December 2019 Class Updates

Daniel Sprinkle | Brevard, NC

The Owls and Otters are wrapping up their studies of Africa as we head into the holiday break. Days are spent hard at work, exploring works in more complex ways and paying attention to the seasonal changes happening around us. As the holidays approach, the Owls and Otter classes (as well as the upper grades) are taking the time to discuss and acknowledge the myriad ways that people celebrate the holiday season, paying special attention to how we can respectfully allow others to celebrate in their own family traditions. In this vein, the Owls have been reading The Gift of Nothing, a story that draws parallels to the song This Little Light of Mine and underscores the spirit of giving – – sharing what one has rather than what one can buy.

Meanwhile, the Kinders have been put to task with a plethora of experiences. Students closed their Africa studies with an open-house style presentation of information they had gathered about the continent, which they shared with parents and teachers. Kinders continue to develop their literacy skills through individual and small group reading instruction, handwriting practice, and by beginning their poetry study last week. All of this, plus the group has continued its exploration into the sport of fishing and is preparing for making gingerbread houses this Friday.

As always, the Acorns did a great job assembling their “Friendship Stew” for our Thanksgiving celebration, which was savored by all in attendance while Mr. Michael completed our tradition by reading Stone Soup aloud to the whole school. The Acorns have been busy with many projects including SLPs for the third graders, hosting and visiting their Reading Buddies at TVS, and participating in their annual tradition of the Read to Feed program, a project through Heifer International that promotes reading while raising funds to provide a family in need with a gift that promotes sustainable agriculture. The Acorns have also been exploring the world of geology and have visited the Asheville Museum of Science where they learned about rocks, minerals, and erosion.

Over the past few weeks, the Monarchs have been working diligently on their research projects, and are currently honing their papers down to their final drafts, with presentations to follow soon after. In addition to research projects, the Monarch class has also hosted two bake sales to raise money for field experiences and The Sharing House’s Christmas Blessing program. More car line coffees are to come before the break! The real excitement for the Monarchs, however, is the preparation for their upcoming trip to the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences. There they will be exploring the Astronomy and Astrophysics Research Lab, the Paleontology Research Lab, and Paleontology Collections.

The Coyotes major project for December has been their annual research projects, which tie into their year-long study of food. While reading The Omnivore’s Dilemma and studying the documentary Food Inc., the Coyotes have each chosen a food and are researching that food’s history, from its origins to its modern-day production. Their studies range from lobster to potatoes, and the students are being tasked with producing an MLA-styled research paper, complete with direct quotes, cited works, and an outline. Discussions around our modern food production systems have been thought provoking and eye opening. Peppered throughout their research work, the Coyotes continue to study the nation of Nigeria, looking at everything from its massive gap in family incomes to its traditional folktales. Finally, the Coyotes are wrapping up their studies of physics and Newton’s Laws of Motions, looking forward to next week’s rocket races to exhibit the third law’s premise of equal and opposite reactive forces.