This week we have been painting with brushes,watercolors, droppers and tempera on large pre-cut paper butterflies. Children could opt to allow their design to dry as freely painted or as a final step to fold, blot and reopen, revealing the surprise of bilateral symmetry. As we await the expected metamorphosis of our real caterpillars into butterflies (taking place in the science center), our painting is helping to reinforce the notion of a representational correspondence between a shape and a real object as well as build our fine motor skills and systems of organization.
Our last drama group, we played a variety of games including The Farmer in the Dell and a sound identifying guessing game called Doggy Doggy, Where's Your Bone? We also celebrated Mother's Day with a reenactment of Are You My Mother? In the coming weeks, we will continue to play more team building games to encourage collaboration and spatial awareness in a group setting. We will also be doing some spring-themed stories about butterflies and other insects.
This week in literacy we had Letter Week! We played fun games to practice our letters - such as ABC puzzles, a letter sorting game, and writing our letters on whiteboards. We also played a letter guessing game, where we traced letters over our sensory bags and friends had to guess which letter. We enjoyed writing letters to our families. We added a stamp, a return address, and our home addresses. We even took a field trip to the mailbox to mail our own letters. In our literacy pull-out groups, we reviewed one of our words of the week with a new word worksheet.
This week in the math center we continued to work on building famous structures from around the world, including Big Ben, Angkor Wat, and the Empire State Building. We also took the trains out and built some really cool tracks! Finally we practiced our matching and number recognition skills by playing rounds of giant dominos.
In music this week, we began to put together our songs for the upcoming Spring Sings. We added ASL signs to “Three Little Birds,” and we continued to explore and identify different types of musical instruments.
This week at the science center the children were excited about our caterpillars and the changes that are taking place. They watched them through the window and at the science table using magnifying glasses to get a closer look. Some children started a caterpillar/butterfly observation book, recording the changes that were occurring over the last week. We acted out The Very Hungry Caterpillar, by Eric Carle at puppet show and read some books about caterpillars and butterflies at the science center. We continued to care for our classroom gardens and to discuss planting and flowers. Both the caterpillar project and the garden project have inspired conversations about caring for living things.
This week we had a lot of conversations about feelings. The kids wanted to talk about what makes them feel happy and what makes them feel sad. At snack time, we read When Sophie Feels Angry - Really, Really Angry by Molly Bang. This book then led into a discussion about what makes the children angry. It was a great conversation where we all learned a lot about each other! We then talked about things we can do when we are angry- the kids all agreed that they like to stomp their feet to let out the angry feelings, which we think is wonderful. In addition to talking about feelings, the children are also spending more and more time getting involved in activities in the large classroom. They spent time at the literacy center with Christy, they observed the caterpillars in the science center, and they dressed up in masks and capes in the dramatic play area.
Dear CHP mommies and other chosen significant caregivers: By now most of you have likely received the special gift we created for you in the art center this week. This activity involved painting and embellishing a 3-D surface. We also explored line with markers on a 2-D leaf-shaped surface that serves as a base for these little sculptures. Our determination to independently thread pipe cleaners through tiny holes, our careful application of glue to secure our materials and the many inventive solutions such as pom pom cheeks, fuzz for hair, a heart shaped twist or finger wrapped coil to the pipe cleaners are all a testament to our growing skills. Our creative wings are truly forming!
After over 20 years at CHP, Caroline is enjoying a trip with her husband without the company of all New York City Spring-breakers;) She’ll be back next week with drama groups and tales of exploring cliff dwellings outside Sante Fe!
This week in literacy, we celebrated Teacher Appreciation Week by writing kindness cards to our teachers here at CHP. We also wrote cards for our teachers outside of school, like our dance and karate teachers.
Lastly, we learned how to write letters to mail the “old fashioned way” - how to address the envelope, put on a postage stamp, and add a return address label. In our literacy groups we practiced a new word of the week, with a new practice activity and game.
This week in math we spent time in the block center, building different famous buildings and structures from around the world, including the Freedom Tower, the Empire State Building, and Big Ben. The children worked together to develop a building plan and identify the optimal blocks for each structure. We’ll continue buildings structures from around the world next week as well!
This week the children focused on identifying different instruments with our eyes and with our ears, too! We looked at pictures of different orchestral instruments to see which ones were new to us and which ones were familiar. We also listened to audio clips of these instruments being played and challenged ourselves to guess which ones we were hearing! These activities launched some pretty fascinating conversations. For instance, we chatted about which instrument features were similar and different, which instruments we might hear at special occasions, and which instruments we had at our homes. The children also imagined what instruments they might play when they're older.
At the science center this week we continued talking about planting and gardens in preparation for our final planting project this year. The children are going to make small gardens using a variety of plants, flowers, nature objects, and animals. We will give each garden a name, and I’m sure that this project will inspire wonderful conversations. Also, our classroom caterpillars arrived on Thursday, and they are on display in the window of Kristin's office, viewable from the science center. We will observe them over the next 3-4 weeks and predict and chart the changes that occur.
This week we literally stopped and smelled the roses! We went on a few long, beautiful walks and stopped to admire as many flowers as we could. We gathered around and all smelled the different kinds of flowers and talked about if they smelled the same or different. Everyone had their favorite kind of flower. The kids also wanted to talk about how to treat the flowers with kindness and respect. We are looking forward to more nature walks where we can have group discussions about our gorgeous neighborhood. Back in the classroom, the 2s got a chance to play with water in the discovery box, and they really enjoyed using the eye droppers, funnels, and sea creatures in the water. Some of the books we read this week were: Lines that Wriggle by Candace Whitman and Steve Wilson, My Garden by Kevin Henkes, and Boo Boo Bird by Jeremy Tankard.
ART (Nancy: email@example.com)
This week we were able to finalize our collaborative mural of the seasons, which now hangs on our classroom wall - please take a peek! We also began work on a Mother's’ Day project, which is being introduced to the children as a project wherein they will create a special gift for someone they love. Some children are gifting their mothers while others have chosen grandmothers, babysitters, or other special members of their families. It is a multi-step process that will result in a wonderful spring gift!
DRAMA (Caroline: firstname.lastname@example.org)
Last week in drama, we told another trickster folktale from the American West, Turkey Tricks Coyote. The children were in role as Turkey, who has to be a fast thinker and problem solver to not become Coyote's dinner. We incorporated narrative pantomime and call and response dialogue between the two characters. The children had fun flying to different trees as Coyote continued to chop each one down in succession. In addition, we added ASL during the dialogue to build onto our vocabulary of signs. We learned signs for coyote, turkey, fire, tree, chop, sit, and wait.
LITERACY (Christy: email@example.com)
This week in literacy, we talked about what we did over spring break. Whether they traveled somewhere far away or stayed right here in Brooklyn, the children shared their stories and through writing, dictation, and illustration, we put their stories on paper. We also played a new French alphabet puzzle I brought back from Paris from my spring break trip!
MATH (Kelsey: firstname.lastname@example.org)
This week in math we welcomed the spring season with a duckling number matching game - ask your kids how many duckling matches they got! We also introduced some new toys and tools to the center like a balance scale and some new connector blocks. Thank you to all the parents who donated items off the math wishlist!
MUSIC (Mel: email@example.com)
Spring was a big source of inspiration during music this week. We sang about planting seeds and moved our bodies to mimic the way flowers grow in a garden. We also discovered a brand new game during group - “Hide and Go Sing.” Our friends took turns singing solos, and the seeker’s role was to guess who was singing and which area of the circle the soloist’s voice was coming from. Through playing this game, and noticing the ease with which each student recognized their friends’ voices, we discovered just how connected our students are to one another at school!
SCIENCE (Lizzie: firstname.lastname@example.org)
This week at the science center we talked about our take-home plants and what grew. Several children shared stories of sprouting, which was so exciting to hear. Using some of our newly donated items (thank you, parents!), we also conducted a variety of experiments mixing different ingredients together and predicting and observing the results.
We were so excited to be back at school together this week! All of the children are feeling so comfortable in the classroom. Although we still begin and end our days in the nest, we are spending a good amount of time in the larger classroom, and we’re really starting to get to know the “big kids.” The children make independent choices about where they will play and with whom - it is amazing to see how much they have grown since September! Lastly, we rearranged the nest a bit to introduce some new play areas and group space, and the children settled right in.