Sallys' Blog
Sally Dennis

Sally Dennis

Friday, 27 January 2023 01:53

The OG Economy

The OG Economy

     The focus of our history lessons in the OG this year has been Ohio history, which has also included some general history of the United States. We made it to the American Revolution just after winter break. To help demonstrate the frustration the colonists must have experienced, I started “taxing” the OG with chocolate chip payments (or CCs). The taxes seemed reasonable at first, but soon grew rather outrageous. By the time of the big reveal – the lesson about taxes and colonists and revolution – most children were predictably outraged. They boycotted certain supplies, banded together to protest and plan a revolt, defaced the tax sign, and chanted anti-tax slogans! I thought that, after the lesson, the children would be relieved, eat their chocolate chips, and life in the OG would return to normal. What a surprise when the children eagerly discussed ways to continue paying taxes!

     We now have, what we call, the OG Economy. As a class, we adjusted what is being taxed and how much each item costs. The children get paid for their daily jobs. Some children opened stores. One child has a bank and loans CCs to others who pay them back with interest. Someone else started an advertising agency and gets paid to promote other businesses. Businesses must be registered, and retail space rented or purchased.

     Many children have adjusted their businesses based on demand. We have a small consumer group, so once everyone has purchased a special item, like a “guarder” snake to guard one’s CCs, the demand is gone. Baked goods are always a hit, and Elaina has been accepting payments for baking supplies, kitchen space, and advice. Children keep track of their income and expenditures on a simple form.

     The taxes have bled into nearly every part of our school day. Our math naturally focuses on money, decimals, percent, and unit price. We’ve had countless observations and discussions about capitalism and economic privilege - one of our school microwaves is taxed and the other is free. Children who can afford to can skip the line!  We are constantly discussing the benefits and draw backs, fairness and unfairness, of our system.

     Hand and hand with an economy and the rules and regulations that are part of it, is enforcement of those rules. Thus, a legal system has also been born. We now have a judge and lawyers in the OG. Children file lawsuits and court is in session!

     I’m not sure how much longer the children will run with this or where it will go, but, right now, they are fully immersed. They are in a boom of learning!

Wednesday, 28 September 2022 21:08

OG Beginnings

The children started "packets" last week in the OG. I know many of the children were super excited to get started and talked about them at home (we also call it "folderwork")! In addition to regular lessons and the follow-up work associated with those lessons, the children get weekly packets in math, spelling, and handwriting. The packets have the same basic lay-out and structure each week, so the format is familiar even though the work is different. They get their packets on Monday morning and need to finish them by Friday. Approaches to getting the work done vary a lot! Some children complete one packet all the way through before starting the next one. Some children do one page of each packet each day. Some children try to do everything in one day! Many children are working out what approach works best for them and if they work best alone, with me, or with friends. I write out a to-do list on the white board for the children each morning and I have an official work check-in meeting with each child midway through the week to help organize work, adjust plans, and answer questions. It's pretty cool because, as is consistent throughout the school day, the children have freedom, choice and responsibility within a supported and predictable structure!

We have been looking at U.S. geography and talking about the states - the children especially loved learning about Chef MIMAL! Last week we focused in on Ohio, did a failed experiment intended to demonstrate the impact glaciers had on the geography of Ohio (we have some theories about why it didn't work so we will make adjustments and try it again this week), and read about the Adena and the Hopewell people who lived here. We followed that up with a hike to the small Adena burial mound in the Glen. While there are some much larger mounds and earthworks in the area, we are very lucky to have such a mound that we can walk to and visit! 

Tuesday, 16 October 2018 21:00

The Case of the Krispie Caper

    The Case of the Krispie Caper

     Items have been going missing from the lunchbox of an OG student. “It’s been happening for a while now,” said the child, needing to speak up to be heard over his rumbling belly. “It just took me awhile to figure it out, since I don’t usually know what’s exactly in my lunch until I open it up to eat it.” The child’s suspicion grew daily, though, in direct correlation to his nagging sweet tooth.      

     “It was the day that both the Rice Krispie Treat and the Ritz crackers went missing that really made him want to do something about it,” said his mother. But what to do? The child talked it over with his dad, thinking maybe his dad was simply leaving out his favorite treats. But, no, dad reluctantly admitted that he does not pack only healthy food for his son. I asked the child what he wanted to do and he decided that he should share his woes, rather than his snacks, with the other children. He made a plan to talk with the Younger Group and the Older Group children.  

     The child addressed the group, stating the facts: “Things have been going missing from my lunchbox. It has been going on for awhile now.”

     “What kinds of things?” asked a curious classmate.

     “Always the best things,” replied the hungry child. 

     “Because maybe if we know what’s missing, we might know who’s taking them. You know, if it’s something we know that person really likes,” said the young sleuth.

     “Is that what you want,” asked another child, “to know who’s taking things?”

     “No,” responded the child, “I want whoever is doing this to stop. I just want to eat my lunch. The lunch my dad packs me.”

     Remarkably, that was the whole talk. Short and sweet. The room was quiet for a moment as the children digested the information and the request.  

     We still don’t know who took the treats. But “who done it” isn’t what is important here. One child does not need to be called out and made to feel bad publicly so that another can have his just desserts. Almost two weeks have passed since this issue was brought to the group and nothing else has been taken. The child who brought the issue to the group said what was bothering him. The other children heard what he said, asked for clarification, and honored his request. That takes the cake!

Wednesday, 20 September 2017 19:37

Older Group - Kindergarten Partners

The children were excited to be paired up with Kindergarten partners last week. They enjoyed a special playtime and snack with partners on Thursday afternoon, sat with their partners during our All School Meeting on Friday, and read with partners in the Kindergarten room at the end of the day on Friday. This week they will swim with partners for the first time on Thursday!

Older Group-Kindergarten partnering is a long time tradition at the Antioch School. Many of the Older Group children have strong memories of the OG partners they had as Kindergarteners and are excited to now be on the other end, as the older child, of the partnership. Partnerships connect the two ends of our hallway together. The younger children have someone who knows-the-ropes, someone  big who can touch the bottom of the pool, a big friend who checks in with them and reads with them. But the benefits to the older child are just as substantial. Older Group children are developing the ability to view situations, events, and information from the perspective of others. Developmentally, Kindergarten children are still quite egocentric. And so, even in the most ordinary of interactions with partners, Older Group children are strengthening their use of perspective; they are becoming more empathetic communicators. Plus, it just feels good sometimes to be the big kid! This is a new hat for many children who do not have siblings, or who only have older siblings. But even children who are the oldest in a family grouping find being the older child in a partnership to be a different and unique experience.

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