Maple Room

Children at Work 2.1.16 - 2.5.16

Climbing, Playing, Learning

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Welcome Back, Brian

Brian returned to the Maple classroom on Wednesday. The children made cards for Brian to welcome him back from his leave and were very happy and excited to see him. They asked him many questions and shared with him all of the exciting things that the Maple class has done in his absence.

This week, Michelle will be transitioning back to her co-director job. She's had lots of fun teaching the Maple class and getting to know the children on an even deeper level. Thanks so much to all of the families for your help and support over the last couple of weeks!

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Reading Workshop

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This week, the kids continued to learn strategies for figuring out an unfamiliar word and checking for understanding as they read. The children practiced using the strategies they learned as they independently read and came back to share examples of usage with one another. They also talked about how using more than one strategy might be necessary to be sure that the word they figured out was correct. Here are some of the strategies we went over this week:

  • Thinking about what word fits using the pictures and the context of the surrounding sentence.
  • Breaking words into smaller chunks, reading the word part by part, and putting the parts back together
  • Looking for familiar words inside the unfamiliar word to help identify the sounds that might be present
  • Trying out a number of sounds for letter combinations and thinking about which sounds right

At home, take some time to read with your child. If he or she comes across a word that's unfamiliar to him or her, ask them what strategies he or she could use to figure out the word.

Writing Workshop

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In writing this week, the kids talked about what they could do when they wanted to write a tricky vocabulary word related to their nonfiction topic. The children practiced making their best guesses about the spelling of a big word and move onto the rest of the story instead of getting caught up in the spelling of the word.

The kids continued to write new nonfiction pieces about topics that interested them and to use their writing checklists to improve the quality of their work. Children have increasingly started to use the resources in the room, including the word wall, charts, and books, to figure out the spelling of words. Their writing continues to grow more complex, and children are pushing themselves to write longer pieces.

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Project Time: Terrarium Observations and Experimentation

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The children began to make observations about the terrariums they built this week. To begin this work, the kids discussed what kinds of signs they could look for that would show them if their terrarium was healthy or unhealthy. Then, the children talked about what it meant to carefully observe something and discussed how researchers record their observations. Each child received their own observation journal to record noticings about the changes to their terrariums over time. Children drew and labelled detailed pictures of their terrariums and wrote down questions they had from looking closely. After recording their observations, partnerships decided what modifications they should make to keep the terrarium system healthy.

Math Workshop: From Repeating Patterns to Number Patterns

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We continued to explore patterns in math this week. The children played the game "Make a Train." In the game, children receive a card that has one unit of a cube pattern. The object of the game is to make a cube train twelve cubes long. The children take turns rolling a die with different colors on each side and collecting one cube of that color to place in the loose cube "depot." A player can only add to their train once there are enough cubes in the depot to make another unit of their pattern. The kids had a good time racing to complete their trains.

Later in the week, we shifted our study from repeating color and shape patterns with distinct units to number patterns. The kids will explore patterns of constant growth over the next few lessons. Children worked within the context of a person who wanted to save money by collecting pennies in a jar. She put two pennies in her jar to start, and then added three more pennies each day. The kids discussed whether or not a pattern was occurring and used different models to record the addition of pennies to the jar over the course of 10 days and observe how the quantity of pennies changed. Then, they made up their own penny jar situations and observed new patterns of growth to compare to the original. The kids will continue to study contexts that model constant growth and look for patterns that arise as the numbers increase.


We constructed a two-story space house that travels through space...

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Mindfulness: Making it Rain

This children have been enjoying "making it rain" recently. In this activity, the children use different movements to simulate the feeling of a rainstorm on the person seated in front of them in the circle. The kids move through a storm, making clouds, light rain, hard rain, hail, thunder, lightening, wind, sun, and rainbows. The children have been working on making the experience relaxing for the person in front of them and have been making sure to ask that person if what they're doing feels good.
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Announcements for Next Week

No School on Monday, February 8th

There is no school this Monday in observance of Lunar New Year. See you on Tuesday!

Trip to the Lowline on Thursday, February 11th

We will be visiting the Lowline Lab on the Lower East Side from 9:00 AM - 1:00 PM on Thursday, February 11th. The Lowline is a plan to create a new underground park space out of a historic trolley terminal on the Lower East Side of New York City, similar to the repurposing of an elevated train track to create the Highline in Chelsea. The Lowline will use solar technology to illuminate the underground space and provide light to the plants in the space.

The Lowline Lab is a long-term open laboratory and technical exhibit designed to test and showcase how the Lowline will grow and sustain plants underground. Built inside an abandoned market on the Lower East Side, two blocks from the site of the proposed future Lowline, the Lowline Lab includes a series of controlled experiments in an environment mimicking the actual Lowline site.

We will travel by bus to the Lowline Lab and will return to school in time for lunch. Thanks to those of you who have volunteered to chaperone!

Mid-Winter Break

Compass will be on Mid-Winter Break from Monday, February 15th - Tuesday, February 23rd. School will resume on Wednesday, February 24th. Have a great break!