Thursday, May 4, 2017

Overday Fun


What a terrific Overday we had this year! What is an Overday? Well, it's a day when we stay at school past the regular end time and have nothing but fun fun fun! We had a great time watching Wall-E in both River and Sky classes, mixing up River and Sky students to make it a little bit different and special. Sleeping bags, pillows, and stuffed animals kept us warm, comfy, and cozy. We had a yummy snack al fresco followed by some River/Sky playtime. We had our Top Chi pizza for dinner (again outside) and then prepared for our talent show. We were amazed by the variety of talent in River Class. Acts included expert jump roping, martial arts, a play, jokes, and basketball comedy. Our evening ended with a campfire, s'mores, and a time of reflection.

Our Third and Final Birthday Party



Overday Slideshow - Photography by Katy Fodchuk

River Class students recently enjoyed their third and final birthday celebration. This was made possible by all of our parents' contributions of food, time, and expertise. Thank you all so much! The weather also cooperated! It was a fun, beautiful afternoon!

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Gordo Visits River Class


River Class recently enjoyed a second visit from Mark Hopey, a bird expert, and director of the nonprofit Southern Appalachian Raptor Research, who previously came to talk to River Class around Thanksgiving with a focus on, you guessed it, the turkey!  This time Mark brought with him an African Collared Dove named Gordo for the River children to meet and pet. We learned lots of interesting facts about birds including their cleanliness habits. They are, apparently, very clean animals! Birds also need shelter, food, water, clean air, and a safe place to nest. 


Friday, April 14, 2017

S'math in River

Magnetic Fun



 River Class students enjoyed a S'math lesson taken from AIMS Education Foundation and led by our shared resource teacher, Joan. Students compared the magnetic strength of a single magnet with two magnets put together to make a single unit. Students worked in cooperative learning groups to complete the exercise. Students were asked to estimate and then record their results.


Students discovered that a magnet made up of two single units is indeed stronger than a single magnet but not as strong as the combined strength of two magnets tested separately.

Monday, March 27, 2017

Dance with Annie


Dance begins each week with a story that inspires part of the lesson that follows. Children put ideas in the dance mailbox and their enthusiasm shapes the flow of the experiences that follow. This year we did an expansive study of our bodies and shapes that are wide, narrow, curved, twisted, symmetrical and asymmetrical. We traveled about the room and figured out how to control our energy in a still shape. The children were excited about shaping together with a partner and creating "shape fences" that progressed around the room as a whole group. Like puzzle pieces that fit together, they delighted in creating designs with their partners. When we started to read the Pilobolus Alphabet book they decided we needed to create letters with our bodies and were fascinated by the idea of embodying a letter shape. Their sense of where they were in space and where they were in relation to the shape of a partner was amazing!

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Spirit Week

River students enjoy Pajama and/or Crazy Hat and Hair Day!

 Thanks to our fourth years for planning an exciting week! Here's a recap of each day:
Monday: Movie Monday and Capture the Flag
Tuesday: Pajama and/or Crazy Hat and Hair Day
Wednesday: World Water Day
Thursday: Dress Up Day
Friday: Ice Cream or Sorbet Day

Friday, March 17, 2017

Planting Lettuce


River students take turns to plant lettuce seeds. We'll watch them germinate in the classroom.  Students will help plant them in our garden square. We'll celebrate with a lovely salad bar in a few weeks' time.

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

North Carolina Children's Book Award Update


A visual reminder of the ten nominated books

Since we returned from Winter Break, Natalie, our Lower School librarian, has been reading the picture books nominated for the North Carolina Children's Book Award to River Class. These books were chosen by children all across North Carolina, and students across the state are reading these books in order to select this year's award winner.


Be sure to follow the rules!

Last week, River Class students participated in the voting process by choosing their favorites! These votes will join thousands of others - the winning book will be revealed in April. 

Natalie demonstrates how to use the ipad voting system

River students took turns to vote (see below).

Voting is fun and easy using the ipad!

Celebrating with popcorn

River students were presented with a fun voting sticker and celebratory popcorn! 

You can read more about the book award on the library blog here.

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Valentine's Day on the 100th Day of School


River Class celebrated the 100th Day of School on Valentine's Day. We had so much fun! Children shared their 100 collections with each other and participated in a variety of 100th Day and Valentine's Day activities. Please check out the above slideshow for more information.

Friday, February 10, 2017

Focus on Specials - Dance


Enjoy the Video!

The introduction to dance with River and Sky included a discussion and sharing of Dance by Bill T. Jones and Giraffes Can't Dance by Giles Andreae and Guy Parker-Rees. We began to explore the magic of dance with call and response and a chant in the multi. The children were excited about moving together in new groups. We are off to a joyous start exploring personal space and general space as a beginning!

In dance, children explore movement as a language and as a way to sense their place in space. Children cannot read, talk, touch, draw, or write without moving. We do warm-ups that are teacher directed and where children make their own choices. Poetry, props, imagery, traveling through space, connecting, laughing, stretching our bodies and igniting our imaginations are integral to each experience. Sky and River teachers come and participate with children so we can weave connections between what is explored in the classroom with what is explored in the dance space. There is a dance mailbox in every classroom where children write notes about ideas for dances and future classes. This year we will be moving inspired by the LS theme of water and doing a visual art integration with Natasha, our LS art teacher.

Thursday, February 2, 2017

Focus on Specials - Art










Collage Hearts

River and Sky students were introduced to the collage center in art class recently. The students learned how to cut out a heart shape on a folded piece of paper and used this as the base paper for their collage. They were asked to pick a theme for their collage and utilize all the materials and tools in the collage center such as paper edger scissors and glue to create the hearts that you see here. 

We also looked at a collage/painting by the contemporary artist, Kerry James Marshall, and discussed how he used collage in his painting. 

Can you figure out what the theme is for each heart?

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Last Year's 100th Day Celebration


What a fabulous, fun-filled day we had on Friday. We celebrated the eve of our 100th Day of School. Activities included sharing our collections with one another and Sky Class, art activities, dance, and participation in outside fun; 100th Day collections were wonderfully varied and creative. 

Focus on Specials - Music


In music class, River students have been exploring rhythm and melody through singing, movement, and instruments. We’ve learned a number of songs that use the pentatonic (5-note) scale that we can accompany with xylophones and rhythm instruments. Students have even been able to figure out how to play the melodies of simple tunes such as “Cobbler, Cobbler” and “Hey, Lolly” all by themselves! We’re challenging ourselves to sing songs while playing different patterns on our instruments or bodies, an important musical skill especially for our budding singer/songwriters. Movement games such as “Head and Shoulders, Baby,” “Jump Jim Joe,” and freeze dance develop rhythm and listening skills through high-energy fun! Finally, we’ve learned several songs that develop vocal skills while expressing our Friends School values, such as “Walk a Mile,” “This Little Light of Mine,” “What a Wonderful World,” “I Will Be Your Friend,” and more.

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

FOCUS ON SPECIALS - PE


Lower School PE classes have been a whirlwind of excited, engaged, and energetic students. They started the year with Dave doing a variety of activities to encourage movement and cooperation. We continue to work on listening and following directions and being able to safely move through personal and general space. Think chase and evade games involving “tails," dodgeballs, and even hula hoops. Throwing and catching, changing direction and striking have all been incorporated into individual and group challenges such as filling buckets, racing around objects and relays. Currently, the LS classes are enjoying some parachute activities like “cat and mouse," sharks and lifeguards, the moving turtle, and chute ball. Parachute games are not just fun and hilarious for all ages - they build upper body strength and endurance while improving perceptual, cognitive, motor, and social skills. Coming soon….jump rope classes!

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

FOCUS ON SPECIALS - SPANISH




In Spanish classes this month, students are learning the names of shapes, types of lines, and reviewing color and number words. We are also working on using size adjectives to describe the shapes. Students participate in a variety of activities to introduce and practice both listening and speaking the new vocabulary including reading books about shapes, playing games that elicit student responses, and following directions in the target language to complete short drawing lessons. We have also begun discussing the five senses and learning vocabulary for that unit as well. We continue to practice our numbers, counting by tens, colors, days of the week, months, common greetings, and the alphabet. For more information check out our Spanish program on the website: Spanish

Following directions 
A book about shapes (left) and one to help with counting


Friday, January 6, 2017

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.


Dee reads Martin Luther King Jr. Day by Linda Lowery in readiness for our celebration on Monday, January 16th. River students will also be watching The Boy King, a drama focusing on young Martin Luther King Jr.'s early encounters with prejudice and how the love and courage of his family moved him to speak out against segregation.



About This Book

Briefly recounts the life of the black minister who devoted his life to civil rights and discusses the national holiday in his name: Martin Luther King Day celebrated on the third Monday of every January. (Summary from goodreads.com)

Thursday, January 5, 2017

Our Ten Nominated Books - Take a Look!

Since we returned from Winter Break, Natalie has been reading the picture books nominated for the North Carolina Children's Book Award to River Class. These books were chosen by children all across North Carolina, and students across the state are reading these books in order to select this year's award winner. Next Tuesday, River Class students will participate in the voting process by choosing their favorites! These votes will join thousands of others - the winning book will be revealed in April. You can read more about the book award on the library blog here.


First Book - Nerdy Birdy

Natalie reads Nerdy Birdy

Nerdy Birdy likes reading, video games, and reading about video games, which immediately disqualifies him for membership in the cool crowd.

One thing is clear: being a nerdy birdy is a lonely lifestyle.

When he's at his lowest point, Nerdy Birdy meets a flock just like him. He has friends and discovers that there are far more nerdy birdies than cool birdies in the sky.


Second Book - The Quickest Kid in Clarksville

Natalie reads The Quickest Kid in Clarksville

It's the day before the big parade. Alta can think about only one thing: Wilma Rudolph, three-time Olympic gold medalist. She'll be riding on a float tomorrow. See, Alta is the quickest kid in Clarksville, Tennessee, just like Wilma once was. It doesn't matter that Alta's shoes have holes, because Wilma came from hard times, too. But what happens when a new girl with shiny new shoes comes along and challenges Alta to a race? Will she still be the quickest kid?


Third Book - I'm Trying to Love Spiders

I'm Trying to Love Spiders - By Bethany Barton

I’m Trying to Love Spiders will help you see these amazing arachnids in a whole new light, from their awesomely excessive eight eyes, to the seventy-five pounds of bugs a spider can eat in a single year! And you’re sure to feel better knowing you have a better chance of being struck by lightning than being fatally bit by a spider. Comforting, right? No? Either way, there’s heaps more information in here to help you forget your fears . . . or at least laugh a lot!


Fourth Book - Wolfie the Bunny

Natalie reads Wolfie the Bunny by Ame Dyckman

The Bunny family has adopted a wolf son, and daughter Dot is the only one who realizes Wolfie can--and might--eat them all up! Dot tries to get through to her parents, but they are too smitten to listen. A new brother takes getting used to, and when (in a twist of fate) it's Wolfie who's threatened, can Dot save the day?


Fifth Book - A Boy and a Jaguar

A Boy and a Jaguar by Alan Rabinowitz

Alan loves animals, but the great cat house at the Bronx Zoo makes him sad. Why are they all alone in empty cages? Are they being punished? More than anything, he wants to be their champion—their voice—but he stutters uncontrollably.



Sixth Book - Mother Bruce


Bruce the bear likes to keep to himself. That, and eat eggs. But when his hard-boiled goose eggs turn out to be real, live goslings, he starts to lose his appetite. And even worse, the goslings are convinced he's their mother. Bruce tries to get the geese to go south, but he can't seem to rid himself of his new companions. What's a bear to do?


Seventh Book - Glow


Why be afraid of the dark when there is so much to see? Whether it’s used to hunt, hide, find a friend, or escape an enemy, bioluminescence—the ability to glow—is a unique adaptation in nature. In this fun and fascinating nonfiction picture book, join world-renowned photographers and biologists on their close encounters with the curious creatures that make their own light. Author’s note and bibliography included.


Eight Book - Finding Winnie


In 1914, Harry Colebourn, a veterinarian on his way to tend horses in World War I, followed his heart and rescued a baby bear. He named her Winnie, after his hometown of Winnipeg, and he took the bear to war. Harry Colebourn's real-life great-granddaughter tells the true story of a remarkable friendship and an even more remarkable journey--from the fields of Canada to a convoy across the ocean to an army base in England...and finally to the London Zoo, where Winnie made another new friend: a real boy named Christopher Robin. Based on the 2016 Caldecott Medal winner, Finding Winnie is the remarkable true story of the bear who inspired Winnie-the-Pooh.


Ninth Book - I Yam a Donkey


Even frustrated grammarians will giggle at the who’s-on-first routine that begins with a donkey’s excited announcement, “I yam a donkey!” Unfortunately the donkey’s audience happens to be a yam, and one who is particular about sloppy pronunciation and poor grammar. An escalating series of misunderstandings leaves the yam furious and the clueless donkey bewildered by the yam’s growing (and amusing) frustration. The yam finally gets his point across, but regrettably, he’s made the situation a little bit too clear . . . and the story ends with a dark and outrageously funny twist.


Tenth Book - Henri's Scissors


In a small weaving town in France, a young boy named Henri-Emile Matisse drew pictures everywhere, and when he grew up, he moved to Paris and became a famous artist who created paintings that were adored around the world. But late in life a serious illness confined him to a wheelchair, and amazingly, it was from there that he created among his most beloved works—enormous and breathtaking paper cutouts.

*All italicized book descriptions are from Amazon.

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Happy New Year!


Natalie introduces the North Carolina Children's Book Award process


Natalie, our Lower School librarian, came to River Class today to introduce the ten nominated books for the North Carolina Children's Book Award.  Natalie will be coming to River on Tuesdays and Thursdays to read the 10 picture books, which were chosen as entries last year by students all across North Carolina. River students will also have an opportunity to pick entries for 2018.


River students hold up the ten nominated picture books