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Showing posts from October, 2018

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.