We have been busy “feathering" paper birds using potato prints, decorative wood stamps and block printing ink. When the ink dried we painted over the prints with transparent washes of watercolor. Our 2-D paper shape will be folded and transformed into a 3-D bird that will take flight within the classroom in a fun illustration of seasonal bird migration.
DRAMA (Note: this report always refers to the week prior due to our drama schedule)
In our drama groups last week, we celebrated the Lunar New Year. Your children were Lion Dancers proudly demonstrating their ferocity and movement skills to drive away the “bad spirits” and bring good luck in the new year. We also played musical instruments in a parade through the school. Gung Hay Fat Choy!
This week, we wrapped up our first author study of Oliver Jeffers by voting on our favorite book written by him. The winning book was This Moose Belongs To Me. Our next study focuses on author and illustrator Mo Willems. The children created stories and illustrations using Willems’ famous pigeon character - we had so much fun creating pigeon adventures! In our literacy pull-out groups, we studied a new word of the week and played a new word building game.
This week we continued with our Valentine’s Day counting and patterning activities. We also practiced using our math skills all over the classroom and throughout our day. Some ways we used math throughout the day included voting for books during snack, counting how many people are on the potty line, and grouping blocks in groups of 2 during block clean up.
We’re wishing Music Mel a speedy recovery. In the meantime, we’re all pitching in and singing songs around the classroom. Many of our puppet shows this week also included some musical fun.
This week, we tallied the votes for our favorite bird. The cardinal was the clear winner, followed by the short-eared owl. We listened to a variety of different bird calls and identified some of the birds we have been discussing using interactive bird call books. We also played a matching game with some plush birds that emit a bird call when you give them a squeeze.
We took the wooden trains out this week, which gave the children great opportunities to practice negotiating things like how the tracks should be formed and how many trains each child gets. They practiced how to take turns and how to ask each other to adjust and coordinate play. We read Boo Hoo Bird and Grumpy Bird by Jeremy Tankard and Cat Colors by Airlie Anderson.
This week the students were offered yet another selection of materials to complete their valentines: markers, stamps, ink pads, stickers, glue and paper shapes in a variety of colors. In this final process we organized lines, shapes and colors over our previously printed and painted 2-D surface. We are discovering basic relationships between the elements such as together-apart, big-little and inside-outside. This activity is helping us learn how to judge and control amounts of glue, how to create contrast between light and dark colors and is an opportunity to explore symbolic representation. We hope their valentines are gifts that deliver as much pleasure as they derived from the process.
In our drama groups, we continued our hibernation unit with a celebration of Groundhog’s Day. We talked about the different names for the groundhog (woodchuck and whistle pig), and the children played some mirroring games to explore how your shadow follows you. We also re-enacted a story about the groundhog coming out of the burrow on a sunny day and being frightened by his/her shadow, which was reflected on a lighted screen.
This week we played our Lunar New Year bingo game, which involves finding the animals of the new year. We also continued our author study of Oliver Jeffers. We were the authors of our own books, inspired by Jeffers’ famous illustrated characters, to which we added dialogue bubbles. Finally, we created an illustration based on The Day the Crayons Quit, a book illustrated by Oliver Jeffers. In our literacy pull-out groups, we learned a new word of the week. We used whiteboards to practice writing the words of the week we have already learned. We also used magnet letters to change the beginning first letter(s) to change the word into a rhyme!
This week we worked on patterning with some seasonally appropriate heart shapes. We also worked on one-to-one correspondence with number peg boards. The kids took turns choosing their favorite number boards and then collecting the correct number of pegs for the board. At the end of the week we collaborated with the science center to count up the votes on the My Favorite Bird project. Ask your child which bird they voted for!
Unfortunately, our lovely Mel was out sick this week. We missed her, so we spent extra time singing songs in the classroom. We used the back space for some extra parachute play and gymnastics. We’re looking forward to having Mel back in the classroom!
We are continuing to talk about the four cardinal directions, we are learning how to use a compass, we are looking at maps and globes, and we are starting to make our own compassess. We read North, South, East, West by Margaret Wise Brown. The children have also been decorating their science folders, and we have been discussing what the children think science is and what we learn when we are engaged in the practice of science. Some of the answers have been:
“You do a lot of experiments. It is dangerous and sometimes it blows and blows and blows.”
“Sharks, and bears, and tigers.”
“Things that scientists do.”
The children also have started voting on their favorite birds. The selection of birds were all ones in which children had previously expressed interest: owls, hummingbirds, woodpeckers, robins, red-winged blackbirds, finches, and cardinals.
The construction going on around the neighborhood has served for some amazing walks with the two year olds! We have stopped by every machine, taking the time to observe what the various machines are doing. We brainstormed what they could be doing and the kids made some predictions. Some kids thought they were fixing the street, while others thought that they were making a big hole “just for fun.” We loved seeing the children use their critical thinking skills. We read Happy Birthday Cupcake by Terry Border, Llama Llama Time to Share by Anna Dewdney. Some children really wanted to hear First the Egg, by Laura Vaccaro Seeger, which they found at the science center.
We are learning more about printing and the fascinating changes that take place in wet color boundaries as we create a valentine for our family. A short discussion about our objective and some modeling helped us to understand how to handle the tools used in each process; stamps, stamp rollers and paint droppers. We are discovering that coverage of the paper surface is achieved through a combination of determination, body movement, skillful handling of tools and the exciting unpredictability of wet-in-wet color.
Last week in drama, we continued with penguin activities. Based on short stories from Antarctic Antics by Judy Sierra, the children were in role as penguin parents caring for their chicks. We explored behavior including creating our own specific sound to call our babies so they can find us in the rookery and being carried on our father’s feet. The children also had a ball tobogganing or belly sliding down a icy slope into the ocean.
This week we did our first author study with one of the greats - author and illustrator Oliver Jeffers. Our favorite stories of his were Stuck, Lost and Found, The Hueys In the New Sweater, and This Moose Belongs To Me. We ended the week by creating our very own adventure books using his famous characters. In our literacy pull-out groups, we practiced our rhymes with a word building puzzle and then found the words in the stories Frog On a Log and its sequel, Dog On a Frog.
This week at the math center we started preparing for Valentines Day. We worked on 1-1 correspondence when we played the heart game. Some of the hearts had numbers and others had dots on them; the children matched up the numbers and the dots. We also worked on patterning, using Valentine’s Day imagery, which we will be continuing next week.
This week, the children learned a "secret code". This code was our first introduction to musical notation! The children learned to link the rhythm syllables they've been learning to the images of quarter notes and eighth notes. For our song Here Comes The Sun, we've added some new movements to help us to remember the lyrics of the verses. These new movements, of course, offer a little homage to The Beatles and include plenty of twisting our bodies à la Twist and Shout. The children also enjoyed learning the fantastical words to Prince's Starfish and Coffee and moving their bodies to the song.
This week at the science center we have started focusing on directional compass points through the lens of birds and migratory paths. Some of the children made compasses and some labeled their compasses with N,S,E,W. Next week we will use a real compass to figure out the compass points in our classroom, and we will make signs for the northern, southern, eastern, and western points in the room. We are preparing for conversations about where birds migrate, connecting to how animals manage the cold of winter.
Due to the cold weather, we spent the week inside CHP where we were nice and warm. We wanted to make sure the children were able to get gross motor play in, so we set up a an obstacle course in the back! The children were able to jump, climb, roll, and even wiggle their way through a long tunnel. This activity provided an excellent opportunity to practice waiting and turn-taking. We encouraged the children to cheer each other on while waiting - they were all so supportive of each other! Some of our 2's also met Caroline (our drama teacher) this week and had a great time participating in a mini drama group about groundhogs, wherein they engaged in shadow play. We read A Kiss Like This by Mary Murphy, The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle and The Napping House by Audrey and Don Wood.