Daily Schedule

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Market Trip

Our trip to the Ann Arbor Farmers Market was a success, in large part to our lovely parent helpers. Many thanks to Ruta, Hali, Jason, Jessica, and Sheryl! With their help, our teams of explorers were able to find answers to complete most of their scavenger hunt sheets.

We learned a lot about where our food comes from, and had a lot of fun, too. Elaine made a surprise appearance, which made the morning even more special.

Here are just a few pictures from the day:

We will share more about this field trip, and other field trips we took this month, on Friday morning at the All-School Friday Morning Meeting. Will you be there?

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Our First Read Aloud

We read lots of books together in the classroom - we love them all! Picture books are lovely to enjoy together, and poetry books are wonderful too. Information and non-fiction books are perfect many situations, of course. But there is always a great chapter book going - perfect for fitting into cozy slots of the day. Children usually opt to lie down on their fleecy pillows, close their eyes, and let their imaginations create pictures in their minds as I read. A couple students have taken spare copies of the book off the shelf and are reading silently along. What are we reading now, for our very first read along this year? Matilda, by the great Roald Dahl. Here's the main character, one of my favorites:

We will read many lovely books together this school year, and go on many wonderful literary adventures together. As Roald Dahl himself once said, "If you are going to get anywhere in life you have to read a lot of books."

How We Start Each Day

I wish every teacher in every classroom would give mindfulness a try. It has made such a difference in how our days begin! Students enter school feeling all sorts of emotions - rushed, anxious, upset, excited - usually, anything but calm and focused. Just a few moments of sitting in mindful attention in a peaceful darkened room, with their thoughts directed to their breathing, lets children begin the day recharged, and in a much more positive frame of mind. It is really pretty magical.

Neuroscientists have found that a long-term mindfulness practice actually alters the function and structure of the brain itself, and can improve the mental, social, emotional, and even physical well-being of our children. The mind-body connection is real.

I use several different CDs in our practice, my favorite being Sitting Still Like a Frog. I encourage every family to check this book/CD out of the library to see if you might like it for your home library. (I also have several copies in the classroom that you could borrow.) There are tracks for anxiety, sleeplessness, focus, and more. Right now we are enjoying a pebble meditation from Planting Seeds. I also lead mindful exercises - many that I learned from a conference I attended last year, and from books written by Susan Kaiser Greenland - The Mindful Child and Mindful Games.

I hope parents continue to make the time to join us for morning mindfulness whenever possible. What a sweet way to start both your child's day and your own day.

And remember, meditation starts when the school day does - promptly at 8:45. If you arrive after that, please honor our time and do not open the door until math time starts at 8:55.

Friday, September 15, 2017

This Week in Review, September 11 - 15

                                            This Information Also Found in Walter's S-K Email:

This week in Susan's first/second grade, it has already started to feel like we are one big happy family. Several of the specialist teachers have remarked on how cohesive this group seems. 

Math groups have started, and my group has begun their deep dive into place value. We learned a partner game called 101 and Out! and also worked with playing cards to practice skills.

Students received their first "Memory Pages", which consisted of photographs taken the first week printed on lined paper. We are writing about these photographs and keeping all of our memories in binders as a way to document our year (and growth as writers). 

Dillon and Lexi were our first "Special Readers" on Wednesday. Quiet reading times are looked forward to each and every day.

Sewing skills were put to use as children made little felt pouches for their meditation pebbles. Parents are welcome to join us for mindfulness each morning, M-TH. We will be doing Pebble Mediation for the next couple weeks. 

On Friday afternoon, both first and second classes picked Fall raspberries at Sweet Acres in Ypsilanti. Grace and I hope families enjoy the bounty.