This Week at CHP
We have been busy working on a winter holiday gift for our families. Our individual hanging sculptures require three processes: construction, painting and embellishment. We are building our fine motor skills as we practice handling and connecting our materials, and we are exploring the exciting organic visual possibilities of this open-ended activity as we arrange and organize our design.
In our drama groups, we continued our fall curriculum with harvest and Thanksgiving themes. The children reenacted the Russian folktale, The Turnip, about a family who works together to pull the giant turnip from the ground. In addition to building cooperative skills, we explored all the different characters in the story, experimenting with voice and movement.
This week in literacy we worked on sequencing stories. We played our sequencing game with the story If You Give a Mouse a Cookie. We even created our own sequencing charts, putting the story in order. We also started our pull-out literacy groups with the four year olds. We did fun activities with our word-of-the-week and tried to find the word in our book of the week Clifford, The Big Red Dog.
This week in music was all about winter weather! The kids have been doing a great job of learning the winter classic “Let It Snow”. We’ve especially enjoyed learning some moves to go along with the song and pretending that we are singing around a cozy fire. During music time, we’ve continued to experiment with dynamics, as well. This week, we learned that musicians use the words “piano” for quiet music and “forte” for loud music. We’ve had a lot of fun singing “piano” songs to our puppet friend mouse and “forte” songs to our other, bolder puppet friend dragon.
This week at the science center we began some activities about maps and places to which we have traveled. We used a giant floor map and sorted the animals into their native countries. Some of the children wanted to make their own maps so we have started making maps of various places and researching the animals that live in these places. Some of the places that the children have included are: Australia, Georgia, California, Hudson NY, Block Island, Connecticut, Long Island, Brooklyn, New York, a magical land and the toy store in Brooklyn. We will continue to explore maps, places and the animals that live in these places. In preparation for a future topic on birds and migration, we will begin to examine which birds live in these various places.
We have been spending a lot of time focusing on safety with the two year olds, especially while outside. Lately, we have been trying to get the children to understand that it is not ok to run away from a teacher and it is not ok to let go of the rope while walking to the park. This is something that we take very seriously. We use a firm tone and serious face to convey this. If the children are being unsafe at the park we will hold their hand and explain why they are holding our hand. If the whole group is being unsafe, we head back to school. This limit-setting is an important part of both prioritizing safety and of building community, as we learn the importance of taking care of ourselves and each other.
This Week at CHP
We spent the week “nesting” to complete work on our holiday gift. Choosing from an assortment of natural materials, we were encouraged to consider qualities of design as we practiced securing our choices with glue. We ended the week with some time to revisit our classroom tree, hanging more leaves and completing our tree chart.
This past week in our drama groups, we created some scenarios about the falling leaves. We played with various shapes of laminated leaves, and observed how they fall from the trees. Do they fall quickly or slowly? How would you describe how they travel on their way to the ground? The children experimented with this movement, isolating one body part, then coordinating their whole bodies twirling and gliding to the ground. We incorporated different styles and tempos of music from Vivaldi's Autumn Movement of The Four Seasons to Joplin's The Maple Leaf Rag.
This week in literacy, we read books about what it means to be thankful. We collaborated with art on a Thanksgiving gift for our families by making cards that reveal the people and things for which we are thankful. Some examples were “our families,” “my toys and my books,” and “playing at school.” We also talked and wrote about how being thankful makes us feel.
The Name Game is back by popular demand at the math center this week! The kids loved playing it a few weeks ago and asked to bring it out again this week. The game is a handmade lotto board featuring pictures of all the students. The children love finding their friends’ faces and learning all their friends’ names. The game provides an excellent opportunity to work on math skills like matching, sorting, and one-to-one correspondence, to foster children’s social interactions, and to practice turn-taking.
This week at the science center we continued to care for and observe our plants. We read Plant the Tiny Seed, by Christie Matheson, and we noticed that the pumpkin seeds have started to sprout. We also did a sink and float experiment and used a T-chart to display the results of our experiment. Today the children wanted to re-create a robot that they saw in a book at the science center, so we worked together and made a large paper robot.
This week the two year olds really enjoyed playing with trains in the nest. They worked together to build big, long train tracks and tried to figure out how many trains each child should have so that it would be fair for everyone. At circle time, we started singing a song where the children got to pretend that they are sleeping. They love when the teachers then sing for them to 'wake up!'. This song/game is a great way to practice self-regulation because the children need to be able to switch from 'sleeping' to 'awake' over and over again.
We are finding that our students’ appetites wax and wane, and I wanted to let everyone know how we run lunch around here. We love to encourage children to eat their lunches, and to eat their proteins before their sweets. We have several teacher-tricks up our sleeves, and we do our best to get food into bellies. The children have about 20-30 minutes to eat their lunches. If, at the end of lunch, they have food remaining, we will allow them to transition to rest without finishing, and we will give them the opportunity to revisit their lunches during afternoon snack. We will leave food in lunchboxes and let you know that it was a light eating day. We will offer another chance to eat lunch, or our snack, later in the afternoon. If it happens very regularly, we will work with you to make a plan. Please feel free to get in touch if you have any questions, concerns, or specific instructions for your child.
This Week at CHP
As the Thanksgiving holiday nears, we have each begun to prepare a gift for our family that involves feathering a certain celebrated bird. We also participated in a bit of production line painting to prepare a component that will be used by everyone in the second part of this multi-process activity. In addition to some joyful sensory involvement and fine motor challenges we are discovering that the art we create may be taken home and given to a parent as a valued gift.
Last week in drama, we returned to some seasonal fall themes including apple and pumpkin picking. The children learned the song and played the hide and seek game, Way Down Yonder in the Pumpkin Patch. Using our red climbers as trees and laminated paper apples, we explored climbing the apple trees. The children found some furry friends, who had made their homes there, and together we created a short narrative about them.
This week in literacy, we talked about our families and what it means to be thankful. The children dictated the reasons why they are thankful for their families and illustrated their dictations. We also collaborated with the Art Center on our classroom tree project. We came up with a list of the parts of the tree we already know, read books about new vocabulary words, and then wrote out labels for a poster about our tree.
We had a great week in math filled with lots of pumpkin seeds! We put the seeds from the pumpkin that Nancy carved last week in a big bag and made guesses about how many there were. We talked about how to make the best estimate by looking at the seeds and feeling how heavy the bag was. After everyone made a guess we counted them by 1’s, by 2’s, by 5’s, and by 10’s. There were 205 pumpkin seeds!
This week, we’ve started our unit on dynamics: how loud or how soft music is. The children have enjoyed playing “Monster or Mouse” to explore differences in dynamics based on different songs and settings. Our introduction to songwriting has continued to be a blast as well! Our variations on “This Little Light of Mine” have been so creative and silly: “This little dog of mine, I’m going to let him bark” or “This Little nose of mine, I’m gonna let it sneeze”. This activity has been a fun, creative, and wonderful way to work towards generating our own songs about our school community.
This week at the Science Center the children voted as to what color they think the Amaryllis flowers will be when they grow, and rainbow was the winner! We also planted pumpkin seeds in a large pot and continued our conversation about plants and what they need to grow.
This week we have been spending increasing amounts of time in the big classroom playing with the big kids, which has provided more opportunities to navigate play and negotiate with new friends. We have also been talking about feelings alot, and we have been discussing ways we can show and share our emotions with friends. For example, we sang “If You’re Happy and You Know It…” and changed the lyrics to include things like if you’re sad and you know it, you can cry and if you are mad and you know it, you can stomp your feet. We want to make sure that children know that all feelings are accepted here at school, and there are appropriate ways to express all of these feelings.
This week, we have been amazed at what exceptional helpers our students are. Each day, several older students have offered to help our two year olds enter the classroom. Inside the classroom, our older students have been accommodating, flexible, and caring as our younger students learn to play together in the large classroom. In fact, a few of our four year olds have been “reading” to our younger students.