This week we used three primary paint colors, as well as black and white, to take a closer look at the mysterious phenomenon of making colors change. The students were encouraged to try mixing different combinations of colors to see what happened. Through our often messy and muddy experiments we are discovering that painting not only feels good… it’s magic!
In our drama groups, we transformed the back of the classroom into the icy glaciers of Antarctica. As we continue to discuss winter habitats for animals, the children set up the blue Imagination Playground blocks to create a home for the penguin rookery. We explored hatching out of eggs as penguin chicks and some penguin movement and behavior with their parents including traveling (loco-motor) by walking and swimming and also feeding.
This week in literacy, we worked on our rhyming skills. We read one of our favorite books, Frog On A Log, and the children practiced filling in the rhymes. We also started writing and illustrating our very own book of rhymes, following the pattern from the book (“______on a ______”). Some of our favorites were “cat on a mat,” “mouse on a house,” and even words we made up like “Evelyn on a bevelyn!” In our literacy pull-out groups, we reviewed all the words we have studied thus far. The children dictated short stories about themselves, and we wrote them on paper together. We used the pattern “My name is _____. I love my _____.” to create our stories.
Pancake math is back by popular demand! The kids took turns flipping pancakes to find a match between numerals and their corresponding blueberry pancakes. We worked on 1-1 correspondence and rote counting. It was also a great opportunity for our students to take turns with peers and practice patience.
This week at the science center I hosted several small group readings of three books about animals in winter. We read Winter by Ron Hirschi, Over and Under the Snow by Kate Messner and Christopher Silas Neal, and The Hat by Jan Brett. We discussed many aspects of the winter life of animals, including where they live, what they need, and how they keep warm. Some children did drawings of animals and told me stories about their animal drawings. We watered our amaryllis flower that has started to bloom again and added some soil to keep it stable and standing up straight.
This week the two year olds have had a lot of fun playing with legos and bristle blocks. We haven’t had these materials out since the beginning of the year, and it has been incredible to see how much they have developed. They are now building representational structures, rather than just stacking and sorting the blocks. They are also starting to work together on making these structures, and they are doing an amazing job of communicating with each other. Some favorite books we read to the 2's this week were Lines that Wiggle by Candice Whitman and Steve Wilson and Where Does Kitty Go in the Rain by Harriet Ziefert and Brigette Barrager.
We continued to share space, materials and an overall goal of matching colors to finish our two color spectrum arcs now on display in our lobby. We also spent much of the week going over the basics of painting with watercolor palettes. We practiced taking a three step movement with our brushes; dipping in water, choosing and “tickling" one color then moving to deliver color to the paper. We had fun trying out different brushstrokes and mixing colors. Best of all we learned that if we let the paint blend where colors meet it is full of surprises!
In our drama groups, we are talking about hibernation. Based on the books, Over and Under the Snow by Kate Messner and Time to Sleep by Denise Fleming, I set up winter habitats such as dens, caves, burrows, thickets, trees, and dams. The children used scarves as foliage to make their homes cozy and warm and had a chance to move from home to home as different animals including bears, foxes, moles, rabbits, squirrels, beavers, frogs, and the Queen bee.
This week in literacy we made mini story books. We found some of our favorite books, such as “The Big Bad Wolf” and “The Smartest Giant in Town” and dictated the story and illustrated miniature versions. We also made a school calendar, by writing the days, months and seasons of the year that we will use for the rest of the school year. Finally, we started making our very own calendars to take home! In our pull-out literacy groups we received a new word of the week and learned our new skill, one-to-one word correspondence. We also made our very own reading pointer to point to a word on the page every time the reader says that word.
This week in the math center we got into the creepy crawlies! We used bugs, frogs, and worms to work on 1:1 correspondence as well as pattern completion. A few students came up with the idea of measuring themselves with the manipulatives. Ask your kids how tall they were in spiders or worms!
Our rhythm studies continued this week! At the start of the year, we focused on finding the steady beat of the songs we love. Now, we are learning to repeat and recognize rhythmic patterns. We’ve had so much fun using our drums, and now rhythm sticks, to facilitate this learning. During music group, it’s been wonderful to see the children enjoying making music as a drum circle - when they create their own patterns and “solos” their creativity really shines. The children are also learning about rhythmic syllables. Right now, we’re focusing on “ta” for quarter notes and “ti ti” for pairs of eighth notes. So, if you hear your children chanting “ta ta ti ti ta!” around the house, they are actually practicing their newfound rhythmic dictation skills. Between all of these new rhythms and our new favorite song “Here Comes The Sun,” we have been having a great time in music group.
This week at the science center the children made caves and dens and hutches for the plastic forest animals. After that, we used the animals and newly constructed habitats to play a game. The children searched the classroom for animals, marked them off on a chart as they found them, and placed them in their habitats according to size: cave, den, or hutch.
We discussed what animals do in the winter and read and acted out The Bear Snores On by Karma Wilson and Jane Chapman. We also read Over and Under in the Snow by Kate Messner and Christopher Silas Neal.
Our week began with the 2’s working together to complete a large tissue paper mosaic snowman assembled on contact paper. Our snowman now hangs proudly in a classroom window. In a separate activity, the 2’s explored printing with sponge shapes over a large shared paper surface.
3’s and 4’s
We are learning about the order of the color spectrum as we work collaboratively drawing, lettering and painting two large rainbow arcs. We continue to “sharpen” our scissor skills as we select and cut out colored images from magazines. We are collaging these and other colored materials onto our rainbows in an exercise that challenges our ability to locate and match colors.
We have begun the new year by exploring manipulatives and props in the drama center including story puzzles and poly spots. We also had a great time creating scenarios with a variety of finger puppets.
This week in literacy, we learned that every letter has a sound and by putting sounds together we can make words. We practiced making the sound of each letter in our name. Then we made books of our names, coloring one letter on each page with cray pas and stencils. In our literacy pull-out groups, we continued reading and writing practice with a new word of the week.
This week in the math center we used our large link manipulative toys to create numbers! Some students chose to create their ages while others created the number of people in their families. We also worked on patterns by including a repeating AB color pattern to our number creations as well. It was a great activity and sparked tons of great conversations among students.
This week, we talked all about sunshine! The children and I discussed how each day is getting longer and longer with the sun setting a little bit later each day. We sang some of our favorite songs about the sun and started learning a new one: “Here Comes The Sun” by The Beatles. We also read the book Drum City by Thea Guidone, which launched a conversation about how we can make a musical instrument out of just about anything. After reading the book, we enjoyed drumming together and experimenting with the different drums that we have in our classroom
We had a fun week at the science center making playdough in the discovery box and also making jello at the science table. We had many fun discussions about texture and feel. The children described the different ingredients and the changes that were taking place as we added different things to each mixture. Some batches of the playdough came out really great while others came out too wet or too dry. We loved to ask, “Why?” We also re-planted our amaryllis bulb into a larger pot and noticed that the plant is growing and getting stronger now that there is more dirt to support it. We used tweezers and magnifying glasses to examine another bulb that did not grow as well. We hypothesized about why one bulb grew well and one did not.
This week the two year olds had a great time learning about what it means to be a “duty kid.” We have had so much fun welcoming some of the parents into the nest, introducing them at snack, and showing them all of our dance moves! All of the children are excited for their special days and have been wanting to talk about duty parenting as they notice the duty parents walking around the classroom. We also spent time this week playing in the sensory box, making playdough, and using the parachute in the back. Some of the books we read were Brown Bear, Brown Bear by Bill Martin and Eric Carle, Owl Babies by Martin Waddell, and Wow! Said the Owl by Tim Hopgood.
This week, we shared stories of our vacations and time with family. We remembered our school routines, and we introduced self-serve at our snack tables! The children are doing great, and we are so excited to see everyone back at school.