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October at GAP School

Yellow Snakes & Green Goblins

English Language Arts with Emily & Julie

In the month of October, the Cardinals, Sparrows, Ravens, and Hawks had the chance to research their birds using field guides! They were able to showcase their discoveries on their “Flock Flag”. In addition, they came up with class slogans and cheers, logos, and words that described the uniqueness of their group. Each Learner drew a representation of their flock bird and signed their name proudly on their flag. As a group they worked together to add facts and decorate each flag.

October has been full of Fall, Halloween, and leafy fun. Kindergarten kids have learned the letter sound and formation for the letters c, t, d, g, l, i, h, and j. We practiced writing in our journals, building the letters with nature, and by doing worksheets and ELA games during rotation stations. Now that we know so many letter sounds, we have started listening to the beginning sounds of words. We have read many fun Halloween and Fall books, including Leaf Man and Room on the Broom. Using these books we have worked on story retelling, sequencing, and rhyming. The Learners had a blast designing their own Leaf Creatures after reading Leaf Man. Lastly, we discussed how to honor our school and made posters to hang around campus as reminders.

In first grade we continued reviewing our letter sound and formations. We practiced writing in our journals. We are also learning sight words and finding the words in the books we read. Then in silly sentences, we decode. We have read many fun Halloween and Fall books, including Leaf Man and Room on the Broom. Using these books we have worked on story retelling, sequencing, and rhyming. The Learners had a blast designing their own leaf creatures and writing stories about the leaf creatures adventures. We are working on beginning, middle, and end sounds, sentence structure, and tapping out the sounds we hear in words. Lastly, we discussed how to honor our school and made posters to hang around campus as reminders.

In second grade we completed all our letter sound and formation review. We continued to practice our handwriting in our journal and have started writing full sentences with details (adjectives). We are still reading The Dragon Defenders and completed our Dragon project where the learners designed a dragon, and wrote about what the dragon liked, has, and can do. They also made trading cards about their favorite character and learned to write descriptives by picking an everyday object from the book and explaining what it is to someone who had never seen one. We are learning to recognize sight words and have started L blend words. We have read many fun Halloween and Fall books, including Leaf Man. The Learners loved designing their own leaf creatures and wrote stories about their adventures. Lastly, we discussed how to honor our school and made posters to hang around campus as reminders.

Learners have been practicing “I notice, I wonder, It reminds me of” observations of during nature journals. In ELA, we put a focus on descriptive writing, labeling, writing complete sentences, copying meta data, sounding out words, and letter formation. Some other things we have touched on in ELA are the differences between fiction and non-fiction by sorting books. We have also practiced reading ‘silly sentences’ in front of the class, finding confidence to speak in front of others, and sounding out words through weird and wacky sentences. Phonemic awareness has continued to be practiced through games. Extra DEAR time has been a surprise treat along with fun games!

Science with Naomi

During the month of October, our Science adventures included getting to know maps and discussing their usefulness in general, and more specifically, for helping our families get to know our unique GAP campus. We chose to focus on a small portion of the campus, the Village, where students spend a good amount of their time during Exploration.

Each child illustrated a play site within the Village, and the illustrations were then compiled into a larger format poster. Identifying the geographical location of each illustration and their spatial relationships with each other was an exercise in cooperation and forming a shared perspective.

We also incorporated the study of trees to our mapmaking effort. Learners were invited to choose a favorite tree to “adopt” and we drew them, had sit spots with them, and researched their characteristics. The location of each child’s tree was also added to our map of the Village.

Math with Kyle

October was a fun month in Math for the Yellow Snakes and Green Goblins!

We started the month off by receiving Western Harvester Ants in the mail. With these insects, we learned many things, such as how many ants there are in the world, and talked about how many zeros are in the number 20 quadrillion (16 zeros!) We also learned that ants can hold up to 20 times their body weight! That would be like a Learner lifting a car over their head!

As we continued the month, we were able to utilize math to create the GAP school map which was on display at the first community day of the school year!

The Cardinals have continued practicing counting and numbers through the use of steps, sticks, calendars, and the school map.

The Sparrows were able to practice skip counting by 2s, 5s, and 10s while working on the GAP school map. We also practiced comparing numbers using “greater than”, “less than”, and “equal to” terminology as well as the >, <, and = symbols.

The Ravens and Hawks rounded numbers to the nearest 10. Then they continued working on the GAP Map. The Hawks even counted the steps from the NEST to Water Chicken Way! It was about 615 steps! To round out the month, we identified odds and evens through playing cards, words, and other math games.

October was a fun and busy month for our Learners. We are looking forward to November and the cooler weather!

Silver Foxes

with Corrie, Tara, and Sarah

Throughout October, the Silver Fox class has been wrapping up their unit on developing the culture of GAP school and of our class in particular. The Silver Foxes are increasingly responsible for shaping the daily experience. For example, Learners are now growing into the role of taking turns as Morning Meeting leaders. Silver Fox Learners met one-on-one with Educators to discuss points of pride and to identify areas in need of growth. This was a useful and meaningful way to close the unit, as we move forward with clear Math, ELA, Social Studies, and Projects goals in mind.

In ELA, the Silver Foxes continued their exploration of riddle poems by studying some written by the poets William Carlos Williams, Emily Dickinson, Richard Wilbur, and Christina Rossetti. They practiced identifying poetry tools like alliteration, imagery, onomatopoeia, similes, metaphors, and symbols. After trying their own hands at riddle poems, fun limericks, and Anglo-Saxon kennings, Learners had the opportunity to share their creations with classmates in return for constructive feedback. Learners were pleased with the final product of their GAP Campus Video Tour, which played during Community Day. The video project provided a perfect chance to follow the process of planning, writing, and revising when the stakes were a little higher than they are for an everyday assignment. Learners have practiced how to form possessive nouns, both singular and plural. They have also had opportunities to “dissect” sentences by diagramming them. This exercise helped Learners to understand how a sentence is made up of subjects and predicates, which can break down further into elements like main verbs, modifiers, and direct objects. Silver Foxes are now adding prepositions to their parts of speech collection, which already includes nouns, verbs, adjectives, and adverbs. Learners continue to study roots and affixes as the building blocks of words. Our reading of Tove Janssons’ The Moomins and the Great Flood invited the Learners to discuss character development and motivation. Everyone is now excited to have dived into the first few chapters of Elise Carbone’s historical fiction novel Blood On the River: Jamestown 1607. This book will dovetail well with our Social Studies units on the Age of Exploration and Virginia history.

In Time Travel Social Studies, Learners have been sampling an array of books about the Age of Exploration, or the early modern period, also known as the Age of Discovery. The focus is on Spanish, French, Portuguese, and English explorers in the New World. Learners are beginning a conversation about the crossroads of cultures – the place where indigenous lifeways intersected with those of European settlers in both conflict and cooperation. The study of Elise Carbone’s Blood On the River: Jamestown 1607 complements this, as it illustrates, with nuance, the interactions between Captain John Smith’s English settlers at Jamestown and the Powhatan people indigenous to the area. Silver Foxes have also learned the who, what, where, when, and why behind the Jamestown settlement.

During Math, Learners explored GAP while collecting data and practicing mathematical operations. Daily lessons begin with a quick warm-up that reviews past and current skills. Lately those questions involve multiplication, division, decimals, and 24 cards. Ask your Learner how these work! Along with practicing math skills, learners worked independently or in groups to investigate an aspect of GAP school more thoroughly. Examples included GAP animal data, September temperatures, macroorganisms at Water Chicken Way, and birthdays. Many learners posted their charts and graphs in the Pavilion at Community Day.

Our full days are about much more than the academic subjects of Brain Blast. In Nature Journals, Learners continue to develop their observational skills as we explore our favorite waterways, fungi, and fire. As always, we practice measurement and metadata collection daily. Lately the electronic microscope has been a favorite tool.

We enjoy free writing and games like Ecologies, Headbands, Prime Climb, and I Saw It First during transitional times in the day. During Exploration, Silver Foxes have been fascinated by foraging and cooking over the open fire. We are excited to continue following the Learners’ interests as we head into winter time at GAP School.

Projects with Adrienne

October Projects were filled with the excitement of our first Community Day of the year here at GAP!

Learners started the month off practicing their hand stitching skills to prepare for our all school project. Some found that their natural ability piqued their interest to continue further in Maker Day with our sewing guest Jennie! Silver Foxes divided into groups, some engineering our playscape bridge repair, others painting the rocks for our "river" scene, and the rest designing fishing poles and felt fish. We wrapped up the month with learning step by step drawings of pumpkins and exploring more uses for markers beyond coloring. We used them in watercolor techniques!

Yellow Snakes and Green Goblins attached words to their fish projects representing GAP Community and Culture, so families could go "fishing" for GAP. Some of our Ravens and Hawks had the chance to make beautiful bags with our sewing guest Jennie! We wrapped the month by exploring art materials further with ripped paper collage, apple paint stamping, and tracing their hands to create fall foliage trees!

All Learners enjoyed practicing drawing spooky characters in class for Halloween and enjoyed incorporating our five minute sketch time at the beginning of class. We are excited to use our sketchbooks more and begin thinking about building our own Projects portfolio.

Knowledge Seekers with Max

During the month of October, our Learners explored a variety of topics to continue to learn about culture. In the beginning of the month, we continued to explore the human relationship to fire. Learners practiced finding tinder and kindling to make small campfires and they reviewed how we will be safe around fires at school, including our new Solo Stove. Learners practiced lighting a fire using fire strikers, practiced safely splitting wood into kindling, identified useful plants for fire building such as spice bush and cedar bark, and discussed the "Triangle of Fire" through the jumping candle flame experiment. We continued to deepen our relationship with fire and our community connections by cooking over the fire. Learners helped make Spice Bush tea, GAP garden soup, and applesauce. Our knowledge seekers wrapped up the month by reviewing our learning routine, "I notice, I wonder, It reminds me of", to explore the forest around school and incorporate the use of field guides to identify trees, fungi, and animal tracks. Every week we continued to play games that encourage our brains to think creatively, be observant, and stretch our thinking.

Music with Rachel

In the month of October we continued to develop our musical talents!

The Silver Foxes learned about how chords are built, reviewed and practiced how to read a chord chart, and continued to work on perfecting tuning our own ukuleles.

The Yellow Snakes & Green Goblins have continued working on our first two chords (the C chord and the F chord) and have played songs together like “Old McDonald Had a Farm”, “Row Row Row Your Boat”, and the “Yellow Submarine” chorus. Our youngest learners are still working on holding their ukulele properly and learning the dexterity and muscle memory of playing chords.

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