition time each day (as well as moments throughout the day) to teach students replacement behaviors and strategies for dealing with frustrating classmates, handling feelings of anxiety, and continue to keep our classroom community a positive one. The nice weather has allowed for walks each morning again. What a great way to start each day!

     Along with all the traditional learning students are doing as well as the social thinking knowledge they are gaining, students worked hard with Mr. Bouchard in Enrichment on an air rocket unit. You probably noticed student rockets coming home this week. They all worked hard over the course of a few weeks to construct these rockets - following a general plan but also making them uniquely their own. Last week students launched them to see how their construction would work. Taking the knowledge they gained from that day, some students chose to make some changes to their design or the appearance of their rocket to make it even better. We launched again this week and it was quite a celebration to see how high and how far these rockets could fly with the air pressure pushing them.

     This most recent week was also a week of celebrations. There was a whole school celebration where an ice cream truck came and made creemees for all students and staff. It was so delicious! Then we also needed to have a classroom celebration as students as a group had gained enough kindness links to fill our jar. We had a technology celebration on Friday morning including a choice of Mario Kart Wii, computer games, or iPad games. These celebrations are so important for the community of students that we have tried to create this year, and students work hard to show above-and-beyond kindness to each other. We saw a lot of older students helping younger students this week as well as younger students working together nicely. Good job to all!

Friday, May 17, 2019

Week #34 - Cooking and Creating

     This week was focused on cooking and creating. We are still moving along with regular literacy and math work to continue to build grade-level skills. We are finding as the weather is getting nicer and the year is coming to a close, though, that students are needing more movement breaks and some additional hands-on, creative work. We have continued to do our morning movement consisting of a walk or GoNoodle activity and we have recently added in additional GoNoodle breaks throughout the day or extra outdoor movement as needed. Most of our students really need and crave this movement (especially this time of year) as well as the opportunities we have built into our days for creative construction or creation. If you notice lots of paper airplanes coming home, it's because we have been using our building block time to learn about different versions of paper airplanes and have had flight times outside to see the different versions in action.

     In the early part of the week students each spent a portion of their math time measuring out the ingredients for individual smoothies. It's always great for students to use math and measurement in a fun and delicious way. On Wednesday we made pizzas! We had made individual pizzas earlier in the year with homemade dough, but with new students and some students being absent that day, it was decided that we would tackle pizzas again - this time a more deep dish version. Students spent a portion of the morning measuring and mixing the ingredients for the homemade dough. The dough needed some time to rise, so it wasn't until later in the day that we returned to the task of making pizza. Students kneaded the dough and put it into pans before adding sauce, cheese, and toppings.  It is always great to see the sense of accomplishment students seem to feel when a multi-step process comes to completion. It doesn't hurt that the end result of cooking is delicious food to eat!

     We are crossing our fingers for less rain and more beautiful, warm days next week. The chance to get outside for fun and learning has been invaluable the last few weeks. Students and teachers both enjoy it!

Friday, May 10, 2019

Week #33 - Bending and Flexing

     We use the term "being flexible" a lot in our classroom. While usually that means how easily you can stretch your body into different positions, we are referring to how easily students can stretch their minds to handle various annoyances, changes, or frustrations that might arise. This week was a week of bending and flexing. We saw so many students willing to be flexible about where our learning took place and how our learning happened. One day we had literacy in the library; one day we had math outside; and another day we had a quiet time in the hallway outside of our classroom. It is so important to give students these opportunities to be flexible thinkers and really stretch their thinking about situations.

     Early in the week we did another baking activity. This time we made cheesecake muffins. Students were expected to patiently wait for their opportunities to contribute to the cooking process. Each student got several opportunities to add ingredients as we discussed things like:  How many times do we need to use this 1/2 cup measuring cup to equal 1 1/2 cups?  How many time do we need to use this 1/2 teaspoon measuring cup to equal 2 teaspoons? The fourth graders who had recently completed a fractions unit excelled at this mathematical thinking, but even younger students seemed to grasp it.

     On Wednesday our play The 3 Ninja Pigs seemed ready to perform. The sets were prepared, the costumes were done, the lines were practiced, and discussions were had on how students could move their bodies in each scene to match their lines and the narrator. We had the opportunity to have one practice on stage in the gym on Tuesday, but we ended up performing and recording it in our classroom on Wednesday. All the teachers are proud of the hard work that students put in during this unit. They contributed and participated at each stage of the process and the end result video will be emailed to you.

Have a great weekend!

Week #32 - Back to Learning

     The week after April vacation saw our students and teachers getting right back into the swing of things. Some of the warmer days allowed us to get outside - extra recess, read aloud on the grass, and time in the outdoor classroom are all activities that students enjoy that give us a chance to get outside.  Old and new students alike got into the gritty work of fort building. Many of them have been not so patiently waiting for the snow to melt so that we could get back to the work we were doing in the fall.

     In literacy, students continued working on their lines and performance for the The 3 Ninja Pigs. They tried on their costumes and continued doing read throughs thinking about tone of voice and timing of their line delivery.

     On Friday we wanted to do something extra fun, so we did a cooking day! It was all about breakfast food. We made omelets as a group and had sides of hash browns, english muffins, and orange juice. Students really enjoyed cracking eggs and earning some trust to chop vegetables. Dominic was a standout as he pushed through to chop an entire onion, even though it was making his eyes water. Kayden was a standout as he watched Ms. Davis handle the spatula during the first larger omelet and took over the spatula control for the second smaller omelet. There was some really nice work from all students!

We love cooking with students because of the social/emotional skills that they need to utilize as well as the math involved in measuring ingredients. It's nice to eat delicious food too!

Week #38 - Closing Up

     This was a week full of end-of-the-year activities and reminiscing. Students who have been attending other classes at JES joined those ...