Week of December 19

I hope you enjoy these glimpses into life in The Experiential School of Tampa Bay. If you ever have any questions, suggestions or feedback you would like to share, I’d love to hear from you at bgootson@shorecrest.org. It would be helpful to entitle your message “The Experiential School Blog” to ensure that your message doesn’t end up in my spam folder. All the best wishes for a happy holiday season and a very happy and healthy new year! Betty Busy times in The Experiential School These last few weeks have been so busy that it’s impossible to share everything we’ve done but there are a few highlights from last week that we missed as well as special activities from the past several days. A Scrumptious Snack Making latkes (potato pancakes), which are a traditional Chanukah food, is a bit involved when you do it the old fashioned way. The students in… [Read more]

Conversation is a Catalyst for Learning

Our classrooms are sometimes a bit noisy, but that is by design. We engage in conversation with the students and help them learn to do so with each other. Conversation, by definition, is “the use of speech for informal exchange of views or ideas or information.” There are two types of language, receptive and expressive. Receptive language is the ability to understand what is being said. Expressive language is the ability to express one’s thoughts, feelings and knowledge orally. Conversation is required to help children develop both types of language. Engaging in conversation also allows children to make sense of what they see and hear by expressing ideas, questioning and testing current knowledge. By reconstructing experiences, making comparisons and sequencing events, children learn – from their peers and their teachers. Talking through shared experiences and questioning parents, teachers and each other help children figure things out, thus building higher level… [Read more]

Week of December 15

Sharing new Knowledge It was culmination time for the Junior Kindergarten projects this week. After several weeks of research, fieldwork, guest experts and discussion, it was time for the 4- and 5-year old JK students to share their knowledge. After creating individual blueprints of how they wanted to share their favorite thing they had learned and what they needed to do so, the students set to work on their sculptures, posters or books. Then it was share time; each class invited an older class to its culmination event so the younger children could share their work and learning with the older students. The interaction between the ages was an amazing sight as The Experiential School students exhibited poise and confidence under the patient questioning and interest of the second and fourth graders. Mystery Reader On some of their visits to the library, The Experiential School classes have a visiting reader whose identity is kept… [Read more]