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November at GAP School

Yellow Crystals

Math & Science with Noni During the month of November in Math/Science, we kicked off our studies in the world of time measurement and seasonal change. We are looking at the ways that we keep time throughout the year, and trying to get a sense for how long each unit is. Here is a great little poem (author unknown) we are learning to recite.

60 seconds makes a minute,

Put a lot of kindness in it. 60 minutes makes an hour,

Work with all your might and power. 12 bright hours in the day, Time enough to run and play. 12 dark hours in the night, Gives us sleep til morning light. 7 days a week will make, You will learn if aims you take.

4 or 5 weeks makes a month, Learning them is so much fun! 12 long months will make a year - In one of them your birthday, dear! We are reading books about global patterns and how the spatial relationship between the Sun and the earth creates the rhythms of day and night, as well as seasonal changes. These are big ideas, so we are using our bodies as planetary models and talking in big metaphors to envision this. Our Learners continue to practice concepts through the “Place Value Safari” game, farmer/customer scenarios, and number recognition through “number soup”. We are also playing a place value drama circle game, called “I know a Family Strange Indeed” to practice skip counting. Lastly, we are starting a new unit, honing in on our hands as tools and exploring the ways in which they are useful to our everyday lives — especially in the practice of counting and picturing numbers. Interestingly, neurological research has shown that adults that have a mental picture of their hands when they are thinking about numbers have higher aptitudes. Finger awareness (such as being able to identify which finger is being touched with hands behind your back) is key to building this capacity. Thus, we are spending some time getting to know our hands/fingers and learning how they can be helpers in our studies! If your learner comes home with stories about painting fingernails in math class (dry erase marker), it’s true! More to come on this in December.

Social Emotional Learning with Janelle

In November the yellow crystals continued to cultivate our social emotional and self regulation skills. At Water Chicken Way they let their imaginations run wild on rocket ships, forts, mini stores, super scooters, and even a trip to the jungle. These experiences were rich with opportunities to navigate big feelings and chances to talk about how we feel. With support, the yellow crystals are soaring to new levels of understanding their emotions and learning from each other. If you'd like a feeling wheel to incorporate into your home routine please let us know.

We've also turned to the kitchen as a setting to expand our communication, social emotional, fine motor, self regulation, and direction following skills. We've focused on simple low sugar recipes that each of our small groups have chosen themselves. The chickadees worked together to make "zombie" muffins aka - green smoothie muffins in which the star ingredient was spinach. The robins collaborated to make chocolate and vanilla "cupcakes" featuring applesauce and yogurt with the option of beets in the chocolate version. The bluebirds are patiently anticipating whipping up some simple brownies highlighting pumpkin or sweet potato. Collaborating as a group in the kitchen is hard work and these learners are determined to make great things to share with their classmates.

As always we are moving our bodies and encouraging everyone to do what they need for optimal learning and regulation. Some of us our Learners use a body sock, some need to take a walk, some have a cool down space, and others like to draw things out when words are hard to find. Seeing the Yellow Crystals embrace their individual needs for learning is inspiring. We are so excited to watch this group continue to grow.

English Language Arts with Emily

In ELA this November, the Yellow Flock has shown curiosity, excitement, and motivation while studying changes over space and time!

All groups; Robins, Chickadees, and Bluebirds have begun doing hands-on research in answering the question: why did we stop using old technologies? We have observed phone museums and cassette tape recorders. We also researched the printing press & practiced creating a printing system of our own!

Our phone museum was a fun hands-on learning experience where learners looked at a collection of phones and their development through decades. Learners observed the classic rotary phone, a variety of home phones including wall phones, and different cell phones. We spoke about the idea of convenience and how these items served us and developed over time to make our lives easier. And of course, pretending to talk to one another using old phones was an added bonus!

Using a cassette tape recorder has been another exciting hands on activity for the Yellow Crystals. As we learn new cheers, we have decided to record them together! We continue to add on cheers to help us learn onomatopoeias, nouns, the difference between illustrations and photographs & how to summarize a story. After taping introductions of each group, we compared the quality of the tape recorder to the recorder on an iphone. Here, we made observations and continued our conversation about convenience in technology.

After reading about the printing press, the Yellow Crystals put it to the test! Which is faster- writing words and letters by hand OR using stamps to relay a message? We discovered, after finding the correct letters, that a simple press of a letter to a page was indeed quicker than writing on our own.

Each flock started a book study on a series favorite: The Kingdom of Wrenly! This study includes book five: Adventures in Flatfrost. Here, we are observing changes over space and time through summarizing this fictional story. As we read, we repeat our Somebody, Wanted, But, So, Then cheer. This is where we answer the questions of: Who is are our main characters in our story? What do they want? What is their problem? How do they try to solve the problem? Then how is the problem solved?

The Robins group have been working hard in completing a noun packet where they identify, and answer questions of the persons, places, and things within their story. The Robins continue to develop their observations as they practice forming sentences in nature journals. Other activities this group enjoys are high frequency bingo, and word searches that help us learn digraphs & blends!

The Chickadees continue to stay engaged in our book study as we discuss nouns, and summarize as a class. The Chickadees have worked hard to complete nature journals, word searches, and sentence building games.

The Bluebirds continue to find pride in their work as they discuss story summary and nouns as well as identifying letters, their sounds, and formation as they write. We are beginning to explore CVC words through reading and writing!

Silver Stardust & Silver Warriors

Math with Kyle

Math was a blast in the month of November!

In the Sycamore group we practiced the skill of 2x2 addition as well as talking about the importance of lining up math problems to remain neat. We also learned how numbers can make incredible patterns and designs. We started laying the foundation of multiplication through skip counting. The sycamores learned about arrays and how they are everywhere in nature, this allowed them to start learning how to multiply!

Hickory and Willow: also practiced 2x2 addition along with subtraction and multiplication. They enjoyed trying to find the longest possible perimeter with one rubber band on a geoboard. We made a perimeter that was 107 centimeters long! We also practiced breaking the status quo and trying to find solutions to math problems without our “typical” thought process.

Dogwood: We practiced 2x2 multiplication. We learned how certain shapes tile and how some shapes cannot tile. They learned about Polyamonds and the different solutions to the different polyiamonds. We also learned about Fibonacci and how it is in so many places in nature. They loved calculating the numbers in the sequence!

Science with Furn

In Silver Science, November started out food-web-focused. All Silvers learned about trophic levels, producers, primary and secondary consumers, apex predators, food chains, food webs, and energy pyramids. We practiced identifying where familiar flora and fauna fall in an energy pyramid, and how food webs can be disrupted through population changes. Sycamores and Hickories focused on categorizing plants and animals as producers, primary consumers, secondary consumers, or apex predators, and what significance those roles held. Willows and Dogwoods looked a bit deeper into how population changes can cause ripple effects in an ecosystem through graphs of predator and prey animal populations. All groups played game show style food web games in which they hit a buzzer to answer questions as fast as possible and earn their teams points! We finished off this unit with nature journaling GAP food webs. We are sure we’ll be revisiting this topic often.

In the second half of November, we started thinking more about how animals are best adapted to survive. After discussing our previous knowledge of adaptations, we took a little time focusing on an animal we are very familiar with - squirrels - to help create connections between an animal’s needs, and the adaptations they have to meet them. Now that we’ve solidified the main categories of animal needs, each group is beginning to put together an “Adaptation Menu” in which we are categorizing adaptations we know/learn about by their various purposes. This “Adaptation Menu” will come in handy for our upcoming Invent-an-Animal project that all groups have started brainstorming. Each Learner’s animal invention will be designed to be adapted to that animals’ specific habitat and trophic level, and when completed, will be showcased on a Pokemon-style card. We are so excited to get this project started as December rolls in and we continue learning about more adaptations.

English Language Arts with James & Sarah

The Silver Sycamores and Hickories used November to highlight how reading improves over time with practice. Each of your brilliant Learners read and recorded one to four Reading A-Z books each day. This allowed every student to see their own progress during the month. Additionally, each student improved at least one level since August on the reading passage assessment. We will continue this course during December, as we focus on reading words in isolation.

We have completed book 2 of the Wayside School series and have begun the third book. Each book has made us laugh, created vocabulary questions, and provided excellent material for our daily writing. We are seeing much improvement on sentence structure and handwriting.

James would love to meet with each of you to discuss your Learner. Please schedule an appointment at your earliest convenience.

With our newest unit, changes over time and space, Sarah's ELA groups (Dogwood and Willow) have dove into the world of biographies! How do people change over time? We start every class by reading a biography or two about an important person in history, science, and/or civil rights. We love learning this history and social studies content while using the model texts to help us form our own biographies! Willow and Dogwood groups have done ample research on a person of their choice, highlighting key details. These people range from famous authors to rock climbers, football players, scientists, and even record-setting rubik's cube champions!

In preparation for writing these biographies, we have had direct lessons on grammar including the use of apostrophes in contractions. Ask your Learners about the "INVASION OF THE APOSTROPHES!" You can watch this video clip at home on youtube as well. We have also spent time learning about paraphrasing versus plagiarism. Through this skill, we are able to investigate synonyms and antonyms, too. Learning to put things in our own words can feel like a big skill to learn, so we are continuing with these exercises. At home, you could share bits of your own "biographies" and how you have seen changes over time and space!

Emerald Alpacas with Corrie

Throughout the month of November, the Emerald Alpacas began Unit 3: Changes Over Space and Time. Topics that the learners selected to focus on include timelines, the history of technology, and early geological events that formed the universe.

In Math, we learned about positive and negative integers on the number line. In order to practice this skill, the Alpacas created their own number line game using dice and rocks to practice adding and subtracting integers on the number line. Learners are considering how this concept can connect to our design as we will create a timeline presenting B.C.E. and A.D. for Community Night. During English, we focused on characterization in our second novel study groups. Also, we practiced writing routines by using reference materials like dictionaries and thesauruses to enhance our writing.

Knowledge Seekers & Projects with Max and Ryan

The month of November kicked off our next Big Idea; "Changes Over Time and Space" with Learners exploring ideas about people, places, and eras throughout history. Knowledge Seekers dove into an exploration of archery and the historical context of the bow and arrow. We got to shoot some arrows too! When Learners weren't nocking arrows and firing at their targets they were exploring two main ideas: "Where has the use of the bow and arrow existed throughout the world?" and "Is the bow and arrow a form of technology?". We looked at a variety of resources explaining the history of the bow and arrow and historical evidence of its use from around the world, with the exception of Australia. Additionally, we incorporated math skills into our archery shooting. Learners used addition to add up all of their shots, they also tallied their shots on a cumulative board for their flock. Learners had the opportunity to calculate the total score for their whole flock using a combination of multiplication and addition, while other learners took it a step further to calculate averages.

We spent the week before Thanksgiving break focusing on behaviors, attitudes and languages around having a growth mindset. The week was spent completing team building challenges along with scaling the climbing wall. This week also included our annual Tortoise and Hare races. We create a track inside the NEST and track race times for our red footed tortoise and bunny. This year we practiced using growth mindset language to inspire our racers.

Our month wrapped up with Learners starting to practice tracking skills by looking in the mud for animal evidence. We are also starting to create personal timelines that will be shared with our families at the next community day.

Maker Days continue to inspire and challenge our Learners as they work their way through the design process. The combined steps take a lot of effort as they plan their projects, purchase supplies, create multiple iterations with reflections, and settle on a final design. We love to see the creativity that is on display as the Learners keep dreaming big.

In November we saw a lot of clay-work and sewing, some light carpentry, felting, baking, and whittling projects. We always look forward to seeing what our Learners set their minds to next!

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