As our project comes to a close, students learned about the process of peer review. Specifically, how to give helpful feedback and integrate that feedback into their products. Posters for each group were hung around the room and students did a "gallery walk", leaving comments under two sections: works/work on.
For this project, students were divided into three groups, based on interest: How Trash Affects our Waterways, The Story of Recycling, and The Story of Waste/Landfills.
After each student created an individual draft of their project topic, it was time to come together with their group and begin thinking of ways to incorporate aspects of each draft into one cohesive poster. These photos show some of the individual student drafts as well as groups working together to make group drafts.
This week we welcomed a new feature to the outside of the room--The Calm Cove! While we strive to make our room, inside and out, calm, cozy, and inviting, we had the idea to create a space where students could go and be alone when they were feeling overwhelmed. This could be after a conflict, when struggling on an assignment, or any other situation where students need to take some time to clear their mind and reset. There are various "tools" in the space that can aid students in calming the mind: essential oil blends, plants, GROK cards/Feelings cards, a book of yoga postures/stretches, mandala coloring sheets, and various books regarding big emotions. The photos above capture students exploring and enjoying the new space together.
As our "Where is 'Away'?" Project progresses, we have begun visualizing our research by creating a "detective wall" to help us piece together the story of waste in Ann Arbor. With the information before us, it's clear that there's a lot more to uncover, specifically regarding landfills/trash. We have not been able to find much information online about the landfills our trash goes to, or what happens at the mysterious sites.
On an unsuspecting Wednesday afternoon recess, however, some students halted their play as they noticed a large Waste Management truck pull into SK. "We have to ask them where they're taking our stuff!" Iris shouted to me. As we ran to meet the truck, he began to leave SK. I stopped, sighed, and assumed we had lost him. "We have to chase him down on Platt Road!" Iris continued. We ran to Platt, and waved the truck down. He pulled over.
More students from the playground noticed and ran over. An older gentleman got out from the truck, and the students excitedly threw their questions at him: "Where are you taking our trash? What landfills do you go too? How often do you come here?" The man, named Allen, was excited to share and grateful that the students were so interested in his work. After recess, we were able to add the information he gave us to our detective board, adding on to our understanding of what "away" really means.
This week we made black-out poems using pages from the book we've been reading as a class, Me and Marvin Gardens. These poems brought new meaning to "recycling" as we repurposed the book's pages, taking the words provided by the author and creating new stories. The students' poems will be hanging in the hallways of SK near the front chalkboard soon. Please stop in and check them out!
On Monday, we welcomed back six of the hens that we raised last fall. In order to acclimate them to the new environment, we need to keep them in the coop for seven days so they recognize that as their home. This will help ensure that they return to the coop at dusk before the automatic door closes, keeping them safe from predators. So far the students have fed them and changed their water. We also gave them greens from the garden, including comfrey and romanesco leaves.
As for the bedding, we are experimenting with the deep litter method for the winter. This involves laying down a thick layer of pine shavings and covering with straw. Each day, we turn the bedding and over time we will continue to add straw. The bedding combined with the chicken manure will decompose over the winter, providing us with compost for the garden in the spring.