Food Forest . Rhubarb Ketchup

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On Monday, we visited the food forest in Buhr Park where we helped suppress grass and other unwanted plants by laying down damp cardboard and covering it with wood chips. Students also photographed some of the plant and animal life they observed. After harvesting some rhubarb, we brought it back to school and incorporated it into a rhubarb ketchup which the students made and brought home to share with their families.

Exploring Identity . The Little Prince . Six-Word Memoirs . DSRP









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This week, we began exploring the concept of Identity, one of the themes of study for the year. We began with The Little Prince, by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, focusing on how the narrator’s identity was impacted by those around him as well as how it shifts depending on whom he is speaking with. When reading aloud as a class, the students take on a specific role that engages them on an aspect of the text. The roles are as follows:

  • Profiler – As Profilers, students conduct character analyses, drawing conclusions or making predictions about characters based on what they say or do.
  • Reporter – As Reporters, students summarize what was read.
  • Curator – As Curators, students take note of interesting words or phrases used by the author. This could include unknown words as well as sections that are particularly well written or evocative.
  • Detective – As Detectives, students look for patterns and make predictions or inferences based on what they have heard so far.


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We also spent time exploring Six-Word Memoirs as a way of expressing our identities. Students reviewed Six-Word Memoirs written by peers across the country and were asked to take note of ones that they connected with. Then they were asked to think about what the student might have experienced before writing their piece. After this, they began work on Six-Word Memoirs of their own.


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During our elective, we headed to the Buhr Park Food Forest to continue work on a community project there. We brought cardboard for sheet mulching, toured the food forest (taking note of the biodiversity), pulled grass and sampled some fresh raspberries.





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In math class, we played Four 4s where students were challenged to find the numbers 0 – 20 using only four 4s and addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division. This encourages students to think flexibly about the ways numbers can be made and becomes more challenging as certain numbers prove to be more elusive than others. Students begin by playing with the various combinations and over time develop strategies as they begin to think about the relationships between numbers.

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As a way of unpacking the concept of Identity, students were divided into groups and were asked to think through what Identity really means. One way we explore concepts is by using a framework developed by Dr. Derek Cabrera called the DSRP Method. Each group was given one of the following focuses along with guiding questions.

  • Distinctions – How do our identities differ from those of others? How do we have multiple identities?
  • Systems – What are the parts of our identities? What else are identities a part of?
  • Relationships – How do relationships influence our identities?
  • Perspectives – How are you different from what people think you are?

Students had time to record their thoughts individually and in small groups before sharing at the end. Many connections were made between Identity and our families, our histories, and our interests. We also touched on how identities can shape cities. Some students also shared personal reflections about feeling different and how these differences can lead to misunderstandings. We will continue sharing on Monday. I’m really looking forward to seeing how our understandings of the concept and ourselves, as individuals and a group, grow and change over time.


First Week – Building Our Classroom

The beginning of the school year is a time of both excitement and transition. Students and teachers are learning ways of being with each other as well as in a new space.

We began the school year with a focus on shaping our physical space and building relationships. One great way to get to know someone is to have to put something together, together. Communication is key as resources are shared and duties are decided. Problems are encountered and solved. We learn about others and ourselves when faced with the challenge of building something.

In small groups, the students assembled a small table and two bookshelves and crafted “cloud lanterns” using paper lanterns, hot glue and cotton, contributing to both the functionality and aesthetics of our shared space.

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Grades K – 4 also travelled to the Howell Nature Center for a day of nature exploration and team building. Our class learned more about the indigenous peoples of Michigan and played games that children living in those communities would have played. We also spent time exploring features of maps and then used these map reading skills to find clues and answer questions. The zip line, a favorite of many, provided a chance for some to face fears and others to enjoy an exciting ride over a small pond. The day ended with the Team Challenges, where our class needed to use their communication and problem-solving skills in a series of challenges. It was the perfect way to finish the first week.

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