~a month of unschool~ peaceworkers, programming, and pancakes

 we have had another wonderful month!

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at ols, we made a collaborative art project in the week leading up to thanksgiving a river quilt, complete with words from each of us expressing what we feel gratitude for in this world. quinn’s is visible on the funky tree piece above: presents. building relationships is the first item on the learning menu at ols, and quinn is really thriving there with the particular group of kids there. he is developing his abilities with being able to do pretend play in a way that is mutually pleasing to all parties involved. he is also getting to work in groups for things like the farmer’s market, a bi-weekly event during which the students utilize the “beluga bucks” currency of the school to buy and sell goods and services with each other. there is math involved of course, but there is oh so much more to it than that!

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we did some candle making, and learned about the first chanukah.

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we studied nelson mandela’s life,  and wrote letters to him after his passing to thank him for fighting for peace. (you can see his picture up on the “peaceworkers wall” behind teacher kelly, in the center photo.)

i led an introductory computer programming unit with the ols kids that involves no actual electronic devices. the lesson uses cup stacking as a model for programming, and students have to program each other (they take turns being a “robot”) to build a stack of a certain configuration. i learned of this curriculum at a conference, and really felt like it was a good way to introduce the concept a programming, that some say almost all of our kids will need to be fluent in.

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teacher bonnie is our new reading specialist at ols, and has been spending every friday with us, working in small reading groups. quinn is really forging ahead with his reading! he also takes teacher bonnie a little more seriously about things like handwriting than he does me. i love that he has so many positive influences on his life. he worked on some perler bead designs this month, hopefully strengthening his handwriting grip (the beads are so tiny you can only use 3 fingers to grab each one).

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in the world of art, quinn has spent more time with clay, glazing being the hot item this month. he also made his dad a fishing lure for his birthday.

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snow is always a learning experience, of course!

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the holidays were full of visits with our pancakes, dinosaur drawing practice (via library books), and b pancake thought quinn’s dinos were so cool, she drew one herself!

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quinn listened to the martin and sylvia advent series from sparkle stories all month long, and had me re-create the card-making scavenger hunt for him one day. it was all made of things i had on hand (stamps, card stock, envelopes, and colored pencils) and yet he had a great time searching for them, and then worked on drawing and handwriting some more!

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battleship and magnatiles were among his favorite games to play this month. he got his very own battleship set for christmas, so he has been having fun playing that with any friend who is willing.

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quinn has fun at after school program, too. one thing we do is a lego game to build communication skills, where one partner has to verbally dictate to the other (who has a matching set of 10-12 pieces) how to build a structure. quinn has a leg up on much older kids, given his keen spatial sense and his articulate vocabulary. he also likes the lego robotics sets, the snap circuits, and occasionally can be seen using the light table to trace magic c’s for handwriting practice. (but only because teacher bonnie asked him to!)

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