Last Thursday, our families came together and officially started the 2013-2014 year of Co-op with class!  And classes!  Atoms, Protons, Quarks, Neutrons, Electrons, and Muons followed what will soon be routine Thursday schedules and learned a thing or two from parent leads (and from each other).  Here is a taste of some of what took place:

Muons

The Muons worked on various white boarding techniques, in order to convey their ideas in a format that an audience could easily absorb and comprehend. We discussed various techniques, including the use of diagrams, charts, and drawings. We then brainstormed the “Little Library” room and mapped out the various supplies, furnishings, and layout options on a diagram. The Muons discussed several possibilities for a borrowing system and were assigned task of developing a “logo” for the project. They made notes in their journals reflecting their ideas.

Neutrons

This week in math games we talked about the value of money.  Some kids and adults volunteered to close their eyes and guess which coin they were holding.   We talked about the different coins their distinguishing characteristics, value, and even the connection between art, history, and math.  We then went on a treasure hunt to find money bags (which were very well hidden).  Once the bags were found each neutron counted the change within.  Then they had a chance to tell the group what they could and could not afford to buy from a list of items ranging from “dust bunny” at \$0.00  to a “trip to the moon” at \$750,000,000.00.   With these clues the neutrons were able to find a partner who had the same amount of change but with a different set of coins.  With the time left, the partners were able to look at each other’s coin configuration, and discover that there are different combinations of coins for the same amount of money.

In Art, Neutrons explored clay art.  After reviewing art rules (see below), preparing our work surfaces, and putting on smocks… I demonstrated how to make a pinch pot out of air dry artist-grade clay.  The pinch pot can be sculpted into all kinds of animals or creatures.  Then our artists went to work sculpting their own masterpieces.  Castles, animals, animal homes, even a water spout were among their amazing creations.  The best part was hearing their conversations about making their masterpieces and sharing clay with each other!
In Writers Workshop:   We read the first 5 Chapters of Because of Winn-Dixie by Kate DiCamillo.  We then had a lively discussion about the story, especially focusing on how the author describes the main characters.  Finally each child worked on a short journal entry describing a character of his or her choice, real or imaginary.  Time was short, so we will complete these journal entries next week.
Quarks
I led the Reading Quarks for our first session. We started off by reading 3 books, “A Cup For Everyone,” “Little Blue and Little Yellow,” and “Ish.” We discussed the various ways one could tell a story and the use of props to help remember parts of a story to retell it. Using white playdough, we mixed our colors as Little Blue & Little Yellow did and then molded our dough into animal mugs as Puca had in our story. The focus of “Ish” is acceptance of your own artwork even if it doesn’t always seem “perfect.” Our cups did end up looking perfectly animal-ish.
Explore
Art Rules:
A:  Always do your best work.
R:  Respect yourself, others, materials, and your Co-op.
T:  Think like an artist.  Be ‘art smart’ and make good choices.
First Full Day of Co-op!