FInished the first week of school unharmed, well mostly anyway. The class is great, the pacing is going to get some taking used to, but I really enjoy how the class is set up. We have a morning meeting every day when my Cooperating Teacher (CT) goes over the date, using base-ten blocks to show how many days we have been in school, which I think is a great way to introduce math first thing. My CT does a great job of applying concepts to her students' lives. For example, we just began multiplication, and she asked students to multiply 2 x 4, but instead of just writing the problem, she asked students how many eyes there were between the four students in their small groups. This was a fantastic way to introduce multiplication in a way students for students to be able to visualize the problem, and also to show how multiplication is just repeated addition. The class responded very well and most of the students got the correct answers. She used small white boards for each of the groups and asked them to show their work. Each group came up with a different strategy. Some used pictures, some made pictures grouping two eyes for each person, and some used repeated addition. One group is already able to just multiply in their heads without the aid of addition or graphics.
Since this is called the "Creative School" (Escuela Creativa) most of the activities are hands on. During science class, we went to the art room and students painted leaves they had identified outside in the cloud forest to create a mural of the rainforest. They began with the forest floor, and are adding appropriate plants at each level. I like the creative aspects of the school and I am learning strategies that I would love to incorporate into my future classroom. We also get to go outside once a week for an hour to either plant, garden in the greenhouse, or help to clean a hiking trail on the school grounds. I think this is a great idea because it gets the students outside and teaches them real environmental education, not just something from a textbook.
Hope everyone at home is doing well! To all my ladies in student teaching, we're over halfway there! :]