Thursday, March 29, 2018

Pumpkin Harvest

Last year we harvest gourds and pumpkins that were grown in our summer programs. We held them in class all winter waiting for the right time to start planting. 

The time arrived and we were excited to open our pumpkins up and look for seeds. 

An exciting thing we found is that the pumpkin seeds had already started to sprout. We pulled them out and put them in soil to get some sprouts started for our next season of planting.

Construction - Round 2

Stage two of our auction project construction is complete. We are prepping the lumber for painting with a heavy coat of primer.

Monday, March 26, 2018

I'm not good at math

I stand among the few that use timers and timed tests sparingly, especially in math. There is a persistent drive to qualify success through pace. Math is one of the areas that I see it most. 

We rely heavily on rote memorization in math. In teaching school I was inundated with courses that taught the value of speed and accuracy in recall. They argued that true mastery could be measured by how quickly a student to get to the right answer. Something about this stance has always tugged at me. But I completed my courses, got my license, and started in a classroom.

This is where that strange tug turned into a full fledged stance. My first class had two special students. When I say special, I mean that they were close to my heart. I loved all of my students but these two taught me a lot about how to be a good teacher. Both hated math. Both had been weighed down by this idea that math was about getting to an answer quickly. Each student, a boy and a girl, had come to believe they were bad at math. Yet every day I saw them do countless incredible things using skills that were adjacent to those they needed to be successful in math. 

It took me some time to realize what was happening, but when I did everything changed. They doubted themselves. They had grown to believe they were never going to be good at math. It was a class "I'm not good, so why bother" scenario. We've all heard it. Adults are particularly guilty of using the expression. I've worked with brilliant, professional peers who were saying it even while working in fields that required high levels of math ability. 

It turned out, that my two special friends needed confidence. They were born with the ability and capacity. They had just found enough reasons to believe they couldn't. Building them become my number one goal. I praised them, and praised them, and complemented them, and pointed out every success...until finally I started to see chips in the walls they had built up. Once that happened I had my opening. The next big thing I did was connect the material to something they loved. One instructional theory, Gagne's Nine Events of Instruction talk specifically about the need for relevance in curriculum. In this case, I have to vouch for it's success. Making relevant connections to things like video games, sports, food, and music suddenly made math feel tangible and real. In their own ways, each one of these students started to have what my peers calls "aha" moments. Soon they were leading the charge.

Its in this way that I found how valuable a healthy math identity can be. 

Edutopia has a great article right now about math. It has some amazing advice but the paragraph that caught my attention most was the last. It reads...


Whether they say it or not, students do wonder what it takes to be a great mathematician. They need to know it’s not about speed and always being right—it’s about curiosity, passion, and dedication. Children need to feel empowered as mathematicians and recognize that they are equipped with everything they need to be successful in mathematics. When young children develop a healthy math identity, they’re on the path to succeeding in math at the highest levels.

Friday, March 23, 2018

Science Fair

At Seabury School science fair is the place to be! 
We love it!

It's an amazing opportunity for our students to show off all of their amazing learning, presentation skills, and vibrant personalities. We get to see them at their very best.

This exhibit on the five second rule was very enlightening...and a bit gross.

This exhibit about lighting stuff on fire was a big hit! 

Everyone was interested.

Everyone was entertained.

Friday, March 16, 2018

Construction Time

These year we are taking a new path for our auction item. We are building our own item!
It's a big step away from our previous years of painting. Not to say we won't be painting, but it's not the only thing we are doing.

So far we've had to put our math skills to the test. There was a lot of measuring and calculating.

There was some detail work and some lumber cutting.

There was lifting and planning.

There was more lumber cutting.

Keep you eyes posted for more. These are going to be items you don't want to miss!

Thursday, March 8, 2018

Read Across America Day - 2017

What is Read Across America Day?

NEA’s Read Across America Day is a nationwide reading celebration that takes place annually on March 2—Dr. Seuss’s birthday. Across the country, thousands of schools, libraries, and community centers participate by bringing together kids, teens, and books, and you can too! Incorporate these guides and activities to celebrate reading with young people.

What kind of things do we do?

Lots of reading!

Lots of buddy reading!

Lots of being friends!

Lots of being read to!

Lots of loving books!

And a bit of silliness!

Friday, March 2, 2018

Practicing Word Problems

Word problems! We all know them. Those sometimes frustrating, sometime confusing paragraphs of information that make us dread standardized tests. Well here at Seabury, we love them! 

Washington State standards in math read:

Model with mathematics. 
Mathematically proficient students ... are able to identify important quantities in a practical situation and map their relationships using such tools as diagrams, two-way tables, graphs, flowcharts and formulas. They can analyze those relationships mathematically to draw conclusions. 

World problems are an amazing way to refine these skills. 

This week we practiced deciphering word problems involving ratios, multiplication,and division. The focus was on how to create usable models in the form of equations. 

We used our desks at whiteboard to brainstorm the problems. This has two effects. The first is that it's fun. It makes working out complex problems a little more appealing even for the less seasoned mathematician. 

The second is that it makes it more memorable. One of the big struggles we find in math is retention. Getting students to remember math methods can sometimes mean relying on novel approaches. Sometimes it's just about presenting the information in a different way.

Evolution & Archaeology Overnight Field Study: Sun Banks Cabins

We roasted S'mores and told stories around the fire. The cabins were nice and we got great cabin mates. There was a lake that people ...