Items filtered by date: November 2014
Friday, 21 November 2014 00:00

November Update

November 21, 2014

This has been a whirlwind of a fall in the Art &Science room. Since the beginning of the year the Older Group has studied the Geology of Ohio, going on field trips to Ohio Caverns near West Liberty, Ohio and the amazing Cedar Bog south of Urbana. They have hiked in the Glen Helen on weekly basis. They have made pottery, sketched on a regular basis and painted ceiling panels which are currently hanging in a show at the Emporium in downtown Yellow Springs. Most recently OG children made “Egg Drop Devices” that were designed to keep eggs from breaking when thrown off the roof. After test the Egg Drop Devices when they enjoyed tasty omelets to celebrate our work.

Younger Group students have also been engaged in many different activities this fall including ceramics, painting, regular sketching, and more. The have worked on chemistry activities, color mixing and lego construction. Like the Older Group, YG children also enjoy a regular, weekly exploration in Glen Helen.

Perhaps it is safe to say that our big focus in YG this year is our exploration of the Yellow Springs community which we are calling, for now, The Yellow Springs Project. I am very pleased to be collaborating with Christine, the YG teacher on this multi-faceted project which contains elements of research, art, writing, hands activities at community sites, and links to related study. As an example, our field trip to WYSO led to an exploration of sound and radio waves and a look at the Electro-magnetic Spectrum. This project will continue throughout the year as we learn about and explore many of the institutions, organizations and businesses that make up our community. Look for an open house about the project in May, 2015.

Tuesday, 18 November 2014 00:00

In the Younger Group - 11/14

Flat Stanley Visits the Younger Group

At the beginning of November the Younger Group was surprised by an exciting piece of mail. A “Flat Stanley” character was mailed to our school! The children read a letter detailing the travel of Stanley - who is visiting all the way from a third grade class in Skaneateles, New York.

The Flat Stanley Project is inspired by a book by Jeff Brown, which tells the adventures of a young boy who accidentally becomes as "flat as a pancake" when a bul-letin board falls on him. Stanley is very flat but other-wise fine. The stories go on to tell of great adventures and even some real advantages to being flat. He can slide under doors, go down into sidewalk grates and even fold himself up small enough to fit into an enve-lope and be mailed to California for an exciting vaca-tion. The Younger Group children were thrilled to find that he had now traveled to the Antioch School.

After reading the letter, gleeful ideas were shared with the group:

"We should take him to the Glen!"

"Let's teach him to ride the unicycle."

"We can make Flat People too!"

"I want to make a Flat Monster!"

"Can we send the children a backdrop to put their Flat People on too? They can play with their paper people after they get our mail!"

"We should tell them Stanley got here."

"Let's read his stories. He'll listen too!"

Children quickly found interest in these different ideas. Plans were made and now we have been carrying out each plan which will ensure a pleasant stay and safe return for Flat Stanley. He joined our hike on Monday-morning and has been reading stories with our full group. Children are creating "backdrops" which can be used for dramatic paper doll play with our Flat People and Monsters.

The Younger Group children have sent a card from Flat Stanley to his class back in New York:

Dear School,

I am having such a good time at the school I am visiting. It is fun!

I went on a hike with the Younger Group. The YG class is who I am visiting. Their names are Merida, Emma, Ryan, Jack, Sophia, Lucy, Ayla, Jonah, Olivia, Antonio, Jackson, Isaac, Violet, and Luca and their teacher is Christine. They are lots of fun!

This class is learning about their village - Yellow Springs. It is in Ohio. They go to places like Current Cuisine and the Yellow Springs Newspaper. They might go to Ha Ha Pizza next. These are all businesses in Yellow Springs.

I am learning to ride the unicycle. The Younger Group (YG) children like to make calendars in math and they love to make up skits and plays. We play lots of games and read good stories.

I'll see you soon!


Flat Stanley

We will wrap up our adventures with Flat Stanley in the upcoming days and mail him back to New York with sto-ries from his travels and paper creations for his loved ones back home to enjoy. If you happen to see a paper-thin, happy child around our school in the next week or so, please say “hello” to him. We are all doing our best to make Flat Stanley feel so very welcome at our school.


Friday, 14 November 2014 00:00

In Kindergarten 11/13

      After finishing color days last week by making two delicious batches of rainbow soup, Kindergartners began this week by making cinnamon applesauce.  The children loved using the peeler, corer, slicer tool on the apples we brought back from our trip to Peifers.  They loved the applesauce, too!

     Kindergartners had a small list of activities they wanted to pursue this week, and the weather cooperated, allowing us to get to most of it.  We brought our guinea pigs, Mocha and Pistachio, outside to graze on Monday.  The children checked for eggs, fed the hens some scraps, and let the chickens out into the garden area to explore.  Now that our newly planted garlic is protected with a temporary fence around the bed, it is safe for the chickens to free range in the main garden areas.

     Indoors the children used the gymnastics mat and started learning how to sew.  We used a pattern that students made last year to begin making stuffed guinea pigs, using a whip stitch.  Several children decided that buttons would make perfect eyes, so learning to sew buttons is our next step.

     On Thursday we walked in our first snowfall to the Antioch College Wellness Center.  Beth Baker gave us a tour of the locker rooms and pool we will soon be using (start date TBD).

     At snack time, after our walk, the children sipped hot or cold cider (snack helpers decided to serve both), ate their sandwiches, and dictated this letter:

Dear Everyone,
Can we have a meeting about jumping off the end of the tunnel?

     After snack I made three copies of the letter, and the children delivered them to the Nursery, Younger Group, and Older Group.  This will be our first whole school meeting of the year.  The children are calling it, after wondering if they can jump off the end of the tunnel.  The old rules for the tunnel, created in a whole school meeting last year, are not sufficient now that the earth hill is over the tunnel.  This question had been raised by Nursery Schoolers this fall.  Ann brought it to Faculty Meeting, but we had yet to find a time for the whole school meeting.  When Kindergartners brought it up today, I suggested they write a letter to the other groups to figure it out.  This is our democracy in action. 


Sunday, 02 November 2014 00:00

In the Nursery:   November 2, 2014

The beginning of the year in the Nursery is so much about learning where you go and when you stop:  physical boundaries inside the school and outside on the play yards, plus listening to boundaries set by friends and their feelings, plus those you set out of your very own feelings.

For the Nursery it begins in the concrete. Physical boundaries are so much an essential part of the program, that the first real thing we do on our first real day is to go around each play yard to touch and see all the trees-that-say-stop so everyone will have a clear understanding of the visual boundaries and their own responsibilities.

Sometime within the first week or so I know that someone will need to get the roll of red tape and put down a line across the Nursery doorway to remind everyone that we all have to have a plan to go out into the hallway. It often becomes a group craft project with scissors and tape, and many people cutting and sticking tape pieces along the threshold.

I also know that sometime later on in the year they will be ready as a group to make a list of their safety rules and plan to use the hallway. This year it has come quite a bit earlier than usual. By the third week in October, after weeks of watching the Kindergarten use the tents and big blocks in the hall outside the Nursery door, they were ready to sit together and make their list of rules.

I know it's a pretty exciting prospect to the Nurseries — to be using the hallway along with the Kindergartners. The Kindergartners are already experienced models after having logged many weeks in the hallway this fall. Once cold weather has set in, it will be great to have the hallway as a sunny place to expand into from the Nursery room.

We've had our first play in our own room on a stage that the afternoon Nurseries built. The dialogue and story was pretty simple. With this first play it was mostly about building the stage (big blocks), deciding on the characters (Ninja Turtles),  gathering the audience (many chairs with one teacher and two Nurseries), and making their costumes (flexible tubes fastened around their bodies). Later on in the year, they may want to use me as a scribe to write down their dialogue and perform for the Kindergartners. We will see.

They loved the Dayton Philharmonic's String Quartet outreach visit! The story in music was a version of "Goldilocks and the Three Bears." Nurseries got to sit with their Younger Group partners. Later that day before morning songs and stories, Orion had the idea to do his own piano performance of "Hot Cross Buns," introducing it to his audience and receiving our applause at the end with a nod of his head. To my amazement  all of the others decided to do performances also. And so we have created a Piano Performance list to post along with Kindergarten Visits and YG Partners.

Halloween tends to be a time of wound-up, tense feelings for Nursery aged children. Even for older children it can be a bit scary. It was one of my favorites as a child and (surprise) one of my least favorites as a teacher. But, actually this Halloween has had a pretty calm and relaxed feel for these children. When a more frenetic energy began building last Friday afternoon (the 31st and cold and rainy), I asked if they would like to clean up early so we could make muffins — and they did!

So Halloween has come and gone and now we are heading into Thanksgiving. They are planning for a cosy Pajama Day sometime after our Color Days that end with Rainbow this coming week. It will be interesting to see if someone thinks of pancakes to go along with the pajamas.

Thank you Deborah, Madhya, and Dirk for coming along and being our drivers for our Peifer's Pumpkin field trip! 


Saturday, 01 November 2014 00:00

In the Nursery - 10/24

There are many children in the Nursery who seem very tied into the changing of the seasons. Looking up and watching the leaves coming down, Nurseries will comment in passing or in wonder, "The leaves are falling, that's why it's fall." With a little wind the hackberry trees make a great display on the Cycle Circle Side. Leaves are turning red, and yellow and orange on the Tire Swing Side. We are waiting for the sugar maples to really start dropping their leaves so they can be raked. For now the children collect them, along with seed heads of various grasses. The red raspberry canes along the garden fence are still a draw for the Nurseries. You can always hope you might find one tucked away. . . .

We've begun to have some chilly days and rainy days and it's interesting to me to see how the children's energy is beginning to shift toward more inside building with big blocks, playing with play dough, or communal drawing at the circle table. So far the constructions are cooperative and by the group. They are shaped as a flat platform, stage or walk way. They often will ask me to write down their words for signs so they can post it on their work: "Don't break or knock down my construction. You can look at it and touch it."

They are experiencing the power of the written word. There was a little group sitting together at the circle table on Monday wondering together — and to me — about how to spell "tap." On my way from here to there I said, "Well listen to how it starts," making the initial consonant sound. On my way back. I saw t-a-p spelled out on a paper in brown marker decorated/illuminated with a bit of yellow and orange. By then the whole group had made a plan with me to go outside and had dispersed to the Cycle Circle Side.

Oh how I wish I had witnessed the group process that finished decoding the word for them. I am in awe of how they were able to take off so naturally into their process and then move on to their next thing. I wonder, why did they want the word "tap?" I love it. Occasional mysteries are good for the soul.

Running games with the Kindergartners, or Younger Groupers, and also among themselves, are still a big focus along with swinging, work in the sand, enjoying the merry-go-round and our new tunnel with its huge grassy hill. (Thank you Liz and Pete Griffin and John Grote!) Getting the trike shed key on the red ribbon from MJ is a big thing for some. Being snack helper. Going down the hall on with a friend to MJ's for snack supplies. Visiting the Kindergarten and studying the list to see who is next. Reading books: The Collected Curious George, Mouse Soup, Where the Wild Things Are, In the Rabbitgarden, Keep Your Mouth Closed Dear, to name a few. Singing songs. Art/Science with Brian. Music with Dennis. Planning for Color Days and anticipating what's next. These are some of their favorite things.

On the morning of Friday, October 24 and one of our many Orange Days, the Nursery will go on a hayride to a Peifer's pumpkin patch. Each Nurseryer will get to pick a pumpkin to take home.


Saturday, 01 November 2014 00:00

In the Younger Group - 10/24


Learning About Our Yellow Springs Community


This fall the Younger Group children have begun a study of our Yellow Springs community. They are interested in local businesses, their services, and the people who live and work in our village. The children have been thinking about what types of places they would like to visit, as well as places that they believe are important for visitors to know about.

During our first discussion of this project, the children immediately decided that they would want to show visi-tors our school, Corner Cone, Glen Helen, the police sta-tion, and the library. As our thinking continued, we real-ized that the local newspaper was a place that held both information and the ability to gather information about local events. We wrote to the Yellow Springs News to see if we could visit to learn about making a newspaper and asking interview questions. Our class was invited for a tour of the office and to meet with a reporter. The chil-dren were fascinated by the idea of type and we learned more about the way newspapers used to be made. We also observed a mock interview, which has informed our own skills when asking questions during other visits and tours around Yellow Springs.

The Younger Group knew that a second source of news and interviews would be at found at Antioch College’s radio station, WYSO. After writing to the radio station and coordinating a trip, the children considered some of the topics they wanted to know more about. The idea of how “on the air” works surfaced during discussion. The field trip to the radio station inspired thinking around sound. The children considered how sound works with our voices and ears in everyday conversation. This made more thinking about "on the air". Through shared thoughts and ideas, we realized that radios and radio towers have something to do with how music and talking can be heard from radio stations like WYSO.

At school, the children discussed and drew their own theories of how radio waves work. During our field trip, WYSO general manager Neenah Ellis, explained how radio waves constantly travel to our devices. We also toured the station, recorded our voices and spent time in the booth with DJ and Antioch School parent Niki Dakota during her show 'Excursions'!

Our community project continued this week with a visit to Current Cuisine. The favorite time during the tour seemed to be fitting half of our class at a time into their large refrigerator! The children also enjoyed decorating cookies and snacking on a few special items prepared for them!

During the preparation for the Current Cuisine visit and during our time in the store, it became evident that the children are interested in not only the wonderful places and resources of our village but in the people who make the businesses run. Each visit some of the important questions the children have asked are: Why did you decide to work here? Why do you want to do this work? How long have you worked here? What ser-vices do people use from your business?

While children work at school they often mention a com-munity member or a place of business that is important to the greater Yellow Springs community. They feel con-nected to the places around our school and have great excitement when learning about each of these busi-nesses. We will learn more about our greater commu-nity and how we as important citizens fit into this com-munity as the year continues.


Quick Contact

If you have questions, would like more information or to schedule a school visit, please use the form below or call  9 3 7 . 7 6 7 . 7 6 4 2.   Our address is 1160 Corry Street, P.O.Box 242, Yellow Springs, Ohio 45387.