We invited all of the classes out to see the volcano go off today. It was slow to start but we got it worked up after a ton of baking soda and vinegar (our two very favorite classroom chemicals.) I hugged Autumn while the volcano was spitting “hot lava” and her little heart was just a pounding. It doesn’t take much!

When I started doing letter/word sounds with the kids and talked to them about reading and how this will help them read, Brigit said; “That’s okay Michelle, I learn to read at home.” And although that may be true, I’m sure the expectation is that I will be in on this goal. So to combine the two, we finally have some HOMEWORK to help in the endeavor. Some have been asking for it (kids and parents) and some just about came after me with their minivan (sorry Virginia!) Anyway, it’s just a few sounds that we find in our language and words we like to rhyme – kind of like poetry. It’s something to do with your child in the evening, that invites you into their school world, and gives them a sense of continuity. No mandatory worksheets. No solar system mobiles. No pressure. Just fun!!!

We also played in the snow – we love snow…

We also read “Martin’s Big Words” today and talked for quite a while about Martin Luther King Jr. We also crammed ourselves into Sarah’s office and watched the streaming video on the computer of the March on Washington and Martin Luther King’s “I Have A Dream” speech. After we read the book and while we were all sitting around talking about his life and his work, Harriette asked; “What IS black?” in all her innocence. I wanted to just hug her. We then talked about skin color and what it might mean for different people and where our ancestors came from – the consensus in our class is that most of our ancestors came from – you guessed it- Florida??? Anyway, our talk let us to Gandhi (who they seemed to connect with when we talked about him during his birthday.) And Neve talked about her Dad who is from India and Isabel talked about her Dad who is from Columbia. It was interesting and they loved the book but this idea or problem of equal rights hasn’t touched our children’s lives in the quite the same way it had my first K-1 class in NYC. It was such a different experience reading “Martin’s Big Words” to our class compared to reading it in a inner-city school in Manhattan. But important non-the-less (maybe even more.)

Welcome back. We had a BLAST today!