McMains Crew News: December 10, 2012

What's On Our Plate Expedition...authoring our book!

Authoring a digital book is a gigantic undertaking, but crew has dug in and our room looks like a press room!

  • Chapter authors are finishing their drafts this week so editors and fact checkers can begin to review them.
  • Editors and fact checkers have been brainstorming ideas to expand the chapter information and researching to help their authors. They have also been searching for quotes to begin each chapter.
  • Photo editors have selected the best photos and video clips from fieldwork and begun taking new pictures to suit their chapters. They also began choosing title page photos.
  • Graphics committee chose a book layout.
  • Illustrators are drawing maps, diagrams, and organisms for their chapters.
  • New upcoming tasks will include embedding links to websites, bolding terms for the glossary,and creating the glossary.

We are simultaneously creating two entirely differernt products to share our expedition learning: a soil mandala and a scientific illustration, Audubon-style. Each crew member is creating a mandala that tells the story of one geologic process and how that, in turn, created a specific ecosystem in California. Mandalas are being drawn and today we began making paint for them from the soil samples we collected during fieldwork in Lassen. They are stunning works that will be displayed at Celebration of Learning next Thursday night.

MathDogs...service project!

Applying their learning of fractions, percents, least common multiples and greatest common divosors, crew worked to determine the best combinations of donated items for our Humane Society gift bags. Thanks to our community for donating so many wonderful treats, toys and supplies!

This week we hope to deliver twenty-six bags that can be given as gifts to those who adopt a dog. Each bag contains two items and a unique gift card explaining the service project.

Book Clubs...are running themselves!

Each student has a self-selected comprehension or vocabulary strategy on which to focus during independent reading throughout the week. On club days I hold individual conferences with students. They share evidence of using their strategy, read aloud to me and we discuss who they are as a reader and what steps they will take next toward their goals. Clubs continue to respond to their books in journals and add to their book wikis.

Circle of Power and planned and facilitated by crew!

Crew members are grouped in daily teams that plan and run the morning meeting. Daily crew determine the greetings, activities and debriefing questions, and prepare the reading and discussion questions associated with our design principle of the month. Wow.



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On top of all the teaching and learning, I'm struck by the joy in the faces of all the children as they go about their quest for knowledge. Thanks to all the courageous and energetic people who had the vision to make this school a reality. With all the challenges the world faces today and predictions of disaster, these committed teachers/staff, these engaged families, and these beautiful children are a beacon of hope.

SELS embodies everything that I feel is important in my child's education and I am so grateful that she has the opportunity to learn in such an enriching environment. Teaching our children how to think and how to treat others is critical to their future success. I am thankful every single day for all the wonderful staff at SELS.

What an amazing place. It has been everything for my son that I had hoped he could experience in school. Great teacher, stimulating learning environment, and a deeply caring and nurturing place.

I am grateful that my child is encouraged to interpret concepts and think about how they apply to his life, not just memorize and repeat material. I love that SELS asks kids to think about who they are and how they contribute to the community, locally and globally.

I greatly appreciate that SELS is a heart-centered school that teaches ethics and values along with academics. That approach makes SELS a unique and special place.

I appreciate all the teachers and staff and their responsiveness. I also appreciate all the work the staff are doing to help the kids figure out how to fill each other's buckets!

Our son is bubbling over with excitement for learning. This environment is gifting him with life long skills to succeed. We are so thankful for this school.

All the Adults and students challenge each other the THINK!

SELS is amazing in the way they teach topics hands on and allow the children to learn in practical settings. We couldn't be happier seeing our son flourish so much! Thank you.

I am very grateful to the SELS staff for offering my 5th grader their hearts, as well as their knowledge. Better yet, they make learning fun and adventurous! My youngster is THRIVING at your wonderful school!!

We are thankful for many wonderful ideals and principles at SELS, but what really brings those into reality is the caring, hard-working teachers and staff. We wouldn't have thought that someone else would care as much about the whole education of our daughter as much as we do, but there is a whole team of such people at SELS.

I am so thankful that my 5th grade daughter is a member and student of this beautiful community and school. She is receiving a fantastic education with hands on learning, caring, understanding, creative, out of the box thinking and intuitive teachers. She feels included, important, confident and is growing tons in her knowledge and place in this wonderful community. Thank you SELS for being an amazing part of my daughter's education and Life!

I truly appreciate all the staff, students, parents and families at SELS. It is these people that make SELS so wonderful.
This has become a new 'family" for us!

I am so grateful for the amazing staff; they are the most amazing guides. It is an inspiration to watch them help our children learn and grow into thoughtful, independent, productive human beings!
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