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CLASS Descriptions

Our approach to learning is holistic, this and our classes are interdisciplinary, meaning many different subject areas are included in the work students do. We encourage student choice, and creativity and exploration in a supportive atmosphere. We guide children through the processes required to try new things and allow for struggles and triumphs. We strive to create and environment that supports boundless imaginations and where students are not afraid to make mistakes.
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Our experienced team of teachers act as leaders and mentors to students. Our ratio of staff to students is generally 1 : 5 or fewer, ensuring each student receives the individual attention and care that each student deserves. We empower students to take responsibility for their own learning and to engage with others, inluding students and teachers to inspire and direct their individual learning path.

You can download the registration form Birch Quarter 3 registration form.
These classes run for eight sessions, beginning January 28 and ending March 22nd. In the event Winter Weather causes a class cancellation during the session a makeup class will be added the week of April 1st.

Monday

Math Workshop: Time Fractions and Money
9:00 — 10:30
$160.

8 – 12
This quarter’s math program will focus on parts, specifically fractions, decimals, time and money.
This individually leveled multi-age math class will run in an informal workshop format. The class period is broken down into several shorter periods, with breaks between each for large motor movement and/or snacks. We prepare the kids for academic work each morning with research-based physical activities and movements that have shown to improve focus and academic engagement. The class will include introduction of concepts and supervised practice, and well as vocabulary, word problems, games, adaptive online programs, discovery and real-world applications. Learning about time and money is often difficult because they are abstract concepts. Understanding money and time requires the application of indirect scales, meaning they can’t obviously be measured concretely. Students will learn individually or in small groups with students at similar learning level. Board Games and puzzles, hands-on activities, cards, stories, and some computer practice will be part of this class.
This class runs Monday – Thursday and students can attend one, two, three or four class days per week.

Research, Design and Create a Board Game: Be a Game Designer! Create a Board Game about your favorite topic.
9:00 — 10:30
$175.

8+ 3rd Grade Reading Level Suggested
In this class each student will choose a topic of interest or passion for them and create a board game around that concept. Students will be required to perform research on various aspects of the topic, keep accurate notes on information found, as well design and develop the game board and mechanism of the game. Supplies will be provided, including blank game boards, cards, markers, etc Students will work with the teacher to identify an approved topic. Some work between classes will be required. The class will conclude with a “Game Party”, with parents and friends invited to come play them all.
SKILLS: Small motor skills, research, note-taking, reading, designing, imagination, project planning,
3-dimensional analytic thinking, creative writing and art.

Winter Ecology and Stewart Preserve
10:30 — 11:30
$112.

8+ 3rd Grade Reading Level Suggested
This class will be a combination of classroom study and record keeping and field study and hiking. Simple ecological systems will be introduced, including the water cycle, carbon cycle, and food webs. Native flora and fauna of Stewart Preserve and the Hudson Valley will be identified and studied. Introductory ecological research such as population surveys and species inventories will be performed. Students should be prepared to hike outdoors in most weather conditions, and wear comfortable waterproof boots and warm gear.

Tuesday

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Math Workshop: Time Fractions and Money
9:00 — 10:30
$160.

Two levels will be offered, based on current math and reading ability.
ages 4/5 — 7/8 and 7/8 — 15/16

This individually leveled multi-age math class will run in an informal workshop format. The class period is broken down into several shorter periods, with breaks between each for large motor movement and/or snacks. We prepare the kids for academic work each morning with research-based physical activities and movements that have shown to improve focus and academic engagement. The class will include introduction of concepts and supervised practice, and well as vocabulary, word problems, games, adaptive online programs, discovery and real-world applications. Learning about time and money is often difficult because they are abstract concepts. Understanding money and time requires the application of indirect scales, meaning they can’t obviously be measured concretely. Students will learn individually or in small groups with students at similar learning level. Board Games and puzzles, hands-on activities, cards, stories, and some computer practice will be part of this class.
This class runs Monday – Thursday and students can attend one, two, three or four class days per week.

History & Geography: Mummies, Knights, Kings and Castles
10:30 — 11:30
$112.

two sections available:
5 – 8 pre-readers and early readers
8+ 3rd Grade Reading Level Suggested

History is remembered through stories. The class will choose and learn the history of several ancient regions of the world. The group will learn and discuss stories of the past and then divide into groups based on learning level. Each student will be encouraged to produce work at their level in response to the ideas and stories they encounter. Work options will include crafts, art, writing, group and individual projects of student choice. Each member of the class will contribute to the whole class’ learning.
SKILLS: Writing, geography, drawing, memorization, mapping, topological intelligence, cultural appreciation and history of regions of the world.

Nature Crafts, Weaving & Basketry
10:30 — 11:30
$128. (includes most supplies)

ages 4 – 14
In this class students will be introduced to several types of weaving and simple basketry. Students will then choose one or two projects to focus on and complete with assistance and supervision. We will explore loom weaving, finger weaving, Japanese card weaving, reed basketry, newspaper weaving, natural materials, and more. Cost includes most supplies.

Dream, Design, Develop: Basic Engineering
12:30 — 1:30
$112.

ages 5 – 10
In this first exploratory hands-on class young students are introduced to design concepts and encouraged to think like engineers. Students will be asked to apply their knowledge to simple design challenges. Creativity, problem-solving, applying ideas, testing, observing, refining and retesting are emphasized. Some classes will require students to work in teams, and others will feature independent projects. Projects may include boats, cars, rockets, kites, bridges, toys, moving things and more.
SKILLS: critical & creative thinking, problem solving, decision making, cooperative skills, planning, testing a model, drawing conclusions from test data.

Tuesday Independent study and small group work
1:30 — 3:00
$160.

All ages 5 – 17
Birch School staff guide students in independent student-chosen projects and small group work. Topics and activities will be determined according to each student’s plan, developed at the start of the quarter in partnership with parents, students and teachers. During this period students will have access to school resources to work on social and academic skills independently and in small groups. Workbooks, creative writing, reading, math manipulatives, art, crafts, online classes, educational software, robotics and building equipment, games, and special projects will all be available during this period. Staff is actively involved in working closely with students to facilitate learning.
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Tinker Labs: Do it Yourself – DIY.org
1:30 — 3:00
$160.

8+
DIY.ages org is a new site for young Makers offering project ideas and instructions and a forum where kids post picture of the projects they have made and other kids can post comments and questions. See their intro video here:

In this class we make resources available to kids, offer encouragement, tools, help with planning and completing projects. Kids can post them on DIY for feedback. The DIY.org site has badges that can be earned by completing various challenges. We will identify badges of interest to students and help facilitate the completion of tasks to earn the badges. At the end of the class we will host a DIY Fair where we will show off all the projects the kids did.

Wednesday

Literacy Workshop
9:00 — 10:30
$160.

ages 5 – 7
This one hour period for pre-readers, emergent readers, as well as beginning readers to expand and build on their knowledge, and reinforce learning. Activities focus on patterning, letter and sound recognition, phonics, storytelling, After a group lesson, students will rotate through a variety of hands-on, self-directed learning centers and stations. Small and large group activities and games will also be included. This environment is designed to allow for individualized learning as well as group learning with supervision and guidance.

Math Workshop: Time Fractions and Money
9:00 — 10:30
$160.

8 – 12
This individually leveled multi-age math class will run in an informal workshop format. The class period is broken down into several shorter periods, with breaks between each for large motor movement and/or snacks. We prepare the kids for academic work each morning with research-based physical activities and movements that have shown to improve focus and academic engagement. The class will include introduction of concepts and supervised practice, and well as vocabulary, word problems, games, adaptive online programs, discovery and real-world applications. Learning about time and money is often difficult because they are abstract concepts. Understanding money and time requires the application of indirect scales, meaning they can’t obviously be measured concretely. Students will learn individually or in small groups with students at similar learning level. Board Games and puzzles, hands-on activities, cards, stories, and some computer practice will be part of this class.
This class runs Monday – Thursday and students can attend one, two, three or four class days per week.

Crystals, Gems and Rare Stones, A Natural History of Rocks
10:30 — 11:30
$112.

8+ 3rd Grade Reading Level Suggested
The class will begin the lifelong process of understanding the structure of the planet, by examining mineral samples, researching, reading and viewing print and web resources about geology, and by taking hikes and short field trips. Winter is a great time to view geological features, unobscured by summer vegetation.

“Can’t we just all get along?” Character Education/Cooperative Games
10:30 — 11:30
$112.

ages 5 – 10
Through fun hands-on activities this class will encourage the development of social problem-solving, anger management, peer-to-peer communication, kindness and compassion. We will focus on identifying the concepts of good citizenship, respect, responsibility, conflict resolution, and more. Through lessons, group activities, roles plays, problem solving challenges, and active cooperative games we will introduce and practice these concepts.

Reading and Writing Poetry
12:30 — 1:30
$112.

Two levels will be offered, 5 — 8, and 9+ 3rd grade and up reading level suggested
In this class we will explore poetry and read poems together from a variety of classic and modern poets. Literary vocabulary and concepts such as rhyme, metaphor, alliteration and more will be taught and explored. Several different types of poems will be introduced, including Haiku, Cinquain, and Diamonte, and sonnets. Students will be encouraged to write poems of their own in their personal poetry journal.
Two levels of this class will be offered: One for pre and early readers and another for students reading and writing at a third grade level or higher.

Wednesday ART, Independent projects and small group work
1:30 — 3:00 $160.

all ages
This afternoon will offer options for small group exploration and creative endeavors. Our art instructor Dianne will teach a new project each week, paints, watercolors, paper art, sculpture, etc. Students can choose ART or independent work. In addition, Birch School teachers and staff will be available to assist and supervise independent research reading, small group activities. Resources available to students include hands-on manipulatives, learning games and puzzles, computer stations, ipads, reference, non-fiction and fiction books,

Thursday

Math Workshop, Fractions Time Money
9:00 — 10:30
$160

Two levels will be offered, based on current math and reading ability.
ages 4/5 — 7/8 and 7/8 — 15/16

This quarter’s math program will focus on parts, specifically fractions, decimals, time and money.
Learning about time and money is often difficult because they are abstract concepts. Understanding money and time requires the application of indirect scales, meaning they can’t obviously be measured concretely.
This individually leveled multi-age math class will run in an informal workshop format. The class period is broken down into several shorter periods, with breaks between each for large motor movement and/or snacks. We prepare the kids for academic work each morning with research-based physical activities and movements that have shown to improve focus and academic engagement. The class will include introduction of concepts and supervised practice, and well as vocabulary, word problems, games, adaptive online programs, discovery and real-world applications. Students will learn individually or in small groups with students at similar learning level. Board Games and puzzles, hands-on activities, cards, stories, and some computer practice will be part of this class.
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The World Within the World: Microscope Discovery, slide preparation, drawing
9:00 — 10:30
$160.

8+ 3rd Grade Reading Level Suggested
A basic introduction to the microscope and its functions. Students will learn to prepare slides of various specimens. Prepared slides will be available as well. Students will keep a lab workbook and be encouraged to draw their observations and keep a record of their discoveries. Cells from plants and animals will be studied. Depending on student interest, the class will research various areas of focus. Participants will be expected to generate questions and work to seek answers using a variety of resources. This class is open to students able to read at a third grade level or above. A microscope workbook will be provided to each student.
Recommended (but not required): Usborne: Complete Book of the Microscope Students can share the book.

Digital Music : Recording and Composing in Garage Band
10:30 — 11:30
$112.

ages 7+
Do you have songs in your head that you’d like to let out? Have you always wanted to record your own album? Class will use Apple Garage Band to construct musical pieces made from samples and midi patterns. Students will learn Garage Band controls and functions, plus some music theory, recording theory and a bit of the history of recorded music. Advanced students may be able to record parts on keyboard or electronic instrument and via D/A conversion, and acoustic and vocal parts. Class will meet students at their individual level, from beginner with no prior experience to intermediate and advanced.

DIY: Do-It-Yourself: Origami, Needlework and Sewing
10:30 — 11:30
$112.

ages 8+
Projects in Paper and Cloth: Supplies and resources will be provided for students to explore origami of many types, as well as creative sewing projects. Instructors will offer samples and suggested projects, and students will pursue a project of their choice with support, encouragement and guidance. Participants will be expected to research and identify their own projects. Some supplies will be provided and depending on student choice special supplies may need to be brought by student for their own project.
SKILLS: small-motor hand skills, math, measurement, planning, precision, patience.

Folk Stories & Classic Tales, Fable & Craft
10:30 — 11:30
$112.

ages 4 – 7
This afternoon class will focus on a themed story for students to explore, followed by an art project or craft. We will read traditional folk stories as well as stories from many cultures. Listening to and telling stories is an important skill that contributes to literacy in young readers. Creative expression will be encouraged through the use of many art mediums as well as puppets and games. Group participation, communication skills, and collaboration will be encouraged. The class will meet each student where they are at academically and socially.
SKILLS: Listening, creative expression, cultural exploration, literacy, communication, language arts, cooperation.

Lego Mindstorms and Datalogging
12:30 — 1:30
$112.

ages 8+
This class will utilize the Lego Mindstorms Datalogging Curriculum, introducing students to various environmental sensors and data collectors, their uses, and programs that control the sensors and track the collected data. With student interest, by the end of the quarter students will learn about the Arduino programming platform and programming basics, and the environmental sensors that are available for use with Arduino.

Science: Explore and Discover
Beginning Scientific Inquiry in Simple Machines and Basic Physics
12:30 — 1:30
$112.

ages 4 – 8
This quarter will focus on simple machines and basic physics. Children will be given hands-on opportunities to explore various scientific principles. Young students will be encouraged to be inquisitive, ask questions, make guesses and frame hypotheses, test, observe, record and analyze. Basic scientific principles will be discussed. Class includes demonstrations, games, songs, brief videos, experiments, and more.
SKILLS: Science, inquiry, creativity, basic math, sensory exploration, small motor skills, cooperation, following directions, prediction

Creative Writing, Drawing and Storytelling
Create a book or animation of your original tale!
12:30 – 1:30
$112.

ages 8+
How stories are constructed? What makes a beginning, middle and end? Who are your characters? What does the scene look like? All these things and more are parts of telling your story. Students will use inspiration tools, creative prompts, illustration, storyboarding and other techniques to learn the answer to all those questions, and create their own stories. By the end of the session students will be offered options to tell their stories via handmade or mail-order book, stop-motion, computer or white board animation, or other creative project of their own design.
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DIY: Electronics, Robotics, and Programming
1:30 — 3:00 $160.

ages 8+
Various electronics and programming projects will be offered to students for their choice of focus. Resources are available such as Lego Mindstorms Robotics, Snap Circuits, paper circuits, Arduino, Vex Robotics, Ollo Robotics, and more. Instructors will work with students to explore their interest and identify an appropriate project and plan of learning for the quarter. Using online programs, videos, and tutorials, students will learn beginning and basic coding skills. Peer to peer learning will be encouraged, as students discover common interests. Students will be given the opportunity to work at their own pace with support. Student-designed independent study or small group projects will be encouraged and supported during this class. Students with all levels of programming experience are welcome, from beginner to intermediate. Each class will end with a period of time for group cooperative gaming with instructor-approved sites.
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International Cooking: Kitchens and Cultures
1:30 — 3:00
$195.

ages 7+
This class will teach basic cooking skills while exploring the food and culture of many places. Dishes include healthy snacks and food that young people can prepare for themselves as well as more complex meals and treats. Local seasonal, unprocessed food from scratch will be featured, Students will help determine the dishes that are made in the class. Supplies are included, but participants may be asked to bring their own loaf pan or utensils for some classes.
SKILLS: small motor skills, nutrition, good health, math, cooperation, project planning, geography, cultural awareness and appreciation,

Drama Games, Skits and Roleplays
1:30 — 3:00
$160.

ages 4+
Play acting games, take on roles of hero and villain, magician, pirate, farmer, or fairy! Each week we will introduce a story and a creative acting game or fantasy. Students will be invited to create their own stories and skits. Free play time will be a part of each class. For the last several classes the group will work on a skit of the group’s choice to be performed for the school community.

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