Looking for the red thread

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As I begin this year with these little ones, I have been on the lookout for the “red thread” that will tie our year together.  I’ve been searching for something that we could explore as a group that would give us a rich experience of discovery, and I believe I have found it in conjunction with our 8th grade science teacher, Sean Casey.

Sean’s 8th graders are our Science Buddies, a partnership that grows richer with each hour that we spend together.  This Science Buddy partnership has been a part of our K-8 group for the past several years, and the children develop a strong bond with their buddy, who remains the same throughout the school year.  Kindergarteners light up when they see their buddy around the school, and the 8th graders delight in the joy they bring to these little ones.

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In the past, the 8th grade project with the kindergarteners has been to weigh and measure them once a month as well as to chart how many teeth have been lost.  We teachers began to feel that while the connection was being made between children, this experience could provide much more as a learning experience.  As we continued to ponder this, we looked out as the courtyard outside our doors, and realized that the courtyard could provide our “red thread” for this school year.

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Together the 8th graders and the kindergarten buddies could become the experts on Jamie’s Courtyard, for there are a wealth of ideas to be explored. The children can measure the courtyard using standard and non-standard units of measurement and they can chart the changing temperatures as the seasons change each Monday at Greet the Week.  They can report on all the activities that use the courtyard, from Greet the Week to lunches to the annual Oyster Roast.  The children can study the wildlife that make the courtyard their home, including the bugs and insects that live in the raised beds.  They can make a calendar showing when the leaves begin to fall, and when they begin to emerge in the spring.  Together they can plant bulbs, learn about the plants in the raised beds.  Couldn’t we record the sounds of the courtyard, from footsteps to the sounds of birds at the bird feeder?  We can chart all the varieties of birds that visit the feeders outside our window, making a book of “Bird Visitors” that could be a kick-off to the 8th grade science project in May.

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Suddenly we would have a K/8 Reggio inspired partnership that would enrich both groups in a dynamic way.  We could provide documentation with photos, videos, and recordings as well as the work of the pairs of children.  It may be that the 8th graders would start us off on each exploration, such as birds at the feeders, and that kindergarten would spend time before the next session of Science Buddies to find out those “wonderings” that they could report back to their buddies.  The 8th graders may provide some of the technical expertise for recording/graphing of our discoveries.  DSC_0012

I think this may be the thread that we can explore together, looking for the trail that leads to the next red thread.  I’m sure these children will have paths in the courtyard to lead us toward that we haven’t even thought of.  The adventure begins!

4 thoughts on “Looking for the red thread

  1. So excited to hear about this increased collaboration between the 8th graders and Kindergarteners. What a huge blessing for them that you were able to go to Italy and become so inspired to find new red threads!

  2. A thread……literally, the singular component of a great tapestry or a pair of funky socks, like a molecule of a complex carbon chain or a building block of the DNA sequence. Metaphorically, a thread is an idea woven into a philosophical conversation, an ingredient mixed into a recipe or a sequence in a mathematical equation. A melodic line of a song, a shimmering strand of light that connects us to a sunset, that almost tangible feeling we get in a spiritual revelation. All these threads weave themselves into this great pattern of interconnectedness. I was fortunate this past Saturday night to entertain and MC at the Friendship Gardens gala event to raise money for this most vital of organizations that weaves us together in a mosaic of growing, harvesting, cooking and sharing, a dynamic quilt of sustainability, a fundamental pattern of vital life action and an important part of the TES mission for community.
    While the Kindertopia K-8 Science buddies courtyard project may seem small, this microcosm is a window on the world at large. Great things will happen in this courtyard of friendship which might well be the tangible heart of the intangible love that TES fosters in their mission to ‘grow’ the intelligence, courage and faith of your children.
    Become a part of this magical courtyard web of life by surprising the K-8 teams.
    perhaps add something that will delight them…a prism on a tree branch, a sundial in a unique spot, an angel in a tree top, an unusual plant, unique bird feeder. Increase their wonder, stimulate their curiosity, become a secret science partner. What is possible?!
    One of the great Creation stories of the Navajo and Hopi cultures has Spiderwoman (the original!!)weaving a great web of life between Eagle Rock and the distant pinnacle in the Canyon de Chelly. Here the sands of time were caught in this magnificent web to begin Life on this planet. The brilliant native American metaphor is that we are all a strand on this great web of Life, one affecting all the others, each glistening with the morning dew catching the powerful rays of the rising sun and bursting it into the colors of our lives.
    This is the Trinity Garden Courtyard, this is the thread that each of your children are weaving into the fabric of friendship unfolding in the Courtyard. What revelations both casual and profound await the seekers. Trinity never fails to generate inspiration as it reaches for her goals. And
    Linda (with the K CollaborationTeam) never falters in her efforts to provide your children with the myriad of options that nurture their innate intelligences towards fruition.
    Weave on Spinners!
    Hardin

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