Skyping with Lithuania

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Today we had a chance to Skype with a classmate that has spent the last year in Lithuania. We got to hear about his school, playing soccer, different kinds of food, and see his apartment. Mostly, we were excited to see his face again, even if it’s on another continent!

Our proximity to Miami University gives our students such incredible exposure to other countries and cultures. We are so fortunate to be able to share this with our students.

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Foot painting

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The nicer weather allows us the opportunity to take enrichment outside. Today we painted—with our feet! We don’t have many photos to share, as the teachers were busy putting paint of the feet of some very eager artists. They worked together to stomp out a fantastic piece of art.

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Mystery Reader: Kate Rousmaniere

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As part of our Read-a-thon, we are being visited by several Mystery Readers. This week we were surprised to find our Reader was Oxford’s Mayor, Kate Rousmaniere! She read our class several books by our current author and illustrator, Dan Yaccarino.

Thank you, Mayor Rousmaniere, for taking time out of your busy schedule to help nurture the love of reading!

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Woodworking kindergarteners

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The art curriculum in kindergarten studio is one that builds throughout the year. Starting with two dimensional drawing, children then explore a variety of three-dimensional art, fiber arts, and then end the year with woodworking. The woodworking unit is placed last intentionally, as children are proving their ability to respectfully manage real tools throughout the year. By spring, they are excited to take this big challenge!

Kindergarteners have spent the last few weeks learning how to use hammers, saws, and hand drills, and are now tacking their first project—a simple sailboat.

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Kicking off the Read-a-Thon!

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Our gnome friend, Reade, visited our classroom today to kick off our annual Read-a-Thon. The Read-a-Thon is a fundraiser for our school library and summer reading books. It works through sponsors; this year, sponsors will give money based on how many minutes a child reads (or is read to) each day. Your child will bring home a booklet to list sponsors and log all those minutes.

After a quick speech from Reade, students met with their partners to spend some time reading together. McGuffey’s Read-a-Thon goal for this year is to read for a collective 1,440 minutes, or one full day!

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Bubble wrap printing

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This week’s art enrichment was an opportunity to turn an everyday item into an art tool. Students painted and printed with bubble wrap, turning an ordinary object into extraordinary art!

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Springtime on the farm (and in our garden)

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Today we were visited by the family of one of our students. They come see us each season to tell us what that time of year is like on their farm. Today they told us all about the babies on the farm—chicks, piglets, and lambs—and how they are preparing the fields for the growing season.

They also helped us vote on what sorts of things we will be growing in our classroom garden. Then each child had a chance to help plant seeds. We’re excited to see what sprouts this spring!

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Ghana

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As we continue our exploration of Africa, we shift our focus to Ghana. Although it is a small country, about twice the size of Ohio, it has many unique characteristics. It is where the well-known kente cloth originated, woven on looms by the Ashanti people, as well as other arts and crafts.

Ghana is home to the Kakum National Park and its canopy walkway, which allows pedestrians a unique view of the rainforest at the canopy level. We were also very excited to discover that Ghana is the world’s second largest producer of cacao!

We will spend this week exploring Ghana with books, photos, artifacts, and games.

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Fish

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This week we continued our exploration of the animal kingdom by discussing fish. We used a fish skeleton to see that they are vertebrates, with a clearly defined backbone. We saw that fins help a fish balance, steer, and stop. We observed metal discs in a jar and watched what happened when we shook the jar. The swirling discs helped explain why fish school, the large mass of activity confusing and intimidating predators.

Students have had the opportunity to explore fish through models, skeletons, puzzles, and books. A student from Lower Elementary loaned us his fish for the week so we could observe at our leisure. Today he came in to tell us a bit more about his fish and answer questions.

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South Africa

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This week we began our exploration of Africa, with our first country being South Africa. We discussed environment, climate, wildlife, music, art, currency, and traditions. We don’t delve into issues of apartheid at this age, but we do say that there are people from all over the world who live in South Africa, and they didn’t always get along. We discuss Nelson Mandela, who was a great peacemaker, which dovetails nicely with our peace curriculum. Our curriculum celebrates our differences, encourages us to be kind, and teaches peaceful and respectful conflict resolution.

We were excited to welcome Andrew Offenburger, a professor of History at Miami who has done a great deal of research on South Africa. He has visited the country several times, and the children were excited to hear about his travels. Thank you for sharing your knowledge with us, Dr. Offenburger!

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