Sunday, October 28, 2007

The world is so full of a number of things, I'm sure we should all be as happy as kings.

On Friday: 8th grade dramatizes the Salem witch trials, 2-3's portray the water cycle, Natalie mends a hurt finger, Pre K returns from an autumn walk...

Wednesday, October 24, 2007


When a visiting parent saw that all the papers posted in the middle school language arts room say "Excellent" and "Terrific!" on the top, she wondered, "Are all the kids geniuses here?" Well, maybe. But the reason the posted papers are all good is revision. Revision is a constant process here. Students work on things until they reach excellence. What is "excellence" is something that the teacher and student or the class as a whole, agree upon. It could be different for each child, but there will be certain agreed upon criteria.

In 2-3, students are actually so excited about revising their poems about mist (part of their study of the water cycle) that they are loath to stop! They started with the bare bones of a poem and discussed typical describing words and "juicy," unusual describing words. How fun it is to use "juicy" words! Their poems are so rich! We'll put one in "FYI."

Here are two poems from middle schoolers:

by Jack

Gears meshing
Wheels turning
Legs burning
One more mile
Burning harder
Almost there

Winds forty
Waves crashing
Boat keeling
Don't capsize
Gotta tack
Coming around

Three two one
Out of the gate
Getting speed
On edge
Carving down
Start tucking

by Matthew

I am the remembrance
Of wars long past to wars
I'm from the survivors
Of the Greek, Roman
and Persian Wars
I am remembering
Them for they are worthy
Of Remembrance.

So, I am the reader
And the writer. The
Teacher and the
Pupil and will
Live to pass those
Legends to those
After me.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Fall Field Trips

Apple picking, pumpkin picking, patting baby goats - it is exciting to experience things away from school. Part of the fun in Pre K is that parents come along.

4-5's visited the New York State Library. They had the privilege of a special tour of the preservation unit where Roger Wilber gave a presentation about "Saving Your Treasures."

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

More from Fall Festival

Fall Festival

Fall Festival was so much fun! The hard part was leaving to go home.

Parents did an absolutely amazing job transforming the gym. They painted faces, dished up cotton candy, ladled soup, and painted fish. They got the pumpkins to glow and sent home happy cake walk winners. They baked, wow did they bake - yum! The climbing tower and the bounce house were favorites, and prizes were awesome. I know that so many gave so much of their time and it made a wonderful and memorable community event. Thanks, everybody!

Friday, October 12, 2007

Kindergarten aspirations

Each year our kindergarten class joins in a project for the Troy Record, responding to the questions "What do you want to do when you grow up?" And "What will you need to learn to do it?" Here are the dreams of the class of 2020:

Jamie: I want to be a train driver. I need to learn about parts of the train, the tracks, and how to read signals. I need to know about diesel parts and switches. I need to learn where my engine shed will be. I need to learn about stoking the boiler.

Miriam: I want to drive a car. I need to know where I’m going. I need to know how to stop.

Coleman: I want to plan a computer and attach houses on a computer. I click one by one. I need to know about buildings and computers.

Alex: I want to be an archeologist and work in the museum with my dad. I need to know how to dig stuff and try and find stuff.

Laurel: I think I’ll be an artist. I want to be able to paint very good paintings.

Caroline: I want to be a physical therapist. I want to learn how to be one.

Michael Dee: I want to be an artist. I will need to practice drawing.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Flipping through the channels

I walked through the classrooms this afternoon and saw an array of activities. It's almost like flipping the channels on a TV as I go from class to class.

6-7's are studying ancient civilizations in social studies. They were watching a video of Egyptian life as shown through vivid tomb paintings. Some other 6-7's were in the library and computer lab for language arts, putting the finishing touches on essays. ( see above, "Look, it's the Old Lady Who Swallowed a Fly!")

8's were closely examining rock samples in earth science and discussing organic and inorganic things: is coral organic or inorganic?

In the art room, some 2-3's were beginning to sketch out ideas for how to represent Lake Tear of the Clouds - the origin of the Hudson - for their hall mural. Veda was the greeter and filled me in on what was up.

Other 2-3's were back in the classroom reading silently in comfy spots (on pillows under the counter or behind the shelves!) or taking turns reading aloud to Lynn.

4-5's were thinking and writing: What went into your parents' decision about buying or renting your house or apartment? Earlier I saw them head into the woods to collect leaf samples for science.

I probably had the most fun in Pre K, mainly because I caught the children in a moment of transition where they gathered and told me all about their very very exciting field trip to a farm where they fed baby goats and picked pumpkins and gourds and there were, there were ducks and a pig I saw a pig and Meg I got the bucket with the pellets and tipped it over and the goat ate them!

Their smiles were huge and so was mine.

I get to see all the teachers' wonderful e-newsletters. Our goal this year is to find a format and a way to connect them to the school's website so that everyone can see them. One step at a time!

Monday, October 8, 2007

Friday started with a presentation by Pre K 4's about their worm composting project. (They are holding their rendition of a giant worm in the picture.) They will collect certain kinds of food waste after lunch to add to worm bins. The compost will be used for growing plants. Later in the day 6-7's went down to the creek to collect specimens for science class. It's great to be able to walk down to our own creek for science - any time.

Thursday, October 4, 2007

Here's what is happening after school. The soccer team is really taking off. Pre K creative movement is adorable. Chess club is mind-boggling. Other clubs are African drumming, circus, Italian, and sports. Yoga, too. Jewelry starts later. Rainbow club members have obviously outdone themselves.