Field Trips and Sustainability days

We take weekly field trips. Yes, every Monday we hop in the van, take the city bus, or walk to a different destination around town. We are an all weather school, so we bundle up in the winter, throw on rain gear when its raining, and layer on sunscreen and wear hats in the hot weather. This year we teamed up with Earth Native Wilderness School for monthly survival classes. We practice making connections with nature and our earth, which is one of our core practices. In the beginning of the year, we ask for student input on places to visit and plan several wilderness trips around Austin. So far this year we’ve taken trips to Deep Eddy Pool, McKinney Falls, canoeing on Lady Bird (a schoolhouse tradition), backstage at Bass Concert Hall, Faulk Library, Eastwoods Park, and Hornsby Bend. Every Monday is an new adventure and we love every minute of it.

Our focus sustainability days happen once a month. Teachers plan activities around a theme and help students understand the importance of our earth’s resources. We talk about what we can actively do to take care of our earth and each other. So far we’ve learned about the importance of food, water, and waste.











Sit spot

On our recent field trip to Eastwoods park, we introduced and practiced sit spot. Sit spot is a core routine from coyote mentoring. The idea is to find a special place in nature, sit still and have a quiet mind. Here the space becomes personal, where they get to hear and see the diversity of life around them. They get to see the landscape change with each season, see plants and insects up close, and find nature as their home.

After our sit spot time we all shared our experiences. Each of us were within 50ft of each other and we all saw different things! Then we went back to our spot and made a few sketches in our nature notebooks to record our experience.





A day at the Schoolhouse

Every Monday we start out our week with a field trip to various places in the Austin community. We like to travel around by taking the city bus or walking to our destination. Sometimes we load up the van and ride around town, taking in the Austin landmarks and sights. We are excited this year to team up with Earth Native Wilderness School to have monthly field trips to McKinney Falls. Just this week we canoed to Secret Island on Lady Bird Lake, one of our annual traditions.

IMG_5261 IMG_5285Tuesday through Friday we are at the schoolhouse. Our day consists of group lessons and self-directed learning, a time where students have the freedom to pursue their interests and find their passions. IMG_5112



Laura’s class studying author Kevin Henkes. Leveled math, reading, and writing centers are available everyday.
One of Aaron’s math group.

The majority of our day is self-directed learning. As mentors, we provide a few featured options, like music center or fort building. By giving the students a few options, they have the opportunity to explore something new.

Making comic books during self-directed learning.
A featured geography center provided by mentors.


On Fridays after lunch, we have our weekly democratic meeting where students can discuss school-wide rules and proposals. We have an agenda and follow a shortened version of Robert’s rules of order. Everyone has one vote and can bring up any issues or ideas for the schoolhouse. IMG_5225IMG_5226

We end everyday with story time, announcements for the next day, a song, and a quick clean up. Right now we are reading The Cats of Roxville Station by Jean Craighead George. IMG_5289

Camp out at Guadalupe River State Park

Every spring we plan a camp out for our schoolhouse community. This year we headed to Guadalupe River State Park in Spring Branch, Tx. The river was beautiful, giant cypress trees lined the banks, and wildflowers sprinkled the fields. It was great to spend time with our community and get to know each other more. A few families went on morning hikes and almost all the kids went geocaching. There was even a night owl hike! In the evenings, we started a fire and gathered around to make s’mores, s’mores and more s’mores. Yum!IMG_2959 IMG_2949 IMG_2948 IMG_2946 IMG_2944 IMG_2941 IMG_2938 IMG_2936 IMG_2935 IMG_2932 IMG_2930

Self- directed time

Weaving! Legos! Rain! Origami!

Renee, Amelia, and Laura learned and practiced weaving by making colorful potholders using loops and looms. We are looking forward to crafting bean bags and learning to weave different edging. 

It RAINED! and a few buckets were poured onto the schoolhouse. It made for a peaceful day and Jonas had the idea to race leaf boats down the curbside. What a fun idea, Jonas!

We busted out the legos today and practiced using our fine motor skills. Our imaginations and creativity took us to create elaborate pirate ships and make up fun stories about interesting people.  

Origami club met today. Lots of paper art were beautifully crafted.  

Self-directed activites

Check out more pictures of our week!

We are what we eat!

Where we get our food and what we eat is important to us. We have a garden in the front yard where we tend to daily, and we shop at local grocers and farmers markets for fresh local foods. It’s prime planting season for fall veggies and tiny sprouts have started popping up. So exciting to see them grow! Today we harvested and ate our first produce of the season, patty pan squash.  

Tostadas filled with color and taste.

Patty pan squash. So good we couldn’t stop asking for more. 
We made falafel and tabouli for lunch this week for Greek day.  
Cucumbers are coming!
Laura tending to baby seedlings.
Baby lettuce.

Visit to Sy’s House

Today we headed north to spend time at Sy’s house. We all had a great time getting to know Sy, Nicole (Sy’s mom), and Sue (Sy’s grandma). We spent time exploring the spacious front yard, playing hide and go seek,  perfecting yoga poses in the studio, and building lego masterpieces.  

Amelia and Renee exploring the garden

Treasures are everywhere

Jonas and Sy in the front yard

Nicole made a delicious clove,

 ginger, and black pepper tea

Mia enjoying the tea

Nicole showing us a relaxing pose in the studio. 

Mia in full lotus

Renee and her lego masterpiece!

Caitlin getting us ready to catch the bus. 

More pictures to check out!

Thank you Nicole, Sy, and Sue for having us over! 

Visit to Amelia’s House

On Tuesday we took a short walk over to Amelia’s house for our weekly field experience. We packed a picnic and spent the day enjoying all the fun things to play on and with. There was a treehouse, a swing, a trapeze, various games, and cardboard boxes to play inside. We played hide and go seek, guess which box, and took some time to take in all the beautiful nature around us and sketched in our nature notebooks. Thank you Molly and Brian for letting us visit! We had such a fantastic time.

This was the last week to wrap up our projects for our first unit ‘Free to Be You and Me’ and we finally have them posted up and around the Schoolhouse. We have been working hard on them and can’t wait to share them with our families. The timeline of milestones in our lives turned out amazing and we all learned new things about each other. Apparently, in 2010 lots of things happened! 
In Laura’s class, we worked on estimating numbers, we found several patterns in the 100 chart, and wrote number sentences using manipulatives. In Caitlin’s class, we worked with factor patterns. We used counters to create equal groups and then we drew rectangular arrays on graph paper and wrote the corresponding multiplication expressions. 
Friday was sushi day! The kids got a big kick out of it. We spread the sticky rice, filled them with fresh veggies and smoked salmon, and rolled and squeezed. What a treat! 
Our next big project is the Cardboard challenge. We viewed the videos of Caine’s Arcade and were all immediately inspired by his creativity and perseverance. So many ideas came to mind and we took some time to draw and design our own projects. We had a great discussion about what we were going to make and that only inspired more designs. So, we spent most of our time Friday cutting, taping, cutting, taping, and creating! Tons of ideas and creativity filled the school house and we were all knee deep in cardboard. Literally, we had to move all our cardboard inside the house to protect from rain which made for a cozy space.  They made a ticket booth, an interactive world, all kinds of arcade games, copy machines, and tickets. We can’t wait to share our creations with everyone! 

Corrugated Creations

Thank you to Sofia for coming again this week to read to us. We love love loved it! Also, we want to send a huge thank you for those who brought in cardboard to make our creations possible. Keep it coming! 
Just a reminder that the Cardboard Challenge is on October 6th at Givens Park from 12-3 pm.
We can’t wait to see everyone at our first Showcase/park day Saturday! 3-5 pm at the Schoolhouse!