May at GAP!
Green Goblins and Yellow Snakes
English Language Arts with Emily and Julie
During our last month of the school year, the Cardinals learned fun games to encourage the importance of verbs, adjectives, and nouns. The Cardinals also furthered their name writing skills by "signing in" at the start of each class. Other things we worked on were number writing, matching numbers to their spelling, spell & tells, and DEAR book share alouds (including author, illustrator, title, and theme). For our spring festival PBL project, the Cardinals created a spring words bingo card out of a spider web. This symbolized all their spring research and their excitement as they finished the book Charlotte's Web. They worked hard to complete a spring-words-headbands game! In making the game, they wrote and illustrated their researched words on headbands cards. We then got to play the game together, which was a very rewarding experience!
During our last month of school, the Sparrows practiced some creative dramatics by writing and presenting skits! We discussed the importance of relaying a message to an audience, using adjectives, punctuation, and tone of voice to enhance our writing, and projecting our voice. Other things the Sparrows did were read and present poems with fluency and accuracy to partners, nature journaling, playing headbands, and other fun games!
In our last month of school, the Cardinals and Sparrows focused on reviewing their letter sounds, putting those sounds together to make words, and putting those words together to make sentences. We learned how sentences always begin with a capital letter and end with a punctuation. We broke the sentences apart to notice the nouns, adjectives, and verbs. Many of our Kindergarten Learners began reading CVC words. Some Learners began reading 2 letter blends and many began reading simple sentences. Our last weeks of school were full of word games, rotation stations, combined classes, and our favorite author of the year, Leo Leonni. Our class read Fish is Fish, Alexander and the Wind Up Mouse, A Color of His Own, Inch by Inch, and The Greentail Mouse. We discussed the beginning, middle, and end of the story, the main characters, the setting, the problems, and the solutions within each book. The Sparrows reviewed “messed up” sentences that were scrambled from the stories and found all the grammar mistakes with ease! The Sparrows learned about compound words and made a list with pictures. They ended the year with synonyms and antonyms for many of the vocabulary words from our stories. Everyone should be proud of the amazing learning they accomplished.
The Ravens worked hard on creative story writing. They discussed the main idea, theme, and the characters of stories. During our last week of school, the Ravens performed their book as a play to the Hawks group. They acted out their assigned parts as they read their lines & narrations out loud. The Hawks worked incredibly hard on creating a lemonade stand for community day. This group wrote a project proposal, explored multiple budget plans, wrote and filmed a commercial, decided on a lemonade recipe, and created Nice Ice. Nice Ice was a Hawks creation, where they infused lemon slices into ice to keep their lemonade cold during community day. The Hawks also continued to work on cursive writing, defining and understanding plagiarism, contractions, and apostrophes.
The Ravens and Hawks had a busy May, full of story writing and dissecting short stories by main idea and supporting sentences. The Ravens wrote a story about Einstein, our GAP rabbit, incorporating what they learned about fables and adding in incredible metaphors. The Learners also practiced how to voice their opinions and wrote their own opinion papers. They performed short poems to an audience and their confidence blew us away! We ended the year with a review of synonyms, antonyms, and contractions. In our last week the Learners played the game Apples to Apples. It was a huge success and a game they may all be asking to play this summer! It was an amazing year full of instilling a love of learning through reading and writing!!
Math with Kyle
For the month of May in Math we had a blast! We started off the month working on getting our calendars finished to take home and hang up! We also estimated the amount of leaves on trees based on the amount of leaves on a branch. As rotation groups, we developed questions to ask people at GAP school through surveys. We then created bar graphs to display those survey results. For the last week of school we played a lot of math games. We continued our love for “mathsketball” as the Learners like to call it. We also played monopoly and “21” to finish the school year. It was a great month and year in math! We learned a lot and had so much fun.
Science with Naomi
During the month of May, our Science rotations continued their focus on springtime happenings in the environment and how we celebrate them in society. We took a look at the differences between moths and butterflies by listing their characteristics and diagramming them. We also read the book Moth: An Evolution Story, where changes in the environment (pollution from coal during the Industrial Revolution) led to measurable differences in the Peppered Moth population. They modified their color pattern, darkening to blend in with sooty tree trunks, thereby ensuring better survival rates. Thankfully humans have cleaned up our act since then, and today you can find both peppered and charcoal colored moths.
We were lucky to find and nature journal Ghost Pipes, a rare kind of plant which does not use sunlight for photosynthesis (aka energy), but rather feeds on an underground fungus. We were able to confirm that even light touches bruise this delicate beauty. We found it growing by the creek at Water Chicken Way, near its favorite symbiotic friend, the Beech tree. Lastly, like their ELA studies of lemons/lemonade, we explored lemons and limes, through a “will it float?” challenge, that led into discussions about the definition of density and its relationship to floating. As we neared the spring festival, we learned and sang two Maypole songs, “Now is the Month of Maying” and “Gods and Goddesses”.
Finally, we were excited to hear the conclusion of our Little Bee Sunbeam story. In the story, a tiny Queen is born and thus, a brand new colony is formed! This was a great note to end the year on and we are all looking forward to what the summer months will bring.
Silver Foxes with Corrie, Sarah, and Tara
ELA and Social Studies
During the month of May, the Silver Foxes enjoyed many opportunities to practice reading, writing, and speaking. Individual Learner proposals for doing the Flying Squirrel challenge course high element, taking a field trip to Walnut Creek, and starting another mural on the Blue Ridge Book Bus ALL were approved and came to fruition for the entire class. This made for a very exciting final month! The Silver Foxes also worked long and hard to bring their Spring Festival plans to life. For example, they crafted and rehearsed oral readings of poetry, wrote trivia questions, and researched facts about Virginia fish. These preparations required lots of collaboration and discussion. Our word element study continued, including the prefix “re-” and the root “chrom.” Additionally, the Silver Foxes explored a metaphor, comparing poetry to seeds planted in the readers’ imaginations. Learners decorated giant seed packets to hold photocopies of their original poetry for display and publication at the Spring Festival.
Social Studies this month focused on celebrating our own class and school community. We did this, in part, by exploring the unit’s driving question: How do we plan a Spring Festival at GAP? The choices Learners made in their approach to this project reflected our class and school values. This was a full circle moment for us: the year started with a unit where Learners worked together to establish an ethos and decide all the ways they wanted to honor GAP culture during the school year. Way to follow through! The Silver Foxes have grown and learned so much – academically, socially, and personally. They have so many points of pride to carry with them into a fun and restful summer!
The Silver Foxes celebrated many achievements over the last month. At first, we focused mostly on mathematical Mother’s Day gifts. Learners applied their understandings through measuring, multiplying, and applying geometric reasoning as we created one-of-a-kind pieces of hanging art. Also, throughout the month Learners researched, designed, and presented math posters on a topic of their choice. Their research topics ranged from Fibonacci, to fractions, to prime numbers.
Learners devoted a lot of time and energy toward Spring Festival preparation. For example, the Learners did flower box building, stem and flower creation, flower symbol research, prepared the DJ set list, made ginger soda, made tea, and made a watering can spray station. All their efforts paid off as the Spring Festival was a huge success.
During the final week of school, Learners reflected on the first few pages of their math notebook with passages we had recorded in the fall. Many Learners shared that they felt accomplished, successful, and confident about their achievements as mathematicians this past year.
Projects with Adrienne
May Projects were all about Spring!
The Green and Yellow flocks jumped into "May Flowers" with everything springtime. We learned how to circle weave on cardboard templates, creating abstract flowers for our Community Day installation. They also learned about what still life is, how to see angles and perspective in their subject matter, and learned about "whisper lines" when sketching. The Green and Yellow classes had fun creating bluebirds, butterflies, moths and bumble bee creations through art stations and step by step design challenges. We wrapped up May and the school year with found objects nature mobiles that each Learner seemed excited to put up in their own yards afterwards. Maker Days were full of final creations, hard work on parade costumes, and some clay time adventures! Community Day showcased all their hard work and was so much fun!
Silver Learners dove into May by continuing their installation pieces and combining time with Knowledge Seekers to wrap up their learning and projects on springtime and festival planning. Each Learner worked hard on their giant installation pieces, which took time and dedication to complete, the Learners showed so much perseverance and commitment to finishing (Even occasionally dipping into their Maker Day time!). Without the Silver class, this wild idea for something larger than life could have never been manifested! We wrapped the year in Projects a little early to build in time for their last week of fun, including a Kinsers hike, Walnut Creek field trip, and their parade costume creating! It was a great way to celebrate the end of the year. Happy Summer and thank you so much for all your support and encouragement this year.
Knowledge Seekers with Max
The month of May is a glorious time to go to school outside! We spent our weeks planting and planning our school garden as we continued to explore the question; "How do some plants make fruits and vegetables?". Learners looked at examples of germinated acorn seeds and began mapping out their "dream" garden bed using the 'square foot' gardening technique. Using a variety of resources that explain the quantity of a type of garden vegetable that can be grown in one square foot, learners gridded out our garden beds and then decided what could fit in each square foot. We were faced with deep philosophical conundrums such as "Is it better to have 16 carrots or one watermelon plant in one square foot?!" After everyone planned their own dream bed we merged ideas and each flock was in charge of planning two garden beds. As the month progressed we were able to move our seed starts over to the beds using the Learner generated maps as a guide. Our second graders had a unique experience thanks to the initiative of one Learner, Henry, who proposed that he and his peers volunteer to work in the garden at the Autism Sanctuary here in Charlottesville. We had a great day and it was a perfect example of how GAP school Learners can be inspired, propose an idea, and with proper planning, bring that idea to life.
In advance of our final Community Day Learners began putting all the garden investigation into displays to share our learning with the community. Green and Yellow flocks greated a collage style plant structure diagram, individually created plant diagrams and a plant life cycle poster with plant facts the learners agreed were important in understanding how some plants make fruits and vegetables. Our Silver flock created garden charts that included detailed garden maps and evidenced our understanding of companion planting, square foot planting and photosynthesis.
As our school year wrapped up the Green and Yellow flocks spent time reflecting on successes and challenges overcome by incorporating natural elements into pictures of our school memories. The Silver flock spent time on the Triple C Camp challenge course as well as a field trip to Walnut Creek. All of our flocks enjoyed one more trip to Kinsers to wrap up their year on the incredible land at school. Visiting Kinsers through the seasons is a powerful tool for Learners to see tangible changes in their understanding of the natural world around them as they are better able to identify plants, recognize bird calls, or have a personal relationship with a specific spot on the trail.
Music with Rachel
For our final month of ukulele lessons, all Learners put their ukulele skills to the test by finishing up their "no-stress chord tests." Our final week of ukulele lessons was spent playing a fun chord recognition game of Ukego, a ukulele version of the famous game, Bingo. We had so much fun this year playing the ukulele together, and we are so proud of all of the incredible growth and progress made by all Learners! It is amazing how far they have come from learning how to hold the ukulele to now knowing multiple chords, how to read songs, and play music. Have a fun and music filled summer!