...these five events, which deserve some recognition!
(1) Independent Research Presentations: For the last few months of each year, the kids research something that interests them. This year we created a Peer Feedback Form so the kids could share positive comments with each other, and it was wonderful to see such empowered youngsters! On the day of their first presentations, I knew that I either needed to post photos of every single child with their presentation, or take and post none of them, to be fair. I put my camera away and decided to stay in the present moment with the kids. So, no photos this year, but so many memories.
(2) The kid-created Variety Show on May 1. They sang! They danced! They wrote and performed Murder Mysteries! They did gymnastics and magic tricks! It was truly awesome. Originally, the teachers planned for an educational performance on May 1 to conclude this year's "Oregon" theme. In our exuberant caffeine-fueled August planning sessions we had, apparently, forgotten how tired we'd all be when May rolled around, and how much the kids would just need to express themselves creatively without too much structure. So we tossed the original plan and stood back to let the kids step forward. I'm sure that parents took pictures and video, but not I, what with having too much fun and all!
(3) The Theatre Class spent the winter and spring in Shakespeare's world, watching funny cartoon synapses, rehearsing abbreviated versions of MacBeth and Romeo and Juliet, and performing for their classmates. We also played theatre games and bounced around the outdoor stage, stretching our thespian legs again after the long winter!
(4) Our weekly newsletters: Last year's blog included many weekly newsletters, and yes, we also created them this year! But we didn't post them to the blog because, unlike last year's teacher-written and typed weekly newsletters, this year the kids made the newsletters themselves. Handwritten, cut (with scissors) and pasted (with glue), drawn-upon, photocopied, and then sent home to families -- their newsletters this year were the real deal.
(5) Cardboadia: One day there were extra cardboard boxes. "Can we build something with these?" they asked. "Why not?" We said. And the next thing you know, an entire city transpired outside and they called it "Cardboardia." A dirt-path Main Street circled through the town, with children's cardboard creations on either side of the 'street.' There were only a few rules: (1) No one is in charge. No mayors, no police, nobody to boss anyone else around. (2) Everyone has the right to have the same idea. So, for example, if one child decided to turn her cardboard boxes into a Beauty Salon (it happened), that can't stop another child from starting another Beauty Salon down the way. It was fun, peaceful, inventive, and practice for how people can live together without the usual competition and hierarchies. The cardboard made its way inside too, adorned many student desks as a creative extension of their school "homes."