Last Friday, one fourth grade class went to the Hidden Valley Nature Center for an all day field trip. We tracked animals, practiced finding burrows and warm winter homes for animals, and studied snow.
GSB has the great fortune of housing 6 bunnies in their courtyard. Different classes are responsible on a rotating schedule to care for them. They are fun to watch and a fantastic way to teach. We have had discussions about care and responsibility of pets, healthy eating and exercise, shelters, and even bullying (one rabbit had to be separated from the rest for biting their ears).
On Wednesday, the 5th grade has an agriculture club during lunch and recess. While we eat, we talk about the chores that need to be done. We always feed the bunnies kale, banana, and carrots and give them water. Sometimes we have to spread out hay for them, shovel, build or repair their homes, and other jobs. There is always time to snuggle a bunny or two at the end, though!
Thirty kids was too many last week.
So this time I had 8 kids sign up for 2-week Thursday Cooking Club at recess.
Fairness was very important, so the signing up process required signs, an announcement, and a very important clipboard for showing who signed up and who would have to wait. The purpose of the cooking club is to involve students who find recess “boring” and need something to do. After a few gentle let-downs that the class was already full for this time around, I ended up with a group of eight girls in diverse friend groups. This was perfect to start with because part of the purpose is to practice making conversation with acquaintances and spending free time with new people.
So last Thursday, we did Artisan Bread Part I. I used the recipe I love at home to make my own bread. It’s simple in ingredients, is fun to measurement-experiment with, and can be spread out in 2 or 3 sessions. Here is the recipe I rely on: Artisan Bread in 5 Minutes a Day
We broke up into three groups to make the dough with flour, water, yeast, and salt. Next week they will each shape their own loaf for baking.
Second Grade had another morning tennis lesson at the Midcoast Recreation Center in Rockport.
The newest drill was “lobster” passing. One person hands off their racket to a partner so that the partner has one racket for each hand. The first passes the ball to the partner who tries to trap it between the rackets.
We ended with a round of “jailbreak,” like last Thursday. The coach serves from one side and the players avoid jail by hitting it over the net in bounds. If the kids miss or don’t make it over the net, they go to the other side of the net to catch the incoming balls. If they catch the tennis ball after one bounce, they have freed themselves and can attempt hitting over the net again.
While the instructor prepped the game, a couple kids got everyone to make a cheer. They put their rackets in the middle and cheered “Tennis is awesome!” out of the blue. Needless to say we were excited to win as a team and stay out of tennis court “jail.”
Friday morning is Forest Friday in one of the kindergarten classes. We go to a spot in the woods behind GSB with a project and spend the morning exploring and playing. Projects include finding salamanders, measuring the tree trunks with string, and looking for tracks.
Today, we practiced mountaineering on the snowplowed banks on the way to woods. We stayed in a line like mountaineers on Mt. Everest so that our friends would not get lost. We tip-toed on the trail looking for holes in trees and thinking about what could have made them. And by the end of the morning, we built houses for forest animals and pretended to be a wolf pack.
This is the second week first grade practiced working together in gym class. A simplified version of Kieve’s team building game called “Don’t Break the Ice” helped us strategize, use calm and controlled movements, and share.
Here is how we played:
- Together we made a rope circle into a “lava pond” on the floor.
- I placed 20 lizards in the pond. Their goal was to stand on the lizards without touching any lava in the pond. Everybody had to be in the pond on a lizard. Three touches into the lava from the group meant we all had to start over.
- Every time we succeeded, two lizards were taken away. Our goal was to stand on the fewest number of lizards possible.
This class got down to standing on only 7 lizards!
Today I brought to math class:
- a pineapple
- a stalk of broccoli
- a picture of the galaxy in a spiral
- three oak leaves
- a bough from a fir tree
- a ruler to measure the knuckle lengths on our hands
We were searching for the Fibonacci sequence.
The 8th grade is currently working on Algebra 1, which includes sequences and linear equations. Since it is the end of the unit, I thought it would be cool to find a connection to the real world. We graphed the Fibonacci sequence and practiced finding equations from the sequence. Finally, we looked at the spiral the sequence can make in produce and leaves I brought in.
Cleveland Art has a fantastic lesson on how this relates to art and rectangles we see today with candy bars, credit cards, and more. Cleveland Art: Fibonacci Sequence Slideshow
Last week at recess a few 5th and 6th grade girls suggested a cooking club once a week for something else to do at recess. I thought that was a great idea.
I did not expect 37 kids to show up in the school’s OT room kitchen today.
This week we made apple crisp, simple enough and generally allergy-friendly. I printed out 2 copies of directions. Team 1 was in charge of peeling and slicing the apples. Team 2 was in charge of mixing the melted butter, egg, and cake mix. Team 3 was in charge of stirring heavy cream to make whipped cream. Everyone got to have a very small role, and they did a fantastic job sharing what few tasks we had.
Since there were so many of us, we sadly did not get to enjoy the results and not everyone could participate. Next week we will have sign ups for two week cooking club meetings, with a maximum of 8 students. This way the joy of cooking and chatting will not be lost.
For the next three weeks I will be leading activities with the three 1st grade classes in their physical education class. The goal of these activities is to build a sense of team and to practice working together through physical activity.
This week, we had fun playing “Steal the Bacon.”
- The goal is to run to the “bacon” (placed on the floor behind me), steal it, and bring it back to the starting line. Stinky the Skunk was our Beanie Baby visitor that served as the “bacon.”
- When my back is turned, you may go. When I yell out “Who stole my bacon?” and turn around, you must freeze. If someone takes extra steps, he or she must go all the way back.
- Once the group steals the bacon, they must hide it. When I turn around and the bacon is gone, I get 2 guesses while everyone is frozen to find the bacon.
- If I guess wrong, the group continues to the finish line. If I guess correctly, I get the bacon back and the entire group must start over.
- The class wins when they get the bacon all the way back to the finish line.
How it went:
Great. Running and laughing are the two verbs that sum this game up. I was impressed that the kids shared ideas about how to share the beanie baby and how to fool me into thinking someone else had it.