Ms. Courtney’s November Monthly Overview

Themes of the Week
(in addition to Montessori Work time)

11/3: Body Parts

  • The children will be able to identify specific body parts (Heads, Shoulders, Knees & Toes).
  • The children will start to develop body awareness.

11/10: Food Groups/Nutrition

  • The children will become aware of five food groups (dairy, protein, vegetables, fruits, and grains).
  • Categorizing different foods from each food group.
  • The children are informed that eating different foods from each food group will help them grow, think, and have energy to play.
  • Learning how to recognize different foods from each group.
  • The children will sample a variety of healthy foods.

11/17: Indians/Pilgrims

  • The children will learn about the tools Pilgrims used long ago.
  • The children will learn that life was difficult for the Pilgrims in America and that everyone, including the children, had to work hard.
  • The children will learn where the Pilgrims left and where they were headed in America.
  • The children will be reading and learning about the very first Thanksgiving.

11/24: What I am thankful for

  • The children will learn the meaning of Thanksgiving is to be thankful for families, friends and special things in times we share.
  • The children will learn doing things for others is important, and makes us feel good inside.
  • The children will learn that we can show thankfulness all the time, not only during holidays.
  • The children will learn there are many ways to share.

Letters of the week

11/3: Ii
11/10: Jj
11/17: Kk
11/24: Ll

Things to do at home this month to reinforce our themes:

  • Perform a simple cleanup task for a needy neighbor. It might be as simple as raking leaves from a yard or driveway, or tidying a porch or garage.
  • Make Thanksgiving dinner together.
  • Make a weekly menu together to place on the refrigerator that is balanced according to the food pyramid.
  • Read labels of food together.
  • Let your child pack their lunch.
  • Do the hokey pokey together.

Courtney’s Corner – August-September Newsletter

Tallmadge School

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We started off our school year focusing on grace and courtesy to teach and fulfill our student’s innate need for order. Every student has a need to know and to absorb the social structures in order to be

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more at ease in their environment. Grace and courtesy lessons give the student the vocabulary, actions, and steps required for them to build their awareness and responsiveness of those around them. We worked on walking in the classroom, using our inside voices while in the school building, using kind words to one another, using safe hands, how to clean up our area when we are done working and how to use our words to express our feelings.

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The third week of school we talked and learned about community helpers. We had many of volunteer community helpers come into the classroom and talk to the children. They briefly described their occupation, by talking about where they work, what they wear, tools they use, and tasks they perform. I would like to thank all of the volunteers who came into the classroom! It was a wonderful learning experience for both the students and myself! The fourth week of school we discussed families and the students shared their family trees with their friends. Their family trees included their name, parents, grandparents, and great-grandparents. The students also brought pictures of their families either on the family tree or hard copies for the children to share with their friends. The children enjoyed learning more about their friends and where they came from. It was great to see the students discover the differences and similarities in all of the families and accept every family for who they are.   We ended the month of September talking about feelings and emotions. The students brainstormed things they could do when they were angry, happy, sad, frustrated, and excited. Then they discussed with one another whether the reaction they came up with was a good choice or a bad choice. The students did a great job learning how to manage their emotions. We role played how to process, identify and appropriately express their emotions as much as possible. After a few days of talking about feeling and emotions it was great to hear the students tell their friends what they were feeling and why on their own.

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Kindergarten

We kicked off Kindergarten with a lot Geography. The students learned about the seven continents, fun facts about the continents, and a few countries in each continent. The students became very familiar with the cardinal directions, the equator, the prime meridian, and the hemispheres. We took a look at our home state of Ohio and the surrounding states (their abbreviation and nickname). Make sure you ask your child all about Ohio! They will be able to tell you that the cardinal is the official bird, scarlet carnation the official flower, lady bug is the official insect, and tomato juice is the official drink. They learned how we are the buckeye state and that the official rock and roll song is Hang on Sloopy.

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Art

The first month of school flew by, and the students have already learned so much in art class with Ms. Michele. Her first unit of study is “What is Art?” We learned what an artist is and what they do. The children will get to explore the color wheel and art terms. They will be learning key art rules and how to use the art materials.

Ms. Michele kicked off her unit with a project called “My Favorite Animal” inspired by Eric Carle. She read “The Very Hungry Caterpillar” and then discussed the techniques Mr. Carle uses in his illustrations. He uses overlapping colors of tissue paper to create the wonderful pictures in his books. The students then made textured rubbings on tissue paper and glued them together on a piece of paper to create their favorite animal.

The next concept the students learned was about primary colors. They learned that these colors are blue, red, and yellow. These colors can be mixed together to create other colors. The project for the second week was “My House.” Ms. Michele was inspired by Piet Mondrian’s “Composition in Red, Blue, and Yellow” due to his use of the three primary colors. The students mapped out their house using black Popsicle sticks to create the same shapes that Mondrian used in his art piece, and red, yellow, and blue paint.

Our last lesson of the month was entitled “The Best Playground Ever.” Ms. Michele showed the students pictures of different playgrounds. One was a typical playground we see in our neighborhoods, one was made completely out of nets, and the last one was shaped like a whale. The students discussed the different shapes and lines of the equipment and discovered that art isn’t just flat. They were then allowed to create their own playground by twisting, bending, crimping, and rolling pieces of paper and then gluing them to a base.

We all want to thank Ms. Michele for bringing in her wonderful, creative ideas and are excited to learn more next month!

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Science

For our first science experiment of the year the students learned how liquids like water and milk have a property known as surface tension. We used soap, milk, and food coloring to experiment with reducing the surface tension to see what would happen. The students first put food coloring in the milk and noticed that the drops of food coloring just sat on the surface where we placed them in the milk. We discovered that is because food coloring is less dense than milk, so it floats on the surface, and the colors do not mix because we didn’t stir the milk. Then the students wanted to see some action so we added a drop of soap. The soap reduced the surface tension of the milk by dissolving the fat molecules and the food coloring started to move with the surface!

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Music

“It’s music time today. Time to sing and play. It’s lots of fun to sing and learn. It’s music time today.” The students have learned that this song is true for music class with Ms. Lisa. At the start of every music class, Ms. Lisa sings this with the students to get them excited and ready to learn. Our returning students were so thrilled to start music class and our new students have found out what a joy it is to spend time with Ms. Lisa.

During this past month, the children met our wonderful music teacher, Ms. Lisa and were introduced to many musical concepts. They have experienced how to use rhythm sticks, egg shakers, and tambourines. The class learned what a whole, half, quarter, and eighth note look like and how many beats each one receives. Ms. Lisa also shared with us some fun classics, such as “London Bridge,” “The ABC’s,” “The Hokey Pokey,” and “I’m a Little Tea Pot.” The students always enjoy having Ms. Lisa come each week and we can’t wait to learn more next month!

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October 2014 Monthly Overview

Themes of the Week
(in addition to Montessori Work time)

9/29: Five Senses

  • The students will learn about their five senses and their parts of the body that correspond to each sense.

10/6: Leaves

  • The students observe the differences in leaf shape.
  • The students observe the different fall colors and the fun we can have with leaves.
  • The students sort a variety of fall objects.
  • The students learn different textures and identify them.

10/13: Apples

  • The students will describe an apple using all of their senses.
  • The students will discuss the shapes apples come in.
  • The students will taste test red, green, and yellow apples.
  • The students will explore the inside of an apple.

10/20: Pumpkins

  • The students will identify feeling words such as happy, sad, scared, etc.
  • The students will guess and count how many seeds are in a pumpkin.
  • The students will practice measuring to make a treat.
  • The students will practice team work.

10/27: Bats

  • The students will learn about the life cycle of a bat.
  • The students will research facts about bats.
  • Halloween party (Friday, October 31st)

Letters of the week
9/29: Dd
10/6: Ee
10/13: Ff
10/20: Gg
10/27: Hh

Things to do at home this month to reinforce our themes:

  • Have students describe things at home using their senses.
  • Go on a family walk to see how many different kinds of leaves you can find together.
  • Take a trip to an apple orchard.
  • Make homemade applesauce from your child’s favorite apple.
  • Bake pumpkin seeds.
  • Take a trip to a pumpkin patch.
  • Research other nocturnal animals.

Courtney’s Class Overview – September 2014

Themes of the week
(in addition to Montessori Work Time)

8/26 and 9/2: Ground Rules

  • Learning to greet others.
  • Learning to have conservations.
  • Learning to speak to others.
  • Learning to listen to others.
  • Learning to respond to others.
  • Learning to say please and thank you to others.
  • Learning to observe others.
  • Learning to respectfully interrupt.
  • Learning from others.
  • Learning to open door for someone else.
  • Learning to recognize situations in which to help others.
  • Passing in front of another respectfully.
  • Learning how to say excuse me.

9/8: Community Helpers

  • The students will learn about police officers, fire fighters, mail carriers, soldiers, bakers, farmers, doctors, and teachers throughout the week. They will not only learn about these community helpers; they will also be able to explain in detail why each one is very important to our lives.

9/15: My Family

  • The students will illustrate a picture of their family.
  • The students will have a discussion on the importance of families to each of us and the students will be able to identify one reason why their family is important to them.
  • Create a family tree together (Due Friday September 12th)

9/22: Feelings/Emotions

  • The students learn how to identify, handle, and understand the things they may feel and how to act about them.

Letters of the week

9/8: Aa
9/15: Bb
9/22: Cc

Sight word of the week

9/8: the
9/15: of
9/22: an

Things to do at home this month to reinforce our themes:

  • Try to find objects that begin with the letter of the week wherever you go with your child.
  • Encourage grace and courtesy when you see your child displaying it to another or you.
  • Talk about the importance of 911 and when you should call and practice dialing it.
  • Practice dialing your telephone number with your child.
  • Start a family tradition by setting a night a week aside for a family movie or game night.
  • If your child displays an emotion they are unfamiliar with talk about it and how to handle it together.

Courtney’s Corner – May 2014

Tallmadge School

We started off May talking about the Solar System. The children learned the positions of the planets and their relative sizes and distances. They had a blast using 3D models of the sun and planets to place in order. We talked about how the sun is the biggest star and why it is so important. We also made constellations with toothpicks and marshmallows. We discussed the different phases of the moon and made them using chalk and construction paper. On Friday for science, we made moon sand and the children had so much fun playing with it!

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The second week of May we talked about dinosaurs and what their habitat was like then the children made their own habitat using sand, rocks, plastic plants, toy dinosaurs, clay, and dirt. They learned different physical attributes of dinosaurs and their names. The children demonstrated an understanding of herbivores, omnivores and carnivores. We also dug out tyrannosaurus rex fossils and put the pieces together. For science we exploded the volcano, the children put in the habitat earlier in the week, using baking soda and vinegar.

The third week of May we talked about transportation. The children quickly developed an understanding that transportation means to carry things from one place to another. We named all the different methods of transportation like plane, car, boat, bike, horse, train, bus, subway, helicopter, etc. Students learned safety rules for all methods of transportation and practiced crossing a fake street setup in the classroom. We placed a car at the top of a ramp and asked the children how far it will go. We recorded their answers with tape with each child’s name on it. We did this on the carpet first together then they switched to a smooth surface and tried it with their friends by making their own ramps and using different cars similar to the real cars adults use, and they also learn about the automotive services can be found online at sites like http://www.atloceanside.com.

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The children really enjoyed the last week of May when we talked about sports. The children used their gross motor skills to march, skip, gallop, etc. They learned how to engage in imaginative and creative play indoors and outdoors involving their friends. We played many games that involved team effort and good sportsmanship. We also made balloon powered cars for science this week using balloons, straws, tape, and toy cars, we also got some help on PCH.

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The first week of June we focused on summer games, activities, and experiments the children could do at home. We froze different color ice cubes for the children to put together in a glass and observe as the ice melts to make a new color. We also discussed summer safety rules while playing outside and playing with or in water. The children learned how to make homemade ice cream and enjoyed the tasty treat together!

I hope everyone has a fabulous summer and I can’t wait to see all the smiling faces in the fall!


Ms. Courtney’s Corner – April 2014

Tallmadge School

We started April off by talking about butterflies and caterpillars. Students had a blast learning about how butterflies go through stages of growth and change called a life cycle. They even got to create a butterfly mobile to represent each stage of the life cycle they learned about. We also designed butterflies using paper, pipe cleaner, and creativity. For science we put one empty glass of water and one full glass of water next to each other with paper towel we twisted together  until it formed a rope (the wick). The rope absorbed and transferred the water from the full glass into the empty glass after we placed one end of it into the glass filled with water and the other into the empty glass. The children learned that the process they just watched happen is called capillary action which is when water uses the tiny gaps in the fiber of the paper towels to move along. Later, some of the children asked if this is the same thing that happens in plants and flowers. What a proud moment that was as a teacher!

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The rest of April we focused on the seven continents: Asia, Africa, North America, South America, Antarctica, Europe and Australia. We learned Africa, is where the elephants, giraffes and lions live. South America has tropical forests and one of the longest rivers in the world the Amazon River. North America is where we live. Europe and Asia are together on the map, but Australia is an island where the kangaroo and koala bear live. Last but not least Antarctica is way down below frozen and also home to the penguins. Students and teachers spent a lot of time preparing for this year’s International Festival, displaying some of the knowledge we learned throughout the month. They did a wonderful job, we are very proud of them!

I would like to send a Big Thank You to everyone who took the time to come and talk to us about places around the world. The children really enjoyed listening to what you had to share and appreciated all the time and effort you put in to preparing for the visit!1120

 


Ms. Courtney’s Corner – March 2014

Tallmadge School

We started off the month of March talking about Dr. Seuss and Eric Carle. The children loved coming to school dressed crazy with their hats and silly socks (and teachers did too)! We read the book I Wish I Had Duck Feet and discussed animal parts and why different animals need certain parts. Students had a blast drawing themselves with a particular animal part and sharing with the rest of us why they chose that part. After reading The Very Hungry Caterpillar, students created their own caterpillars using cups and forks. We enjoyed reading Green Eggs and Ham and watching the students cringe as they tried that first bite of their green eggs and ham. For science we listened to a reading of Bartholomew and the Oobleck and made our own Ooblecks out of cornstarch and water.


The second week of March we learned all about insects. The children learned how to identify animals belonging in the insect category and those that do not. They learned the main parts of an insect with the help of our own version of Head Shoulders Knees and Toes. This will also be part of me writing thesis for the Montessori school.1057

Thestudents crafted insects out of their names making sure to include all the main parts (head, thorax and abdomen). They turned out great! We also enjoyed creating insects using pipe cleaners. It was amazing to watch their imaginations go wild! Science was a special time this week because we divided students down into two teams. We had team cold water and team hot water and we learned about solutions. We began by experimenting with sugar cubes. Students learned if you add more and more sugar cubes to different temperatures of water, you can only dissolve a certain amount. This varies depending on the temperature of the water.

1054For the third week of March we talked about plants and flowers. The children discovered the four elements needed to grow a plant soil, seeds, sun and water. They also learned the word photosynthesis! Before planting flowers to take home students helped draw a diagram with the sun in the upper corner of the poster board with plenty of “rays’ extending down, and soil on the bottom of the poster board with a lot of seeds planted and some rain drops flowing from the sky. We also gained a new class pet “Polka Dot 2”,our very own Venus Fly Trap! Students are excited to observe this throughout the year!


Ms. Courtney’s Corner – February 2014

Tallmadge School

The first week in February we had a blast talking about all the different types of farm animals and what each farm animal provides for us. We talked about where milk comes from and the children got to practice milking a cow. The children discovered how a chick hatches from an egg. On science day we took four raw eggs and placed them into different liquids (vinegar, tea, water, and kool-aid,) we left the eggs in the liquid over the weekend for a couple of days and then looked at the different effects the substances had on the egg.

The second week of February the children learned about all the varieties of pets and how to care for them. We matched mother animals to their baby animal. The children made a tasty fish bowl snack using Jell-O and gummy fish. We set out different materials like feathers, macaroni, pipe cleaners etc. and watched the children create their very own pet to care for. To wrap the week up the children made Valentine’s Day picture frames for their moms and dads out of popsicle sticks and puzzle pieces.

 The third week of February the children learned how Washington was a great man, the father of our country, who led in war and peace. They discovered that Abraham Lincoln is on the penny with the help of field students from the University of Akron. The children talked about what they think life is like for the Obama family in the White House. For science we inflated balloons using lemon juice and baking soda and the children learned when you mix the two together it creates carbon dioxide and the gas rises up and escapes the bottle feeling the balloon.

The last week of February we started off by doing a sorting activity with different pictures of foods. We had a sad tooth full of
tooth decay from sweets and soda. Then we had a happy tooth that was shiny and bright from brushing and eating healthy foods. We talked about cavities and cut a hole in an apple to show us how a little hole in your teeth can get pretty yucky inside. I boiled an egg in tea and stained it brown then showed the kids a white egg and the brown egg. The children took turns brushing the dirty egg (like a dirty tooth) with real toothpaste and it turned white again. We did a science experiment with cardboard and water. We filled a glass up with water and then placed the cardboard over top and turned the cup upside down and even though the cup of water is was upside down the water stayed in place defying gravity!

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Ms. Courtney’s Corner – January 2014

Tallmadge School

Welcome back! It is nice to be with your children again and see how much they have grown! We kicked off January by talking about polar animals. The children enjoyed making fake snow out of hair conditioner and baking soda and waddling around the classroom like penguins! We discussed our favorite polar animals. The most popular amongst our students were polar bears, seals and penguins. Our curiosity led us to see what salt would do to ice so we froze a block of ice. Next, we held the block of ice and took turns placing spoonful’s of salt onto the ice. It was interesting to watch the salt create holes in the ice. After the holes were created we took turns dripping primary food coloring into the holes. The colors mixed together to form new colors.

The second week in January we learned all about ocean animals. We learned about things that exist in an ocean habitat like sand, small shells, smooth stones, seaweed, coral etc. We then made our own octopuses out of our very own hand prints. Everyone had a chance to guess how long they think the largest creature in the world is by estimating how many of us (in length) it would take to make a blue whale. The closest guess was 38! We were all amazed at how long a blue whale is.

After having Martin Luther King Jr. Day off we talked about how he was a hero because he was brave and honest (noble). We shared who are heroes are and who we’d like to be like someday. Our most popular answers being either Mom or Dad! We discussed how MLK made a speech and worked hard toward peace because back then people were treated badly if they did not have the same color skin. Each child made a picture of what their dream was and wrote about it to create a class book for the library. We also took two eggs one white the other brown that have not been cooked and compared their similarities and differences on the outside and took a guess as to whether they will be the same or different on the inside. We determined even though different on the outside, they were the same on the inside, just like people!

Despite all of the snow days we took an imaginary trip to the zoo and sang all about the tigers, lions, chimpanzees, and kangaroos we saw for our last week in January. Some of our friends even invited their favorite zoo stuffed animals to our morning line time and snack!  January was a fun month together with your children!


Ms. Courtney’s Corner – November_December 2013

Tallmadge School

The month of November sure has flown by!  The past month was filled with many fun activities and learning.  During our first week, the class learned about different body parts.  The students learned the song “Head Shoulders Knees and Toes” in English and French as well as did “The Hokey Pokey.”  We played a dice game that had pictures of body parts. Each student got to roll the die and whatever picture came up, the students had to point to the part of the body on themselves.  The children got a chance to be measured and weighed to see what big kids they are.  To help with listening skills and practice learning parts of the body I asked the students to point to a body party if they could hear my voice.  We did this while waiting in line and during transitions.

The next week’s theme was about food groups.  The students learned about the five main food groups; fruits, vegetables, dairy, proteins, and grains.  As a group, we sorted pictures of different types of food into the food groups and glued them on to a plate.  The class participated in a game where each child was given a picture of a food item, and pieces of paper with the different food groups written on them were placed around the room.  The students then had to go stand by the food group their food item belonged to.  We learned where different fruits and vegetables grew whether in the ground, on a bush, or in a tree.  Throughout the week, students started noticing the different types of food in their lunches.

The third week of November was all about Pilgrims and Indians.  The class found out the Pilgrims came from England to our country for religious freedom.  We read many books about what the Pilgrims experienced during their journey on the Mayflower and once they landed at Plymouth R.To go along with these books, the students created a picture of the Mayflower using their hand prints. The students also discovered what live was like for the Indians and got to make a dream catcher. During this week we discussed what Thanksgiving is and what it means to be thankful.

Closing up the month of November was a continuation of Thanksgiving and being thankful.  The children shared what their families do for Thanksgiving to learn that we all have our own traditions.  We focused more on why the Pilgrims and Indians ate a meal together.  The students finished designing their costumes and making the center pieces for the Thanksgiving feast. Before going to the gym for the big meal together, our students sat on the line and read a book about how the Pilgrims and Indians became friends and decided to have the very first Thanksgiving.  Then, I went around the group and had each student share what they were thankful for.  We got responses from mom and dad, to pets, and believe it or not even the snow.  The feast was a great experience for the students to share a meal together and to have their families involved.  A big thank you goes out to all the parents who made food and came in to help with the set up and clean up.  The students and I will remember this event for years to come.

Science
During the month of November we got to experience many science experiments and lessons. Since we just finished celebrating Halloween and candy was still on everyone’s mind, the students participated in an acid test on two types of candy.  One of piece of candy was chocolate and the other was a sour. When placed in two different bowls each with water and baking soda they observed what happened to the candies.  The children discovered the chocolate candies did not react but the sour candy fizzed and bubbled.  The baking soda reacted with the acid in the sour candy releasing the bubbles.  This same week the students learned what makes up our blood, the human skeleton, and even helped label the bones.

The next week the class observed what would happen to a piece of celery when placed in water with dark green food coloring; the result was the leaves turned a dark green color.  We also found out that an orange floats in water but when the peel is taken off, it sinks.  This is due to an air pocket that separates the fruit from the peel causing it to float, when the peel is removed the air pocket is removed and the fruit sinks.

To end the month, the group learned the effects of gravity by seeing what would happen when a ping-pong ball was placed over a running hair dryer.  The students found out that the ping-pong ball floated in the air instead of being blown away.  The cause was the air blowing the ball up while gravity is forcing it back down. These two forces worked against each other keeping the ball suspended.

December was filled with many fun winter and Christmas activities.  We started the month off with focusing on practicing our songs for the Christmas program.  The students worked very hard to memorize the lyrics and to get the motions down just right.  Our class started practicing with Ms. Brandy’s students to get used to singing in front of an audience and getting used to singing with a larger group.  The students in both classes enjoyed hearing each other sing.

The first week we read the book “Snowmen at Christmas” by Caralyn Buehner and then made snowmen paintings by mixing glue and shaving cream to make a type of puffy paint. Another book we read was “The Mitten” by Jan Brett and the students made mitten sun catchers to decorate the classroom windows.  Our class also made popsicle stick Christmas trees to make the room look festive for breakfast with Santa.

During the second week of December the children made yarn ornaments by dipping yarn in glue and wrapping them around balloons.  We also created a winter scene by gluing red and green tissue paper on construction paper and cutting Christmas tree shapes out, then painting another piece of construction paper with blue water color, and lastly glued on the trees to complete the scene.  Another craft the preschoolers made was glittery snowflakes by tracing different printed out snowflakes on wax paper. We also discussed how every snowflake is unique and completely different. To end the week the students made button wreaths and then showed off their hard work at the Christmas program and wowed us all with their talent!

Our last week before break, was focused on Christmas crafts and activities.  We started the week off with making Rudolf pictures by tracing the students’ hands for the antlers and feet for the face, and then we added a red nose and eyes to complete the reindeer.  We also took a look through different books to learn about different Christmas traditions from other cultures such as how people in France and Norway celebrate.  The students made a winter scene snow globe out of paper plates and sandwich bags.  Our class also got to do the Rudolf pokey and sing “Here Comes Santa Clause”.  To end the week, the preschoolers made some reindeer food to leave out on Christmas Eve to give them energy to fly Santa around, snowmen out of socks, and Rice Krispy treats. We all enjoyed seeing everyone’s show and tell items and the students enjoyed sharing with the class. The children especially had fun wearing their pajamas to school and watching “The Polar Express”.

I hope everyone has a wonderful break and a Merry Christmas! See you next year!

Science
For the month we got to participate in a couple science experiments.  First we read a book about ice by Helen Frost.  The book taught us what ice is and the different forms, such as sleet, frozen lakes and bodies of water, and hail.  The class also read about the different states of water, liquid, solid, and gas. We then set out an ice cube and observed it melting.  The next science activity was making Christmas goo by dissolving Borax into warm water, then pouring peppermint extract and green, glitter glue.  After mixing it together, it became a sticky solid.   The students were able to feel and smell the goo.  The preschoolers learned that the chemicals in the Borax made the glue solidify.