Ms. Kate’s Corner – January 2014

Cuyahoga Falls School

The winter months are flying by and hopefully spring will be upon us soon! This month the children have been enjoying our different themes and working hard on all of the materials and our different practical life activities!

Our first week the children learned about whales. I introduced a whale book to them and then we started a chart called a “KWL” which stands for “What We Know, What We Want to Know and What We Learned.” It always amazes me how much information the children already know about a particular subject and the questions they come up with during lessons. They are fantastic questions! Some of the questions the children wanted to know were, “How far can they swim? What are some of the things whales eat? How many babies can they have? How long are whales?” At the end of the week we had a discussion about everything we learned. For example, the Blue Whale is the largest whale and is long as a football field. The humpback whale is as long as a basketball court! The children also learned about the whales’ blowholes and how they have one baby who stays with the mom for up to a year.

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During that week the children conducted two science experiments. The first was an experiment to determine how such a heavy animal like a whale could stay afloat. This activity reinforced how salt water is denser than fresh helping objects stay afloat. The second experiment was all about blubber. We took two zip lock bags filling one with lard and then covering with the second bag. The children stuck their hand inside the bag and dipped it into ice-cold water. We observed that our hands never got cold. We discussed what blubber is and what it does for animals. The last day we discussed the different types of whales such as the Toothed Whale, Baleen Whale, the Blue Whale, and the Humpback.

The second week sparked a lot of interest in the children. We learned about Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. We began with an activity called “Being Treated Equally.” Before I lead the discussion I passed out a snack to just the boys ONLY. I then started reading the book, “Happy Birthday Dr. Martin Luther King.”All through the book the girls were wondering why I wasn’t giving them any snack, and a few became upset. I didn’t explain to them why I did what I did until the story was over. I then asked the girls how they felt not receiving a snack. Sophia said, “I really felt left out.” Another child yelled out, “I felt mad when you didn’t give us anything!” I then shared that a man named Martin Luther King stood up so that all were treated equal! I loved this activity because I think it really got the children interested in who he was and what he stood for. 

1001The second activity was called, “We’re all the same on the inside.” This was a simple exercise on how we can look different on the outside, yet are the same on the inside. I first showed the children a brown egg and then a white egg. I asked them to describe what they saw. I then asked what they thought each egg woul look like on the inside. Almost all of them said the brown egg would be brown in the inside. I then cracked open both eggs and the children were amazed to see that both eggs looked the same. After the activity we talked about how all of us look different on the outside but we think and feel the same things on the inside! It was an awesome activity!! The next day we discussed Rosa Parks and the bus boycotts, freedom marches, sit-ins, and the civil rights movement. We also listened to a song called “We Shall Overcome,” a powerful song about what Martin Luther King wanted for himself and others. After the song, we brainstormed some hardships or changes they have overcome or will have to in life. 

Next we completed “I have a dream hand prints.” The children dipped one hand in brown paint and the other in pink paint and then made prints looking like two people who are holding hands. We then placed a heart in the middle of the hand print. Afterwards the children wrote down the dreams that they have. On the last day I showed a clip of the “I Have a Dream” speech. After the speech we discussed what was said and what he wanted in life. It was a powerful week!

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The third week we discussed Alaska and different types of Polar animals. The first day I came in dressed in my winter coat, boots, mittens, flashlight, a protein bar, a polar bear stuffed animal, and a map. I had the children to guess my destination. I was going to Alaska! We looked at our map and talked about where Alaska was located. I then provided Alaska coloring pages for the children to color while I read them a book about Alaska. Throughout the week the children learned fun facts about polar bears, walruses, and seals. The children learned that a walruses’ tusk are made out of ivory and are about two to three feet long. 

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The last week was all about Penguins. The first day each child had to pick an animal name card and keep it a secret. Once everyone had a name card they were able to walk around the room and make their specific animal sound. Once the child found their partner that was making the same sound they had to stand next to each other and be silent. Once everyone found their partner, I explained to them that in order for penguins to find their partner amongst hundreds of other penguins they must call for each other and locate them by their sound. Throughout the week the children learned that the Emperor Penguin is the biggest penguin and is about the size of a six year old! They also learned that they form groups called Rookeries and only lay two eggs except for the Emperor Penguin who lays only one. We also talked about molting, why they fly, how they swim, incubation, and how the male penguin looks after the egg while the female is gone for two months hunting for food. The children loved learning about penguins!


Ms. Kate’s Corner – November_December 2013

Cuyahoga Falls School

Wow! I can’t believe how fast time is flying by! The children have been working really hard this month learning about the different types of clouds, weather, order of the rainbow, five food groups, healthy habits, dinosaurs, and all about the first Thanksgiving. The children also had a lot of fun creating and preparing for our annual Thanksgiving feast!

During the first week, the children learned about the different types of clouds we see such as cumulus, stratus, cirrus, and cumulonimbus.  Students were able to look out the window everyday and talk about what clouds they saw that day. It was such a great lesson because the children really enjoyed learning about what they saw! Throughout that week we discussed the different types of weather we have here in Ohio and across our nation. During line time we learned about how a tornado is formed, what happens when other states have hurricanes, and how much snow you can get in a blizzard! Students also learned how rain and snow are formed inside the clouds, strong winds are called gusts and light winds are called breezes. The last day we read a great book about rainbows. The children learned how a rainbow is created and the color order, ROYGBIV! Wow, we had such a busy week!900

The second week students focused on nutrition. The first few days we read books about healthy habits. We discussed the different ways to keep our body healthy and we charted them. I then posted a food pyramid on the wall and explained what each section was about. The children were given different food pictures and were able to post the pictures in the right section of the food pyramid. The next day we did a fun activity that taught them about how we spread germs Then we focused on the importance of hand washing. I started out by sneezing glitter into my hands, showing the children what your hand looks likes when you sneeze into it. I then shook the child’s hand that was next to mine and had them show the class what his hand looked like after he shook my hand when I didn’t wash them. That child then shook his neighbors hands and this continued throughout the circle. The children couldn’t believe how just by me not washing my hands how I passed so many germs to so many people. We then practiced washing our hands by singing the alphabet song! The last day we talked about the importance of exercise and how much our body needs everyday. We viewed pictures of people doing different exercises and the children had to act out the picture I showed them!

892 The third week we focused on The First Thanksgiving, and preparing for our Thanksgiving feast. Everyday I read a special letter to the children from a pilgrim child. In these letters the children talked about their long journey on the Mayflower, the food they ate, hardships they experienced, feelings they felt, and games they played. The children really enjoyed learning that it took 102 days for the Mayflower to get to America. They also learned that only 16 men left the ship to see if the land was safe enough for everyone to come ashore. Throughout the week we also learned about the Native Americans and the pilgrims. We discussed who Squanto was and what he did for the pilgrims. Students also made girl and boy pilgrim hats for our Feast! I wanted to say thank you for all of the parents who came and helped set up for the Feast and who helped with our students. The children really enjoyed sitting with their family and friends!

915The last week was all about dinosaurs! The first day we discussed the different dinosaurs such as Tyrannosaurus Rex, Briancosaurus, Stegosaurus, Apaosaurus and the Brontosaurus. We talked about their size, length, and what they ate! The next day the children learned about herbivores, carnivores, and omnivores. I explained to the children that a paleontologist can tell if the dinosaur was a meat eater or plant eater just by looking at the fossil print of their teeth. The children also loved hearing that herbivores had to eat certain rocks so that the plants could break down in their stomachs.916

Throughout the rest of the week we focused on fossil finding, the concept of extinction, and the time period dinosaurs came to be. Our preschool friends had so much fun finding fossils, painting the different dinosaurs, learning new and exciting songs about dinosaurs and exploring different books with Ms. Ashley!

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I love December and this time of year! The pretty lights, fun music, everyone smiling, and the children full of excitement!! Even though we were only in school for just a few short weeks the children were busy getting ready for our annual holiday program, making fun holiday crafts, and enjoying the hustle and bustle of the classroom! Throughout the month of December our class had fun learning  how children and their families celebrate Christmas from around the world! The first country we talked about was Mexico. We began by reading the story The Legend of the Poinsettia by Tomie de Paola, and then created our own poinsettia craft out of paint, glitter, markers, and grocery bags. For preschool lesson, Ms. Ashley had the children make Ojos de Dios, which are Christmas ornaments made with yarn. The second country we visited was Germany. The children learned that the tradition of decorating a Christmas tree originated from Germany and that the trees were decorated with candles, apples, and spiced cookies. The children them created their own tree by dipping a toilet paper roll into paint and making prints onto paper. They also used glitter, colored paint, and stickers to decorate their tree. The children also had a blast with Ms. Ashley making and decorating gingerbread cookies!

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“Joyeux Noel” is how you say Merry Christmas in French. In France, the traditional Christmas Eve meal, Le Reveillon, means 943“waking up” and includes many courses. The children created their own Le Reveillon menu out of magazines. They cut out foods that they would like to eat on Christmas eve night, pasted them on a folded menu they created and labeled their foods. They turned out fantastic! The following country we had fun with was Italy. The children had a blast with the traditional Italian art of curling paper called Quilling. They learned that the Italians created beautiful quilled ornaments to decorate their ceppos, which is a small triangular ladder. The last country was England. The children found it funny when they learned after English children wrote their letters to Santa they threw them into the fireplace hoping that they would go up the chimney so that all their wishes would come true. I then explained to them that an English tradition included caroling from house to house and that the families would come in for Wassail. The children had fun combining cranberry juice and apple juice together and sprinkling a little cinnamon on top and going from classroom to classroom singing Christmas songs!

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Ms. Kate’s Corner – October 2013

Cuyahoga Falls School

I can’t believe how fast the month of October went by. Our class was very busy this month learning about apples, being on the farm, all about leaves and chlorophyll, the life cycle of the pumpkin and the history of Halloween! We also had an amazing Halloween party!

The first week I started off by showing the children a variety of apples such as the granny smith, golden delicious and the red delicious. The children were able to feel and smell the different apples. Then we grouped the apples by size and color. Throughout the week we talked about Johnny Appleseed. We discussed how he was a pioneer who traveled throughout the American frontier by planting apple seeds. We also discussed how he helped people along the way. The children really loved talking about him as they continued to ask questions about him all week! The next day we created a chart from seed to apple: The life cycle of an apple. I started out by cutting an apple in half and showing the children the seeds, which are called pips, the core of the apple, the flesh, and the leaves. The children were able to pass around the apple so they were able to see the different parts of the apple. We then drew the inside of the apple and labeled the different parts.  We also had a blast making apple prints and other apple projects with Ms. Ashley! On the last day we had an apple taste test. The children tasted ten different types of apples and then we graphed the ones we liked best. The Fuji apple won!

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The following week was all about the farm! We started out by discussing the different types of animals that you would find on a farm. We also had an exciting time discussing the different foods that you would see in a grocery store that come from a farm. On the second day the children tasted chicken, ham, bacon, eggs, and turkey. It was funny to see all of the children’s reactions while they tasted some of these foods! The following day we talked about how not all farms are the same, and that some farms only have vegetables and fruit. The children enjoyed tasting apples, oranges, strawberries, carrots, cucumbers, tomatoes, and peppers! The last two days we talked about the life of a farmer. The children loved hearing about how the farmer has to wake up when it is still dark outside just so he can get all of their farm chores done before the day is done. On the last day I read a book about all the different types of machinery found on the farm and their purpose.

859The third week was all about fall! The children had so much fun with one of our student teachers who read them a book all about the different colored leaves they would find outside. The children then were able to do leaf rubbings on those leaves they read about. At the beginning of the week I read the book Leaves Leaves Leaves! By Nancy Elizabeth Wallace. We then talked about the four seasons and what happens to the leaves at each season. I then asked what they thought Chlorophyll was. Ainsley shouted out ” It makes the leaves green!” I explained to them that Ainsley was right it does keep the leaves green. I also explained to them that when our days get colder and shorter the chlorophyll exits the leaves and the green goes away and the color starts to show. The children enjoyed discussing that so much that they wanted to review it all week!

Lastly, our theme was pumpkins! 860This week we created a chart of the life cycle of the pumpkin. The pictures showed that first you have to plant the seed. Then the seed turns into the seedling, and then the seedling turns into a huge vine that can be big as a house! Then a flower grows onto the vine. On the bottom of the flower a pumpkin starts to appear. The pumpkin starts out green, then yellow, then light orange, and then finally orange. The following day the children used their 5 senses and language to observe and communicate about a pumpkin. The children were able to touch, look at, smell, weigh, and measure the pumpkin. After they did this I charted their thoughts and comments. The next day I asked the children what they thought the inside of a pumpkin looks like.

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After our discussion, I cut open the pumpkin and had the children use their senses to explore the pumpkin. After I removed the pulp we weighed the pumpkin so we could compare the weight from before we gutted it. On our last day we did a sink and float activity. The children created a graph with paper pumpkins. If they thought the pumpkin would sink they placed the pumpkin in the correct category and same if they thought the pumpkin would float. We placed the pumpkin in a tub of water and the pumpkin floated!! We then discussed the concept of buoyancy.

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At the end of our month we had a wonderful Halloween party. A big thanks to all of the parents that helped out with all of the food, activities, and such wonderful helping hands!


Ms. Kate’s Corner – September 2013

Cuyahoga Falls Preschool

Welcome back everyone! I can’t believe how fast summer flew by and the new school year is in session again. Thanks so much for those who came to “Meet the Teacher Night.” It was wonderful seeing the returning students and parents and meeting all of our new families. The first month was filled with lessons on respect, friendship, family, and all about ourselves.

The first week the classroom was full of laughter and excitement.  During our line time we discussed the rules of the classroom: that we will always respect each other, we will try our best, we are a team, we learn from our mistakes, we create, and we will always celebrate each others successes. Throughout this month the children have been praising one another during work time and helping each other when they see someone using a word the wrong way. It has been a pleasure seeing and hearing the children remembering all of the rules we have gone over. Also, during the first week I have been introducing different words little by little to the children. I want the children to feel comfortable and have an understanding of the different words when they are using them.

Absorbent Minds Montessori Class - Miss Kate

Using the word “please,” “thank you,” “excuse me,” and “I’m sorry” were the lessons we learned while we were discussing the topic of respect. For the first lesson, we lead a discussion about when we should say “please” and why it is important to use it. The children then created a word poem based on each letter within the word “please”. The children then choose some of the words they created and turned them into sentences. Throughout the week, the children created word poems and sentences while using the other kindness words and have been working hard practicing each one.

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The second week we focused on friendship. We started out by discussing the meaning of being a good friend and what qualities are in a good friend. We then read the book Do You Want To Be My Friend? By Eric Carle. The children discussed the mouse’s search for a good friend and what qualities were in each friend. After the story the children were able to create a friendship rainbow. The second lesson was called The Friendship Fish. We read the book Rainbow Fish by Marcus Pfister. We then created our own “Friendship Fish.” The children were each given a scale and they wrote down the qualities they thought a friend should have. Ainsley said, “I want someone I can play with.” Meryem then said “I want someone who is nice,” and Jonah said “I want someone who will be silly with me.” After everyone shared their qualities they were able to tape their scales to the fish.

Throughout the week the children learned how playing together can foster friendships and build a community. The children then played a game called “The Blob.” The children had to work together by linking arms and hands to capture the other friends. On the last day, our class created a “Friendship Web.” The children were able to discuss what friends should sound like when they are together, how it feels when friends are together, what it looks like when friends are together, and the qualities in a friend. 

826 The third week we discussed “All About Me.” We started out by reading the book “Stand Tall” Mary Lou Melon. We then talked about the differences and similarities in everyone’s appearance. We then created a graph about hair and eye color. The children were able to go around the room and see who had brown, black, red, or blonde hair. They did the same for eye color. The children were then able to see how everyone’s appearance is not the same. The next lesson the children created a bar graph about everyone’s birthday. I read the book “On The Day You Were Born.”  We talked about how everyone’s birthday is different and that makes us unique and special. The children then decorated their own birthday cupcake. Throughout the week we made an “I’m Special Book” and played a “How Do You Feel” game. 

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The last week was all about our families! We first lead a discussion on what they think a family is. Annelise said, “My mommy and daddy.” Jackson said, “My sister, mommy and daddy.” Myla said “My whole family.” During the week we discussed how not all families are the same. We have different houses & places families live, the tradition families celebrate, and the special things that we love doing with our family. During this week the children and families created their own family trees. On the last day, the children were able to stand up at line time and share their family tree amongst their friends. It was so wonderful to see the children and their parents work and come together to create something so awesome! 
    
Again, this has been such a wonderful first month back to school. I look forward to the upcoming months with all of you as we head into Fall and Winter.