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  • Writer's pictureMarisa Ramsey

2022/23: Week 2

Smart Start Week 2! This week we really settled into our rhythms. We created beautiful art, used our powers of observation, made new friends, and finished the week with a Dot Day Celebration.

Most mornings begin with play and learning invitations. This week, our jumping-off point was the letter F so our invitations included things like building with foam blocks, sketching our faces, and playing with flower parts and feathers on our light table. Additional centers featured invitations to improve dexterity or reinforce letter formation as well as invitations designed to be sensory experiences.

This week's science study focused on our senses and how we observe, make predictions, test our ideas, and record results. We investigated apples, and baked fudge brownies, and used a frosting activity to learn how scientists follow steps and directions.

Circle Time is an important anchor point in our day. Each morning we gather on our circle rug to talk about the weather, set the date on our calendar, and have conversations around the day's theme and learning goals. Our calendar is large and interactive and serves as a record of our adventures and experiences. Each day, the Circle Captain gets to illustrate that day's card with something we enjoyed together as a class or something they really liked and want to remember. We record that student's words on the card and it goes on the calendar as an ever-present visual diary of our time together.

We were so excited to have our first class project emerge this week! Learning is presented in an invitational way at Smart Start and when someone voices an "I Wonder" we follow curiosity and let wonder and joy drive our discoveries. This week during snack a student noticed that Ms. Marisa's bell pepper was full of seeds and asked...

Student: "How did all those seeds get in there?"

Teacher: "Hhhhmmm. I wonder how they got in there?"

Student: "I don't know."

Teacher: "I wonder how we could find out."

Student: "Oh! We could plant the seeds!"

Teacher: "I wonder what would happen then."

Student: "Maybe if we watch it grow we can see how the seed gets inside."

Teacher: "Could be! Would you like to try it and see?"

Student: "Yeah!"

From here we got some paper, made a list of supplies we will need for our project, and made a plan for our first steps. These types of student-driven investigations lead to new discoveries and often take us to unexpected outcomes that are deeply meaningful and have lasting impacts because learning and discovery are connected with joy and wonder. We are excited to see where "Project Pepper" takes us next week!

On September 15th we celebrated International Dot Day.

International Dot Day, a global celebration of creativity, courage and collaboration, began when teacher Terry Shay introduced his classroom to Peter H. Reynolds’ book The Dot on September 15, 2009.

The Dot is the story of a caring teacher who dares a doubting student to trust in her own abilities by being brave enough to “make her mark”. What begins with a small dot on a piece of paper becomes a breakthrough in confidence and courage, igniting a journey of self-discovery and sharing, which has gone on to inspire countless children and adults around the globe. (From

More sights and sounds from Week 2:

Conversation about design and engineering.

Morning handwriting practice

Being incredibly helpful and responsible.

Working on part one of an art project that will take the entire year!

Inspired by our artist of the week Frida Kahlo, this young artist created an entire series of self-portraits! After doing several sketches of herself, friends started stopping by the table and asking if she would sketch them. That's the kind of spontaneous, contagious artistry we love to see!

Farewell to Letter F Week!

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