It was a wonderful, busy, week in the Beaver lodge! As always, we were buzzing with activity. The Beavers relished every opportunity to take full advantage of this beautiful spring weather with lots of time outside.
Firstly, thank you to all of our parent chaperones who accompanied us on our field trip to Brooklyn Bridge Park! It was a wonderful opportunity to spend some time outside, exploring one of our local public parks while simultaneously servicing our community. The Beavers arrived with enough time to explore Slide Mountain (a fantastic playground with lots of places to explore – and lots of slides, of course!) before beginning our Earth Day activity. Karla Osorio-Peréz, the volunteer coordinator at Brooklyn Bridge Park, gathered the Beavers and our parent volunteers in a circle to lead us through the activity of the day: Mulching! Karla explained that mulch is full of vitamins and minerals for plants, and that placing mulch around the root of any plant will help it grow bigger and stronger. The Beavers chimed in, “just like vitamins help our bodies grow!”, and, “We have mulch in our Garden!” They then eagerly got to work, putting on gardening gloves and grabbing big handfuls of mulch to spread around the base of the trees and plants near Pier 6. After the activity, we enjoyed lunch at the picnic tables near Pier 5, and finished our Brooklyn Bridge Park excursion with some more play time. The weather was glorious, and everyone had a smile on their face as we got our fill of the sunny, beautiful day.
On Monday, we gathered all of the data from our compost surveys last week, and observed what the results told us about the current composting situation here at Packer. During Choice Time, the teachers prepared a large poster to visually represent the data from our surveys. We called over each child to look at a survey, and to place a dot sticker in the corresponding section to represent an individual’s response. By looking at the finished chart, the Beavers were able to see that although everyone would like to compost at school, only two people in the Lower School actually participate in composting. We then posed the question: If we know everyone wants to compost, how can we help them learn more about the process? Pearl suggested making posters and flyers to “spread the word” , and thus, a flyer making project began!
In half groups, the Beavers practiced writing some keywords about compost by preparing our flyers. Each child wrote the words “COMPOST” and “BEAVERS” in the appropriate spaces of our flyers, so the posters read, “A fact about COMPOST, from The BEAVERS”. We then engaged in a discussion: What are the most important facts our community needs to know about composting? What do we want people to remember? How can we convince the Lower School that composting is easy, and can be done in our school space? After contributing their many ideas, the Beavers and the teachers selected the six facts that they felt were the most important for the beginner-composters in our community to know:
- Worms can eat all kinds of peels
- Worms can eat garbage to make compost
- Vermicompost is better than regular dirt
- You can use worms to compost!
- Compost does not smell bad!
- Worms have five hearts!
During Choice Time the following day, we decorated the flyers to further illustrate these important facts. On Thursday, in small groups, the Beavers embarked to canvas for our Lower School Compost Initiative! As they traveled through the hallways of the Lower School, they were eager to engage members of our community in discussions about composting, explaining that we want everyone in our school to compost because “it’s really pretty easy,”, as Cate said. Téa mentioned, “It’s just best for the earth to make the earth more beautiful”, and Ezra added, “The worms just stay in the bins, they don’t go anywhere.” All in all, the Beavers contributed a convincing argument in favor of starting a school-wide composting project. Stay tuned for our next steps in the process!
On Tuesday, in honor of Election Day, the teachers planned an election of our very own. As many of the Beavers have their own opinions of the presidential candidates (and have already been quite vocal in their preferences for the next presidential candidate), we decided to bring the notion of an election to the whole class. After discussing what happens during an election, we announced that during Choice Time, we would vote on two very serious platform issues: More Choice Time Minutes vs. More Garden Time Minutes. At Morning Meeting, the Beavers had the opportunity to give a statement in order to convince anyone who was undecided. Below, watch some examples of persuasive debate by the Beavers:
After voting, they received an “I Voted!” sticker, which the Beavers proudly wore all day. In the end, “More Garden Time” won, 12:7!
Democracy is an important part of any classroom, and honors the voices of all students. As the Beavers often engage in voting, and are used to assessing the general interests of our community and classroom through graphs, the teachers feel that it is important to engage them in the rule-making and implementation of rules in the Beaver lodge. Recently, MagnaTiles has been a highly coveted material during Choice Time. Since our collection is limited, at times, disputes arise over what to build, who gets how many tiles, and how to take the structures apart. Given these obstacles, the Beavers unanimously expressed an interest in holding a community meeting to generate new rules for MagnaTiles during Choice Time. The teachers were incredibly impressed as your children took turns to express their opinions,. They also showed active listening skills, synthesizing the opinions of their peers and responding to them appropriately. The conversation was positive, encouraging, and fruitful. Below, watch a video clip of some of the Beavers expressing their ideas and concerns:
Lastly, we had a surprise visitor during Morning Meeting today. This morning, a couple of the Beavers found a small mouse near our attendance chart. Although it was still alive, it was stunned and looked rather dazed. We placed the mouse in a jar, sent it some kind thoughts, and passed it along to Lynnette Arthur, so the Puppies could observe it as well. As the children are natural caretakers, they wanted to keep it as a pet. We explained that city mice are not the safes pets for humans, and we released it outside. Not to be deterred, the Beavers worked together during Choice Time to create a “mouse habitat”, in case Little Mousie (as it has affectionately been named) decided to make a return.
Have a great weekend, everyone!