March at GAP School!
Blue Skinks & Red Dragons:
March was reading month at GAP School! ELA has been an awesome space for our K-2's to appreciate writing as well as become authors! All classes have been able to explore their creativity as they have written and illustrated books of their very own. Groups and individuals each came up with characters, a problem they faced, and a solution for that problem. Through book writing, the Learners had to make their reader care by providing details and characteristics within their story. Learners have also been talking about the importance of reading and writing and how building our vocabularies makes it easier to express ourselves clearly.
We have been reading books and writing both book reviews and book reports on stories that we have read as a class. Some favorites were Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs and Horton Hears a Who!
Kindergarten worked on word families; First Grade worked on three-letter blends and trigraphs; Second Grade worked on learning and applying spelling rules. Kindergarten and First Grade learned about librarian and storyteller Pura Belpre, who brought Puerto Rican folktales to America. Second Graders have started an inspiring pen pal exchange with the Silver Arrows, in which they have shared book recommendations with one another. All grade levels have been writing their very own books--some in small groups and others individually.
Each group has worked together to come up with a list of guidelines for being part of a community. We have been focusing on the power of positivity, with an emphasis on intentionally building one another up on a daily basis. Finally, in March we have been able to explore our school bus library and have gotten excited about what it is becoming! It was a fun and productive month!
Recently during project time we’ve been working on teambuilding, tracking, animal care, whittling/knife skills, and design challenges!
During Teambuilding Learners have worked on communication, perseverance, and outside the box thinking through initiative activities and problem-solving challenges. In small group settings Learners continued working on expressing their ideas to their peers and advocating for themselves in a friendly and constructive manner.
While tracking we have been reviewing and identifying animal tracks around the school. Through treks, Learners have been practicing moving safely through the woods to cause minimal disturbances and are being educated on the natural paths that animals and water take.
While whittling and developing knife skills, Learners are working on hand eye coordination, blade confidence and control, and learning the right type of tool for the job. Most Learners are working on either burn spoons or try-sticks, while others explore different types of woodwork in our project books.
Maker Days continue to be exciting as the Learners practice new skills, try new designs, and have to rethink their steps when things have a different outcome than anticipated. Whether it's sewing, woodworking, apothecary, or a new art technique our Learners demonstrate a lot of determination in Projects. Science
This month we jumped back into our core science themes! We started with rock week, where we delved into rocks and geology. We did a hike with a sugar cube in a film canister. As we walked and shook our sugar cubes we simulated erosion. At the end of our hike we loved opening the canisters up and seeing the smoothed edges of our sugar rocks! We learned about the rock cycle, and talked about the three types of rocks: sedimentary, igneous, and metamorphic. We explored geology further by using rock hammers to crack open rocks to see what was inside. We nature journaled about what we found. We finished off rock week with a fun model building activity called Dirt Town, Rock Town! One group built a miniature town out of rocks and one out of dirt. We then flooded the towns with water to see which would hold up better. The smaller the sediments, the quicker the weathering!
We jumped into learning about Food Chains in the middle of the month. We made our own food web model with yarn, making connections between the sun, plants, primary consumers, secondary consumers, and so on. We connected food chain puzzles for different habitats to understand the flow of energy through an ecosystem. We played one of our favorite nature board games called Eat or Be Eaten (a food chain game). We drew animals from a deck and built food chains out of them for points.
We then focused on animal habitats. We discussed how habitats are the places where animals live and are provided what they need, air, food, water, and shelter. We discussed habitats around the world and drew food chains out that occur in each habitat in our math and science journals. We played two habitat related games called Oh Deer! and Slither on. Both were about the limited resources in a habitat and what happens to animal populations if those resources are lost.
We wrapped the month up with a winter recap of everything we have learned this season to refresh our minds before spring break!
Our month started with Learners investigating money by identifying coins and counting money. Learners continued to practice with money by having a budget and creating a wish list for more library books using Book Fair catalogs. We then paralleled the learning around finishing the book bus by measuring book shelves, creating statistics about the GAP Library such as largest, smallest and heaviest books. Did you know the thickest book at GAP school is a field guide "Mushrooms Demystified" and comes in at a whopping 959 pages?! Our month has wrapped up with Learners developing and testing their own "math board games" to review math concepts learned throughout the year.
Music In ukuleles we continue to work on our own music choices and learn new chords. Some of us have started learning to read ukulele tabulator for the song Row Row Row Your Boat.
During March the Silver Arrows spent time creating, collaborating, and learning. In honor of Literacy Month, our learning centered around reading, writing books, and designing the Bus Library. For the schoolwide Bus Library Project, learners joined three teams: interior design, exterior construction, and mural painting. So far, we have begun building benches, painting a mountain sunset, and creating many stained glass pieces. In Math, learners studied geometry and order of operations. We classified types of angles, triangles, quadrilaterals, and polygons. Learners are publishing Math books based on their personal mathematical topics of interest. In ELA, we’ve been running our leveled book clubs with rotating discussion roles. We’ve studied different authors and conducted book reports in our reading notebooks. Silver Arrows have also been using the writing process to publish their own compound word books. We are corresponding with younger learners as pen pal partners and enjoy sharing our interests in writing. Finally, the month ended with a successful Field Trip to the Jefferson-Madison Regional Library and New Dominion BookShop. At the library, we enjoyed a behind-the-scenes tour, read aloud, and had time to explore the stacks. At the bookstore, learners selected specific books to inaugurate the book bus!