Dear Hawk Families,
A warm-hearted and love-filled February to you all!
In the second half of our school year together, the Hawks will continue several practices that we have carried out since early on, such as monthly self-portrait making and visiting the garden downstairs to observe/sketch/and draw the plants and trees we see, as well as, some new practices. As of late, we have begun to keep a journal each week, and have started a daily yoga practice, to accompany our several minutes of daily mindfulness. I will share about both of these new practices in this week’s blog post.
Yes, the Hawks have begun the practice of yoga. We will carry out this practice each day to help us grow our focus and attention muscles (along with its many other benefits). When I asked the children, during our circle time, to share about what yoga is they replied, “It gives you peace. It helps make you steady. It is like a great workout! It makes your muscles really strong, and your brain strong. It makes you really calm.” Each day we begin our practice with candle pose…
I am candle
Becomes my light
With each breath
I fuel the flame
I look at you
I see the same
The Hawks look so forward, every few days, to finding out what our next pose will be. So far, we’ve learned candle pose, mountain pose, and waterfall pose. Hmmm, what will be next? I’ll give you a hint… next week’s pose will call upon us to find our wings!
On the note of slowing down and tuning in….
“If we adults listen and watch closely, our children will invite us to share their worlds and their ways of living in the world.” ~ Lucy Calkins, Founder of Columbia University Teachers College Reading and Writing Project
There is another routine I introduced to the children about two weeks ago, one that we will carry out every Wednesday afternoon together, throughout the rest of the school year. Each Hawk received their very own journal, writer’s notebook, Lifebook, as I like to think of it. Our journals are going to be a place where we keep our stories, stories from our lives. You know, our lives are precious, and they are worth writing about. Simple tasks like digging for worms, collecting stones, or climbing trees, the stuff we think of as quite ordinary, can make for some extraordinary storytelling. We decorated our journals last week, and this week we found a cozy spot, opened them up to the first crisp, white page, and began to share what feels most meaningful to us. The children draw pictures, which is how a child begins the process of learning to write, and then in time (kindergarten and first grade) they will begin to add words to their pictures using invented spelling and on it goes (on a sidenote, writing very much supports children in learning to read). My intention is to plant in each child a love of storytelling, a little bit about the art and craft of writing/storytelling, and, most importantly, to give each child a voice, along with a knowingness that their lives are important, truly worth drawing and writing about.
As we sat together in a circle this past Wednesday afternoon, before going off to bring pen to paper in our personal class journals, I shared with the children what is called a small moment story (a story that zooms in on one moment of an experience) from my weekend. It went like this ~ On Saturday, I went hiking on Mount Tamalpais. All of a sudden, a large Hawk came flying down from the sky and landed on a tree right about my head. “Wow!” I said. My heart was so excited!
The children’s stories have ranged from sitting on a bench talking with Mom under the warm sun, feeling sad about a sick sibling, dreams had the night before, picking lemons and oranges one afternoon, and skiing down a scary slope! As I shared with a fellow teacher just the other day, it has been a truly special time of the week. I love getting to curl up, one-on-one, with each child to listen, to ask questions, to write down their words, to get a glimpse into their world. What has ended happening each week is, we will spread ourselves around our classroom and the literacy room, only to find ourselves wanting to congregate together again to share our stories with each other. We laugh, our hearts feel stretched, we look forward to hearing more next time. Their stories are beautiful.
Toot! Toot! All aboard!
Are you wondering, did we ever make it to the North Pole in/on our polar express train? If you remember, we had been asked by Ms. Rindal and Ms. Smith to make a train for the Polar Express themed dramatic play area, in the big room. With some plain ole’ boxes, tape, sticks, paint, and a few other items, the Calvary kids got to work in the Hawk’s classroom. Well, I dare say, we whipped up a most spectacular polar express train in no time at all! An enormous “thank you” to Ms. Ella, the Eagle’s teacher, for rolling up her sleeves and helping to make this a wonderful project for little people and big people alike! Here’s a further glimpse of the children painting, inspecting, and adding details, such as wheels, flags, bells, and coal…
Lastly, we get to play! What good fun the children have had…
Have a wonderful weekend!
P.S. Our week closes with a roar!