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.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.


Ms. Courtney’s Corner – October 2013

Tallmadge School

by Ms. Faith

 

During the month of October the class learned about all the changes that happen during the beautiful Fall season.  For the first week we discussed leaves, how and why they change, and different types of leaves.  We also enjoyed leaf rubbings, leaf impressions, and sun catchers! The class was also introduced to the letter “e” and turned the letter “e” into an elephant.

The second week of October your students learned about apples.  They got to taste test three different types of apples and vote on what was their favorite kind.  We discovered what the inside of an apple looks like, how they grow, and how Johnny Appleseed was influential throughout Ohio and the surrounding states.  Your students even brought home beautiful paintings using apples as stamps.  The letter the students learned about this week was the letter f and decorated the letter with feathers.

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Next, the class learned all about pumpkins.  We were able to explore the inside of what pumpkins look like by digging out the insides to separate the seeds from the pulp. The next day, the class was able to try the seeds they cleaned out of the pumpkin after they had been baked and even sampled some of the actual meat of the pumpkin cooked.  The students also made a book of pumpkin faces they drew and even were able to play pumpkin bowling.  The letter “g” was introduced during the third week and students were able to turn the letter “g” into a giraffe and make a ghost.

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The final week of October we turned our attention to bats.  We learned about different types of bats and even found out that there is a bat that is as small as a bumblebee! The class discovered how and where bats sleep and that they find their food through echolocation.  The students then participated in an activity to use their listening skills in order to locate their friends around the room by listening to them clap while being blind folded.  We even constructed our own bat to help decorate the classroom for Halloween.  Your students were introduced to the letter “h”, which was perfect timing for the Halloween party.

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I wanted to thank all the parents who helped out with the Halloween party.  It was definitely a success, and the kids enjoyed all of the crafts, games, and delicious food. We could not have had a more successful party!

Science

Over the past month, the students have been learning about the science behind the changes we see during fall.  We found out that the leaves change color because they are not receiving enough chlorophyll to keep their color green.  The students also learned the life cycle of apples, pumpkins, and bats. We also enjoyed a couple of fall themed science experiments such as an oozing jack-o-lantern when we mixed hydrogen peroxide with water and yeast.  Then, I showed the students Dracula’s soap and had them observe the reaction caused by putting rubbing alcohol and crushed up Ex-Lax on my hand and then washed them with soap and water. The reaction between the chemicals in the medicine and the alkali in the soap made my hands turn red!  That was very exciting!

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Ms. Courtney’s Corner – September 2013

Tallmadge School

Wow the first month of the school year flew by! I would like to start off by thanking everyone who came to meet the teacher night and the ice cream social. I had a wonderful time talking to you all about the class and your children before the school year began.We kicked off our school year focusing on grace and courtesy to teach and fulfill our students innate need for order. Every student has aneed to know and to absorb the social structures in order to be 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.

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 that 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. As many of you already know I will be taking a maternity leave of absence. My last scheduled day before the leave is Friday, October 4th. I will be popping in and out of the school the week of October 7th to help Ms. Faith and her substitute teachers in any way to make their transition smoother, but as of Monday, October 7th,  Ms. Faith will take over my class. I will look forward to returning in January! I also wanted to take the time to let all of the parents and students know my husband and I really appreciate the baby gifts. Thank you! It is very generous of you and we sincerely appreciate it. I feel so blessed to have such supportive parents like you in our lives. After baby Lydia is here I am hoping to bring her by the school for the students to meet her at the Halloween party. Again thank you for your thoughtful gifts!