The long awaited 100th day of school came on Wednesday February 15th this year! Leading up to this day the Coyotes meticulously counted each day of school and recorded the number of days in our place value chart next to our calendar. With this practice students learned about bundles of 10 going in the tens place and any number less than 10 being placed in the ones place. Every 10 days when we created a new bundle of straws to represent the days students got to sing and dance to the bundle dance! On the 100th day our celebration obviously had to be bigger as we placed 10 bundles of 10 into the hundredths place and looked back on all the learning we have done this year. As part of our celebration students were encouraged to bring in 100 of something to share or make a memorial 100th day T-shirt. Students brought in collections such as beads, goldfish, corn kernels, lego people heads, nickels, cereal, and even exactly 100 grams of stuffies! With each collection shared, students awed at how big or how little 100 can look. As we continued this momentous day students searched for 100 hershey kisses hiding in the classroom, filled our gratitude jar with 100 pieces of thanks, read 100 books with their reading buddies, and made lego structures using only 100 pieces. There was so much to do on this day that we decided to continue the festivities on the following day so students could learn more about how the number 100 is made, how to count it, and what it might look like if you had 100 cats vs. 100 grains of rice. Students even took time to count every single lego piece in our classroom – 6,504 – using grouping skills of 10s and 100s to make counting easier. Now we are looking forward to all the learning that can be done during the rest of our days in K/1 this year!
In the Coyote classroom students have been working on developing good lunch manners for themselves and as a group. Each time we sit down to lunch students choose a table mate or a few who they think will help them grow as a proper lunch eater. Skills that students are working on include eating their main dish first and then other snacks or treats afterwards, eating over the table or lunch box so crumbs don’t land on the ground, talking to friends at the same lunch table at a conversational voice level, and picking up after themselves when they are finished with their lunch. Teachers hope that setting goals towards gaining these skills can allow for students to fill their tummies properly and feel ready for the rest of the day, keep our classroom tidier and help students take responsibility for their own mess, and help students continue building strong friendships over a calm lunch conversation. To incentivize students to try hard working towards these goals teachers are on the lookout for the tidiest and calmest lunch table each day. As a reward, the tidiest table gets to draw during rest and read aloud. It has been great to see students working towards these goals and peers helping each other through friendly reminders and leading by example.
Love Your Garden Lunch was a success on the TVC! Students cooked a delicious crockpot vegetable soup, dense with potatoes, onions, carrots, and celery that they grew in our school garden. Children marveled at the fact that they had grown these very vegetables from seed last year and now were eating them! We ate the soup in ceramic bowls that children sculpted during art classes at the Teton Arts Council. Eating soup we cooked out of veggies we grew in bowls we made felt extra special! The middle school and second graders came to the Main House to enjoy the soup with us. After eating, they stuck around to help us finish our goal of reading 100 books for the 100th days of school. In addition to lunch, we all wrote stories for the Love Your Garden and Farm Writing Competition. These stories were written in first person from the perspective of the plants and animals at our school. Thank you to Katie Rose, our Farm and Garden director, who’s vision and leadership make events like this possible!
“I wish I had 100 dogs. I don’t want 100 cats.”- Vera
“I wish I had 100 games on my iPad. I don’t want 100 workouts.” – Crosby
“I wish I had 100 beta fish in 100 fish bowls. I don’t want 100 whale poops.” – Iris
“I wish I had 100 puppies snuggling that don’t go poop in my bed. I don’t want 100 sleepovers at school.” – Wilder
“I wish I had 100 ice cream cones with ice cream in them. I don’t want 100 dog poops in my house.” – Callum
“I wish I had 100 cats and dogs. I don’t want 100 mosquito bites.” – Izzy
“I wish I had 100 sleepovers at school. I don’t want 100 pieces of meat.” – Eliza
“I wish I had 100 big snuggly stuffies. I don’t want 100 yucky foods.” – Gillian
“I wish I had 100 wishes and 100 cats. I don’t want 100 mosquitos.” – Pepper
“I wish I had 100 cats. I don’t want 100 cat poops.” – Rhea
“I wish I had 100 puppies that snuggle with me but they don’t make a mess. I don’t want 100 kitties they scratch.” – Ethan
It’s been an exciting couple of weeks for the Huskies! Learning about the opening of the West, multiplication, project lab. While there are a lot of exciting things happening in every subject, the kids have been very proud of themselves for their skip counting. Everyday they are timed as they skip count with the goal of beating their time from the day before and in the past week they have beat many records and showed much improvement in their multiplication.
With love in the air, we spent a lot of time talking about it. We talked about the different types of love, how to love yourself, and how to feel more connected with others. The students explored love with different activities, the most notable of which was asking some of the “36 Questions that Lead to Love” from the New York Times. The Huskies did a wonderful job learning more about themselves and each other in very respectful ways.
February has been chock full of reasons to celebrate! We have had many friends celebrating birthdays, complete with yummy treats melodic renditions of “Happy Birthday” and many treats. We wore rainbow colors, twinned with friends, wore our favorite jerseys, and and collaborated as family groups for spirit week! And to wrap it all up we had our Love Your Garden Lunch with homemade soup and bowls!
One on the highlights from our Valentine’s social emotional learning activities was getting to hear what the kids love about themselves. Here is what Rowan and Charlie Freeze said:
Rowan: “I love how funny I am!”
Charlie Freeze: “I love how I write and how funny I am.”
Two words. Project. Lab.
What is special about this part of our learning day in particular is the unique level of student voice and choice and student autonomy provided in this project-based learning experience. Ms. Carolyn is here to guide and direct towards necessary learning pathways. Otherwise, it’s up to the team to divide, conquer, explore – all in an extended period of time for investigation into an authentic and engaging question. We had two topics that came up during our student-interest brainstorming: Physical Education as an essential component of 4th and 5th grade learning, and the importance of science fairs as an element of the elementary school experience. As you can see here, we came down to a historical even split: 8 for P.E. and 8 for Science Fair. Ask your Misty Mushroom about what happened next…
“What makes Mountain Academy, Mountain Academy?” is a question I hear often from friends, family, and many who wonder what it is that is unique about the education and experience in this Teton Valley school. One of the many unique elements is our place. But, “place” does not just refer to the magic of our surrounding mountains and beauty of the valley itself. “Place” at Mountain Academy means recognizing who we are and what we are a part of and making positive and effective impacts on this place we are a part of. “Hands to Work” is one of the traditions on our campus that gives students the opportunity to do just that. For the month of February, 4th and 5th graders have taken charge of the care & keeping of our campus chickens: food, water, egg retrieval and care, home and nest care, etc… It may be odd, putting young kids in positions of such responsibility, but it is with opportunity that success comes – starting young and small here on the TVC, building leaders one egg at a time!
How many other 4th and 5th grade students have the privilege of walking out their classroom door, to be welcomed into a local business or community center within only a few minutes walk down the road. This has to be one of the more special parts of living, working, and learning in the Teton Valley. Most recently, Misty Mushrooms stepped outside the classroom to spend time at The Valley of the Tetons Library here in Victor. Librarians helped us to locate relevant books, magazines, journals, and newspapers for our Independent and Capstone research projects. We gathered all necessary materials, and made a “Valley of the Tetons” to-go cart in our classroom to help us as we continue on the process of meaningful research. Thank you VTL!
Meaningful learning can be the result of rigorous expectations, and explicit and direct teaching of relevant grade-level concepts. However, real learning, the kind that really sticks, is also the kind that comes from the people who matter: our students. Sometimes it means taking 5 minutes to discuss a really interesting word we found in a book. Sometimes it means researching a question the 5th grade boys have been dying to answer about the science behind the 360 they failed on the slopes this weekend. And sometimes, it comes in the shape of a whole-team dragon drawing competition. Something simple, and silly-seeming on the outside, but with a safe space to freely create, communicate, and develop a plan: you’d be surprised what these Mushrooms can do. Thank you to Remi Archibald for bringing us together for this one. A little competition, and a little teamwork – all positive contributions to the success of us as whole people.