march 22

ART

This week, we put our mural aside so that the two year olds could explore an alternate activity… a whole body immersion in projected light that allows us to observe the exciting cause and effect of our movement while drawing with fluorescent colors amid cast shadows. Everyone, including three’s and four’s, wanted to experience the activity, so we decided to spend the entire week drawing in light and shadow. We are discovering connections between our actions and outcome as we draw; moving, tracing shadow silhouettes and observing the changing forms and transparencies created by light. These large scale collaborative drawings created with oil pastels are now being painted over with watercolors creating a visually exciting “resist". We will resume work on our class mural next week.

DRAMA (Note: this report always refers to the week prior due to our drama schedule)

In drama last week, we celebrated St. Patrick's Day with some folktales of leprechauns and giants. The children caught a leprechaun, who taught us how to mend the fairies' shoes. Though he tried to trick us and escape, we found the gold he had hidden in the classroom. To celebrate our good fortune, we put a spring in our step with some jigs and reels.

LITERACY

We continued our study of authors with Eric Carle and Bill Martin Jr. We played our sequencing game with the books Brown Bear, Brown Bear and Polar Bear, Polar Bear, wherein we retell a story in the proper order. We also listened to Eric Carle narrate his own book, The Very Hungry Caterpillar, at our listening center! Finally, we celebrated Mister Rogers’ birthday by making kindness cards for people we love.  In our literacy pull-out groups, we worked on the skill of picture story telling. We practiced with books that contain only illustrations like The Adventures of Polo, by Regis Faller and The Little Red Cat Who Ran Away and Learned His ABC’s (The Hard Way), by Patrick McDonnell. We created a narration based on what we noticed by looking at the pictures.

MATH

We celebrated the first day of spring in math this week! Some of us counted eggs in birds’ nests while others played with and counted creepy bugs. We practiced 1-1 correspondence and pattern making as well as some shape identification.

MUSIC

This week, our young musicians have really put on their songwriter hats! During drop-in music time, it has been so wonderfully special to see the children create their own unique ideas for songs and stories about animals, friendship, family, and faraway places. Often, a child will find their way to the music center while a friend is in the middle of working out their idea for the tune and theme of their own song. Seeing the children offer up ideas to their friends and collaborate on song ideas has been a delightful part of this process, and a chance to reflect on what it means to support and encourage a friend. During group, we’ve been steadily adding to our original group song about kindness. We’ve already developed a catchy chorus and the song’s first verse, which provides some examples of acts of kindness. We can’t wait to share a rehearsal recording of our song with you in the next few weeks!

SCIENCE

This week at the science center we read Egg: Nature’s Perfect Package by Robin Page and Steve Jenkins and Nest by Jorey Hurley. Some children continued to do drawings of nests while observing a real bird’s nest and some children drew pictures of baby birds in eggs while dictating their stories and thoughts about what they were drawing. We discussed that birds come from eggs which led to conversations about reptiles and other animals that come from eggs.

TWOs

This week the two year olds went on a nature walk! We put our binoculars on and looked for signs of spring. We noticed that all of the snow was gone and flowers are starting to sprout up from the ground. The kids also noticed a digger, which, although not a sign of spring, was certainly the highlight of our walk.  We are already looking forward to more nature walks outside as the weather gets warmer. In the classroom, the two year olds participated in an experiment about color at the science table and played in small groups at the sand table. Some of the books we enjoyed this week were Wee Little Chick by Lauren Thompson, The Zoo I Drew by Todd Doodler, and The Happy Day by Ruth Krauss and Marc Simont.

march 15

ART

We have begun to work on a collaborative class mural that will visually reflect what we have been learning about the seasonal changes in trees, animal hibernation and bird migrations. We are forming and moving forward with plans for our mural by sharing our ideas, compromising, and working in small teams on assigned age-appropriate tasks. It’s been pretty exciting to see how all these little jobs completed by many people are beginning to form one large, beautiful and unified mural!   

DRAMA (Note: this report always refers to the week prior due to our drama schedule)

In drama, we have continued our saga of Wanda the Wood Thrush. To help Wanda navigate, we set up a giant compass, and explored flying in different directions using the book, North, South, East, West by Margaret Wise Brown as an outline for our own stories. The children decided who Wanda would meet on her journey and whether they were helpful friends or predators on the hunt. We flew at night when it was safer and followed the stars.  Finally, we did eventually make it to Costa Rica, where we had a delicious bug pizza among other delicacies.

LITERACY

In literacy this week, we finished our author study of Dr. Seuss. We made Cat In the Hat hats and added some of our favorite characters from the famous stories of Dr. Seuss.  We worked on some cave drawings for our classroom “cave” (new in the dramatic play area). We wrote stories about which animals live in our cave and what they do as winter ends.  In our literacy pull-out groups, we reviewed some of our words of the week and practices writing them on whiteboards. We also worked on a new reading skill - a one-to-one word correspondence skill, where we practiced pointing to one word at a time with our reading pointers as we read each sentence out loud.

MATH

This week in the the math center we counted down to St. Patrick’s Day!  We used different St. Patrick’s Day items to make patterns of varying types including ABAB and AABB. We also used dice to fill in a St. Patrick’s Day t-chart.

MUSIC

This week, we introduced the song “Moon River” during music group. The children noted that the song made their bodies feel calm and relaxed. We’re currently at work learning the song’s lyrics and melody. During this process, many of the children noticed that the song’s lyrics are about a journey or traveling to a faraway place - it was quite intriguing to hear the way the children interpreted the song’s meaning! Also, in collaboration with Christy in literacy, the children began to explore kindness  and what it means to be kind. Over the next few weeks, we will be transforming the children’s thoughts on acts of kindness into their own original songs. Stay tuned!

SCIENCE

This week at the science center the children began to create their very own book about birds.  The children began the week with a hands-on exploration of real birds’ nests. They drew pictures and diagrams of the nests, and discussed how birds make nests.  Throughout the week, the children contributed drawings and dictations about birds to add to our book. Chapters include one about nests, one about migratory birds, and one about resident birds.  Many children had suggestions for a title, including Birds All Around, Every Single Bird, Tweetie Tweetie, and our winning contribution: An Encyclopedia of Birdies. We are very excited to continue adding to this book.

TWOs

The big excitement in the two’s nest this week was a return to going outside!  The warmer weather was a welcome change. We reviewed our safety rules and reminders, and we sang our song about holding on to the rope as we walk.  It was wonderful to be able to explore outside again! We went for several walks, and we even got to visit the playground. Some of the books we read this week were Pig Meets Pug by Sue Lowell Gallion and Joyce Wan, Who Will Dance With Little Mouse? By Anita Bijsterbosch, and Penguin’s Big Adventure by Salina Yoon.

march 8

ART

The three and four year olds began the week “dropping in” to the art center to explore line in a novel format. We created shapes and geometric designs by winding yarn from peg to peg on a large table sized pegboard. This activity presented fine motor challenges as gentle tension needed to be maintained as the yarn was carefully fed around small pegs. It was also an exercise in collaboration as the large board was navigated by several children at a time. In our most exciting news of the week, our paper birds took flight on a newly installed bird zip line! A big thank you to our parent helpers, who installed our new bir zip line! Our birds flew so successfully we were inspired to work in small groups to create a poster for one end of the zip line representing the southerly destination of our migrating birds. We also have plans to create a nest on the opposite end for our birds to return home to. Finally, the Two’s wrapped up the week using three primary tempera colors to paint and explore mixing colors on a tray. We placed paper over our finished painting and then rubbed and lifted the paper off to reveal a print of our painting.

DRAMA (Note: this report always refers to the week prior due to our drama schedule)

In our drama groups, we have begun our unit on birds and migration.  We wanted to know who hibernates and who migrates and what the difference is.  Why do birds migrate and where do they go? Last week, we met the songbird Wanda the Wood Thrush, who is wintering in Costa Rica.  The children and I are creating scenarios about her adventures on the long flight south. We also played a pattern circle game called Wanda Through My Window.

LITERACY

In literacy, we celebrated World Kindness Day. We talked about what it means to be kind and how we can spread kindness at our school and beyond. We also made cards with kind messages to people we love and want to thank.  Another project in literacy was a collaboration with art, wherein we made a classroom bird book. We came up with our very own species for the birds we made at the art center. We decided what our birds’ names would be, where our birds came from, and other attributes of our birds.  In our literacy pull-out groups, we worked on a new word of the week and a review word. We also practiced writing our words of the week on whiteboards.

MATH

In math this week, we introduced bristle blocks and hexi snaps as new building materials.  We also began to make hats to help organize clean-up in the block center. Hats have different shapes on them, and the children can wear the hat that designates which shape block they will take responsibility for putting away.  Lastly, we used voting to decide on a read-aloud book for snack time. We talked about what a vote is and how voting works.

MUSIC

This week in music, we continued singing "Hit or Miss" by Odetta. This song has become a student favorite! The children ask to sing it throughout the day, and they've enjoyed playing percussion instruments along to the song during music time. Songwriting and storytelling was also a focus for our young musicians this week. During group, we created different variations on "The Wheels on The Bus."  Some of our favorite new verses were "the seals in the zoo go arf, arf, arf" and "the lions in the cave go roar, roar, roar." It was a joy to see the children offer ideas to the group and feel proud of the ways they could make a familiar song feel fresh and unique.

SCIENCE

This week at the science center, we continued to focus on birds and migration. We watched some videos about hummingbirds and cardinals, and we discussed birds that stay in New York for the winter (“residents”) and birds that need to go where it is warmer (“migrants”). Many children made bird houses for some of the birds we have been talking about.

TWOs

This week as introduced the two year olds to our new hibernation cave located in the dramatic play area of the big classroom. The kids have always loved hiding under the tables in the nest, so we knew that this cave would be a hit! There are five different “caves,” tables covered with white sheets, for them to explore. We have an assortment of animals for them to take in the cave with them and different books about animals and hibernation for them to read. This is also another opportunity for them to continue to get to know the bigger kids at CHP. We are excited to continue to watch them explore this area!  We also introduced the Two's to some group movement games, including musical chairs which they really loved (no chairs were removed so it was a win win situation).  Some of the books we read this week were, Simon's New Bed by Christian Trimmer and Melissa Van Der Paardt, Little Gorilla by Ruth Borstein, and Knuffle Bunny and Don’t Let the Pigeon Eat the Hot Dog by Mo Willems.  

march 1

ART

Returning from February break we immediately resumed work on our soon to be “migrating" paper birds.  Some students experimented with repetition while printing. Others were deeply interested in color mixing or exploring line and shape through drawing. Several students tried applying paint with their fingers and a few were observed playing with symmetry by adding color and then folding their paper bird in half and pressing the wet colors together. One student even offered the popular suggestion that we add legs to our birds. Working closely with me,  each child participated in the final assembly of the birds. This activity began using an identical paper form but we are learning that our creative experience as we play with our own ideas is as unique as we are ourselves.

DRAMA (Note: this report always refers to the week prior due to our drama schedule)

Last week in drama, before mid-winter break, we reenacted the classic story The Snowy Day, by Ezra Jack Keats. The children explored the physical life of Peter’s magical day in the snow, including making tracks, snow angels, and sledding down a hill. We even staged a snowball fight using soft puff balls.

LITERACY

We wrapped up our second author study (Mo Willems) by voting on our favorite book written by him. The winning book was Knuffle Bunny! We also started our new author study of Dr. Seuss in honor of his birthday this weekend. We wrote our very own rhyming books using his famous characters and places!  In our literacy pull-out groups, we introduced a new word of the week and practiced our rhyming skills with the books Frog On a Log and its sequel, Dog On a Frog.

MATH

This week in the math center we practiced our measuring skills. We used puffin feet to measure how tall we all are as well as to measure the space between different centers. Later in the week the puffin feet went missing! We put on our detective hats to search for them around the classroom. We used clipboards and simple T-charts to keep track of our progress.  Eventually one of our four year olds found them on the shelf in the science center!

MUSIC

This week, we introduced folk singer Odetta during music group. We learned that Odetta was a singer and guitarist who wrote songs promoting peace and unity between all people. In particular, the children enjoyed learning her song “Hit or Miss” that celebrates just how special it is to be uniquely you. During group and puppet show, the children also had the chance to learn new yoga poses, stretches, and breathing exercises. After a deep, full inhale, we imagined that we were blowing out birthday candles with just one deep breath. The children noticed how this technique made our bodies calmer and our singing voices more powerful!  Click here to check out our new Odetta song on YouTube.

SCIENCE

This week we continued talking about what animals do to keep warm and find food in the winter. We discussed hibernation and migration and worked to identify how various polar animals survive in the cold weather.  We also talked about using fat to keep warm. To help make this idea more concrete, we did an experiment: we filled plastic bags with crisco and made a “glove of fat.” The children put one hand in the glove and then put both hands in icy water.  They were able to compare how the icy water made their hands feel - with and without the glove. The children also discovered some books about penguins, which led to some small group readings. The children drew pictures of penguins, and we shared what we already knew and what we learned from the readings. One of our favorite penguin books was One Day on Our Blue Planet in the Antarctic by Ella Bailey.

TWOs

We had a lot of fun with bubble wrap this week! We covered our table with bubble wrap and removed the chairs so that the kids could all work together to pop all of the bubbles. We also had bubble wrap on the walls, which proved to be very difficult! It was so wonderful to see the kids working together with the same goal in mind. They helped each other when someone was having trouble popping the bubbles and offered moral support when someone was frustrated. The kids found that using their elbows to pop the bubbles helped. Send any extra bubble wrap you have our way!  We also had a great time exploring some new areas of the big classroom.  Some of the children enjoyed visiting the listening center - where children listen to a story read aloud together and follow along with a large-sized book. They played some group games in the large meeting area and enjoyed the new dramatic play area that has been turned into a wintry forest with caves and dens. Some of the books we read were Over and Under in the Snow by Kate Messner and Christopher Silas Neal and Llama Llama Home with Mama by Anna Dewdney.