Why are bees so important?
The first and second grade students were buzzing around the Walden school yard on Friday, September 21st looking for the last evidence of summer. Pollen! With a Q-tip in one hand and a magnifying glass in the other, these bees gathered pollen and learned first hand how bees travel from flower to flower before heading back to the hive to continue the honey making process. Later, inside the classroom using cotton balls and colored chalk, we simulated cross pollination while enjoying the organized chaos of Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov's Flight of the Bumblebee. What a great way to officially end the season of Summer!
No, we're not looking for Carmen Sandiego... Rather, where in the world is Walden? And, where do we live in relation to our school?
These are the questions the 1st and 2nd Grade children were posed with this week during our Fun Friday activity and exploration.
WHY? Maria Montessori believed that a Cosmic Education is necessary for children to develop a foundational sense of perspective. By starting with the whole (universe, galaxy, solar system) and working toward the parts (planet, continent, country, state, town, personal address) the child can begin to understand and conceptualize their place in the world.
WHAT? We started our lessons by reading a powerful, wordless text Looking Down by Steve Jenkins. With each page of the book, the author "zooms in" from space, narrowing in on a child observing a ladybug through a magnifying glass. The story simply illustrates the perspective we are looking to develop within the child's mind. We then explored several quintessential Montessori materials: The story Born With a Bang and the corresponding illustration cards & the Cosmic Nesting Boxes demonstrating Big Picture to Small Part of the universe. The students began to work on their own Cosmic Address booklet. We discussed Cardinal Directions and oriented ourselves in the classroom and on the school playground using a Compass and a Smart Phone version to apply our newfound sense of direction. Students practiced writing their home addresses in proper format. We then located our homes using Google Maps to figure out which direction we each live in relation to Walden and our distance from school.
Scroll down for more photos from our Cosmic Education afternoon...
Today, we explored two different types of Natural Art for our Fall Fun Friday activity. After reading, "The Leaf Man," by Lois Ehlert and "Look What I Did with a Leaf!" by Morteza E. Sohi, the students created their own art using a variety of different types and colors of leaves. The students were inspired to make animals, ocean creatures, pets, trees, etc. While the students finished up their work, we watched several videos demonstrating the Ephemeral artwork of Andy Goldsworthy. We learned that the term Ephemeral means "only happening once" and "short-lived." The artist, Andy Goldsworthy, uses pieces of nature to create beautiful images left in the natural world. We went outside and collected a variety of colors of leaves for our very own Ephemeral art in the school yard playscape. The students were proud to create a ring of rocks and leaves for the rest of the Walden community to enjoy.
School Year 2017-2018
Our first week and a half of school was a successful transition into the school year! Each day began with our Morning Meeting and Morning Message. The students decorated name tags and birthday signs to be used daily in the classroom. Students shared about their summer vacations and started the writing process for the first writing piece. As a class, we gathered together to discuss classroom rules and values of importance to our class community. We learned and practiced routines including Reading workshop transitions, lunch clean up and walking through The Walden School building peacefully. In just one week, the students began to navigate the classroom subject areas using the workplan as a guide. We also met with our Student Learning Community groups across grades 1-8 and began to problem solve Recess challenges. Mrs. Goodwin taught the children about turtles using her expertise from working at The Wetlands Institute in New Jersey.
There is so much more to be learned in the coming weeks, but so far, our new group of first and second graders are off to a great start to the year! Please enjoy the photo album below of a few of our first week activities.
These pictures speak for themselves! Our eggs started hatching today at approximately 3:30 pm when a few teachers who were working in school noticed movement in the incubator. So far, three chicks have slowly pecked their way through the eggshell into our Walden world.