Going to School

By: Lena Goss

One more week until our winter break and I feel just like I did in elementary school getting ready for our holidays! The last three weeks of working and teaching at our schools have been hectic, wonderful, tiring and delightful. I spend my Tuesdays and Wednesdays at a small hill-town school with 65 energetic students aged 3 – 12 year olds. These intrepid kids brave 15 degree days and howling winds for the fun of outside recess. When I walk into the cafeteria each morning and the kids come running over, chanting my names – it’s fun to be the most popular kid in school.

Despite what we learned about the seasons in 2nd/3rd grade last week, winter seems to have thoroughly arrived. With a snow day last week, over a foot of snow on the ground, and the pond frozen over, we turn our attention to winter adaptation of local animals: storing up food, migration, hibernation, and a new winter coat. On the coldest days some of these adaptations sound very appealing – perhaps some baked goods, a tropical vacation, an afternoon naps and real winter clothes.

On Thursdays, I head to the “big city” of Easthampton to a charter school where students incorporate art into all their classes, and knit during story time. Both schools have mixed grade levels, and we have been rising to the challenge of designing lessons for classes with Kindergarten through 2nd graders. So far I have learned that all ages of elementary students love stories, songs, and coloring, so it’s time to get to work and make science more accessible, engaging and hands on!