Individual lessons with the Montessori materials continue throughout Choice Time... including Fractions, operations with Positive & Negative Numbers, Analogies, Alphabetical Order, and more!
Monday, April 12
- Community Building: work together as a whole school to remove the two broken connectors on our Canteen Tent frame due to the strong winds yesterday, insert the replacement parts, raise the tent again
SWI note: in discussing the term "triage" we looked up its etymology and it does not come from "tri" (as one would think) but from "try"
- Early Childhood: outdoor free play, sew pink and blue Hyacinth Crowns ("Flower Necklace or Lei" from Earthways: Simple Environmental Activities for Young Children by Carol Petrash, p.140)
- Snack: read Too Many Mangos by Tammy Paikai, discuss what USDA Plant Hardiness Zone (link is to map) we are in, make wishlist of herbs / vegetables / fruits the children would like us to plant this year
basil, lemon thyme, rosemary, spearmint, chocolate mint, apple mint, pineapple mint
marigolds, violets, sunflowers
strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, blackberries
pawpaws, persimmons, apples, peaches, plums
slicing tomatoes, cherry tomatoes, carrots, radish, rutabaga, turnip, kale, potatoes, sweet potatoes, corn, cucumbers, sugar snap peas, beets, lettuce, celery, sweet peppers, broccoli, cabbage, garlic, okra, Brussels sprouts, Swiss chard, acorn squash, zucchini, pumpkins
- Read Aloud: continue The Cat Who Went to Heaven as lunchtime read aloud, discuss the Plot Triangle (rising action, climax, falling action)
- Lower Elementary: add monkey story from our read aloud to MLB
- Upper Elementary: recall the dung beetle and look at "A seed rolls" page in Seeds Move! by Robin Page, recall the legend of Shu and Tefnut (God of Air and Goddess of Moisture), read the legend of Geb and Nut (God of Earth and Goddess of Sky), add to MLB
- LE/UE: play the Dice Game and practice reading and comparing numbers to the ten millions place
Tuesday, April 13
- Gardening Projects: update students on the opportunity for free native trees from the Neighborhood Planting Project, request that any buckets of water that they would like to "pump & dump" be used to water our straw bales in preparation for planting, explain that a layer of compost should be put on the bales before we plant veggies in them so I will spread the rabbit pellets & compostable bedding from Chia's cage on the straw bales when I clean her cage (rabbit pellets are a "cold" manure and can safely be added directly to garden beds)
- Community Building: in another instance of Early Childhood play becoming whole-school play, the entire group of children created complex forts out of huge cardboard boxes and set up Boxville on the North Lawn (and they were allowed to eat lunch in their forts as well)
it was a very joyful and busy time!
- Snack: read 'Ohana Means Family by Ilima Loomis and look at picture of people planting kalo / taro on the "P" page of A is for Aloha: A Hawaiian Alphabet by U'ilani Goldsberry, discuss purchasing some poi so that we all can taste it
for more information about kalo / taro / poi here are some videos
- Language Arts: quick whole-group lessons on run-on sentences (here we call conjunctions "handshake words"... if there are too many conjunctions in a sentence I simply ask the child to read it aloud and we shake hands at every conjunction... a run-on sentence becomes readily apparent that way) and verb tenses, explain that their MLB summaries need to stay in the same tense the whole way through, re-read Too Many Mangos and find the place where the author accidentally switches from present tense to past tense and back again
- LE: finish adding yesterday's story to MLB, begin I Once Was a Monkey: Stories Buddha Told by Jeanne Lee and hear the story of "The Foolish Forest Sprite"
- UE: finish adding yesterday's story to MLB, read the legend of Neith (Goddess of Creation and War)
- LE/UE: everyone finds Ancient Egypt interesting so if I'm teaching a lesson about Ancient Egyptian History/Culture, everyone is invited
as the Ancient Egyptians created the first solar calendar, we came together to look at the solar vs. the lunar calendar (Ramadan began at sundown on April 12 so that was part of our discussion as well)
read excerpts from The Story of Clocks and Calendars by Betsy Maestro (pages 10-12, 14-16, 24-25)
do the Finger Knitted String Lesson (link is to a previous blog post)
if you make each season's piece one yard long, your solar calendar will be perfectly to scale with one centimeter equalling one day!
cloverleaf - spring
Wednesday, April 14
- Community Building: Boxville and the many hours of friendship-testing social negotiation and creative construction (boxes were even worn as costumes!) which accompanied it continued to rule the day's play as multiple solo and collaborative cardboard fort designs were created, destroyed, modified, combined, and separated again...
- Early Childhood: participate in Boxville, carry buckets of water to the vegetable garden to pour on the straw bales, design a Lemon Thrower using a forked stick, throw lemons across the South Lawn to see whose lemon went the farthest (strangely, they never questioned why I happened to have 10 lemons on hand... but I just happened to have a 2 lb bag in the fridge), read The Best Beekeeper of Lalibela: A Tale from Africa by Cristina Kessler and talk about the bee swarm box which we may place up in the cypress tree, look at taro root (!) which I found at a local grocery store after a tip from a student (thank you!)
- Nature: notice the brand-new needles coming out on the cypress tree and the flower buds on the azalea bushes
- Handwork: read Nile Crossing by Katy Beebe during our quiet Handwork time (knitting Star Gnomes, weaving tapestries in desert colors on Shoebox Looms, sewing Hyacinth Crowns)
- Structured Word Inquiry: look at < lunar > and < solar > from yesterday's calendar lesson as well as another word which is evidence for an < -ar > suffix, < polar >, and recall that Neith was the Egptian Goddess of Creation and War and that she deliberately created things that were opposites so that the world would be in balance (such as making both the Sun God, Ra, and his archenemy, Apophis/Chaos)
what is the word sum for < polar >?
pole/ + ar
the slash means that you replace the < e > with the vowel suffix;
on the chalkboard I would actually cross the < e > out
explain the Three English Suffixing Conventions and that the bases of < solar > and < lunar > would also have to end with an < e > because otherwise there would be doubling!
sole/ + ar
lune/ + ar
note that < sonar > is not evidence for an < -ar > suffix because it is an acronym
I highly recommend reading the blog post A Symphony of Suffixes because Mrs. Steven transcribes an entire SWI conversation beautifully and gives a much better sense of how it flows and what we are trying to achieve with students than my brief notes do!!!
- LE: rough draft, get an edit, and begin to add "The Foolish Forest Sprite" to MLB
- UE: rough draft, get an edit, and begin to add "Neith" to MLB
Thursday, April 15
- Early Childhood / Whole School Play: continued elaborate construction projects in Boxville, which has had astonishing longevity (the Lemon Thrower had a resurgence in popularity today as well)
- Snack: read Watercress by Andrea Wang and talk about foraging rules at school (wild strawberries yes, everything else no)
- Nature: find a 10 inch long earthworm moving placidly along through the grass and observe him for a long time, set up habitat for him in the large terrarium in the Art Room (at first I thought we should leave him to go on his merry way but he was so unusually long that we worried he might be an invasive species and, if so, we should collect and identify him before deciding whether he should be in the yard)
- Read Aloud: finish The Cat Who Went to Heaven
- Chancery Script: put fresh ink cartridges in the fountain pens, review the pen hold, review terminology related to penmanship (x height, baseline, ascender, descender), learn the Single Vertical Downstroke Family (l, i, t, j, f)
- LE: finish adding "The Foolist Forest Sprite" to MLB and hear "The Deceitful Heron"
- UE: finish adding Neith and hear Osiris (God of the Underworld) and Isis (Goddess of Magic, Thrones, and Healing), begin to add Osiris and Isis to MLB
Friday, April 16
- Early Childhood / Whole School Play: Boxville continues!
- Art: recall how we looked at our hands through the loupes and really noticed our skin for the first time, read The Colors of Us by Karen Katz and do How to Paint Skin Tone lesson by Cassie Stephens (white, yellow, red, brown, black paint)
- Lunch: introduce our next read aloud story (the Newbery winning biography, Audubon by Constance Rourke), read The Boy Who Drew Birds: A Story of John James Audubon by Jacqueline Davis
suggested family field trip idea:
JOHN JAMES AUDUBON'S BIRDS AND MAMMALS OF ILLINOIS
"A new exhibit in the Hall of Presidents, Morris Library features prints from early editions of Audubon's The Birds of America (1827-1838) and Viviparous Quadrupeds of North America (1845-1854)."
- Script: recall that our fountain pens also come with press plates and can be converted to dip pens, show my Fermented Pokeberry Ink and Black Walnut Ink, tell students that we can make our own inks in the fall if we wish, pass out our new blue line paper and explain that the blue band represents the space between the baseline and the x height, review the Single Vertical Downstroke Family and practice finding and writing words that we can spell using just that family (we came up with 12!), learn Emblem < u > (u, a, o, c, e, d, y, g, q)
- LE: recall and add "The Deceitful Heron" to MLB
- UE: finish adding the legends of Osiris and Isis to MLB, hear "Horus the Child and Horus the Elder" (Child God of Healing and Falcon God of Kings)
- Special Note: at 2:45 pm, FedEx dropped off our poi from Hawaii!
on Monday morning, we will roast the fresh taro root and also warm up and try the poi from Hawaii! the students are very excited (this came both from a lunchtime conversation about foods which no one had ever tried before... and the Early Childhood general theme of Nature Study/Gardening and learning about where foods come from)
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