Scout’s Report: May 2018 For this last edition of Scout’s Report, we’re celebrating where our brave learners are ending their year! You’ll read about some of the project-based learning units and experiences across all grades that fostered deep, immersive learning all year long. Enjoy your summer!
Scout’s Report - May 2018
Collaboration & Hands-on Learning with Outdoor Education
TCS’s Outdoor Education program provides students with hands-on learning opportunities about topics they’re already covering in the classroom including conservation, ecology, and more. Every year, TCS students grade 3 and up take a camping trip to apply these lessons to the outdoor-world and develop collaborative, teambuilding skills along the way. This year, our students went to the following locations: Third Grade: Dauset Trails Nature Center Fourth Grade: St. Simons Island and Cumberland Island Fifth Grade: George L. Smith State Park Middle Grades: Camp Tekoa, NC The camping trips promote exploration, adventure, and an appreciation for nature. Students make connections with the scientific and historical contexts that are naturally integrated in the geographical locations they’re visiting. Our fourth grade classes visited St. Simons Island and Cumberland Island in April. “My favorite memory from my trip was when we learned about the people who used to live on Cumberland Island because I love learning about history,” said TCS fourth grader Peyton. Nurturing our students curiosity about different cultures allows them to gain a better understanding of the world beyond them and helps them to see
themselves in a global context. It also allows them to see how our planet is made up of diverse ecosystems that sustain life and biodiversity around the world. “My favorite memory was dissecting the squid because I think it was just cool seeing inside the animal,” said TCS fourth grader Alix. Similarly, fourth grader Isaiah said, “I really liked when we went to the beach and caught a lot of crabs. We caught a blue crab and one of the other groups caught a blue crab with babies in it!” During their camping trip to St. Simon’s Island, students had ZERO ort, which is defined as any scrap or remainder of food from a meal. This was the first time in TCS history that a fourth grade class nailed it on the first day! “We learned about ort, why it’s bad, and how it wastes money and energy,” said TCS fourth grader Sakani. The class encouraged the rest of the TCS community to accomplish the same goal and decided to present an ort challenge to the entire school. Starting the Monday after Earth Day until the last day of school, fourth graders collected and measured ort everyday for each classroom and office on campus to discover how much waste they can eliminate within their own community.
Scout’s Report - May 2018
Leaders of the Pack: Looking Forward to Eighth Grade Many exciting things are happening for TCS’s first class of eighth graders next year, including a social entrepreneurship capstone, special eighth grade privileges, and more! The expansion marks a special moment in The Children’s School’s history, especially for our Middle Grades students who started their learning journey at TCS as a threeor four-year-old. These students are growing into a group of incredibly talented, compassionate leaders who embody the spirit of childhood, play, and immersive learning on our campus. This year, our Middle Grades participated in a number of impactful project-based learning units including “What Nourishes Me” (focusing on food and water access); “Peace in Conflict” (focusing on social, environmental, and economic crises around the world); and “Investigating Sustainability” (focusing on research and investigative reporting). As we come to the end of the 2017-18 school year, we asked all our current seventh graders to reflect on the successful year and what they’re looking forward to as an eighth grader. What was the most impactful PBL unit of the year and why? Nick: “I think that the World Peace Game PBL was the coolest because it allows you to try and solve world issues while also running your own country.” Zoey: “Investigating Sustainability! This PBL has taught me how to write a well-written essay on a hard topic. I learn so many new things about solar power.”
Walker: “The World Peace Game was very impactful. It changed the way I thought about the world, its problems, and the way people deal with them.” Sydney: “What Nourishes Me was the most impactful because I was not here during it but still learned how things happened through my classmates.” Alex: “I liked the World Peace Game and Refugee Project because they were interactive and fun.” What lessons will you take with you into eighth grade? Lily: “Don’t give up! (unless you are trying to tame a snake and in that case, by all means, give up)” Max: “I will take all the lessons I learned from our PBL units (What Nourishes Me, Investigating Sustainability, World Peace Game, and M.I.T.) because they are important. “ Payton: “Be kind to everyone.” Gio: “I will do things teachers ask of me, and I won’t lose the opportunities that I’m given.” What’s your #1 goal as an eighth grader? Eli: My first goal is to make sure everyone in the school in comfortable. Jeffrey: My #1 goal as an eighth grader is to learn more math. Anders: To bake more amazing chocolate chip cookies. Justin: “My #1 goal as an eighth grader is to improve myself and continue to be a leader.”
Scout’s Report - May 2018
A Year of Curious Learning in our 3’s/4’s Classrooms
Our Early Learning program is led by highly-skilled specialists who work with our three-, four-, and fiveyear olds on developing a sharp skill set at an early age. Our program is play-based so our youngest students make sense of their world and articulate their experiences through play. In 2017, we began using the Reggio Emilia in our 3’s/4’s classrooms. Reggio Emilia is an academic approach that encourages inquiry, question, and curious learning in young students. Troy Byrne, who has taught early learners at TCS for two years, reviews year one of the approach in our 3’s/4’s classrooms and how it’s transforming brave learning at TCS.
Q: How would you describe the beginning of the year vs. end of year in 3’s/4’s? A: The beginning of the year for 3’s/4’s is all about getting the kids used to the structure and the schedule of a normal school day. They are getting to know their new classroom, our materials, and their new friends! The end of the school year goes a lot more smoothly with the kids feeling more comfortable in their play space and taking their cooperative play (solving a problem by working together to achieve a common goal) to new levels. The goal of the whole year is to prepare the kids for the next year in 4’s/5’s. Q: How has Reggio Emilia impacted the curriculum for 3’s/4’s? Was there a change from last year’s curriculum to this year’s? A: We are so excited to have switched over to a Reggio Emilia approach to learning on the Early Learning team! The impact that the new approach has had on our class in particular is very stark. Last year, we had different units planned for each month, and we had several books and activities planned for those themes. It was very structured and purposeful. This year, with the Reggio Emilia approach, we have shared the decision-making with the kids and really involved them in the learning explorations that we have been embarking on. We no longer have units planned for each month, but rather take into consideration the children’s interests in different subjects that come up and let those interests (whatever they may be) guide our learning. It has really been a learning opportunity for both the students and the teachers, because we as teachers get to traverse the unknown with our students.
Q: What developmental/academic benefits have you seen in implementing Reggio Emilia? A: There are definitely clear academic benefits to the Reggio Emilia approach, such as establishing curiosity and eagerness to learn at an early age. Our students come to TCS with a desire to learn about a wealth of new ideas, and it is our job as teachers to nourish that curiosity. If we had stuck with our monthly units, we would be lucky if we sparked the interest of one or two students. With the Reggio approach, we are able to determine the interests of all of our students and explore what we can see they want to know more about. A lot of times, the teachers don’t know a lot about what we are teaching, so the students get to see us learning with them and enjoy obtaining new information. That can be inspiring to a young student and motivate them to inquire more about what they do not know. Knowing that their voices are being heard and their interests explored can really instill a sense of value in the children. If they see themselves as being in control of their own learning, then they are more likely to take risks and really question what they are learning. They take ownership of their education. Q: Share some of your favorite memories! A: One of my favorite memories from this year has been our exploration of bees. Since our big playground is made up of mostly wood and is surrounded by flowers and trees, the kids really got interested in bees and what they do. We brought in a beekeeper to talk about how he takes care of bees and what makes up a beehive, and we even tasted different kinds of honey and took a class vote to determine which was our favorite flavor. We made a chart out of those votes and hung it up for the kids to look at for weeks after. They loved having a visual representation of the class vote and enjoyed showing it to those who came to visit our classroom! From that point on in the year, they really got into comparing numbers and representing them in different ways. Another way that represents how our children have grown is when we measure their height at the beginning of the year and compare it to how tall they’ve grown at the end of the year. They get to help measure their friends with a measuring tape and then their friend measures them. We also weigh them at the beginning and end of the year, and we show them how many more pounds they put on to show how big they’ve grown (because that matters a lot when you’re 3 or 4)!