Today, and for the next four Thursday mornings, mixed groups of children will participate in Exploratory Block sessions (or "EB's"). The children really look forward to this time, and we teachers do as well. It is one of the truly amazing bits about Summers-Knoll, and part of what makes this school unique. With EB's, teachers get to teach to their passions. It is also a way that other people - not just the core teachers - can become involved. And the children enjoy learning about things not normally part of the school curriculum and working with children outside their own classroom.
This time, Matt (who has taken over our accounting-type duties recently) is teaching how to make a ukulele, Elaine is sharing her love of gardening, Shan is taking a group of children to ride and care for horses, and I'm doing one on etiquette.
For my EB, four children signed up - Clementine, Eli, Maddy and Lilith. What we lack in numbers, we make up for in enthusiasm! Today we started off with how to set a proper place at the table, using good manners while eating, and etiquette around the world when it comes to sharing food. We read the poem called The Goops to start us off:
The Goops, by Gelett Burgess
The Goops they lick their fingers,
And the Goops they lick their knives;
They spill their broth on the tablecloth--
Oh, they lead disgusting lives!
The Goops they talk while eating,
And loud and fast they chew;
And that is why I'm glad that I
Am not a Goop--Are you?
Then each child drew a picture of the Goops BEFORE taking a class on manners and AFTER taking a class on manners. I found the before pictures the funniest, so I will share with all of you:
Tonight, for "homework", each child has been instructed to politely offer to set the table in the proper way. This is how we learned to do it:
Next week, we will be making invitations for our fancy-schmancy tea party, to be held on the last session of the EB's - Thursday, May 17th.