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A Study of Friendship

From the Early Learning Class...

Every two weeks, Jenni and Hari send a newsletter to their class families highlighting the work students have been doing. Families are also kept up to date on class happenings with short emails, notes displayed outside class, and chats with teachers at drop off and pick up. Here is the first class newsletter for the year.

Dear Families,

Welcome to our year together! The students are ready to dive into their first project of the year. Here are some details about our study of Friendship.

We started the school year focused on Beginnings and working together to become familiar with the environment, the rhythm of our day, our school, and each other.

As these new friendships are forming and old friendships are transforming, the idea of how people fit together as friends has become quite a topic of discussion and exploration. Friendships are very important to 5 and 6 year olds as they sort out their broadening understanding of the world and their place in it. Friendships also offer many natural challenges requiring listening, negotiation, understanding, sharing, taking turns, and reaching beyond one’s own interests. Those challenges provide wonderful opportunities for exploration, inquiry, discussion, and study.

In our child-guided, project-based curriculum, we take our cues from the children as we select and plan studies. We have observed the children in their moments of excitement, wonder, and challenge around the topic of Friendship. We knew that Friendship would be a great topic of study when we observed similar events and ideas recurring day after day for many different children: valiant and caring attempts by children to use language to resolve conflicts, spontaneous gathering discussions about friendship, conversations about who will sit next to whom at lunchtime, deep interest in picture books about friends, and passionate declarations of “You’re my very best friend!” made while washing hands, on the swings, in the sandbox, in the book nook....The group was sending a sure signal that Friendship was on everyone’s minds.

We always begin our studies by discussing what we know, and what we’d like to find out. This helps the children frame their ideas and develop the concept of establishing prior knowledge, posing questions, and conducting research. It also allows them to be the ones defining and pursuing their own ideas and learning—such essential skills for life-long learners! During our gathering time next week, we will be generating questions around the topic of friends and friendships.

We will be exploring answers to these questions through work with puppets and role playing; reading and discussing stories about friendship; working with new partners; getting to know each other through shared art work; body games and group movement activities; exploring friendships in the animal and plant worlds during Outdoor Explore; writing and drawing books about friends; graphing information about friends; and many other investigations that the children will create to help them find answers to their questions. As the work in this study evolves, we will keep you posted on where the children are going and how their explorations and plans grow and change.

In the meantime, we’d like you to help at home by co-authoring a book about your child with your child. This will help all of us all get to know each other better and provide an excellent opportunity for early reading and writing. Talking with your child at home about friendship, reading picture books about friends, and telling your child stories about your friends when you were little are all lovely ways to keep the home/school connection strong.

 

 

It's Okay to Be Sad Sometimes

From the Early Childhood Class...

At the end of nearly every class day, families in our Early Childhood class receive an email to let them know what their children have been up to. Parents can use these Daily Notes as a guide to help them think of a few questions to ask their child about their day. Here is what Stefi wrote yesterday:

In typical Monday fashion, it rained, and one of our friends was sad. He did NOT want to stay in school...

We took this as an opportunity to talk about feelings. Some friends remembered when they were little and missed their mommy. This took us to a conversation about scary dreams and then about good dreams and flying tigers....

Today I observed empathy as friends gave tissues and offered kind words, and I listened as young children acknowledged their feelings and worked through them....

For circle we read and listened to Pete the Cat, a feline with a positive attitude.

The lesson? "It's okay to be sad sometimes, and then you'll be okay."

(In the photos below, this friend had just told Stefi he was sad, and then he began drawing sad faces on the mat. After he got his unhappy feelings out in his drawings, he stood up and declared that he was okay and ready to be at school.)

 

 

 

What We Learned in Enrichment Class

What we learned about in Enrichment Class….

The Fellowship

Art

  • Nature mandalas
  • Sacred geometry
  • Personal colleges
  • Character drawings
  • Mural
  • Sketchbooks
  • Spray paint art


Yoga & P.E.

  • Army dodge ball
  • Spy game
  • Migration story projects
  • Memory game
  • Yoga freeze tag
  • Cooperative elbow tag
  • Zombie tag
  • Sun salutations
  • Savasana (relaxation)
  • Check ins
  • Teambuilding activities
  • Outside yoga
  • Yoga poses
  • Stories and books
  • Breathing
  • Partner yoga


Contemplative Studies

  • If one person in class is focused, we all could be focused. If one person in class is not focused, we could all not be focused.
  • Chi Kung
  • I am mindful more than I thought I was
  • A lot about meditation
  • Paying attention
  • To become friends with my classmates
  • The definition of “perfect”
  • My logic has no logic
  • I was more in the present than I thought I was


Mad Scientists

Art

  • Clay
  • Yearbook pages
  • Paper mache bowls
  • Mandala drawings
  • Nature mandalas
  • Sacred geometry
  • Drawings for the Jacksonville Center
  • Sketchbooks
  • Stepping stones
  • Help with trailer mural



Yoga & P.E.

  • Yoga poses: down dog, pigeon, tree, eagle, child pose, wheel, bridge, butterfly, owl and others
  • Kid led games
  • Yoga stories with poses
  • Savasana (relaxation)
  • Hidden yoga – card game and sharing
  • How to calm our emotions
  • How to express how we feel
  • Migration animal projects
  • Dodge ball
  • Elbow tag
  • Sun salutations
  • Check ins

Contemplative Studies

  • If you try real hard to meditate, it probably won’t work
  • How to meditate better and be more mindful
    • Don’t think of anything
    • Don’t let anyone distract you
  • Chi Kung / 8 pieces of brocade
  • Focus without letting people moving around distract you
  • Wabi Sabi / Haiku (doesn’t have to be 5-7-5)
  • You can do multiple things to be mindful
  • Whatever you do… “don’t think of a monkey”
  • How to find mindful moments in everyday life
  • I benefited from recognizing mindful moments even though I was not mindful to write them down

Hatching Playful Dragons

Art

  • Clay sculptures
  • Mandalas
  • Nature mandalas
  • Drew birds
  • Drew reptiles and amphibians
  • Stick sculpture
  • Painted shells
  • Plaster cast
  • Sketchbooks
  • Mixing paint to make fall colors

Yoga and P.E.

  • Yoga poses
  • Bowing
  • Check ins
  • Savasana (relaxation)
  • Team games
  • Elbow tag
  • Parachute fun outside
  • Breathing
  • Garbage truck meditation
  • Feelings
  • Reading books
  • Telling stories (Purple Fairy)
  • Handstands

Contemplative Studies

  • How to be calm
  • To sit very still and be quiet
  • To be mindful
  • To be focused, stay still, and be calm
  • The “Ben” story
  • Nothingness

Invisible Magic Horses

Art

  • Stepping stones
  • “Grew a garden”
  • Clay
  • Window hangings with sticks and leaves
  • Leaf rubbings
  • Drawing
  • Sketchbooks
  • Nature mandala
  • Mandala drawings
  • Painting
  • Circle prints

Yoga and P.E.

  • Breathing
  • Yoga poses
  • Stories (Purple Fairy)
  • Parachute fun outside
  • Musical yoga mats game
  • Breathing buddies
  • Partner yoga
  • Obstacle courses
  • Turtle game

Contemplative Studies

  • Be kind
  • Be happy…no reason to be nervous
  • Feelings are free
  • To close my eyes during meditation to avoid distraction
  • Mindfulness
  • The big “aaah!”s
  • To share
  • When breathing in…stay with breathing in. When breathing out…stay with breathing out.

 

 

 

What We Learned - The Fellowship

From The Fellowship (Upper Elementary and Middle School Class)

This year, we contemplated quotes by…

•    Bob Dylan
•    John C. Lily
•    Pythagoras
•    Yogi Berra
•    Dr. Seuss
•    Einstein
•    Zayn Malik
•    One Direction
•    Gospel of Thomas
•    The Koran
•    Talmud
•    John Green
•    Daniel Patrick Monihan
•    Miles Davis
•    Shakespeare
•    Anaxagoras
•    Faith Resnick
•    Clairice Lipsector
•    Ornette Coleman
•    Marcel Proust
•    Panic! at the Disco
•    Bertrand Russell

•    Tom Stoppard
•    Mehmet Murat Lidan
•    Truman Capote
•    Persians
•    Spartans
•    Winnie the Pooh
•    Fallout Boy
•    Martha the Mystic
•    Matisse
•    Albus Dumbledore
•    Mother Theresa
•    John Muir
•    Robert Frost
•    Carl Sagan
•    Roull Strud
•    Howard Zinn
•    Erma Bombeck
•    Samuel Johnson
•    Zen
•    Robert Brautt
•    Picasso
•    Mira Jane
•    Walt Disney
•    Gospel of Mary

In Language Arts, we learned about…

•    Phonics
•    Letter writing and receiving
•    Poetry
•    Writing a proper paragraph
•    Literary devices
•    Sentence correction
•    Onomatopoeia
•    Paradoxes
•    Grammar
•    Challenging spelling words

And we read…

•    7 Arrows/The Story of Jumping Mouse by Hyemeyohsts Storm
•    Teddy by J.D. Salinger
•    To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
•    Flowers for Algernon by Daniel Keyes
•    City of Ember by Jeanne DuPrau

In Social Studies, we learned about…

•    Egg in the Bottle
•    Left-handed reflections
•    Sit spots and sit spot website
•    Philosophical discussions
•    Spirit animals
•    Sharing talents (cello performance)
•    Multiple intelligences
•    Senses
•    Rumbling Woods: story
•    Nature blog
•    Buttercup
•    Saving Fred
•    Cup building
•    Mural creation
•    Marshmallow tower
•    Patience
•    How to think out of the box
•    How different people perceive the world (filters)
•    Our brain
•    Neurons
•    Dendrites
•    Friendship skills

In Science, we learned about…

•    The Big Bang
•    How to sell a planet
•    Scientific method
•    The universe
•    Galaxies
•    Life cycle of a star
•    Uranus
•    Meteorology
•    Clouds
•    Layers of the atmosphere
•    Wind
•    Weather definitions
•    Rainbows and Nightbows
•    Temperature
•    Infinitesimally divisible
•    Filters
•    Plant identification
•    Sound waves
•    Earth’s interior
•    Drifting continents
•    Plate tectonics
•    Spreading of the sea floor
•    Backwards music
•    Elongated and shortened music
•    Newton

In History, we learned about…

•    Witch trials
•    Timelines
•    WWI
•    The story of the ball point pen
•    Kamakazi pilots
•    Women’s suffrage
•    Audrey Hepburn
•    Concentration camps
•    Columbus
•    Sprite: Native Americans
•    Irish Potato Famine
•    USA historic map
•    Native American and European contact
•    Indian Village trip
•    Regions and Peoples map
•    Language Families map
•    Forced migration
•    Paleozioc, Mesozoic, Cenozoic Eras
•    Seven Arrows

In Math, we learned about…

•    Sound waves
•    Hz
•    Decibels
•    Place value
•    Power of ten
•    Comparing decimals
•    Rounding decimals
•    Multiplication
•    Pattern grids
•    Writing fractions as decimals
•    Multiplying by powers of ten
•    Subtracting decimals
•    Multiplying decimals
•    Mixed practice with decimals
•    PEMDAS
•    Algebra
•    Algebraic equations
•    Pythagorean theorem
•    Pi

 

What We Learned - Mad Scientists

From the Mad Scientists (Middle Elementary Class)

This year we learned about…

•    Yoga story meditations
•    Mantras
•    The brain and mindfulness
•    Chakras
•    Form drawing
•    Spelling patterns and rules
•    Riddles
•    Rebuses
•    Character and value stories
•    Solving mystery stories
•    Verses
•    Self reflection
•    Corporative learning
•    Team work

•    Problem solving
•    How to help people
•    Making new friends
•    Using our resources
•    Listening skills
•    Public presentations
•    Asking for help
•    Independent work
•    Time management
•    Following directions
•    Brain storming and planning
•    KWLs (What I Know, What I Wonder, What I Learned)
•    Talbots
•    Parts of speech
•    Compound words
•    Analogies
•    Figurative language
•    The writing process

•    Different types of poetry
•    Editing and revising writing
•    Writing journal entries
•    Narrative writing
•    Sentence structure
•    Paragraphs
•    Punctuation
•    The research process
•    Drawing and writing
•    Descriptive writing
•    Script writing
•    Letter writing

•    Journal prompts
•    Daily writing warm ups
•    New vocabulary
•    Folklore: fairy tales, fractured fairy tales, fables, tall tales
•    Readers Theater
•    Reading aloud
•    Reading strategies
•    Character maps and analyzing stories
•    Putting on a shadow puppet show

•    Designing small scenes
•    Story elements
•    Inferences based on what we’ve read
•    Drawing conclusions
•    Sequencing in stories
•    Predicting what will happen in a story
•    Simple machines: incline plane, lever, pulley, wedge, screw, wheel and axle
•    Force
•    Performing science experiments
•    Edible and non-edible plants
•    Processing acorns into flour and making pancakes
•    Structures: bridges, skeletal, tubes, joints

•    Ancient civilizations and science
•    The scientific process
•    Being Junior Naturalists
•    Weather and clouds
•    Animal tracks
•    Paleontologists
•    Plants and trees
•    Mammals and birds
•    Multiplication facts
•    Place value
•    Estimation
•    Rounding
•    Exponents
•    Volume, area, and perimeter
•    Circumference and diameter
•    3D shapes and nets
•    Geometric shapes
•    Time
•    Money
•    Glyphs and reading data
•    Graphs
•    Coordinate grids and ordered pairs
•    Math mystery stories
•    Prime and composite numbers
•    Simple division
•    Long division

•    Calendar math
•    Writing checks and balancing check books
•    Budgeting
•    Structure building and testing strength
•    Giving presentations
•    Advertisement writing
•    Understanding fractions
•    Simplifying fractions
•    Mixed number fractions
•    Improper fractions
•    Adding and subtracting fractions and mixed numbers
•    Greatest common factors
•    Least common denominator
•    Decimals
•    Place value with decimals
•    Adding and subtracting decimals
•    Multiplying and dividing decimals
•    Maps
•    Geography
•    Land forms

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