What a winter!
This newsletter is for both December and January since one month was shorter due to the holidays, but SO much has happened…. Perhaps I shouldn’t have combined them!
Back in December, the students really enjoyed watching the Austin Ballet perform Act II of the Nutcracker. During the performance, one student could hardly hold in his joy for the music he recognized; it was moving to see the power of music in him and other students. When all of us walked out, students immediately called out: “That was FUN!” Back at school, the students enjoyed discussing as a class the costumes, music, and dances they saw.
Also in early December, one student arranged a special visit from an astronomer as a means of concluding a very long-term research project that she had started last year on aurora borealis. The astronomer brought in a special telescope to observe the solar weather that generates the Northern Lights. As you can imagine, many students were interested and wanted to see!
Many students also enjoyed botany lessons, exploring the function and parts of flowers and/or leaves. Some dissected a flower, some examined the stomata of a leaf in the microscope, and some actually witnessed transpiration! The students’ reactions were so full of awe and excitement!
Students also heard a story that puts in perspective how long it took for the earth to be created, for life to arrive and experiment and flourish, and for the earth to be prepared for human beings. We unrolled a long, long, long Black Strip, and it ignited their imaginations about that first drop of life. Students walked the length of it in disbelief at the length of time before humans arrived compared to how long we’ve been here. Many sketched and drew what they had seen in their mind during the telling of the story.
We finished December with our Pajama-Board Game party. It was so fun! Students enjoyed cutting out snowflakes, having cookies and hot chocolate, playing Pin the Hat on the Santa, and of course relaxing with their favorite game among friends. It was a fun and cozy way to end the year.
January began with a *strong* start! Our first day back was as if the students had launched out of the gates, ready to go! Some began exploring an unusual artifact on a shelf; after careful research they figured out it is papyrus, which they then wanted to learn how to make. It just so happens that we have papyrus reeds growing on campus...their first attempt didn’t quite work, so they are back to the drawing board, but they are hot on the trail of new clues in the process of making papyrus paper. I’ll keep you posted on the success of their Egyptian papermaking....!
And boy, have the scientists been unleashed! Recent experiments have included making a solar oven to heat food (it worked even on a chilly day!), making sound waves visible, exploring polymers, making non-Newtonian fluids, creating stalactites and rock crystals, researching how to make a water wheel, and extracting DNA...from a strawberry!! It is so F-U-N to see what these kiddos can crank out!
Following Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, students heard a story about him, his life, and his legacy. Some were hearing about him for the first time, so it was a meaningful morning. Several students immediately searched the library to learn more, and shared with friends what they discovered. In February, we will follow up with a class-wide field trip to see a play for children called “Liberty, Equality, and Fireworks!” performed by the Pollyanna Theater Company. More details and requests for drivers will come quite soon.
Other events on the horizon are a Valentine’s Family Tea, a hike through a nature preserve, a visit to a local farm to witness first-hand some of our economic interdependency lessons, and an Author’s Tea near the end of the year. Details for each event will come in the weeks beforehand...stay tuned!
Next week we will have Student Led Tours. Sign up if you would like to attend--only a few spots remain. It is a great opportunity for your child to give you lessons and to introduce you to their materials, projects, and work in Fig Tree.
And stay tuned next month for ways that we are perking up our garden and getting ready for spring! We also welcome Gitana as our new gardener at Cedars and look forward to seeing her roll up her sleeves alongside the children. And remember those seed balls we tossed in the autumn?? ...They might be starting to peek out!!
Fig Tree has also been a-cookin’! In weekly teams, students plan the week’s snack menu, budget for it, shop (while calculating and estimating the running total), handle the money transaction, and then wash, chop, cook, blend, or prepare a healthy snack for their community each morning. Some of the “top hits” were some banana oat power-“cookies,” blueberry muffins from scratch, and dried fruit and nut energy bars.
These weekly Goings Out to HEB and snacks are very successful, providing real-life experiences for the children in a variety of Practical Life skills. These trips will continue every Monday this semester. Below is a list of when your child will be on that week’s snack team:
Owen & Max
Charlie & Matilde
Wylie & Jack A
Addison & Annabelle
Jack Y & Kieran
Elliot & liam
Harper & Willa
Molly & Lucca
Bradley & Max
Emma & Matilde
Owen & Jack A
Charlie & Annabelle
Wylie & Kieran
Addison & Liam
Jack Y & Willa
Elliot & Lucca
Harper & Max
A few items from "The Suggestion Box":
Thank you again, deeply, for all of your support, enthusiasm, holiday gifts, and volunteering this winter. Our community is so rich and strong because of you.
Fig Tree Cottage