Kindergarten students at The Learning Center Charter School are cooking around the world with teachers Stephanie Wilson and Monica Gatti.
The Kindergarten classroom at the school is based around a Montessori-blend approach which extends the Montessori model from the school’s preschool into their first charter school classroom. Montessori is a method of education that is based on self-directed activity, hands-on learning and collaborative play. Cooking is an important part of the Montessori Method as it allows young students to learn everything from fine motor skills, concentration and measuring as well as an understanding of where food comes from and how it is prepared in different cultures.
This year, Kindergarten teacher, Monica Gatti, is doing a different cooking lesson each month to learn about the world. For North America, the students made popcorn and loved seeing the transformation from kernel to puffed corn. When studying South America, a parent from Brazil joined the class to make Brigadeiros, a gooey chocolate fudge-like treat. For Europe, the class made gingerbread cookies which are traditionally from Germany. Soon a parent from Finland is visiting the class to make a Finnish treat similar to a cinnamon roll called a Korvapuusti.
Gatti says, “Cooking as a class has been so fun. What has been really special is that the students get to learn about the different cultures and heritages their fellow students have. What a great way to learn about the world!”
Sixth through eighth grade math teacher, Jess Stephens goes out of her way to make math approachable to her students at The Learning Center Charter School. Inspired by the book, Teach Like Your Hair’s on Fire by Rafe Esquith, Stephens comes to class everyday prepared to replace her students’ fear of math with trust, positivity and fun.
Each day of the week is a specific theme for these middle school math students at the charter school. In additional to Mindset Mondays, Workout Wednesdays, and Throwback Thursdays, Stephens wears a tutu on Tuesdays.
“I constantly tell my students that they can be anything they want to be and on Tuesdays I want to be a tutu wearing princess,” says Stephens. “My ever changing silly tutu gets kids excited for Tuesday. The silliness increases engagement during class and, in my opinion, makes me more approachable.”
To learn more about math for all ages at The Learning Center Charter School, visit www.naturallygrownkids.org or call (828)835-7240.
Second grade recently took a world tour to see how other countries and cultures celebrate their winter holidays. Students learned about Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, Australia, Germany, Italy, America and Mexico.
The class visited each culture by travel through interactive Google World Maps. They learned about climate, population, took interactive tours of each country, the country’s flag and cultural lifestyle and how each celebrates a winter holiday. Along with virtual tours, interactive activities, books, and writing, the children completed crafts and even did some cooking as it related to the winter holiday celebration.
They had so much fun traveling the world and learning so many interesting facts about holiday celebrations around our world.
First graders have been working on their fairy houses in The Outdoor Learning Center busily since school started this year. Kindergarten, First and Second grade students all have fairy houses. It’s becoming a fairy village!
This ongoing project affords rich educational opportunities for these young students.
Imaginative play, self-directed skill building, sharing spaces and cooperation, engineering and construction, are just some examples. Plus, Ms. Emily is always sure to include science as part of the exploration.
These fairy house may seem like all play . . . but much is being learned in the process!
First grade students at The Learning Center Charter School have recently spent time exploring forces, motion and balance as part of their science curriculum. They have experimented with all the ways force can make objects speed up, slow down or change direction. They have even explored how some forces like magnetism and gravity can act over long distances.
Science teacher, Emily Willey, helped students learn these complex science concepts in a multitude of ways. She has assisted students to make balance butterflies to learn about cantilevered forces, manipulate scales to learn about balance, experiment with leverage by changing the position of weights and more. Willey commented, “Each day I walk into the classroom, students are eager to explain an experience they had of an object moving or not when they applied a force to it. It’s so gratifying to see the excitement over the fact that they know that if they push down on an object and it doesn’t move, that there must also be an upward force acting on it!”
Students finished the unit by making a fun mobile with three to four legs. Students balanced a wooden mobile with different amounts of modeling clay to make the mobile able to spin and balance on a bottle lid. Students were quick to further explore where they could balance their mobiles . . . from their noses to their toes!
“I’ve been a science teacher for many, many years and this is the most exciting project we’ve ever done because the students were in love with creating a toy that could be in motion,” said Willey.
Third graders have been busy learning about heat transfer, conductors and insulators. Here they are seen working through different stations to learn about these science concepts.
First graders recently learned that they would be building fairy houses in The Outdoor Learning Center as part of their science studies. After locating forest resources and ideal locations they created the beginnings of unique homes in the local trees.
Students will be working on this project for several weeks as they troubleshoot building techniques, learn how to use basic tools for secure construction, explore design principles – including incorporation of the golden ratio in their design, and try out some sustainable building techniques such as building out of clay or cob.
Right before Thanksgiving, students in Kindergarten shared a meal of pumpkin bread, applesauce and butter that they made themselves! Delicious!
Students also displayed turkeys that they made at home with family members. Way to go Kindergarten!
First graders have been learning about trees. Part of their studies has included leaf rubbings as a means to learn about tree identification. The fact that these students got to be in The Outdoor Learning Center and our own forest setting made the lesson even more meaningful!
Taking note of the unique colors each species turn in the fall was fun. Sassafras was a favorite because the tree has three different leaf types.