J is for Jar

With a clipboard in hand, I visited every classroom on Monday morning.  I took  notes and captured photos.  What I witnessed was the Seed’s emergent curriculum in full form, from the tiny toddlers through the 3rd/4th graders.  I observed engaged students, enthusiastic and helpful teachers, and classrooms that invited authentic learning.  Every classroom was alive with the kind of activity we expect at the Seed.  Here’s what I noticed:

•  The Toddler 1s were painting.  Different colors of paper were taped to the table and children wandered over, used daubers to print on the paper, then headed off to other parts of the room.  One little guy proudly posed for a picture with the pile of crayons he’d stacked.

•  I walked into the Toddler 2s to find a teacher and a small group of students adding feathers to a pumpkin to make it into a turkey.  One child sat alone, fully engaged in a book.  Three toddlers successfully used the potty.

• The Early 3s sat in circle voting on the color they wanted to paint their large jellyfish.  The two choices were red and black.  Several voted for pink.  Following the vote, children migrated to an activity of choice, one being printing with jars (it’s J week) using brightly colored paints.  It was a popular table.

• I walked into the Preschool 3s as they finished up snack.  It was impressive to see three-year-olds able to sort out compost from trash, then deposit their plates in the sink for washing.  Later they also dazzled me with their letter recognition.  Their rainforest cave was an adventurous backdrop for their current study.

• In the Preschool 4s, small clipboards were set out in a circle with a pile of “t” pictures in the middle.  The “t” pictures included photos of two classmates whose names begin with “t.”  Children selected a clipboard, chose three pictures and glued them to their alphabet book page.  When one child spontaneously organized the glue stick box, the teacher said thanks for “neatening up” the glue sticks.

•  PreK students were outside when I paid them a visit.  Kids actively watered the garden, excavated buried dinosaurs, and concocted mixtures and plans in the kitchen area.  After experiencing their passion for watering, I can see why their garden is so successful!

•  Math was in progress when I stepped into the K-1.  Pairs of students cooperatively used measuring tapes to determine the length of various body parts.  One boy tenderly measured his partner’s neck, resembling a seasoned tailor respectfully preparing to create a clothing item for his client.

•  The 1st/2nd graders were in circle.  One student assisted the teacher with place value applications incorporated into the date, days of school, and calendar.  Once this was completed, the class shifted their attention to the teacher’s desktop where she pulled up a photo of the latest addition to their collection of animals at home—two pigs.  The kids loved her pig story, that included squealing.

•  My final stop in the 3rd/4th grade classroom revealed children independently engaged in a list of tasks.  A small group sat at a table in deep conversation regarding playground policies.  Several children presented their solutions.  All ideas shared were heard and eventually the meeting was tabled till the next day.  It was time for the idiom of the week.

What I loved most was the quality of teaching and learning—and nobody knew I planned to drop in.  Not bad for a morning’s work.  It’s what we do at the Seed.