Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Spooktacular Learning

Hi Preschool and PreK families!
Time flies when we are investigating new topics of interest. The children were quite fascinated by the rotting gourds that we discovered in the classroom and decided to add them to the garden so that we could not only have our own gourds next year (along with pumpkins and green beans) but watch the process of decomposition through the late fall and winter. We also had lots of fun exploring the pumpkins that one of the room mommies purchased for our class-we scooped out the pulp (we were very surprised to note that most of the pulp had "evaporated"), counted all the seeds we found (the total was somewhere between one hundred and seventy six and one hundred thousand lots), and made pumpkin soup with the seeds and pulp. We then made our very own pumpkin "pulp" (to compensate for the lack of real pulp) using cornstarch, water, and food coloring and cooked pumpkin soup (we have really enjoyed the series of books featuring a cat, a squirrel, and a duck who love pumpkin soup)-although we all agreed we liked the process much better than the result! After we investigated all the parts of the pumpkin, we wrote a thank-you note to the "mommy" who had purchased the pumpkins for us-complete with drawings of our findings, pictures of the class engaged in their activities, and our names.

 In addition to our classroom scientific investigations, we went on a field trip to Blooms and Berries.  We took a hayride through a forest, played in a life-size sensory bin filled with corn, helped the ducks navigate the water, and picked our own pumpkins from the pumpkin field. The children, Ms. Luann and Ms. Sara even had an adventure on the way to Blooms and Berries-we realized the winding roads were very similar to the roller coaster ride at King's Island.

Halloween was a prominent feature of last month's group discussions. We talked about what costumes we might wear (and what our family members and teachers might dress up as), created costumes for our stuffed animals and dolls, and allowed our classmates to explore and investigate our costumes on the big day itself. We also learned how to walk (and groan) like "zombie Frankenstein monsters", read several stories about monsters (we all had our own favorites), made "green goblin exploding goo" utilizing baking soda and vinegar (and food coloring), and listened to "scary music" such as "The Sorcerer's Apprentice" and Bach's Toccata. And, of course, we had a Halloween parade with the toddler and infant classes to show off our new "zombie moves" and our costumes to our families.

The children investigate the various properties of the pumpkins purchased for us by a "mommy" in the classroom.

The preschool children love learning about money-anyway they can.

One of the Pre-K children explores the chemical reaction of baking soda and vinegar.

The legal "stuff"

Standards met::
 Domain: Language and Literacy Development
Strand: Listening and Speaking
Topic: Expressive Language
Standard: Use language to communicate in a variety of ways with others to share observations, ideas, and experiences, problem solve, reason, predict and seek new information 

Domain: Cognition and General Knowledge
Subdomain: Social Studies
Strand: History
Topic: HIstorical thinking and skills
Standard:: Develop an awareness of personal history

Domain: Approaches to Learning
Strand: Creativity
Topic: Innovation and Invention
Standard: Use imagination and creativity to interact with objects and materials 

Please remember to send your child dressed for the weather as we go outside even when it is cold (this is a wonderful scientific investigation project). We recommend visiting the thrift stores to find fairly cheap hats, gloves, coats, and boots you can leave at school just in case!