October in our class
Year 1 B students follow their way in learning with more and more confidence and joy. Socially they are integrated almost completely. They almost got rid completely of the silly words or some bad manners. Generally, they are empathic, united, well-mannered, nice, funny and very friendly. It is impressive how they have internalized the language of mindfulness and positive changes occur everyday thanks to this science. Of course English language still has mysteries for many of them who are not native speakers, but otherwise they prove to be so smart, and so multi-intelligent, that it is a pleasure (surpassing the efforts) to teach them and to be with them every day. We are all very lucky! 😉
From Finger Phonics we did phonemes: ch, sh, th and sound/letters: t, i, a. To apply the letters/phonemes we taught, kids played Hangman with words containing those letters.
Writing (then reading): at, sat, sit, pin, pen, pan, sip, piss, pass + sentences: Stop the car. / Fox in the box. / Fish on a dish. / The tooth is big. / The boy is thin/fat. / Cats are cute. / Gabi’s students are very good and smart. / The shop is open. / sheep on s ship. Plus words for colors.
Reading – Stories read to the children and discussed with them included: “Susie and Sam Go Shopping” (about how to go shopping in a supermarket and the items we can buy there); “Susie and Sam at the Zoo” (about taking a bus to go to the zoo, and the animals that kids can see there); “The Tiger Child” (an Indian folk tale, about how cats came to be cats, with comments about another distant culture and religion, India).
Stories that the children were able to read by themselves included: “Go, Go, Go” and “Colorful Eggs”. Unexpected success!
Whenever we have the opportunity, we reinforce the grammar rules: sentence begins with capital and finishes with a full stop. Peoples’ names begin with a capital.
In Maths we have been making 4, 5, 6 out of 2 numbers (ex: 1+3=4 / 2+2=4 / 0+4=4, then: 1+4=5 / 2+3=5 / 0+4=5, etc.). Pairs to 5. Making 10 (1+9, 2+8, 3+7 etc.). Doubles (1+1=…, 2+2=…). One more (ex: 6+1=7; 15+1=16, etc.). Two more (ex: 15+2=17; 28+2=30 etc.).
To help kids understand addition to 10 intuitively, they used Lego blocks, domino pieces, number cards, and the numbers’ line (up to 30).
More than that, kids solved word problems (like the one of making 10 out of three numbers, in different ways) on the bottom of each page (until page 13). They also solved a puzzle with additions and subtractions up to 10.
In Science, kids learned about 3 materials: clay, metal and plastic, and about their properties. They experimented what happens with plastic/plasticine/clay in hot or cold water and clay kept in dry/damp places. Then kids sorted out things made of these 3 different materials and wrote the names of the objects detected to be made out of clay/metal/plastic. Again hands on, kids made 3 different kinds of clay works and stored them to find out what happens to them after 2 weeks (experiment still going on). Last science class, we all went out to look for metal things and register them in a grid. Kids have been very excited about this and learned new words for things made of metal: grid, manhole cover, fence, door handle, etc.
HISTORY & GEOGRAPHY
We continued to explore the ancient universe of Egypt by reading from books about this great civilization, watching a BBC documentary about it (we are at part 2), coloring pictures with Egyptian patterns and characters, dressing up in Egyptian costumes and, finally, at Victor’s suggestion (who discovered this before), we went to see the building housing the Egyptian Embassy in Bucharest, a few blocks away from our school. The funny part of the story: while being outside of the building, talking about Egypt, some employees came out of the building. They looked like Egyptians, but, to the kids’ surprise, they were dressed like Europeans, not like the ones depicted on the walls in the pyramids..!
In Geography, kids enthusiastically followed on the map the way to the Animal Farm and confronted it with the way indicated by GPS, naming the directions with North, South, Est, West. Then we went out in the neighborhood and issued a map of the streets around Verita School.
A tasty orientation class was the one in which kids had to follow a map of the classroom to discover a treasure – some chocolate coins to share then with the team mates. This was a good opportunity to directly understand that one can miss something good if he does not know to use a map! The occasion also served as a lesson of unselfishness for the only kid in our classroom who did not agree to postpone the treasure hunt and to wait for all the classmates to be in school when enjoying finding the golden chocolate coins.
EXPRESSIVE ART & DESIGN
Here is a brief introduction from Georgeta Gherghinoiu, our new art teacher: “I have painted since I was five and I have tried to find out the mystery of teaching since I was eleven.
Probably that’s the reason why I am here today, doing my best in guiding those who are the most creative of us: the children. I’ve graduated from the National University of Arts Bucharest, in the Department of Graphic Arts as well as in the Department of Training for Teaching Personnel (DPPD). For six years I’ve been working in the field of Art Restoration and Conservation, being part of the teams that restored monuments like the Bran Castle (Bran, Brașov), The Episcopal Church Curtea de Arges ( Curtea de Arges) the Stavropoleos Church, the Russian Church, and Coral Temple (Bucharest). Meantime, I’ve been doing art workshops and art summer schools, here, in Romania, but also in Ukraine and USA. I strongly believe that anyone can draw or paint; they just need to be challenged to discover and improve their creativity and imagination”.
– Continue auditioning classical music from different periods of time
– Continue practicing the basic music notations
– Start learning new songs for the WinterFest
I continued with the development of good posture and body movements and I have applied them in an apply trail in which the students climbed, jumped and walked in balance. We did exercises for recognition and guidance in the apply trail and when I was sure that the students are used with the apply trail we did relays against time of the apply trail’s recognition. Afterwards we did exercises for relaxation after effort and breathing exercises. When I was sure that the students were relaxed and ready for new type of exercises I did force development exercises: the candle and move like the animals (bunny, gorilla, bear, scorpion). In the last 5 minutes of the class we had free play time.
TRIPS AND SPECIAL DAYS
Animal Farm – kids observed domestic animals in their habitat, learned about what they eat, what use they are, fed some of them, remembered about the distinction between herbivores, omnivores and carnivores, mammals and birds, etc. Then, for almost 1 hour, kids jumped on the great bouncing mat.
Second field trip (together with Year 1 A): to Piscu village, a potters’ domain 38 km out of Bucharest. There kids learned about the ancient skill of pottery, then they were presented some beautiful specimens of local pottery, watched an old local man working with the potter’s wheel and, finally!, kids took turns in making little clay jugs, cups or dishes on the potter’s wheel. The excitement was really great!
Another special event was the Pajamas party (that actually turned to be a dress up party, including some Halloween costumes). After our kids built a went out of ropes and blankets to escape the witches and bats, we invited kids in Year 1 A to play we us “Wake up”, “Tug-of-War”, “Up-Middle-Down”. Then kids colored creepy pictures and watched some Halloween copy-me songs in which they joined their voices with the singers right away. To stay tuned to Halloween, we all watched “Room on the Broom” (a little film about a kind witch) and we danced on the music of the “Skeleton Dance”. Fun continued in the park where we stayed for about 1 ½ hour and played “The dragons and the Witches” and “Sticluta cu otrava”, to everyone’s amusement. Of course there have also been some jellies and gum candies, plus some spooky pizza…
At the Social Emotional Learning Classes, we continued the core practices of Mindfulness, and then we introduced the “Mindfulness of thoughts concept”, helping children in becoming aware of the dynamic of their thoughts. We used an experiential exercise where we created a thoughts bottle, with glitter being our thoughts and observing how when we are angry or agitated our thoughts look like a tornado while when we take our Mindful Bodies position and breathe calmly, our thoughts do not disappear but they rest peacefully at the bottom of the bottle.
We presented the Kindness concepts and spoke about the coming Dance for Kindness event. We also introduced the concepts of Multiple Intelligences/Smarts (Howard Gardner’s model of 9 types of intelligences), that shows children how we all have strengths and areas to improve and that we can use our strengths to help our community. They each had to draw from a set of cards showing various intelligences and enact in front of the others the type of intelligence that they picked. This way they were made aware of the fact that we all possess all the intelligences in various degrees, that we can improve our abilities in multiple ways, that we can appreciate others for their way of being smart.
We created a Community Brain, a symbol of our diversity, where everyone contributed with their own smart whether that’s Body, Visual, Nature or Friendship Smart.
We read to kids “Tinerete fara batranete si viata fara de moarte”. While reading it, we stopped to understand the old words (which are not in use anymore) and to comment on the events and characters of the story. The children enjoyed the beautiful illustrations of the storybook. We started then to read “Harap Alb”, using the same strategies of deciphering the text. We will soon start also writing in Romanian (and we will surely need a little support from the parents into this, thanks).
WHAT COMES NEXT
Everything and whatever kids will need to know and learn. We are still struggling to help some of our students to speak English fluently, and we still work hard on some kids who have peculiar ways of behaving/learning/coping and who still struggle to focus, relax, be consistent with their jobs and their learning goals. So, it depends very much on what feedback we will have from the kids… One thing is sure: neither teachers nor students get bored in our classroom!
SUPPORTING YOUR CHILD’S LEARNING
And… yes! You can lend a hand! Just making sure you are punctual when you drop/pick the kids in/from school (a good habit for their entire life, actually, and a good way to ease our work in school), you ask them daily about what they did in school, what (who) they enjoyed best, the difficulties they had, you support them a little with their homework and HELP THEM TO REMEMBER TO BRING THEM BACK TO SCHOOL AS INDICATED BY TEACHER, you make some time to read occasionally a bedtime story – all these will make a real difference for the kids and for us, helping to improve their performances. In short, every moment of good quality time you can spend WITH your child is GOLD! Do not miss these moments/times! They will never return, trust me, I know what I am saying.