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Connecting the Class to the Stars

Janna Carlson | Brevard, NC

This will be a walk through the wild and wonderful world of the Acorn classroom. We start on a Monday morning, it is cold so you are wearing your extra layers; a coat, mittens, that wool hat with a big ball on the top and last but not least a scarf that is longer than you are tall. Now we relaxed, put on our snuggly slippers and walk into the warm classroom. It is time for the Acorns to start our school day with a fresh new work plan which is in need of our name and date beautifully written on top. Here we can start to plan how we want our work period to go. Will a book catch my eye or maybe the new cloud work from the science shelf? The stars are the limit as Ms. Brigid rings the chime and we all still our bodies, silently waiting for the request to tidy up and come to our circle.

During many work periods, we have been engaged in our research papers. As independent Acorns, we have picked our research topic, looked for books from the classroom and local library, and used the information from those resources to write a paper all about the topic selected. At home, we completed a visual representation of that research which has been created to go with our paper that then we shared with the class. This year we explored Astronomy!

Discovering space is fun and exciting as we explore the PARI space center, eat goodies that look like black holes and the surface of a planet and find inspiration during and beyond our school day. This excitement spreads as we create our galaxies, constellation stories and it spills into Art class where we create our own planets. We have the opportunity to share what we have learned and learn from our fellow Acorn as we discover together. We have lessons as a class and in small groups, we explore individual shelf works which all lead to us finding our own inspiration and motivation to explore space and beyond.

Now Acorns, picture a light blue silk handkerchief laying in front of Ms. Brigid then she pulls it away. There sits a large black balloon… so many questions are going through your head as she starts the story of the universe. Pop! Beautiful silver stars sprinkle down into a large glass bowl of crystal clear water. They hit the surface and swirl around, some sinking and others floating at the top. The Universe is full of hope and light as it begins and our journey starts. As Ms. Brigid shares the awe-inspiring universe story you move through the school day, afternoon, weekend, month and so on… looking for the connections. We sit in Art one Tuesday afternoon after a morning of cloud and atmosphere lessons. Ms. Kim is talking about the temperature of the kiln which is around 1,500-2,000 degrees Fahrenheit. A hand pops up, we all wait patiently for them to be called on and share their commit or question. They remind us that a cool star is about the same temperature as the kiln which we had learned in an Acorn research presentation recently. Snapping erupts as Acorns remember and agree with that fact.

We all belong to the universe and all the wisdom it holds. As members of this community, we are here to learn from one another. During our time as Otters or Owls, we begin this journey of learning to love to learn. Through the Acorn and Monarch years, we are further pushed into our growth zone, where the fire and resilience are forged. Finally, we reach our Coyote class and all that work continues to move us closer to the brave individuals who know that we are only one but still we will do something. We are ready to reach the stars because we are brilliantly, rigorously and fiercely prepared for our mighty futures among the stars.

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