Friday, January 17, 2014

What Can You Do At Home To Help Our Class?

Hello Families,

This week was full of amazing thinking, discussion and work.  Truly the best way for you to get a glimpse is to ask your child to give you a tour of the room next week.  Make sure you: Read the discussion notes in the binder on the information table by the door, you cask your child to share about the rock we cracked open this week and check their journal entries about this, you ask your child what types of creations they have tried to make on the yard, in the Loose Parts Station.  If you haven't checked out their portfolio in a while, do so!

This week we spent a little more time than usual in the garden, helping out.  So if you haven't been there yet, have your child take you back there and tell you all about the steps they had to do to get the plants going.  Next Thursday is the day we will be sending out report cards, which I have to hand to an adult ONLY, so it could be the perfect day to take the time for your child to give their "tour"!

Since it is a three day weekend, I thought it was especially important for me to share the class' "homework".  I give "homework" or "brain-work" often to your students.  This is more an invitation to extend ideas from school to home and to have them share their thinking and discoveries with you.  So here are the ideas we mentioned this week:

Home Fun
1) The class' curiosity and research about the Eiffel Tower inspired two possibilities:
a) Look at images of the stages of Eiffel Tower being built and draw or write what you noticed.  What structural concepts can you deduce from looking at these images?
b) What shapes and designs are in the structure that you could incorporate in your artistic creativity, or even the illustrations you create for a story?  This week we began looking at how these shapes fit into each other, how the shapes may be oriented differently, and how repeating a shape or a pattern of shapes effects the impact of the design, or the structural integrity.

2) ******Where did you go in 2013?  We have had the map wall up for two weeks and one family has added to this!  I know more of you have photos of where you went, or postcards or artifacts you found  (I know because you told me of the cool stuff you ware going to bring in!).  This may be a far-away trip or a local trip: that unique rock or shell from that hike, or beach trip or park is as fun to investigate as a trip to Paris, believe me!  Every time you send something in it gives us practice to utilize our map-reading skills and internalize the cardinal directions.  PLEASE SEND IN ABOUT A PLACE YOUR FAMILY VISITED!  :)   You can email me photos or send physical items in!

3) I also challenged the students to spread the love that they have been sharing with their appreciations to your home life.  Today I asked them to think about something that is done for you, maybe even when you are asleep, that makes your life easier or more special.  I challenged the students to acknowledge that someone who does that something!  As a parent you could help us by genuinely modeling the appreciation energy.  You could also have a secret discussion with your child about how to acknowledge someone in your household for the things they do each day, each week, or for that extra special something they did recently.

4) Play 'Grasshopper' with your child.  You will need index cards or pieces of paper cut into smaller sizes with numbers written on them.  1-15 is a good starting place, and go up or down to make it harder or easier.  You can do either: less or more (ex: Jump on the number that is one less than 8, jump on the number that is one more than 10)  or addition and subtraction practice (ex: call out equations and have them jump to the answer)  This is great practice for memorizing and internalizing the 10 friends (numbers that make up 10), the numbers that the same number doubled makes (ex: 2+2) and being quick about recognizing the number symbols.  It is also fun!  How fast will the adults at home be, if they take a turn, and the child becomes the caller?

5) Here is one we discussed a little in class, but I was thinking it might be more meaningful to discuss as a family.  Find an appropriate quote of Martin Luther King Jr and share with your child what this means to you, then discuss this together.  These students are practicing acting like the kind of human being they want to become, and this might go well with their journey.  I also thought this is a great jumping off point to discuss your family values and what kinds of things your family is trying to become and do for others.  In our class discussion I shared that we were focusing more on King's message and ideas, instead of how he died, thought a student did share that he was shot, so your child may be curious about this.  There are so many quotes of his that I like, but here is one:  The time is always right to do what is right.

Alright, GO!  I hope you have fun with this "homework" and it gives you ideas of the kinds of things the students have been working out.    EMAIL ME with your experiences and ideas that this homework generated, other websites you checked out from your discussions, or SEND IN work that your child did so they can share it with the group!

Have a lovely three-day weekend!  Love, Jennifer

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