Dear Multi-Age Families,
Thank you all for the wonderful conferences last week. It's such a pleasure to share how proud we are of your children. It's our goal to make their learning visible to you and we enjoyed the conversations we had with you immensely.
We've had quite the busy week! More reading, writing, preparing for our big Post Office opening, and celebrating Black History Month with a special jazz assembly. Check out some of the highlights:
This past Tuesday we had the privilege of seeing members from The Los Angeles Jazz Society play music for us and share their "jazz in schools" program. We learned about the origins of jazz and some of the most influential pioneers of the music genre. The children were completely engaged in the presentation and super excited about what they learned.
Presenting Our Work To One Another:
A big part of project-based learning with children is that they have an opportunity to present their work to one another and collect reflections, feedback, and wonderings about their process and final product. Before opening day of The Oak Leaf Post Office, each committee shared with the whole class how they contributed to the project and observations, brainstorming, and problem solving they encountered along the way. Here are some student reflections that were made:
Ava, Asha, North, Sam
We had to hammer a lot to make the two walls and we had to saw a bunch of wood to make the boards-Asha
So we did a lot of hammering and we took thicker wood and thinner pieces and we glued them together-Ava
We had to measure where the post office was going, we used paper to measure the space-Sam
It fit five people comfortably-North
Roof and Door Committee
Jude, Leo, Clyde, Obi
We had talked about putting up a door but it didn’t really work out instead we are making beaded strings; we will hang them where the door was supposed to go-Leo
We also helped support the structure committee-Obi
Princeton, Christian, Freddy, Roxy
We tried to make planter boxes but that didn’t work-Christian / Basically when we tried to we turned it into something else-Princeton
We added leaves-Princeton
We painted the wall and I got really good at it because I mixed dark green and light green together-Freddy
Cameron, Nora, Una
This took a long time to make it, we had to do about three drafts. It was really fun because we each got to do an equal amount of things. One of my favorite parts was that the sign was too big so we had to saw some of the side off. Luckily what we sawed off was a mess up-Cameron
This was not the original design. After our third draft Cameron had the idea for the clouds. The acorn and the words were supposed to be on the white part, we messed up and then changed where the words went-Nora
Do you see how the leaves have the blotting on it? I accidentally ripped a piece and it fell on the sign. Then I dabbed it on the trees to make this pretty texture-Cameron
We had to use like 100 coats of the white paint-Nora
First I was going to do the mascot but I forgot so I worked on the sign on the front-Una
Chairs and Stools Committee
Rocco, Ruby, North, Asher, Viggo
I wanted to make a stool because if people couldn’t reach people could use it. I had to glue it together and then paint it. First I had to cut the wood. I looked on the computer for examples of stools and then I made a blueprint-Ruby
We looked on the computer for different chairs, we ended up making the same sides of the chairs. We made a blueprint, sawed, nailed, glued and painted—chair committee
The first thing we worked on was the headbands. At first we had to plan and choose badges, the headband is elastic and has Velcro. We sewed the Velcro on by hand we made three sizes, s, m, l—Stella
We used a pencil and made a line where we had to sew. We also had to sew the top of the shoulder together. We used a jar with buttons and found four of the same and added the buttons. We hand sewed most for our stuff-Kate and Eli
We hand sewed a lot of the bags, we then used the sewing machine over the hand sewing and basically we sewed it inside out and turned it right side out because the inside of the bag showed the threading. We sewed the handles on last. The bags are for when people want to pick up or deliver the letters-Ruby Fern
It took a while to sew the bags-Avery
We made a drawing first and then we went up to the Art Studio and grabbed the fabric and markers-Bells and Sofia
We messed up a lot but kept going. When I made the actual drawing I was also thinking about the hole—Oscar and Frisco
We have been taking pictures of all the committee and we are posting them so everyone knows what the groups have been doing, finding out what you are doing and printing out photos—Logan
We practiced making the doorbell, outing the circuit together and taking it apart–Olympia
We took a long time to build the money collector. We worked really hard-Lilia
We fist built our ideas out in blocks before we started with the wood-Paloma
It is a letter sorter to pity the letters in–Lila
There are two kinds of letters-Oliver
After months of work, our children were finally able to share with their families all of their hard work. This morning they sold stamps to their grownups and wrote letters to friends and family! Thank you for coming in to share this important day with us! The children are learning about counting by 5's and 10's, making change and counting their earnings. Happy Letter Writing!
Our field trip to the Santa Monica Water Treatment and Recycling Plant is on Tuesday, February 9. Please make sure your child wears an Oaks shirt and sneakers, and packs a lunch and water bottle. Please make sure you are at school by 8:30am! Thanks.
Have a wonderful weekend!
The MA Team
Post Office Opening February 5th!
The Oaks Leaf Post Office is almost ready! Over the next two weeks the children will be putting on the finishing touches, making signature stamps and finishing up the assembly of the structure! February 5th is our Opening Day. Parents are welcome to come in at 8:30am and after assembly to buy stamps and write letters. Stamps are 5 cents each. Please bring change!
OUR WATER STUDY
After taking a break to work on planning, building and executing The Oaks Leaf Post Office, the Multi-Age is diving back into our Water study with a field trip to the Santa Monica Urban Runoff Recycling Facility (S.M.U.R.R.F)!
On Tuesday, February 9th, we are off to S.M.U.R.R.F. This facility is a unique collaboration among artists, engineers and the city public works. In addition to providing a valuable alternative source of water for Southern California residents, the project is a showcase of how a public facility can be used to educate the public and enhance community pride. Nearby is a beautiful park, Tongva Park, where we plan to spend some time observing and drawing how city planners consider and integrate water in their planning of public spaces.
Upcoming Dates To Remember:
Parent Teacher Conferences- January 28 and 29
All-Day Childcare will be provided please sign up if needed.
Valentines Day is coming! The children have already started talking about Valentine's Day. Due to the fact that it falls on a Sunday, we will celebrate it on Thursday February 11. If your child would like to make valentines to bring in to the class, we ask that they make one for each child in their homeroom. (They can also make valentines for other children as well). Please do not feel obligated to make any valentines, as it is optional. Small treats are okay but we will ask the children not to eat the treats at school and will leave that up to your discretion. Cards will be given out at the end of the day to be opened at home.
No School - Feb. 12--Teacher Professional Day
No School - Feb. 15-President's Day
Our Multi-Age Material Library
What is a Materials Library?
In the Multi-Age Classroom the children have been working together to build a Materials Library. A materials library is a curated, storage space of donated, recycled, found objects to be used as an integral component of learning. These objects are used with intention and purpose, either initiated by the children, the teacher or in collaboration. Our Multi-Age Materials Library was built and organized by the children. We thank all families who were able to donate recycled objects and are so excited to see the role these objects will play in the children's learning.
Building the Library
Sorting, Storing and Labeling The Recycled Materials
The Finished Product
Once all the work was finished we asked the children, "What do you think we could do with these materials?"
Build stuff —Oscar
Instead of throwing them away do a lot of projects —Olympia
I think the plan was to make a mural out of it —Logan
Make a collage —RubyFern
Things that you can use for your puppet -Stella
We could use the material library for a project we are working on—we could look for things and see what we could use —Cameron
Lets say we were building with blocks or magnet tiles we could add onto our buildings -Asha
Art projects -Eddie
A little robot -Christian
The Opening of the Materials Library: Making Curricular Connections
During Our recent field trip to The UCLA Sculpture Garden, we observed how interested the children were in the various sculptures. They couldn't stop talking about trying to build the sculptures they were seeing. Discussions around material choices, size and perspective were hot topics as the children looked slowly at the works of art surrounding them.
In order to work with the children to use and care for the library, we decided to connect our recent field trip to the UCLA Sculpture Garden to our Materials Library by asking the children the following question:
Over the next two weeks the children will work in small groups in order to explore this question and learn how to care for and use the library as part of their learning.
Come on in and see what great work they have done!
* Currently we are over-flowing with donations. Thank you so much. We do not have room for anymore donations at this moment but we will send an email out as supplies begin to dwindle. Thank you for all of your support!
Despite the rain, the long hours spent inside, and the energy that goes into recalibrating to the school routine, the first week back in Multi-Age has been a happy and busy one. It has been a joy to welcome the children back and watch them reacquaint with their friends. Moreover, we are all impressed with how ready everyone has been to get back to work.
Specials' groups have been moved around to provide the children with new friends to work with, and the newly named Ocean, Reservoir, Lake, and River groups, seem to have hit the floor running. It's the children - as normal - who are keeping their teachers on track.
Puppet Talk with Dana has begun, and groups will be running all the way until the end of April. Dana gives the children the opportunity to develop their own puppet character, imbuing their creations with a 'puppetality' all of their own. The work that is done on character and feeling during these sessions is especially helpful to the reading and writing work we do in class.
On January 28th and 29th we will be holding Parent-Teacher conferences. An email will be sent out soon about sign-up spots for these days, so be on the look out for that! Other dates of note are: Martin Luther King Jr. Day, which will be on January 18th, and Global Grove on January 22nd.
Finally, as we enter the new year, please be reminded that safety is a top priority at school. There have been reports of students climbing on stair railings and jumping down stair cases both inside and outside. If you witness these activities, please help us remind students that it is not safe and not allowed at school.
Have a great weekend!
Records for the largest ever field trip may have been broken yesterday, as Multi-age, fourth, and fifth grades embarked on a trip across town to UCLA. While there, we were able to study the weaving exhibit at the Fowler museum, and then have a go at weaving all on our own. There was also the opportunity to enjoy the Franklin D. Murphy Sculpture Garden, a world renowned site of outdoor art that included Miros, Matisses and Rodins.
Emphasis was placed upon how we look at art, and how the experience (and the art itself) can change depending on all sorts of factors. For example, where we stood, what the light and weather was like, whether we were indoors or outdoors, and how long some art had been exposed to the elements. It was wonderful to see several different age-groups interact with such warmth and friendship, helping one another to appreciate the art, and sharing note books to record what they were seeing. Overall, though, words don't do justice to how joyful it was to see them all work together to observe and document their experience; so we shall leave it to the photographs to explain...
The student-council has now extended the food drive to include mens' clothes. Please drop off anything that you no longer need so that we can pass it on to the church.
Would anyone like to volunteer to take care of our class pets, this Winter Break? We have frogs and fish that need a home for the holidays. Don't hesitate to contact April if you are interested!
We've had a wonderful week back from break. The children didn't miss a beat and transitioned smoothly right back into our routine. Some highlights from the week include: a vowel scavenger hunt with a reading group, buddy time, practicing for the Winter Sing with Carole, and making a lot of progress on our Post Office! Take a look at some conversations from a few committees...
Frame and Structure Committee:
First meeting- the children sat with April and Katie for their first meeting together as the Frame and Structure Committee. April asked the second years if they could explain the post office to the first years and the children discussed the way it looked in years past. April asked the children to describe what they sold at the post office. The second years replied, “stamps”, “paper”, “envelopes”. The conversation continued…
April: In the past, how much have our stamps cost?
North: five cents.
April: We made enough money to buy things for our classroom, like our frogs and enough crickets for the frogs to eat for the whole year!
April mentioned that the teachers picked out a special spot in the classroom where the post office could be located. The children began to brainstorm how big it should be, how wide, how long, how tall, where the windows should be, etc.
April: Does anyone know what this is?
The children: A tape measure!
April: You’re right. One one side you’ll notice there’s one set of numbers and on the other side there’s a different set. One is centimeters and one is inches. We are going to use the side with inches to measure out how big the post office should be.
The children begin to work together as a team, stretching out the tape measure. Asha and Ava and Sam all agreed that they needed the entire tape measure’s length (60 inches) for each side of the post office.
April: Is that too big, or too small, or just right?
Asha: I think it should be 60!
Sam: What about a swing door?
Asha: I think it should be a weaving hanging down like a curtain.
April: Now what about across?
April: Let’s see if we can all fit in the space together. How should we map out the space?
The children make a floor plan to scale out of butcher paper and all stand inside of the space.
April: Is this enough room?
Sam: I don’t think so. Let’s make it bigger!
The children decided to add additional square footage to the floor plan and are satisfied with their new floor plan.
April: How tall do you think the window should be? You know, where people can come up and buy things?
Sam: What about to here? (points to a place on the wall.)
The children find that some of them are taller than others. We collect some of the tallest second years and some first year students and find a perfect height for everyone.
Day two of the Frame and Structure Committee meeting:
The children decided to use their paper floor plan in the block area.
Katie: Hey guys, what are you doing?
Ava: We are building the real size of the post office.
Sam: This is just a prototype.
Katie: What’s a prototype?
Sam: It’s the same size or might be a little bit smaller but it’s the same idea.
The children completed the structure to scale using blocks and found that there was enough room for four workers. They also experimented where the door should go. Stay tuned for more updates on how the frame and structure is coming along.
Mascot and Flag Committee:
Our first meeting took place on the rug. The children and Katie discussed their ideas about what a mascot is and did some brainstorming about what the mascot could be for our post office. We also chatted about a flag for our post office, what could it look like? What would be on it?
Katie: What is a mascot?
Una: Someone who dresses up.
Ruby: I think it’s like an animal.
Oscar: I think it’s something that dresses up and cheerleads.
Sofia: I think it’s someone that dresses up as a different animal everyday and acts like the character of that animal.
Bells: It’s a type of flag! Or a type of bird.
Sofia: Or an animal!
Una: Once I went to a Blue Jays game in Toronto and the mascot was a Blue Jay.
Katie: Awesome! It sounds like you all have a great idea of what a mascot is. Now think of The Oaks School and what it means to you and think of the post office and what that means to you. What do you think the post office mascot should be?
Una: I think it should be a squirrel or an acorn.
Una: The acorn is a symbol of The Oaks and the squirrel eats an acorn.
Sofia: An acorn in a tree that says The Oaks on the top.
Oscar: A envelop with a squirrel holding an acorn, jumping out of the envelop.
Katie: These are super cool ideas! Now let’s talk about the flag. What do you think should go on the flag?
Bells: The flag should be a acorn sinking in water because we are studying water and the acorn is the school’s symbol.
The children meet for the first time to figure out what they picture for the uniforms. What symbols could they use to represent the post office Katie approached the group as they were meeting with Virginia to listen in on the conversation that ensued…
Virginia: Did you know that in the olden times they used to attach letters to birds’ feet to deliver messages?
Ruby Fern: Yes! I’m reading a book about that!
Virginia: So, we could think about that a little while we decide what to put on our uniforms. Let’s start with badges. What could we put on the badges?
Some of the children’s suggestions included:
-eagle with an acorn in its mouth
-squirrel with an acorn in its mouth
Virginia: Could we make all of these things or do we need to all agree on one?
Stella: We could work on one everyday.
Virginia: So we’ll do one at a time?
Ruby Fern: How about we do as many as we can and even if we don’t get to every one of them we at least have a few.
Virginia: Which one should we start with?
Stella: First, eagle then, squirrel, then brown animals, then, the bunny.
Virginia: Next, let’s go to the bags. How do you want to do the bags?
Stella: You could put bedges on the bags!
Virginia: How many bags are we going to sew?
After much deliberation, the group settled on 14 bags! They figured that each grade will need 2 bags- one for incoming mail and one for outgoing mail. Stay tuned on the progress of this ambitious committee’s work!
Next week were are going on a field trip to The Fowler Museum with our buddies. Please meet at school no later than 8:30am! Your child will need to bring a snack and lunch and we ask that they wear sneakers and an Oaks shirt.
Please bring in food items for the homeless as well as any used or new men's clothing.
Have a wonderful weekend!
The MA Team
The Oak Leaf Post Office Project 11-20-15
As many of you know the Multi-Age operates a school wide post office from February to June every year. For the last seven years the Oak Leaf Post Office has been a focal point for letter writing for the whole school. The Multi-Age designs their own stamps, sells them, and sorts and delivers the mail each week to all the classes.
One of the big projects the Multi-Age is taking on this semester is building a new Oak Leaf Post Office. Over the last few weeks we have asked kids to imagine and design a post office structure on paper, a blueprint if you will. Their designs are displayed in class. After looking closely at their creations the students and teachers were able to see many projects around the Post Office that students could work on to enhance the post office project as well as building the structure itself.
This week we asked them to sign up for a committee. The committees range from designing the outside of the structure to designing a uniform to wear during deliveries around the school. As always we are amazed and informed by your children’s creativity. We would love to ask for your support in the next coming months to help with building, sewing, designing. Take a look at all the possibilities they came up with and what your child has signed up for. Let us know if you can help.
The Post Office frame and structure
Stools or Chairs
Sewing committee (uniform, bag, hat)
Mascot and Flag
Roof and Door Committee
Accessories (stamp holder, letter sorter, money drawer)
(painting, oak leaves, staining)
On another note, please make sure you read the Twig this week. There are some helpful ways to think through the current events in our world with your child and tips about language to use to support them feeling safe. Click here to read Ted's article. Our students have not talked about it in class but it is always good to be prepared when they do.
Have a wonderful and safe Thanksgiving Holiday. School will be closed Wednesday Nov.25 until we see you again on Monday, November 30th!
See… Think… Wonder…
After asking the children to consider how they use water on a daily basis and how other living things use water, their discussions and wonderings sparked more awareness about water and the world around them.
So we decided to ask the children to consider their community and to look around our school and find three different ways The Oaks uses water. We encouraged the children to make careful observations. We asked the question: Where Do You See Water at The Oaks? The children recorded their findings on a data collection sheet that left room for observational drawings and any questions, notes, or other writing the children wanted to do about what they saw. Please feel free to come in and look closely at the documentation of this great work.
Wonderings That Emerged From Our Walk
“How much water does the toilet use?”
“Where does the water from the sink go?”
“Why doesn’t the fountain in the Big Yard drain?”
“How much does water weigh?”
“How does water move through a hose?”
“How does the sink get water?”
And finally a few photo highlights from our first assembly!
As you know, this Monday, the Multi-Age visit to Long Beach Aquarium concluded with a journey home that took on the proportions of a coming of age drama. During the field trip, the majority of the day offered a chance for the children to happily continue their work on water. The day was full of activity, and yet there was still more to see as the day came to an end. Highlights included petting the creatures in the rock pools, watching the sharks being fed, talking to the scuba divers, and stroking the Manta-Rays (As Neva said, “those fish feel nice… slimy nice”).
As we explored the Northern Pacific, the Southern Pacific, and the Tropical Pacific, it was the job of the teachers and the chaperones to try and resist the temptation to provide too much information, and instead let the children come to their own conclusions through observation. Here’s just one moment, at the rock pool, that helped us to observe their busy brains at work:
Ava- “Do they like being touched?”
Frisco- “well they do kind of stick to you.”
Bells- “But the shells they have are for protection.”
Julien- “and those things might clamp you”
Ava- “oh yeah, like snap at us”
There were so many other "ah-ha" moments during the day, and we will certainly take these discussions further, in the next few weeks. Thank you to all the chaperones for your much-appreciated help, and we thank the children for their keen, observation skills.
This Monday there will be food bins in every classroom to collect food for the homeless. Food can be dropped off any day of the week, and the student council will collect it on Fridays. Please make sure it is only food from the list (no tins, no perishables).
This week was filled with some wonderful opportunities for parent volunteers!
We began our unit about poetry with North's mom, Colleen. The children learned about different ways we can use words and our imaginations to describe anything we want. Take a look at some notes from the conversation between Colleen and the children:
Colleen: What Does It Mean to Observe? It means to really pay attention to only one thing. Poetry lets us use our imagination to tell a story. Words are free! They don't cost anything. We can access them at any time, anywhere. What are some of your favorite words?
Obi: My name is Jeff
Colleen: What are some words that you just don’t like?
Una: I hate you
Colleen: Poetry is taking what’s most important and putting it on the page. It’s the most meaningful. It’s more concentrated than a story.
Poetry doesn’t have to be real. It can be from your imagination. Do poems have to be sad, silly, serious?
Stella: No they can be anything
Colleen: What is a poem?
Cameron: A poem is like your thoughts but down on a piece of paper. They don’t have to rhyme but they can.
Colleen: Are poems right or wrong?
Chloe: I think poetry is a sentence that rhymes.
After our discussion, Colleen read the children the poem "Bear Song" by Kay Ryan.
Viggo: I liked that poem.
Thank you to Colleen for sharing this wonderful gift with us and we're excited to have you back to begin writing our own poems with you.
Poems and Buddies:
This week for Buddy Time with the 4th and 5th graders, we decided to take some inspiration from the 3rd grade assembly about haikus as well as our new found knowledge about poetry and write poems with our buddies out at the big yard. This experience was so heartwarming and a wonderful use of this special time together. Take a look at what the children came up with:
Thanks to Avery's parents, Blumes' mom, Chloe's mom and William's mom for coming to carve and decorate pumpkins with the children. We had an awesome time and became super excited for this weekend's fun activities!!
PLEASE MAKE SURE YOU ARRIVE TO SCHOOL BY 8:15AM ON MONDAY! OUR BUS TO THE LONG BEACH AQUARIUM LEAVES AT 8:30AM SHARP! THANKS!
Choose groups to clone to: