Welcome to our fourth newsletter of the year! December has ended and we have a new year and a bright future ahead. This month we covered many interesting topics and the students seemed to progress well. The weekly topics were bugs, winter, dinosaurs, and Christmas/New Years. We also continued our work on writing independence and fluency. The students tried to write what came to their minds, rather than sticking to a set of prescribed formulas this month and I was very happy with the results.
Our first weekly theme was bugs. During the brainstorm, the students did a wonderful job of discussing specific encounters they had with many of the bugs that we discussed. During role-play, we practiced acting as butterflies, spiders or ants as they change throughout the bug life cycle. The students learned about the four stages: eggs, larvae, pupae, and maturity. They also did great work during our science lesson when we practiced communicating as some bugs do with either scent or dance.
Our second weekly theme was winter. The lessons this week were focused around the season we were entering, as well as the activities we perform during that time of year. The children gained perspective on this topic during our science lesson in which we learned about many of the smells we associate with the season and symbolize this time of year. We, then, made sure to learn about the differences in winters around the world, and how in each country it’s effects are a little different.
The third week of lessons focused on dinosaurs. The students had a great time acting out the evolution and extinction of the dinosaurs and learning the processes involved in the creation of a new species. I was very pleased with their interest and motivation to learn this week. They also acted as paleontologists during our science lesson and practiced excavating fossils.
The final week of lessons was about holidays, and in particular, Christmas and New Years. This was a very fun week for the children, especially during role play when we practiced giving and receiving gifts in the spirit of Christmas. The students also got to experiment with creating their own unique snowflakes made out of borax. It was a wonderful week.
The writing samples included are from our work in our journal. We usually use our journal exercises to expand upon the material we learn during the weekly introduction and make it personally relevant. The topics covered in the samples were Christmas and New Yeas as well as dinosaurs. During the first I had the students try to discuss what they want for Christmas from Santa Claus and what they would do with their gifts. . In the second sample I had the students think of ways in which the human species might evolve to be better adapted to their environment.
I have seen so much improvement over the last month of work, and I am eager to see what the children can do with their new abilities. We have a great path ahead of us.
John Joseph Miller