The Importance of Movement

“When we continuously expect children to be seated for hours everyday, whether that is sitting for lengthy stints of time in the classroom, being driven from one event to the next, or doing homework till it gets dark outside — children are often found in an upright position with little sensory stimulation,” Hanscom wrote. “[Kids] need ample opportunities to move their bodies in all different directions such as going upside down, spinning in circles, rolling down hills or even climbing trees.” (from linked article)

Recess Is Not A Luxury

When my oldest son was in first grade at public school, they had indoor recess a lot. Sometimes due to weather, sometimes due to staffing issues, they would have two classes of six-year-olds sit on the floor in the gym and watch a 20 minute episode of The Magic Schoolbus. This happened rather frequently, it seemed. A few times I got a note from his teacher, telling me that I needed to talk to Max about “appropriate indoor recess behavior.” My son’s infraction? Talking to his classmates during the video, and later, kicking his shoe off while sitting in the chair he had been isolated to due to talking to his friends.

When I heard the story from my son’s perspective, he was confused about why he couldn’t talk to his friends during recess since that was supposed to be time to play, he wasn’t interested in the video, and his shoe had flown off accidentally when he was swinging his legs, which had become restless from not touching the floor. The teacher told me that playing games or otherwise doing more active things during indoor recess wasn’t an option because they were understaffed. I visited a couple of times and the “recess” was characterized by a six year old being hushed every few minutes by one of maybe two lunchtime staff.

He would often come home from school and be super wired, have meltdowns, and need to get some physical energy out after sitting much of the day. He was struggling with reading and was often totally exhausted by dinner time. Getting homework done was often a struggle, with me as the taskmaster. Our relationship suffered.

The change in him since we switched to self-directed education has been huge. He gets lots of opportunity to run and play and is never resistant to going to school. He comes home happy and relaxed, but still with enough energy to play with neighbors or his brother. He often will voluntarily sit and read quietly on his own; he has the focus to sit and draw or build a Lego creation for up to a couple of hours. He often asks me to sit with him while he does some pages in a workbook (for fun!), or asks to help with dinner. He sleeps well and gets up early. Kids need to move to be able to learn, as articles like this and my own experience confirm!

Happy Birthday, Funky Crunk!

Little Lake Learning Community has created their largest die ever!  After several weeks of searching for the right device, students Adam and Asa were able to successfully connect the 3D printer to volunteer Stef Weyand’s computer and print creations anew!  The 3D printer was generously donated to the school by Adam in early September from his saved-up birthday money. In the beginning of the school year, the students had been eagerly using the printer to create Lucky Cats, but ran into challenge when a connectable computer device became no longer available.  Since their happy discovery, a number of 3D objects have been created, including dice of various sizes and a mini castle!

The 3D printer up close!

“Giant Die,” one of the nicknames of Little Lake’s “largest die ever,” took fifty-five minutes to print from start to finish.  According to Adam, this is only half of the time it takes to print a Lucky Cat! He and Asa used an emailed file G-code to engineer their creation, choosing the material, size and other attributes electronically.  The 3D printer then used a spool of a special plastic filament to make their creation a physical reality!

Adam guides the sealing process

As “Giant Die” neared completion, the vast cubical hollow necessitated a critical decision to be made: what to put inside?  The students finally decided on a pair of Lego pants and a smaller die to be sealed inside “forever!” When “Giant Die” had finished printing, Asa decorated it with the required dots to make it a functional die!

Adam looks on as Asa turns “Giant Die” into a die

“Giant Die’s” creation was followed by the manufacture of another, smaller die: a tiny, single-centimeter cube whimsically christened “Funky Crunk 2.”  Adam experimented with the printing speed, cranking it up to double-time! Between the compact size and doubled speed, the sequel die took under ten minutes to print.  “It looks like a web in there!” Adam exclaimed, watching the printer at work.

Asa and Adam watch their creation materialize

How did “Funky Crunk 2” get its name?  As Adam explained, the name was originally generated by the computer program at random for another cube creation.  It stuck! “Funky Crunk 2” became the sequel!

When “Funky Crunk 2” had finished printing,  Adam joyfully cradled it in his palm. “Ooohh!  Funky Crunk, welcome to the world!”

He and Asa immediately began to sing “Happy Birthday” to Funky Crunk, inspiring the surrounding staff, volunteers and students to join in!

Happy Birthday, Funky Crunk!

Inspecting Funky Crunk 2 up close
A custom-decorated Lucky Cat, an earlier 3D printing success!

Field Trips!

Recently the Little Lake Learning Community has had the opportunity to participate in a few fun, community-based field trips!

 

Sherlock Holmes and the First Baker Street Irregular

 

The weekend after Thanksgiving, several Little Lake students starred in the Ypsilanti Youth Theater production of Brian Guehring’s play “Sherlock Holmes and the First Baker Street Irregular.”  The remaining students, staff and volunteers were able to view the final dress rehearsal at Riverside Arts Center along with several other students from Ypsilanti-area schools and homeschooling co-operatives.  According to Momo, the play broke the record for being “the shortest field trip in Little Lake History” since the school only needed to travel up the stairs to the next floor!  We who attended appreciated the opportunity to see and support our fellow students on stage!

 

Resultado de imagen para the princess bride

 

In mid-December, the entire school traveled to the Jewish Community Center to participate in a free screening of the classic 1987 film,  “The Princess Bride.” The senior citizens and staff were excited to have the children attend. Students, staff and volunteers enjoyed popcorn, tea and the welcoming attitudes of the JCC folk along with the film!