Tuesday, October 31, 2017


Kindergarten students "Making" and critically thinking about how to get an apple from a tree without climbing

Connecting with the School Community and Beyond

Over the last few weeks, Woodbrook and the Woodbrook PTO has hosted numerous events to bring the community into our school.  Whether is was a PTO Family Dinner Night, Book Fair, a school-wide morning meeting open to the community, a grade-level learning event, or a field trip, we, as school leaders, know the importance of having a school with open doors.  We want parents and local community members to feel at home at Woodbrook. Even a local news TV station, CBS 19, did a story on our school community raising money for a high school in Houston,  Their school was horribly damaged from a recent hurricane. The first night of a parent-teacher conferences went very well.  It is great to have parents come in and talk with the teachers and their children about their journey at Woodbrook.  There will be more on Student Led Conferences in a future blog post.

Also, we were fortunate to have Virginia Delegate David Toscano visited our 1/2 multiage classroom to learn more about the YouVille project they are completing.  The second grade and 1/2 multiage project concluded with a student success night on Monday, October 30th.  Parents came and learned about all the cool projects the students had put together.

At our first school-wide morning meeting, we had community members celebrating with us.  We Skyped with a high school in Houston, Texas that had been hurt by the hurricane.  Our school community raised money to help them.

Skyping with high school in Houston

PTO Family Dinner Night

4/5 multiage trip to Monticello. Parents attended the trip and learned along with the students.
Global Maker Day

Global Maker Day was on October 24.  It was a lot of fun.  For us, it was a pleasure to walk the school and see all the creative learning opportunities happening throughout the school.  When students are given a chance to be think critically while being creative, magic can happen.  The pictures below and the video are great examples of this.

Video of student in second grade making a homemade fidget spinner.  
Build a Rectangular Prism: Starbucks on wheels...yes please.  Critical thinking!!! 

4/5 students were asked to make a rectangular prism.

Learning with Mr. Thornton on how to use Audacity in the classroom.  Trying to make music. 

Making a mix-matched animal

1st grade students are working on building their community: Charlottesville

This week in the classroom...


After returning from our field trip to the apple orchard the students learned that they should not climb or shake the tree to get the apples. We proposed this problem: Show us with these various materials how you can get the reddest apples of the top of the tree without climbing or shaking the tree.
The students work in teams for over to an hour with very little help from any adult creating ladders, trampolines, trained birds and butterflies to retrieve the apples.  They cooperated, shared, communicated, created, problem solved and most of all had fun.  I love when I can be the observer of problem solving and creating.  All students were engaged, happy and so very proud of what they created.  This was one of my favorite days last week.

1st Grade

During Global Maker Day our students had the challenge of creating a mini-marble run. We watched a few short video clips of pinball machines, shared a teacher created run, and they were off making. The children were incredibly invested in their own projects and in sharing them with their classmates. It was a joyful moment of careful creativity!

While working on ST Math this week, many students came across some challenging concepts. While there is teacher support at this time, there are at times more students in need of help than adults available to help! When RM became frustrated with a particular puzzle, EM exclaimed, “I can help with that!” It was a beautiful moment of empathy, of kindness, and most important of student as teacher and leader!

1/2 Multiage and Second Grade

In second grade our students have been putting the finishing touches on their YouVille products for the maker market on Monday night.  They also completed their final copies of their YouVille stories, which they will also be sharing with the community at the market. Each student has created their own business and a good or service to present at the market to earn money to go on a field trip later this winter.    

3rd grade

It has been an exciting couple of weeks in our 3rd grade community! We celebrated Hispanic Heritage Month, attended a classical concert, and participated in Global Maker Day. During Hispanic Heritage Month we used technology to travel to various Hispanic countries and learn about their food, sports, music, and art. The culminating activity was a fiesta with crafts, food, and a piƱata. We also attended classical music concert at the Martin Luther King, Jr. Performing Art Center where student listened to a pianist and violinist. Students had an opportunity to hear from performers about their instruments and their style of music. Finally, we participated in Global Maker Day. Students cooperated in teams to solve a marshmallow tower challenge and a mystery challenge. During our reflection time student engineers discussed what worked, challenges they faced, and how they would revise their designs. It has truly been an amazing couple of weeks with building community, stretching our minds, and working together in 3rdgrade!

4/5 Multiage

This week, 4/5 loved getting to face off in rap battles, Powhatan vs. Colonists. Students were assigned in groups to be rapping from either the colonist or Powhatan perspective. Students then collaborated to write and choreograph raps that emphasized the strengths of their assigned group, while shedding light on the weaknesses of the other. The activity helped us explore and experience the hot and cold relationship between these important groups of early Jamestown.

New Teacher Interview
Taryn Clark

Where were you born?  
I was born in Williamsburg, Virginia.

How long have you been teaching?
This is my 5th year teaching but the first year that I am privileged enough to teach Spanish. 

Why did you want to learn to speak Spanish?
When I first was introduced to Spanish in middle school I became fascinated with not only the language but also the Hispanic culture. It quickly became my favorite subject in high school and I knew I wanted to continue studying it in college. It was fun to switch from learning Spanish to learning in Spanish. Spanish has been a very useful language that I have been able to use in both travel and everyday life.

Have you ever traveled to a Hispanic country? 
I have been to three! I studied abroad in Spain, have been to Nicaragua three times, and traveled to Mexico. I am very eager to make it somewhere in South America next.

What is something about you that you want all your students to know? 
Language is a very powerful tool! Not only is learning another language important but it is also important to think about how you use words every day to communicate with others, share your learning and ideas, and express your feelings in a respectful way. Your language is a part of what makes you who you are.

Are there any other neat facts about yourself that you would like to share? 
Another thing I love about language is song lyrics! I have a strange ability to remember song lyrics, even ones from my childhood. So all those songs from boy bands in the 1990s...I still know them.

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