Pine Class News

January 10

Welcome Back

Happy New Year to all. We hope you had a restful holiday season. It was so nice to be back together with the Pine Class this week.


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During the production of "Monkey Ninjas vs. Aliens", Camerin developed a pulley system for raising and lowering props and stage settings. The inspiration came from the sleigh that appeared to float in the NYC Ballet's Nutcracker which we saw in December. The class interview teaching artist Michael Hsu about how the sleigh was able to float. Camerin used what he understood from this discussion for our shadow puppet show. Here you see Jada and Saige experimenting with the pulley system.
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Imagination is the key to children initiating projects during exploration time. However, we've also noticed how imagination can close the door on problem solving. For a few weeks, children were happy to have an imaginary drawbridge in our castle; instead of scrutinizing the problem of how to make a working drawbridge.

A trip to the materials room inspired Milo to make an actually functioning drawbridge. You can see the results in the picture above.

This is also a plug for organizing the materials room so that children can have easier access to materials that will inspire problem solving. If you are interested in helping to organize the materials room please contact Brooke.

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Children are making belts in their sewing exploration.

Problem Solving

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We have been using this chart as a routine for problem solving in math, but we have also referred to it in other contexts throughout the day. You can imagine how this routine could be useful in the context that was described above of Milo building the drawbridge.

You might copy this chart and put it on your refrigerator and see how it could be useful in solving problems at home.

Math Strategy of the Week

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Brooklyn Research

During project time this week, students research questions about Brooklyn's history in small groups with teachers. We also talked about sources of information for answering questions. Next week, students can opt in to launching projects in exploration time using the information they gained during this research.


We are beginning to write true-to-life stories. The children are encouraged to find a tiny topic and to focus on that topic in order to practice elaborating with storytelling flourish and detail. For example, "My trip to Puerto Rico," is too big a topic. "My first airplane ride" could be more interesting, and "The first time I took off in an airplane" could be even better still.

Children are using "tiny topic notebooks" to capture these ideas for their stories.

Upcoming Trips

We are going to the Museum of the City of New York on Thursday. Not sure yet if we have tickets for chaperones. Email us if you're interested.

Friday half of the class is going to the Brooklyn Museum. The other half of the class will go early in February. Let Paul know if you would like to help out.

Ongoing Shadow Puppet Exploration
Monkey Ninjas and Aliens