On November 7, K-1 students participated in Election Day by voting on a special drink for snack. The choices were apple juice, grape juice, and lemonade. On Monday, students practiced filling in ballots and learned about the voting process. On Election Day, Diane (the Lower School Assistant) came into K-1 to run a polling station in the Pond Habitat. Each student was able to cast a ballot and get an “I Voted” sticker. At noon, we had a K-1 general meeting to tally the votes and discuss how to win and lose appropriately to make the whole community feel good. The race was tight, but in the end lemonade won. On Wednesday, students were offered lemonade to have with snack.
Welcome to the Lower School section of the Waynflete Wire, where you will find snapshots of day to day in the Lower School. I hope that through these glimpses you will see how your children engage with the program, one another, in the community, and in their learning. These snapshots aim to exemplify how our school’s mission comes to life in their lives. Enjoy!
Math Lunch is an opportunity for students who are interested in mathematics to get together with other math enthusiasts to work on math challenges. Most 2-3 and 4-5 students have participated in a math lunch over the past three weeks. Lower School Director Anne Hopkins, Math Department Chair Lisa Kramer, 2-3 Learning Specialist Heather Tanguay, and all 2-3 and 4-5 advisors have supported the Math Lunch program and participated in the numeracy fun.
Math Lunch problems are designed to be accessible to all students (i.e., it is important that everyone who is interested in participating is able to understand the problem of the day). At the same time, we choose problems that allow for extension and challenge for students who have stronger number sense and computational fluency. Pebble Math required students to place “pebbles” within five zones whereby the sum of each two adjacent zones was a given number. Pebble Math encourages students to solve the problem using actual pebbles—in our case, mini pasta shells—allowing for quick engagement with the work. Most children worked with a guess-and-check approach, placing a few pebbles in a zone and then adjusting as the numbers indicated. Students immediately started noticing patterns, developing theories, and making predictions based on experimentation. Pebble Math was a big hit in 2-3.
We recently introduced 4-5 Math Lunch students to Ken-Ken, a popular Japanese arithmetic/logic puzzle that was designed to be an instruction-free opportunity for problem solving. Ken Ken problems can be found in many newspapers alongside the Sudoku and Crossword puzzles as well as on the Ken Ken website. Ken Ken problems are leveled by size and difficulty, allowing children lots of opportunities for fun and challenge.
In 4-5 studio class with art teacher Chloe Horie, the students have been talking about how form can match function in pottery: how the shape a pot takes mirrors the way the pot is used. This study happened in conjunction with the local food thematic study. Every student picked a food and created a pot specifically for serving that dish. During the study they looked at the work of local potters Kari Radasch and Ayumi Horie, both who grew up in Maine and have returned to make and sell their pots in Portland.
Among the 4-5 pieces one student created a pancake dish made in the shape of a turtle. When syrup is poured into the mouth of the turtle it travels down the neck and onto the pancake. Another student made a dish for strawberries in the shape of a strawberry. The berries sit in individual compartments at the bottom of the dish and there is a compartment for chocolate sauce or any other substance for dipping! Another student made a mug with a compartment underneath in which cookies can warm.
This art unit encouraged students to consider differently and more critically objects that they interact with every day. Like their local food unit taught them to consider closely the life of foods that they eat and enjoy every day, the pottery unit asked them to consider the artful way form supports function in dishes they use every day. Chloe hopes that students have a new appreciation for the way in which the form and function interact with pots and that students will consider creating more works with specific functions in mind.
Down the hill from the Lower School classrooms in the Piney Village is the magical outdoor playspace called The Piney Woods. The Piney Woods one of the locations EC-5 children enjoy recess together. Beneath the towering pines and among the historical granite slabs, the children negotiate stumps, collect pine cones, arrange sticks, mix mud, grind rocks, jump and run and play. This is the kind of space where true imaginative play can happen and when play and learning is inextricably intertwined.
Last week I was invited for a meal or an overnight stay in the Piney Woods. A group of 2-3 students had arranged found-resources to create an avenue of options for restaurants and hotels along the bases of trees at the edge of the woods. They had created a shared vision for their city, engaged in collecting and sharing the resources for the building design, and created an inclusive activity of role playing that required negotiation and compromise.