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BMS Blog

What We Learned: Rainbow Jellybean Wormsnakes

This year we learned...

  • A mountain weighs the same as a teaspoon of a neutron star
  • There is ice on Mars
  • To be calm
  • Cheese has protein
  • Seeds fall from flowers
  • My teachers are nice
  • About space

  • Baking soda and vinegar react
  • You can be kind even if you're rough
  • Plants help the earth
  • Autumn is called Fall
  • How to spell
  • When my friends' birthdays are
  • To read

  • To add
  • About different planets
  • To spell
  • BookShares
  • KidScience

  • To get clues from pictures, beginning sounds, and letter chunks as we read
  • Sight words
  • To put finger spaces between words
  • To try using lowercase letters
  • Capital letters go at the beginning of sentences and important words
  • Patterns - color, number, shapes
  • Estimating
  • Haunted House Project
  • Space Shuttle Project

  • Problem solving
  • Counting by 2s, 5s, 10s
  • Finding the "middle point" of numbers
  • Combining numbers
  • Breaking apart numbers
  • Shapes - 2D and 3D
  • Measurement
  • Surveys and graphs
  • Gardening Project



What We Learned: Flying Rainbow Turtles

What we learned this year, in our own words...

  • How to take care of friends
  • How to take care of our classroom
  • How to take care of Haven

  • What Haven eats
  • Not touching Haven’s head
  • Be with friends
  • Eating, playing, dancing
  • How to hug friends

  • How to be patient
  • How to be a dinosaur
  • How to be a scientist
  • Paleontologist!
  • Playing Jurassic World

  • We find animals that we dig we want to keep them, but we have to let them go
  • Jumping on your knees
  • How to put on my shoes
  • Drawing different stuff

  • How to open yogurt with scissors
  • How to give journals to friends
  • How to draw dinosaurs
  • Playing on the playground

  • Climbing trees
  • And smelling flowers
  • How to let go of the Monkey Bars
  • How to Jump from the Monkey Bars
  • Putting books away

  • I can hang upside down and climb all the way to the top of the Monkey bars
  • I went down every step of the ladder because I’m big now
  • How to sit at circle
  • Criss Cross Applesauce
  • To write the names of family
  • Magnet tiles stick together

  • Not to swing wood really fast
  • It’s good to be mindful and calm and peace
  • To be calm and quiet
  • Not to eat so fast

  • Yoga
  • I learned about flowers and birds
  • Learning the colors of the rainbow
  • Rainbow Song
  • Changing different colors



BMS Teachers Practice What They Preach

Written by BMS Early Learning and Forest Kindergarten teacher, Jenni Heartway.

One of the exciting things about being a teacher is that by pursuing our own interests, we are actually being reflective practitioners.  In other words, we are practicing what we preach.   

Encouraging our students to follow their own passions would be hypocritical if we, as lifelong learners, didn't follow our own interests.

Recently, Tammie (BMS Early Childhood co-teacher) and I had the opportunity to hear one of our favorite authors, Barbara Kingsolver, speak at an event celebrating the 10th anniversary of her book Animal, Vegetable, Mineral.  Both of us adore being in the woods and making friends with creatures and plants there, and we were pleased to learn that we share a favorite author whose writing is infused with interactions with the natural world.

Creating a culture of readers and writers is an essential part of all the classrooms at Blue Mountain School. We do this in casual conversation and through more formal ways like BookShare (an oral book presentation) in my Early Learning class and the Writing Center in Tammie's Early Childhood class. You can see it during Writer's Workshop in the Middle Elementary class, and it was very evident on "Poem in your Pocket Day" when the Upper Elementary students shared poetry with their younger friends.

The culture of reading at BMS is also very obvious in staff interactions. We pass books to each other after school and often share snippets of essays and poems via email. Teachers are writing and publishing books and articles and drafting presentations to share with wider circles. "Living the writerly life," as Lucy Calkins says, is a part of our everyday and will hopefully become part of our students' everyday, as well.

I enjoyed telling our students about my experience meeting Barbara Kingsolver during my turn at BookShare.They were interested to hear about how star struck Tammie and I were when we met our favorite author. It is important for our students to not just hear us encouraging reading at school but also to hear about reading taking place outside of school and about adults getting so much pleasure from wonderful books.


Impressions of Fall

This article originally appeared in the Indigo Messenger in November 2015. Written by Early Childhood teacher Stefi Schafer.

We have been talking about the change of the seasons for a while now. The changes in weather and temperatures as well as what we can see outside. We decided to take a walk to look for signs of Fall.

Before we set out we collaborated to make a check list of signs of fall: Red, yellow, brown, green and orange leaves, a naked branch, pinecones, wind, acorns, nuts and dead flowers.

We found everything. Mostly we found leaves, a lot of leaves.

I placed a selection of leaves on the art table, we discussed what colors we would need to make a fall painting, and we settled on a sky blue background.

Each child chose how they wanted to represent Fall. Some focused on individual leaves, tracing or copying, some painted a tree with leaves, some painted a leaf pile. Some students selected free-form paintings using the colors in layers and mixing them.





Visiting Spring Valley

This article originally appeared in the Indigo Messenger in May 2016. Written by Early Learning Co-Teacher Jenni Heartway.

One of our favorite places to visit this time of year is Spring Valley.  It's one of the first places that we notice signs of spring on our campus.

Once we arrive, the students slowly make their way down the creek...stopping to explore the nooks and crannies carved out by the water.  On our last visit we were rewarded with many insects, lots of algae, spring ephemerals, a newt, and an animal skeleton that the students identified as a racoon.
Each discovery led to interesting discussions and wonders:

"Is that insect on our field guide?"

"What do raccoons eat?" 

"Is this much algae good for fish?"

Some questions we were able to answer, and some we were not.  

Allowing students the space to wonder and look for answers on their own nurtures their innate curiosity. Rachel Carson, author of The Silent Spring and The Sense of Wonder, once said, "If a child is to keep alive his inborn sense of wonder, he needs the companionship of at least one adult who can share it, rediscovering with him the joy, excitement and mystery of the world we live in."

We are so fortunate to live in a community where our children have the opportunity to be supported by many adults who value these important outdoor experiences, whether at home, during recess, on a field trip, or in the classroom.





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