Field Trip!! To Stratford Ecological Center

Stratford Ecological Center is a non-profit educational organic farm and nature preserve just about 30 minutes north of our school, in Deleware, Ohio.

We spent the day there tromping around in the mud, learning about tapping and processing maple syrup. We learned all about it's history and how the Native Americans processed and used it. They cooked it further down into sugar - making it easier to store. 

Learning about the tapping process                                      Cooking syrup in the "sugar shack"

Learning about the tapping process                                      Cooking syrup in the "sugar shack"

We learned all about how to tap the trees and when. And how to cook it down it get that yummy amber syrup we all love to drown our pancakes in. Most importantly how very special these trees are, Sugar Maples only grow here in the Northeastern North America . From Ohio north up into Canada and east to the coast. Very Special and very Yummy!

Lambs!

Lambs!

We also visited all the Springtime babies! Tons of baby goats jumping and bumping around. Climbing all over their Mamas and the llamas! Killer cuteness and many of us wanted to bring one home!

New born calf with her Mama.

New born calf with her Mama.

Also on that very day we visited, a sweet little calf was born in the morning. We saw her an her very protective Mama. We fed the chickens and roosters and taste tested in the greenhouse. Overall it was a pretty awesome farm day field trip! Thank you Stratford Ecological Center!

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What We Did Last Week.... Explorers

The Explorers are our Three Day/Half Day - (Homeschool Hybrid) group.

Hello, Red Oak families!  This week was a short one, but still full of learning and exploration. We got to enjoy the iglu made by the Page Fisher family for a day before the rain dissolved its glue.  We were sad to see it go, but the students had fun playing in it while we could!

We are collecting diaper packs for refugee families here in Columbus and money to send to buy diapers in refugee camps in Serbia, France, and Greece until March 10. We will be making welcome to Columbus cards to include with the diaper packs next week.

The Explorers read the book Teacup and created timelines of their day using analog clock drawings, and finished their I Have a Dream writing.

After time, our next math focus will be addition and subtraction, with multiplication and division for older students. 

In science this week we enjoyed checking in on our bread mold experiment. Many of the groups have begun seeing some changes begin to show.  We enjoyed getting out the magnifying glasses to help in creating our detailed entries in our observation journals.

This week in Material World we journeyed to South Africa. We discussed Nelson Mandela and his role in the country's history. Explorers had the chance to work on a kente cloth weaving, a textile that originated from the Ashanti people of Ghana. 

What We Did Last Week.... Cheetahs and Morning Kittens

Cheetahs are our Five Day/Full Day group and Morning Kittens are our Five Day/Half Day group.

Hello, Red Oak families!  This week was a short one, but still full of learning and exploration.  First thing last we,  we got to enjoy the iglu made by a ROCS family for a day before the rain dissolved its glue.  We were sad to see it go, but the students had fun playing in it and recycling the milk jugs the next day!

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We started collecting diaper packs for refugee families here in Columbus and money to send to buy diapers in refugee camps in Serbia, France, and Greece.  We also started making cards to include with the diaper packs.  Students wrote welcome messages and drew pictures for families new to Columbus.  

In writing we've gone from big picture thinking, like in the I Have A Dream writing, to smaller-scale, concrete examples of ways we can be helpers in our lives.  Students wrote about bringing diapers to school, clearing the table off at home, and playing with little siblings. 

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In reading we started with a biography of Nelson Mandela.  We discussed how he learned from Dr. King, compared and contrasted segregation in the US with apartheid in South Africa, and how Nelson educated his fellow prisoners while he was incarcerated.  One particular part of the book caught the attention of many students.  When Nelson went "underground", and had to wear disguises and sleep in a different place each night.  There was a discussion about what "going underground" really meant, and a few students made the book to book connection that there are three books in our classroom about the Underground Railroad.  They wondered if that was the same kind of thing that Nelson Mandela had to do, so we started exploring the Underground Railroad by reading Henry's Freedom Box, Moses: When Harriet Tubman Led Her People to Freedom, and Barefoot Escape on the Underground Railroad. 

Slavery is a very difficult topic to teach to young children.  In an effort to keep our exploration developmentally appropriate, we will only be reading about the Underground Railroad and the path to freedom it offered.  The students are interested in the helpers, or "stations" along the way, the quilt pattern signals used, and map songs such as Follow the Drinking Gourd. Other songs we have listened to are Swing Low, Sweet Chariot and Wade in the Water, which were instructional songs.  

http://www.harriet-tubman.org/songs-of-the-underground-railroad/

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pw6N_eTZP2U

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4lEV35LNGYc&list=PL7FF4BC2E230C93A0&index=2

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KNMpludVo6g&index=1&list=PL7FF4BC2E230C93A0

In math we continued working on telling time.  Our next focus will be on addition and subtraction number sentences, with multiplication and division for the older students. 

In science this week we enjoyed checking in on our bread mold experiment. Many of the groups have begun seeing some changes begin to show.  We enjoyed getting out the magnifying glasses to help in creating our detailed entries in our observation journals.

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This week in Material World we journeyed to South Africa. We discussed Nelson Mandela and his role in the country's history. Explorers had the chance to work on a kente cloth weaving, a textile that originated from the Ashanti people of Ghana. Cheetahs and Kittens had the opportunity to make a mbira, a African musical instrument, also known as a thumb piano.

Water Filtration

Water Filtration

It was exciting to see that many of our potato pals have begun to sprout roots and are looking and smelling stranger than ever.  We finished up the week by discussing how the continent of Africa is considered part of the developing world.  We learned about how people living in these countries do not have access to affordable clean drinking water.  Students put their engineering design skills to work in creating a device to help filter dirty water into something cleaner.  Student designed their purification system in a solo cup and had a table full of materials to choose from in creating their filter.  After their test was complete they had to think of how they could improve their design to make the water even clearer.  Some students had the chance to rebuild and test their new ideas several times.

The Cheetahs continued to explore Africa with some map skills work which had us identify some of the major biomes and animal life found on the continent. We also worked on strengthening our fine motor muscles with our upside down drawing of our African continent and playing Mancala using tweezers to move pom poms to the different egg carton compartments.

What We Did Last Week.... Explorers

The Explorers are our Three Day/Half Day - (Homeschool Hybrid) group.

The Explorers spent a lot of time at school working on the Kindness Cards this week. Each student got to write in their classmates' cards; some wrote their own messages, some dictated to a teacher, and some simply chose to sign their name.

We continued learning about inventors this week by reading segments of  "What Color Is My World?" by Kareem Abdul-Jabbar.  We learned about different innovations from some lesser known African American inventors. Our first scientist we learned about was Granville T. Woods. We were excited to learned that he was born and raised in right here in Columbus. We learned about how the induction telegraph helped improved the communication and safety of our railway system. The class investigated the engineering design process with our own communication investigation by constructing string telephones.  We tried improving the design by trying out cups made out of different materials, different kinds of string and holding the cups in different ways. We made predictions before each trial and then recorded how well each design worked. We found that shorter string and plastic cups seemed to work the best overall.

The next inventor we explored was Valerie Thomas who designed the illusion transmitter, where she used concave mirrors to create the illusion of 3-D objects. We made thaumatropes which was an early optical toy that was used to create animation.  We had a butterfly on one side of a piece of paper and a jar on the other. When we spun them quickly in appeared as if the butterfly was flying inside the jar!

This week in "Material World" we traveled to Central America and learned about Guatemala.  There was a huge different in the wants and needs of the American family compared to the one from Guatemala.

This week we read The Boy Who Changed the World and Because Amelia Smiled.  Both books explore how individuals' actions can have a profound impact around the world.  The first one is a story that spans multiple generations while the second story covers just about a week's worth of time.  We discussed how each person has the potential to impact so many others, and we talked about ways to have a positive impact at home and at school.  There were lots of book to world and book to self connections going on!

We also listened to an audio recording of Dr. King's I Have a Dream speech while looking at Kadir Nelson's book.  I explained that while the recording quality is different than what we're used to and the speech can be a bit difficult to follow, I wanted the students to hear Dr. King's words in his own voice.  Next week we will be working on pieces of writing about our own dreams to change the world.

In math the Explorers worked on another way to organize numerals, tally marks, and number sentences.  Next week we will begin our study of time as it relates to telling time with clocks and timelines of events. 

In the hallway you can see our gigantic peace parade.  Each student in the school was given the same picture to color.  We talked about ways that we could take what was the same and make it our own, and how many different people's interpretation of a single thing could be so varied.

Our outside time was a muddy as ever!  Many of the students participated in bridge-building to solve the problem of how to get from one side of the mud-pond to the other.  Red Oak students continue to amaze me with their willingness to get dirty while playing-- and learning!-- and it is truly inspiring to see how happy and engaged they are after an hour in the mud!

What We Did Last Week.... Cheetahs and Morning Kittens

Cheetahs are our Five Day/Full Day group and Morning Kittens are our Five Day/Half Day group.

The Kittens and Cheetahs spent a lot of time at school working on the Kindness Cards this week.  At one point we even had an assembly line of kindness going!! Each student got to write in their classmates' cards; some wrote their own messages, some dictated to a teacher, and some simply chose to sign their name.

We continued learning about inventors this week by reading segments of  "What Color Is My World?" by Kareem Abdul-Jabbar.  We learned about different innovations from some lesser known African American inventors. Our first scientist we learned about was Granville T. Woods. We were excited to learned that he was born and raised in right here in Columbus. We learned about how the induction telegraph helped improve the communication and safety of our railway system. The class investigated the engineering design process with our own communication investigation by constructing string telephones.  We tried different improving the design by trying out cups made out of different materials, different kinds of string and holding the cups in different ways. We made predictions before each trial and then recorded how well each design worked. We found that shorter string and plastic cups seemed to work the best overall.

Since we had been studying the telegraph the Cheetahs also learned about the Morse code and sent messages to each other using the dots and dashes.  We used both flashlights and our snap circuit kit and created a buzzer to send the information.

The next inventor the Cheetahs explored was Valerie Thomas who designed the illusion transmitter, where she used concave mirrors to create the illusion of 3-D objects. We made thaumatropes which was an early optical toy that was used to create animation.  We had a butterfly on one side of a piece of paper and a jar on the other. When we spun them quickly in appeared as if the butterfly was flying inside the jar! Some of the Cheetahs even created some 3-Dimensional art using paper and tape.

One of our favorite inventors this week was Alfred Cralle who responsible for the ice cream scoop.  We set up our own classroom ice cream shop where the class decided on the menu and the prices of the items. We used our ice cream play dough to create our sundaes.  The kids took turns being both the consumers and producers.  Each student was given $3.00 to spend and made decisions on how they wanted to spend it.

We also enjoyed learning about Lonnie Johnson who created the Super Soaker. I read the book "WHOOSH" which told the story of Lonnie's journey to success. We then were able to use the invention outside and see how air pressure was used to squirt the water far into the distance.

Our final inventor on the week was Joseph Lee who invented the bread machine. The Cheetahs made their own bread that we were able to sample in the afternoon. While we were waiting on our bread to rise we discovered how that process worked with investigating yeast. We put some yeast in a petri dish with some warm water and sugar and watched it multiple before our eyes using our magnifying glasses. We also put some of the mixture into test tubes and beakers and placed balloons over the opening to capture the carbon dioxide. It was a lot of fun to observe our balloons get bigger throughout the day.

This week in "Material World" we traveled to Central America and learned about Guatemala.  There was a huge different in the wants and needs of the American family compared to the one from Guatemala. Cheetahs and Kittens had the opportunity to also learn about El Salvador, a country the borders Guatemala with a presentation from a student's father. The class especially liked learning about the geography of the area since it involved volcanoes!

Our books for the week included The Boy Who Changed the World and Because Amelia Smiled.  Both books explore how individuals' actions can have a profound impact around the world.  The first one is a story that spans multiple generations while the second story covers just about a week's worth of time.  We discussed how each person has the potential to impact so many others, and we talked about ways to have a positive impact at home and at school.  There were lots of book to world and book to self connections going on!

We continued our study of civil rights by reading We March and Sit-In:  How Four Friends Stood Up by Sitting Down (www.youtube.com/watch?v=kgIMTkmzBck).  These books were about the March on Washington and the Greensboro sit-ins, which we had read about before.  We had so many great book to book connections, and one amazing "notice" from a student: "All the people in the books about Dr. King had hope even when things were bad."

We also listened to an audio recording of Dr. King's I Have a Dream speech while looking at Kadir Nelson's book.  I explained that while the recording quality is different than what we're used to and the speech can be a bit difficult to follow, I wanted the students to hear Dr. King's words in his own voice.  Next week we will be working on pieces of writing about our own dreams to change the world.

In math we continued our work on other way to organize numerals, tally marks, and number sentences.  We also began our study of time as it relates to telling time with clocks and timelines of events. 

In the hallway you can see our gigantic peace parade.  Each student in the school was given the same picture to color.  We talked about ways that we could take what was the same and make it our own, and how many different people's interpretation of a single thing could be so varied. 

Our outside time was a muddy as ever!  Many of the students participated in bridge-building to solve the problem of how to get from one side of the mud-pond to the other.  Red Oak students continue to amaze me with their willingness to get dirty while playing-- and learning!-- and it is truly inspiring to see how happy and engaged they are after an hour in the mud!  We also erupted a mudcano that the students built.  We tried making the lava red, but it turned out pink.  There was a great deal of delight at the eruptions nevertheless!  

Lessons learned from a food drive | Red Oak Community School

Part of our mission at Red Oak Community School is to foster a sense of community both among our students and their families as well as in the greater context of our local and world communities.

Along with the more traditional subjects of reading, writing, math and science, we also value emotional intelligence and are committed to helping our students express their feelings in safe and healthy ways.

One of our projects this fall is a great example of how we provide integrated, real-life, learning experiences here at Red Oak.

It started off with a group discussion the day after the presidential election.

In light of the wide range of emotions swirling around in response to the election, how could we best support our students? 

What was an actionable thing our students could do to?

They could practice choosing love.

Teacher Maureen Alley led the students in a discussion around the topic of Choose Love. When could they choose love?

Here's the repeatable line poem they created together:

After each student shared their idea of when they could choose love, they wrote their response of Choose Love.

From the line "When you get food for people who are hungry, you choose love." the students became interested in doing a food drive to help hungry people in our community have a more enjoyable Thanksgiving.

We chose to gather food for Mid-Ohio Food Bank, a Columbus, Ohio based organization that partners with agencies to provide food to hungry people in central and eastern Ohio.

Students and their families donated canned and boxed food to the food drive as well as gift cards to Lucky's Market and Kroger grocery store

In next phase of the project, our students had the opportunity to work on their math skills as they sorted the food into categories and tallied how much of each item they had.

Other students double checked the tallies and weighed the food.

Over 100 pounds of food was collected as well as $40 in gift cards!

Students got involved with choosing the fresh fruits and vegetables that would be purchased for the food bank with the gift cards.

First, they talked about needs vs. wants. What is a need and what is a want?

Next up, they looked at how they can "eat the rainbow".

Which foods count as rainbow foods (not skittles!)?

What healthy food choices can they make?

 

 

 

The students then broke into groups.

The older students got $20 of play money, a set of ads, and put their reading and math skills to use as they figured out the best way to spend their money to get the most food. 

While they worked, the younger students and Maureen gathered by the board.  They found good deals on rainbow foods and glued them to chart paper.  

After they had a good collection, they talked about how to divide $20 among six people, and each student got two dollars and five quarters while Maureen kept the final two quarters.  

Each student got to choose an item from the list to "buy".  They could buy some items on their own, but sometimes they had to team up to combine their change in order to buy another item.  

At the end of this, Maureen had a shopping list for the fresh fruits and vegetables that would be donated along with the canned and boxed goods that were gathered.

This project is an example of how we integrate learning here at Red Oak.

It was a great opportunity for our students to develop their competence with reading, writing and math, and practice their decision making and collaboration skills, while also helping to feed hungry people in our community.