Pine Class News

May 30

This week we furthered our research through brainstorming prior knowledge, gathering questions, looking at maps and photos, making a trip and writing notes. These are all steps of the research process that we followed for our "Brooklyn study" and our "Lenape Study." A few weeks ago, children recalled these steps in their research notebooks. The repetition of these research steps and the children's reflection on these steps three times throughout the course of the year could set the children to up to do some independent inquiry this summer and in third grade.


As we are studying how Brooklyn is connected to the rest of New York state, we are also learning about the types of communities in New York state. A few weeks back we went to a place in a rural area, Snow Hill Farm. This week we went to a suburban area, called Hastings-on-Hudson. As we got off the train we walked through an area that was more small town than suburb and the children noticed things that are similar to their Brooklyn neighborhoods:

"Whoa, these are apartments like we have in Brooklyn."

"People park sideways like they do in Brooklyn."

"There are businesses on the bottom and maybe apartments above."

As we got farther from the train station, the are became more typically suburban. The children noticed some of the things that we've talked about as characteristics of suburbs. And they had an emotional reaction to these qualities - open space, greenery, quiet, safe spaces.


Below are webs of prior knowledge and questions about suburbs. We added to these after the trip. Compare this writing to the note-taking you saw your children doing at the beginning of the year. Looks more natural and mature, right?

In this case we used pencils for statements and colored pencils for questions. How can we use structures like color to facilitate confident, self-directed inquiry? How do we build bridges from teacher suggestions to independence?

Food and Mapping

Thanks for sending in products from New York state that are available for purchase here in Brooklyn. We received egg cartons from New Paltz, yoghurt from Johnstown, honey from Canandaigua and many others. We looked on our map for these places, and we used Google Maps to locate very small towns that were not included on our map. Some children needed to zoom out on Google Maps to find a nearby town, and then look back on our map to find that nearby town.


Oliver observed that some cars in Hastings were parked sideways "like in Brooklyn" and some cars were parked diagonally. We thought about reasons why and Leigh suggested that you could fit more cars on a diagonal. We tested this out. Correct!

Now, looking at this picture again, I can see the answer to another important question: if more cars fit parked on the diagonal, why don't we park cars on the diagonal in cities? Can you see the answer? Discuss this with your child, we missed that second question in school.

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Sheppard came to visit us for the first time. He was the inspiration for art work and songs.


Thank you SO much for helping us fund Studio in a School. We've finished our work with them for the year and maybe forever. Next year we will have a full time visual arts teacher!

We just worked on etchings and printmaking. The MoMa is having an exhibit of Degas' printmaking experiments. Check it out!