Have you thought about the power of written words lately? How about the stirring Declaration of Independence, a love letter from someone special, or your favorite book? Maybe you just got the text message you were waiting for? Congress recognized the importance of writing in our personal, professional, and civic lives by declaring a National Day on Writing to celebrate, and all of DES participated on October 20th.
We started our day with a whole-school Quick Write, all of us writing about a place special to us. Every person received a journal and pencil to take home so that the writing magic can continue wherever we are.
Then the third and fourth graders welcomed Gretchen Draper, National Writing Project instructor, and Barry Draper, biologist and nature photographer. The Drapers led us in “Collaboration with Nature”, an integrated outdoor adventure that began with creating nature sculptures and ended with writing about our experience.
We closed our day with a Graffiti Wall at lunch, where all of us were able to add our thoughts about what we like to write about. Our giant poster will be on display in the multi-purpose room for everyone to share.
We are all writers, and we have so much to say! Maybe this week you could chat with your child about some of the ways you use writing in your life. Or better yet, write down one of your family stories together! Write on!
Here we are playing “Boppity Bop Bop Bop” during teambuilding time.
Meet the moose,
and another cow!
DES uses Responsive Classroom as a model to help us achieve our character goals. During the first six weeks of school, we have four important intentions socially.
***Create a climate and tone of warmth and safety.
***Teach the schedule and routines of the school day and our expectations for behavior in each of them.
***Introduce students to the physical environment and materials of the classroom and the school, and teach students how to use and care for them.
***Establish expectations about ways we will learn together in the year ahead.
(Denton and Kriete, The First Six Weeks of School, p. 3-4)
This game was a quick change of pace in our day that helped us to articulate our expectations of how we will treat each other plus the difference between laughing at someone in appropriate and inappropriate ways. Who would guess that a silly game called “Boppity Bop Bop Bop” could be a learning opportunity!
What a day to learn about Antarctica! Looking at icy videos helped to cool our brains at least! Today we had the honor to hear from a former DES student, modeling ROCKS for us in his life. Jim Gealy returned to his beloved school to share his knowledge as well as a clear vision of how to grab hold of opportunities in life.
As part of his graduate studies, Mr. Gealy joined two two-week-long physics expeditions to Antarctica this year.
We know where to find Antarctica.
It was pretty hilarious to see our volunteers dress for below zero weather while we were all sweltering!
Mr. Gealy taught us about the seasons in the Northern and Southern hemispheres.
These are terrible pictures taken in the dark, but you can see we had the opportunity to view videos of traveling to Antarctica, the landscape, the animals, and some of the scientific equipment Mr. Gealy used there. Fascinating!
The sweetest moment of the assembly was during question time. A student asked if Mr. Gealy had seen many polar bears on his trip, and he explained that polar bears are found at the North Pole. A dear kindergartner blurted out in an awestruck voice, “With Santa?”
The most touching moment was when Mr. Gealy showed us his picture of all of DES when he went to school here. He complimented Mrs. Sprague’s cooking too! It makes my “teacher heart” happy to see one of our students thriving as a lifelong learner who remembers our precious DES so fondly.
The fourth graders look forward to corresponding with Mr. Gealy during our literacy unit on Antarctica later this year. All of us look forward to seeing many of our DES graduates return in a similar leadership role, character shining for all to see.
The holidays are a time for thinking of others, and every year the fourth graders vote on a community service project that they feel would bring ROCKS to the larger world around them. This year was a tie, so we did two projects as our holiday party. We made creative cards for our special soldiers in Iraq while we munched on breakfast party foods like baby banana muffins and Clementine oranges.
Then we followed recipes to make three different treats. Our delectable chocolate-dipped marshmallows, Rice Krispie designs, and bags of Muddy Buddies filled twenty-five plates to top off the holiday baskets for a local food pantry’s clients.
Skyping to soldiers in Baghdad made Veterans’ Day absolutely amazing! DES really ROCKed as we shared our patriotic presentation with people who are protecting our country right now. We also loved participating in preparing care packages to mail over to our soldiers. Thank you, veterans!
We want to be leaders in this wonderful world of ours,
so we grab every OPPORTUNITY to build our leadership skills.
Here we are with our kindergarten friends
creating cards for men and women serving overseas.
Need spelling help? Need help with your supplies?
Fourth graders to the rescue!
Then we headed out to our DES sign to plant daffodil bulbs.
Surely your teacher once said to you, “Put your thinking cap on for this one!” This year at DES, we are ALL putting on our thinking caps whenever we tackle a challenging problem. We are also pushing ourselves to work independently, using our own strategies.
So whenever you walk by our room and see the hats on, you’ll know we are tenaciously engaged in our work. KNOWLEDGE, here we come!