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December Classroom Updates

Jennifer Stewart | Brevard, NC

Otter and Owl: The two younger classes have had parent and teacher conferences. Both classes are taking opportunities to go out and about with trips to the Library, Care Partners, and Pisgah Center for Wildlife Education. The Kinders went to lend a hand at Bread of Life and will continue to do so once a month for the remainder of the school year. Meanwhile, the children are engaging in classroom activities with a focus on winter and lots of outdoor time. Both classes are learning about Asia. The Owls are moving into a study of China, and the Otters will be studying Thailand. These studies will include reading books on the topic, viewing cultural materials, and doing experiential activities. So far, the Owls have learned about the historical importance of the color yellow to the Imperial Family and the abundance of dragons in Chinese art. The Otters have heard stories about Thailand and learned some Thai expressions. The Owls have also continued their discussions of Fundamental Needs and observed pumpkin seeds growing. The Otter class has had visitors to teach them about caring for birds through the winter and about taking care of trees.

Acorn: The students enjoyed creating their Friendship Stew and sharing it with the other classes before Thanksgiving break. The class has had Parent and Teacher conferences. The class is working to “close out the year,” finishing projects and works, and practicing for performances. They are actively following through on expectations and enjoying the success of a long work period. They will be taking a field trip to TVS to carol and tour the facility with their reading buddies. Some of the Acorns, inspired by the Chinese Acrobats they saw in November, have worked up a performance of their own and will be presenting it to an audience of parents. In literature circle, they are finishing up Tuck Everlasting. The students are busy with SLPs, maps, timelines, spelling, math, and peace journals.

Monarch: The upper elementary class has had their student-led conferences. They are enjoying selling coffee and treats as a fundraiser to support the Sharing House during the Holiday season. They will be doing their Ancient Civilizations culminating projects in the coming weeks. The projects consisted of research, writing, and a visual display. They had a successful field trip to Duck Pond to learn more about the process of “harvesting clay” for use in pottery. They have begun their research and persuasive essays for their SLP topics. They will begin their volunteer hours after the Winter Break. The class is saying goodbye to Sofia, the Guatemalan exchange student that has been with them for 8 weeks. The Monarchs have learned so much from her about Guatemalan culture, history, and everyday life.

Coyote: The middle schoolers have completed their student-led parent and teacher conferences. The students prepared self-assessments and discussed their successes and challenges for the year. They are beginning their unit called “the work of air.” Each student has set a goal of 30 service hours for this year, having had opportunities to visit centers in the town such as Sharing House, El Centro, etc., as well as a meeting with a United Way representative showing ways they could serve the community. Before Thanksgiving, they had a 3-day primitive skills camping experience. The trip included open fire cooking, bow drill fire starting, woodcarving, making homemade arrows, storytelling, and making a debris hut. The students are now reading the book 1493 by Charles C. Mann, taking notes, and participating in class discussion. The book discusses the worldwide impact of European colonization of the Americas post-Columbus.

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