Welcome to the Dragonfly Class, a world of magic and learning!
Lenka Vodicka & Marisa Capellan
Life in a Kindergarten/First Grade Class:
Students are in the Dragonfly Class for two years. We have ten kindergarten and ten first grade students.
Kindergarten students see their first grade friends follow directions, embrace risks, and treat each other with kindness. When the first graders are comfortable and happy at school, kindergarten students relax and trust the school community. Kindergarteners have time with their small group daily when the first graders go to their lunch recess. Their school day goes from 8:30 to 12:30 with the option of an after-school program until 5:30.
First Grade students step into their roles as leaders in the Dragonfly Class. They start the year comfortable with their teachers, schedule, and expectations. They join other first-third grade students daily from 12:-12:30 for lunch recess. Then they have “Afternoon Room” with only the ten first grade students. We read novels, explore science, write and paint, and dive into activities that are perfect for a small group of learners. The first grade school day goes from 8:30-2:30 with the option of an after-school program until 5:30.
Most of the academic content is learned through small group centers where each student receives grade-level curriculum. Topics of learning such as bears, sharks, or castles switch year to year so students are always engaging in new material. At the same time, they look forward to yearly traditions like a class play and holiday celebrations where they get to revisit favorites.
The Dragonfly Class is a creative, dynamic learning community!
Community~ In Dragonfly Class, we take time at the beginning of the year to build a strong learning community. We explore and learn about ourselves, each other, our school and our town. We use story-telling and fairy tales to explore ideas like chivalry, heroes and the Golden Rule.
Animals~ We focus on many animals through the year to learn about science and nature. We respond to student interests for topics. Past units have focused on big cats, sharks, birds, bats, local animals, and bears. We revisit material through the years and find more when we see student interest spark.
Harvest~ We learn about farms, farmers and food harvest. We take a field trip to one of the many local farms and get a tour of how a farm works.
Gratitude~ We share and celebrate all of the many things we are grateful for at our school, at home and in our lives. In November, we share a Stone Soup Feast. The feast allows us to read many versions of the story and discuss literature, culture, and community.
Giving~ Our holiday planning hopes to show children that they have big powers of giving. We create many handmade gifts for loved ones. We also spend time noticing how non-tangible gifts are meaningful to others. These include kindness, love, acts of signing and generosity… Children love to see how they are significant givers during this season.
Arctic~ We study a cold weather climate and how animals adapt to life in difficult conditions. Students take learning home with a project-based report that they share with the class. They love being an animal-expert and teacher!
Nut Cracker~ We have a class field trip to see the local ballet production of the Nutcracker. NCSA students often participate and the production is directed by an NCSA graduate. Seeing the many child-dancers inspire our own students to dance. Children love this magical celebration of the season.
Mud Hut~ We visit the Mud Hut for a lesson in sculpture. We connect the clay project to our unit of study at the time. Children love to experience art as a three-dimensional creation.
Oceans~ We explore the underwater world in the springtime. Children are fascinated to learn that scientists are still exploring and discovering new creatures in the oceans. We study habitats from coral reefs to deep waters.
Zoo~ We alternate years between the Folsom Zoo and Animal Sactuary and the Sacramento Zoo. We talk about animal conservation and rescue. Students love to see the many things they learned through the year in real life. They notice details about adaptation, attributes, and animal communities.
Gardens~ Every other year, we team up with the Gryphon 2/3 Class for a Spring Garden Show. This event is a celebration of song and music and dance. Students love to perform. At the same time, we study how our gardens grow with planting seeds. We plant our own classroom seeds and watch them grow.
Peter Pan~ Off to Neverland! The Dragonfly Class tradition uses a script written by Lenka that is tailored to their interests and ages. The story has a twist where the characters “talk out” their problems instead of fighting. This production is perfect for our K/1 students because the first year, they can be pirates and lost kids. Then, the next year they step into the bigger roles. They love the magic of this play!
Dragonfly Class Around the Web:
You can find our classroom photo galleries here.
We love activities that engage children while learning. Follow our ongoing collection of ideas here for insight about learning in our classroom and fun activities for your children at home.