Updated: Feb 14, 2022
This week was the first time our entire Upper El community was together since 2021 and it felt great! The kids thought it was funny, but we all felt compelled to celebrate this occasion. We kind of like each other. 😍 We were able to share our good vibes with another visiting student. Once again, a team of UE kids greeted our friend at drop-off, gave them a tour of our campus and classroom, and invited them to join in on lessons. We played a fun get-to-know-you version of Pictionary. Everyone drew a picture for their team to guess that represented something about themselves. Our visitor sketched for the winning point - he likes soccer!
In math, we were busy with fractions. We used our Montessori materials to introduce concepts of equivalent fractions, multiplicative identity, least common multiple and greatest common factor. One group researched prime numbers up to 100 using the sieve of Eratosthenes, an ancient algorithm for finding all prime numbers up to any given limit. A highlight of our week was a student-prepared geometry lesson. The week prior, this student spent time researching and preparing materials to teach the class about parallelograms and how to find the perimeter and area. Next week, we will continue to learn from him about how to derive the formula for area of a triangle.
Our weekly news focused on a story about the first all black climbing team scheduled to climb Mt. Everest. Our reading and follow-up work culminated with a news chat. We talked about the lack of access to the sport of climbing/mountaineering due to national park segregation laws that were in place until 1945. We were able to recognize how the upcoming May climb by this team will get the story out about increasing diversity in this sport. This led to a general discussion about what benefits diversity brings to a community, a learning environment and more.
Our project time was focused on wrapping up book reports and working on master class. Everyone is now engaged in the master class process. Students at various stages worked to develop topics and questions for research, find appropriate resources, use individualized graphic organizers to take notes, and put together presentations. We are placing a huge emphasis on the process of this project and the joy of learning about a topic of interest. We’ve had to slow the kids down and reassure them that it’s ok to linger in the learning space. At this stage of development, there can be such a focus on the end game. While we do want to instill responsible attention to deadlines and due dates, we also want students to invest greatly in the process. Next week we will learn from our first “masters”.
Planners went home Friday. The students are encouraged to use them as conversation starters about how they plan and their classwork throughout the week.
Valentine’s Day will be celebrated in UE on Monday, 2/14. Each student chose an “Incognito Amigo” to give a special Valentine’s gift. They all decorated bags to receive any cards and treats that may be exchanged. We will also enjoy a special snack.