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December at GAP School

Green Goblins & Yellow Snakes

English Language Arts with Emily & Julie

In ELA we had fun wrapping up some pretty awesome projects along with getting ready for the holidays!

The Cardinal group was able to complete their final draft of their book: Foxy Bob the Silver Fox which was proudly showcased during community day! As a class we got to read our final copy together and did a celebration dance to acknowledge all of the hard work that was done. Our Cardinals also celebrated completing the lower case alphabet. They are all so proud! We have moved on to 3 letter "CVC words", listening hard for the beginning, middle, and end sounds.

The Sparrow group also completed a book of their own titled: What GAP Will Feel Like in the Winter. Each Learner created an author page where they shared a little more about themselves to their readers. As a class we proudly read our book together as we admired our final product. We are working hard on recognizing beginning, middle, and end sounds and have started learning digraphs (sh, ch, th, wh, and ck). We did a lot of non fiction book reading when learning about what animals do in the winter. We then used our knowledge to write our own books. We read the poem “Over the River” and discussed nouns and adjectives while having a conversation about the meaning of the poem.

The Ravens and Hawks continued to work hard on their skits. This group of Learners did research on the coldest village on earth, Yakutia. The Ravens watched a short documentary on a day in the life of a student who lives in the coldest village in the world. We recorded information and have creatively incorporated it into a skit to present to an audience.

Each Hawk was able to vote on a question they wanted to dive further into. The two questions that were chosen were: Why did people play sports like hockey when they were trying to survive in the winter? and How can we smoke meat and dry fruit for the winter? Both groups have shown a passion for research and creativity as they have worked together on this project.

The Ravens & Hawks have been working hard on R blends and digraphs while also diving into some poetry and discussing use of nouns and adjectives. We did our first non fiction research while learning about what animals do in the winter. We had to pick an animal, find the information in the books, and then organize it into a book. We illustrated the book to display at community day.

Along with writing books and skits, all groups participated in creating holiday cards, nature journaling, and some awesome community day reflecting. We geared up for our winter extravaganza by reading a research book written by former students from the Silver Arrows group last year. Here, we were able to learn about different holidays from around the world and what traditions they participate in. It was inspiring to read from local GAP authors!

Math with Kyle

In Math, we graphed how many layers we wore every day for a week! These graphs were able to be on display at the community day. They turned out marvelous and the Learners showed a lot of perseverance for the weather challenges the graphs displayed. After we finished graphing, we continued working on addition. The Cardinals were able to add up to 10 with the assistance of the unifix cubes. The Sparrows with addition up to 20 or more! And the Hawks/Ravens with 2 digit by 2 digit addition. We have built a lot of confidence and look forward to the new year!

Science with Naomi

December was a time of encapsulating what we learned over the previous weeks. We viewed the healthy colonies of mold that we grew onto fruit and bread over Thanksgiving break, and documented the changes in our nature journals. We treated the Learners to a scavenger hunt, utilizing all they had learned over the many wonderful weeks of fall (with a sweet reward). In preparation for our lantern walk / community day, the kids illustrated, cut and illuminated their favorite fungus with glow in the dark glue (bioluminescence), and they were then pasted onto a collage. We felt wise and proud of our accomplishments as we entered our winter break.

Silver Foxes with Corrie, Sara, & Tara

December was filled with collaboration and purpose for the Silver Foxes from preparing for Community Night to leading the Holiday Extravaganza and even a hike to Kinser’s. Planning for Holiday Extravaganza took many forms like creating a photo booth, baking sugar cookies, choosing books, making playlists, or practicing station speeches.

In Science, we researched constellations and their role as indicators of seasonal change and global location by exploring sky maps, myths, and a constellation locator app. Learners shared their findings by making a set of cards and wood burned constellation ornaments. Meanwhile practicing math skills like operations, unit conversions, and decimals.

During Nature Journals, learners experienced eureka moments as we revisited some favorite nature spots on the property to observe the signs of seasonal change. Examples included discoveries of sprouting acorns, decaying insect exoskeletons, frozen ground water, and the laughing sounds of woodpeckers.

December had the spirit of inquiry in full force in Silver Foxes’ ELA and Social Studies endeavors. Reading, writing, and social studies went hand in hand as Learners concluded their research on many engaging topics. These included the history of candle making, blanket making, shelter making and food preservation, ancient lunar eclipse myths, the role of storytelling in emotional health and community building…just to name a few!

Silver Foxes exercised excellent focus and self-discipline as they revised and edited to publish final drafts of their work, including conscientious source citation. Recent work with parts of speech and sentence structure was useful here! Learners who collaborated on unit projects branched off to write their own research compositions, enriching one another’s learning in the process. Looking forward, third grade Learners will continue practicing solid paragraph composition, while fourth and fifth grade Learners will delve into writing cohesive multi-paragraph compositions.

In word element study, Learners explored the nuanced distinctions between the suffixes -acy, -ism, and -dom and looked at the versatile prefix auto-. As the Silver Foxes wrap up the historical fiction novel Blood On the River: Jamestown 1607, it is time to start Literature Circles. In these groups, Learners will assume roles like Discussion Director, Literary Luminary, and Vocabulary Enricher in order to help one another deepen their understanding of the text. Our current read-aloud book, The Giver by Lois Lowry, exemplifies the genre of speculative fiction, which inspires us to ask intriguing questions about how the “possible” and the “impossible” might intersect. Winter may bring more darkness, but our December has been an enlightening month of both independent and collaborative learning.

Projects with Adrienne

Green Goblins & Yellow Snakes: continued their discussions about light and silhouettes by investigating how layering tissue paper can create different values of transparency. Together we paper macheed our balloon lanterns; messy, fun and beautiful! Some families may have observed them hanging from the lights in the Teen Scene Pavilion during Community Day. We also finished our GAP cave wall project, by recording QR Codes families could scan and listen to learners talk about how GAP prepares for winter. Infusing technology into our art was a big hit! Each student made hand stencils for the wall and sand paper drawings that encapsulated how together we make winter days fun and cozy. Maker Days and daily warm-ups had the holiday spirit in the air for all learner groups, playing a fun drawing game using dice and snowmen, as well as card and ornament making where we could take advantage of practicing spelling. Silver Foxes: continued working on their Community Day projects and installations. Our Silver Fox Learners have shown a new sense of pride in their projects work. Seeing the light and excitement in Silver Foxes eyes while showing off all their hard work at the Community event was a highlight of the month. They should all be so proud of what they created. Thank you for supporting their creativity and showing just as much excitement for their showcases, performances and installations.

Knowledge Seekers with Max

Knowledge Seekers continued our exploration of food preservation by looking at fermentation and dehydration. Learners were invited to consider how microscopic life, such as fungus and bacteria, are active all around us through the "Yeast Experiment". Each flock filled a small amount of yeast and warm water into four empty bottles. Three of the bottles included an additional variable, sugar, stevia, or agave. All of the bottles then had balloons placed over them. Over the course of the day learners were able to observe the balloons inflate (or not) and reflect on the fact that the yeast (a fungus) are giving off gases, mostly carbon dioxide, as they consume the sugars. This experiment is a great opportunity to begin thinking about how life exists all around us even when we can't see it, and by accident, humans have used these organisms to aid in food preservation. Learners then spent a day weighing fruits and adding them to a conventional dehydrator, preparing carrots and cabbage for fermentation using just salt and water. The ferments will be kept in the conference room until ready to sample. The following day we re-weighed the dehydrated fruits to look at how much of the fruit is actually just water and had an opportunity to have a taste test. We also looked at our dehydrated fruits under a digital microscope to observe changes. Learners listened to a podcast about Louis Pasteur to explore his significance to the study of microbiology and vaccines. Did you know? Louis Pasteur created the rabies vaccine!

Our last week of 2022, Learners returned to Kinsers to explore the seasonal changes and hiked through school looking for animal signs such as scat, tracks, or feeding evidence. Our Silver flock began practicing safe whittling skills and reviewed the safety check to be permitted whittling opportunities during exploration in 2023. Our Green and Yellow flock will go through the same practice and safety checks later in January. Learners had an opportunity to revisit skills such as fire by friction with bow drills and cordage making. We spent time around the fire as a community and singing songs as well as making new fire starters out of broken crayons, wood shavings and sawdust. These fire starters are now at all of our campfire locations to help us keep a fire going at school on our cold winter days.

Ukuleles with Rachel

In Ukuleles in December our youngest Learners were practicing chords and songs together. Our more experienced uke players are in full swing working on practicing music that they chose themselves. We have fun singing and playing with our friends!

The Silver Foxes are continuing to practice tuning their ukuleles, learning more about the instrument and how it works.

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