Wednesday, March 19, 2014

winter is a time for learning

February 26th

Caution…reading the following may be hazardous to your funny bone.

Winter brought many opportunities to extend our information data bank through scientific investigation, imaginative play sequences, architectural projects, and interactions with peers.

Trees are cool…no matter the weather conditions.

Several of the children from the preschool-pre-K program discuss possible reasons for the disappearance of the bark from the tree on our property. One student suggested the woodpecker pecked off the bark while another postulated that the wind "blew the bark away." 

On a walk several weeks later we discovered a “little tree” covered with snow.

We also had lots of fun simply watching the snow as well as viewing the local wildlife that visits our classroom from time to time.

We used our emerging literacy skills to research and learn additional information about a frog's anatomy and physiology.

Last week, we were invited by Ms. Kris and our friends in the toddler classroom to participate in a science experiment involving alum, food coloring, hot water, and a hardboiled egg. We had lots of fun stirring the food coloring and alum into the hot water, watching as the egg was gently dipped into the mixture and discovering the next day the egg had turned into a geode like object with “lots of sparkly green crystals”.

Ms. Kris talks about the ingredients!

Science is serious business in the preschool classroom…at least for the children.

We love to share our observations with the toddlers.

 We always enjoy all the new works we find on the shelf…and the different ways to acquire additional knowledge!

One of our new classmates utilizes the numbers on the calendar to further his understanding of the numbers from one to ten.

Two of the children use the number rods for different purposes…one uses the rods as a base for addition and subtraction problems while the other makes patterns.

Finally a use for old socks…as a matching work (I promise they were washed first).

A preschool child sorts and counts the shape beads by type on our “new uses for old materials” day.

Reading is always exciting in the preschool classroom. The past two months we have read nonfiction books about architecture and animals, stories about monsters who need haircuts and aliens who want snacks, and reviewed our accomplishments in our portfolio. We have also made our own versions of our favorite books and illustrated them. And of course “new book Monday” is a perennial favorite-we never know what books Ms. Sara will add to our library.

A child who recently transitioned from our toddler program re-reads "Ms. Sara's book". 

The pre-K children (and the preschoolers) created their own stories and books using the library books as templates.

Two preschoolers share a book before naptime.

So many books…so much fun!

 We also like sharing our early literacy skillls with our friends!!

One of our Pre-K children shows her younger classmate how to write her name on the card for Ms. Kris.

A preschool child demonstrates to his friend (they have been together since the infant classroom J) the best way to learn how to write his name by “putting your finger here and moving it.”

 We used books, plans, visual models and Ms. Sara’s knowledge of architecture (I knew that information would come in handy someday) to create and build houses, castles…and our own version of Fallingwater and Neuchwenstein. 

A young architect uses a stock house plan to create his own “cottage”.

Three young architects peruse different house styles, collaborate on a plan and begin a construction project. 

Our interpretation of Fallingwater-complete with dinosaur (picture taken by the architect)

We also discovered that the blocks could be used as dominoes!

And we always find time for a little house cleaning…and dancing

Two of the preschool children organize the various math manipulates. “I like organizing.” One says to me!

One of the students who will be going to kindergarten in the fall masters other skills-learning how to sweep the floor!

Learning how to disco is fun!

 Other highlights from the past two months include a visit from the dentist
What a big mouth!!

And an even bigger tube of toothpaste.

Our valentine’s day party was a big hit…especially with food!

One last note:  
The children have really enjoyed looking at their portfolios…and discussing their particular views of kindergarten. To support these two interests, we are asking families to send in candid snapshots of the children (from birth to now) to make “me” books that highlight their accomplishments.

We need your junk! The preschool class is looking for the following items to add to different areas in the classroom:
1. nature items
2. stationary-labels-envelopes
3. writing implements such as colored pencils and fancy pens
4. tablecloths-napkins-place mats
5. odds and ends to sort and count
If you have any questions about what is appropriate to bring in please ask!

And finally the legal stuff:

The standards we met
Domain: Approaches to Learning
Strand: Creativity
Topic: Innovation and Invention
Use imagination and creativity to interact with objects and materials.
Use creative and flexible thinking to solve problems.
Engage in inventive social play.

Domain: Approaches to Learning
Strand: Initiative
Topic: Initiative and Curiosity
Seek new and varied experiences and challenges (take risks).
Demonstrate self-direction while participating in a range of activities and routines.
Ask questions to seek explanations about phenomena of interest.

Domain: Approaches to Learning
Strand: Initiative
Topic: Planning, action and reflection
Develop, initiate and carry out simple plans to obtain a goal.
Use prior knowledge and information to assess, inform, and plan for future actions and learning.

Domain: Language and literacy Development
Strand: Reading
Topic: Reading comprehension
Ask and answer questions, and comment about characters and major events in familiar stories.
Retell or re-enact familiar stories.
Identify characters and major events in a story.
Demonstrate an understanding of the differences between fantasy and reality.

Domain: Language and Literacy Development
Strand: Writing
Topic: Writing Process
Use a 3-finger grasp of dominant hand to hold a writing tool.
Demonstrate an understanding of the structure and function of print.
With modeling and support, print letters of own name and other meaningful words with mock letters and some actual letters.
With modeling and support, demonstrate letter formation in “writing.”
With modeling and support show awareness that one letter or cluster of letters represents one word.

Domain: Cognition and General Knowledge
Strand: Government
Topic: Civic Participation and Skills
Understand that everyone has rights and responsibilities within a group.
Demonstrate cooperative behaviors and fairness in social interactions.
With modeling and support, negotiate to solve social conflicts with peers.
With modeling and support, demonstrate an awareness of the outcomes of choices.