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Plants, RAZ & Acting (like monkeys!)

Greetings once more and I hope this finds you cool and well.

As the mercury creeps up into the higher digits, our classroom has been busy with our new theme: nutrition and plants.

We began the month by considering our relationship with plants and the more-than-human world. Going outside, into the play area at the front of the school, the class was tasked with observing the various flora that grows. Some of their observational criteria included, how many different species of plants could they find, how did the plants feel to touch, how did they smell and which did they consider to be the oddest or strangest plant.

After compiling their data, we estimated the number of different species and which plants we thought were the most and least abundant.

Another U.O.I. related project, had us considering the differences and similarities between humans and plants. This proved for an interesting conversation starter as well, as we considered ideas of what it means to be alive and our roles/places within the greater ecosystem.

We have also been finding time to work in the Gojo Garden. Tending to our tomato and basil plants, as well as weeding the garden beds. We hope to reap the fruits of our efforts later in the year.

Next, having finished reading “The One and Only Ivan”, the students were tasked with creating skits based around key moments in the novel. After being divided into randomly selected groups, the students decided on which scene they wished to develop and then began adapting the novel into a script for onstage. This proved challenging yet fun for everyone as they negotiated within each group their various ideas and the merits of why or why not they could be included.

Having arrived at a working script, we then moved on to working on our performances. The project criteria placed an emphasis on conveying the emotional state of the various characters and we will be continuing with this for the next few weeks, before we arrive at a final version that we can video record. I look forward to sharing this with you later.

We have also begun using RAZ class readers. These are texts which are designed to be age/stage appropriate and include various worksheets and follow-up projects. Currently the class are working on book reports for their first reader project. The next reader they opt for will be dependent on the outcome of these reports. For example, if they have chosen a text which proves too difficult for them, they will be advised to work with a text which is more appropriate for their level. We will continue working on this up until the summer break.

Also this month, our 1/2 day trip to Kajiwara Farm unfortunately had to be cancelled due to an illness. However, such is the way of clouds and silver linings, I contacted another farm and have arranged a 1/2 day trip there instead. The venue for our trip will be Shantikuthi which is based in Ikeda, Azumino. They are a really interesting permaculture based guesthouse/learning space and I think the students will get a lot out of the visit, not only including the zip-lines, balance ropes, climbing wall and rope swings. The trip will be on the mid-July and of course parents are more than welcome to join us. I will share an email with you later this week to confirm the trip and your potential participation.

Well, that’s all for June. As ever, feel free to contact me anytime with any queries, comments or problems. Stay cool and keep healthy.