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Showing posts from 2018

Happy Holidays and Happy New Year!

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December is a time when we learn about different ways to celebrate the holidays. We've participated in a Kwanzaa celebration led by Dee and a group of enthusiastic fourth-year students. Students have learned about Hanukkah and played dreidel during math time. Dee read The Christmas Story. We also had a number of parents come in to talk about ways their families celebrate the holidays. These holiday sharings have included a Ukranian folktale, sharing about food traditions, making birdfeeders with pine cones, holiday book readings, and a fun reindeer craft. Check out the holiday slideshow at the foot of this post.

It's important and wonderful to learn about traditions from other countries and below you'll read about an Iranian tradition shared with us and written by Anita Ghajar-Selim, a River Class parent.



Yalda Night or Shab-e-Chelleh is the Iranian festival celebrating the longest night of the year, which normally coincides with the 20th or 21st of December. On this night…

Coding, Owls, and Spaghetti

Our latest endeavors in River Class have included participating in the Hour of Code, investigating owl pellets, and constructing towers using spaghetti and marshmallows. You'll find more details in the slideshow below.

Focus on Music

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Music Update from Joanna
Music Sharing is a chance for students to share something musical from outside music class that is meaningful to them. Some students bring in instruments, others sing a song or play a tune on the piano or a classroom instrument. With teacher permission ahead of music class, some students share their favorite song to listen to or even an appropriate music video. Though sharing is always optional, most students choose to share at least once during the six to seven sharing times we have throughout the school year. And some, unsurprisingly, share every time and would like to share even more often! Music Sharing helps students develop their listening skills and learn to be a polite audience member, and often students and teacher learn new things about the kids we see every day. After their sharing, children may take two questions. One of the most common questions this time around was, "How are you so good at that?"

Salad Bar

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River students recently harvested romaine lettuce from our garden square. We were able to enjoy two salad bars from all the lovely lettuce we had grown. Many students opted in and happy parents reported a new enthusiasm around salad greens at home. We have enjoyed the garden to table experience very much!






Math Morning

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Math Morning is a fun-filled morning with lots of different math activities taking place around Lower School. Children get to choose 3 different activities which last for 40 minutes each. Choices this time included Bingo, Tenzies, Dash and Dot, Coding, Zentangle Art, Dominoes, The Game of Set, Shopping, Math Apps and Games, How Big is a Whale? and Tiny Robots. We always look forward to seeing our beloved Headteacher's latest math t-shirt (pictured below)!

















We are grateful for... our Lower School Community

Photography by Ruth and Zachary 
Our half day before Thanksgiving Break is very special. The whole Lower School gets together to enjoy a Meeting for Worship (typically filled with sentiments of gratitude) and a shared snack provided by each of the classes.

We wish all of our families a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday!

Focus on Spanish

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Spanish Update from Kelly In Spanish class, we have studied greetings and days of the week and continue
to work on numbers and parts of the body.

First-grade students are counting in Spanish and are working on identifying numbers up to 20.
They have learned the days of the week and a song to reinforce them.

Second-grade students are working to identify numbers up to 60.
They are also learning to count by tens to a 100. Whilst learning the days of the week, they learned how  to identify the day before, yesterday "ayer."
We have also enjoyed our cultural celebrations: National Hispanic Heritage Month and Day of the Dead.

Over the next few weeks, we are going to work on the Spanish alphabet.

Field Trip to the Nasher

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Before our visit, students used visual thinking strategies to analyze portraits by Amy Sherald and Kehinde Wiley. Visual thinking strategies is a pedagogy that uses the questions, "What's going on in this picture?", "What do you see in the picture that makes you say that?" and "What more can you find?" to allow students to collaboratively construct meaning from a piece of art. Natasha then showed the students the portraits of Michelle Obama and Barack Obama, which are owned by the Nasher and which we were able to see in person on our tour. Students were asked to determine which artist painted each portrait. Our Nasher Field Trip Slideshow - Photography by Patsy and Ruth
Our field trip to the Nasher was so much fun! On arrival, our two lovely guides divided us up into two groups and we began our cultural journey through some beautiful works of art, namely the People and Portraits tour. Children were asked to contribute their thoughts and ideas about …

Focus on Physical Education

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PE Update from Kim Sulman

We started off the school year establishing rules for PE class. Students continue to practice listening and following directions and being supportive classmates. We greet each other every week with a high 5 to help us remember the following:

Eyes watching
Ears listening
Body still and ready
Voice off
Brain ready to learn



A growth mindset is reinforced in every class and we encourage all students to at least try an activity and not be afraid of making mistakes. We are currently focusing on fitness and learning how our heart and lungs respond to a variety of movements and activities. So far students have played FIT DECK Tag, designed obstacle courses, and played a variety of chase and evade games, worked together with a very large parachute and enjoyed some competitive Battleship using scooters, yarn balls, and bowling pins. Students love to keep moving and especially enjoy any activity that involves dodge balls or scooters. During the winter months, we will b…

Halloween Slideshow

Enjoy our Halloween Slideshow! (Pictures by Ruth Gaskin and Shannon Salentine)

Halloween Fun

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Halloween was so much fun. We enjoyed a hayride, Halloween math, a parade, a story, a play, and a party. Thank you to all the parent volunteers for making this such a fabulous, fun day! A slideshow with more pictures of our special day is coming soon.

Skills Groups

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River Class students are divided into three skills groups after two or three weeks of being in school. We divide children up according to age, social needs, learning needs, and generally what seems to be the best fit. Charlie, Dee, and Ruth typically have a group of ten students each. Charlie usually works with the beginner readers and writers and Ruth and Dee will work with a mixed group of both first- and second-year students.

Skills groups take place Monday through Thursday every week. They consist of math and language arts activities, but of course, math and language learning takes place at other times throughout the week. Our calendar time is a perfect example of that. Each child takes a turn to be Person of the Day and leads the calendar time. The class says the date both in English and Spanish and students will contribute calendar sentences such as Halloween is on October 31st. We have pattern cards, so children learn how to identify patterns in different ways using colors, sha…

Our First Birthday Celebration

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For the past few years, we have celebrated students' birthdays by having three parties over the course of the school year. This guarantees that each child is celebrated at some point in the year and reduces the amount of sugar we would consume if we had individual celebrations.

We have the children make a birthday graph (as pictured below) and then we divide up the children into groups of ten by referring to the graph. Before we made our paper graph we made a human one with the children. They learned about bar graphs and the number associated with each month.

Our actual celebration involves the celebrants introducing themselves and telling us their birthday and age. Parents of the celebrants are invited to come and join the celebration and volunteer to bring gifts of food and/or time and support.

This year's first celebration was absolutely terrific! We were blessed with beautiful weather and many wonderful parent volunteers.  Thanks to all of the parents for making this such…

River Class Community

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Using queries to reflect on life experiences is a common Quaker process. When we speak from our own perspective, we offer others a chance to learn different ways of thinking.
Instead of dictating a list of classroom rules, we used a query to elicit from the children how they would like to their school to be. We asked, “What kind of community would you like River Class to be?” The children generated thoughtful, honest answers. 
Here’s what they said: Make friendsEnjoy school, have fun learningRespect each otherBe treated in a kind wayHave a positive attitudeSettle our differences peacefullyTake care of material and furniture in our classroom When students are given the opportunity to describe what they want, they often share insightful and meaningful reflections.




Gardening Fun and Cooperative Groups

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Gardening Fun
River Class work in their job teams to help plant lettuce. Our first group of students digs trenches.

 We have our very own garden square.

Students take turns to use the shovels.

 Each job team helps to either dig or plant seeds.

We have fun working together. We hope to have a salad bar when the lettuce is ready to harvest. We'll keep you posted.
Cooperative Groups
During research time we have the kids work in groups to solve problems together. Last week's challenge was to come up with 20 different sounds. Our second-year students modeled how to work cooperatively in a group by listening to one another and taking turns. Children get lots of practice over the course of the year.

A team leader helps organize the group. An older student is typically chosen for this role. However, as the year progresses, first-year students often volunteer for this task.

We will be working on our theme of SOUND over the course of the year.

Math, Jobs, and Field Day Fun

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Math
In this math activity, students worked in small groups to identify and record shared attributes found in a quantity of buttons. In general, an attribute is a characteristic or property of an object such as color, shape, size, etc. Students first decided how to group their buttons into 3 groups by size. They then re-sorted their buttons by number of holes, then by color, and finally by a characteristic of their choice.



Sorting and patterning skills involve understanding relationships among sets, how those sets are represented, and analysis of those sets. By sorting, children understand that things are alike and different as well as that they can belong and be organized into certain groups. This type of thinking starts them on the path of applying logical thinking to objects, mathematical concepts, and every day life in general.

Extending the activity at home:

- How might you group your collection of stuffed animals? Can you find more than one way?
- Collect some items from nature…

Welcome to River Class 2018-19

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