As we walk through the last days of summer into autumn, we witness the natural world downshifting gears to be ready to rest for winter. The opposite is true inside our classroom where it feels like Spring. Seven new fourth graders joined with nine fifth graders learning to all be one group of Voyagers. I have spent the summer planning and gathering supplies for a fun year of exploration.
The first few weeks of school are spent getting to know each individual student. How far may I push and challenge them, when do they need rest and review, how do they work in a team, what are their strengths, where do they need to learn new concepts? It is a time of constantly watching and listening, setting up games and challenges, moving chairs and rearranging students into new groups. In the last few weeks, I have learned a lot about my new group and feel confident about the new year.
Each month I will share an example of how we are learning our themes this year of World Geography/History and the world of Science with Atoms, Matter, Electricity, Force, Light, and Energy. We are in an interesting learning spot, where my students know how to read, write, and work out simple arithmetic problems. My joy is to show them how to read to understand, write to communicate and calculate to problem solve. How do we take notes to remember the experiments and places we’ve visited? How to we verbally share what we have learned? How can we make use of our school computers to create presentations and email information? It really is exciting.
The students quickly showed me that I could use engineering projects to create projects to introduce these new team concepts. We formed teams to create a free-standing balloon tower, create block towers, and work with apples to discover mass and floating concepts. They started their science journals to write down their progress and results.
The Voyager classroom is full of students who show curiosity, wonder, dedication, hard workmanship, and a desire to learn. I can’t wait to show you each month what we explore, create, and discover
~ Teacher Angie