The children in the Meadows (2-3 class) and the Rivers (K-1) class worked in small groups to create dream playgrounds out of natural items. This mini lesson has launched the students Place Based exploration of play. Essential questions that will be explored include, what is play, why is it important and what do we learn from it? Students ideas/designs were inspired by past experiences, imagination, natural materials and a collaborative mindset. The playgrounds included climbing structures, zip and slacklines, obstacle courses, a working pulley, a baseball stadium, a hot tub (which included its own covered wood pile), trampolines and a gondola. When a group was asked about how they were planning on powering their water slide, they shared their hydro-power plans which included a river, dam and a water wheel. A next step in this project includes learning about the 12 different types of play and identifying the types of play played with in our school community.
Meadows students have been busy researching about the osprey and their environmental challenges as part of their collaboration with the Waterway Stage Theatre and ECHO Center in Burlington, Vermont. The students took part in writing their theatrical script, embedding in ideas from research, as well as keeping in mind both lighting and sounds cues. The students chose their roles and begin the rehearsal process. Once the Meadows chose their Waterway play roles they began rehearsing their lines and movements. Students also began designing and creating their props and costumes. Once all those components were in place they began blocking with our contact from the Very Merry Theatre. After many weeks of preparation the Meadows finished creating their props and costumes for their play on the osprey. They practiced blocking and rehearsing their lines, culminating in an all-school dress rehearsal on the Friday before the show!
Over the course of the school year, the Forest (4-6) class has been working on producing a podcast. The class has been working collaboratively to decide on a theme and to understand the intricacies of producing and editing a podcast.
We had an opportunity to sit in on a live recording of Vermont Edition, and meet with Jane Lindholm! This gave us some insight on the direction we wanted to go in, and it allowed us to fine tune the process. The Forest class produced their first podcast just before break. The podcast is called Once Upon a Time and discussed a time or event in history that is of interest of the group. Please sit back and enjoy the show! Keep your eyes peeled for our next podcast on May 3.
The students learned how to identify an animal by using tracks found in the snow. Bob Acabbo, from the USDA Fish and Wildlife Department came in to teach the children how to identify an animal based on the tracks it produces. He taught the children to look for patterns. Does the animal walk in a straight line or does it saunter side to side and how can you tell? Bob taught them how to use the information on the side of the track identification card to easily figure out which animal made each track based on just how they walk.
He also taught the students to look for how the animal moves (large steps, hops, under the snow, etc). He asked them to think about where the tracks were made (near the water, in the woods, etc).
Finally, he showed them other ways to look for signs of animals such as a deer bed or a tree knocked down by a beaver.
This week the Forests prepared and cooked a meal for the Lamoille Community House in Hyde Park. This was the second time the students have provided a meal for people in need. Our first meal was beef stew and homemade bread. This time we prepared some tasty shepard's pie!