Kristen’s Corner – August-September Newsletter

Cuyahoga Falls School

The beginning of the school has gone very well! Our returning friends have enjoyed getting back into the “swing of things”, and our new friends have enjoyed learning the routine of our classroom and making new friends.

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During the first week of school, the children began learning about Grace and Courtesy and learning the ground rules of our classroom. The children learned how to roll and unroll a rug, how to carry a tray, how to place works back in their original place on the shelf, etc. Learning and reviewing these ground rules has set a nice tone in our classroom for the beginning of the year. This also will help promote the child’s sense of organization as they work in the various areas of the classroom. IMG_20140915_135952 IMG_20140917_142022 During the second week of school, we learned more about Manners and more about Grace and Courtesy. We learned how to say “Please” and “Thank You”. We also learned how to solve conflict by reading, “ There’s a Bird On Your Head” by Moe Williams, and discussing how, when someone is doing something that bothers us or hurts our feelings, we can solve the problem by using our words. 20140903_094208 (1) IMG_20140904_080553 In week three, our theme was “All About Me”. The children enjoyed bringing in their baby pictures and guessing who’s baby picture was which. We also charted our hair and eye color on a bar graph. We also talked about our talents and abilities and what makes us unique. We also began learning our Birthday’s and practicing our full names. We also discussed or talents and abilities and what makes us unique. IMG_20140908_131725 IMG_20140908_131712 During the fourth week, we studied apples. The children enjoyed learning the names for all the parts of the apple. We then learned about the life cycle of the apple and we learned that flowers adorn apple trees in the spring, then the apples begin to grow during the summer, and then finally the apples are ready to be harvested in the fall. The children also enjoyed making prints from apples on paper during preschool lesson and learning about the fractions of one whole, one half, and one fourth by watching me cut the apple so that the pieces formed those fractions. IMG_20140919_100143 IMG_20140908_131656 In the final week of September, we learned about Autumn. We sorted leaves by their colors and shapes. The children really enjoyed singing songs about Fall as well, and discussing what activities we can do in the Fall. I even brought in my ukelele to accompany them! In the coming weeks, I would encourage you to take a walk with your child and collect leaves. Ask your child what colors they see. Another fun learning activity at home would be to make a new apple recipe together as a family. Include your child in the preparation, measurements, etc. I consider it a privilege to be a part of your child’s education. I look forward to what this school year has in store! Enrichments In music class, the children were introduced to Ms. Lisa’s puppets of Alley the Alligator, Tina the Turtle, and Wilma the Whale. These puppets had the children’s singing voices warmed up by singing Hello. The children sang and danced to familiar songs such as the Hokey Pokey, I’m a Little Teapot, and All Around the Mulberry Bush. Ms. Lisa instructed the children to do specific body movements to these songs. Ms. Lisa introduced the children to whole, half, quarter, and eighth notes. We practiced the length of these notes by using rhythm sticks. We also learned the music words for loud, soft, fast, and slow. The children had so much fun using egg shakers and pretending like they were on a train to practice fast and slow speeds! 20140923_142310 In science class, we first learned that scientists ask questions all the time. They try to answer their questions by making hypotheses. A hypothesis is a guess of what will happen during an experiment. Sometimes scientists guess right but sometimes they are wrong. Our first science experiment included a bottle filled with vinegar and balloons filled with baking soda. We wanted to know what would happen if we mixed the baking soda and the vinegar. Many of the children thought that the bottle or the balloon would explode! Each child took a balloon filled with baking soda and put it on top of the bottle filled with vinegar. When the baking soda shook out of the balloon and mixed with the vinegar the balloon inflated. How did this happen? Mr. John explained that when the baking soda and vinegar mixed a gas called carbon dioxide was made. This gas filled up the balloon. Our next experiment included eggs, salt water, and fresh water. We wanted to find out what would happen to an egg put in salt water and an egg put in fresh water. Would the egg float or sink? Many of the children guessed that either the eggs would float or sink. The children took turns placing eggs into each water. Each time, the egg placed in salt water floated, and the egg placed in fresh water sank. Mr. John explained the concept of density. The salt water was more dense so the egg was pushed to the top. The fresh water was less dense so the egg sank. There was nothing to push the egg to the top. In art class, we first learned what an artist was and what they do. Ms. Michele asked if certain things in the classroom were types of art. Our first artist we learned about was Eric Carle. The children learned that Eric Carle is an author who illustrates his books by making tissue paper collages. What is a collage? A collage is a picture made up of other pieces of paper and other pictures. Ms. Michele showed the children different textures and how to rub them onto tissue paper to make different designs. Once the children had their textured tissue paper, they glued them down to make an animal like Eric Carle. We also learned all about primary colors. The primary colors are red, yellow, and blue. If you mix two primary colors together you get a different color! The artist Piet Mondrian painted with primary colors to fill in different shapes. The children first glued down popsicle sticks to make shapes like rectangles, squares, and triangles. Then, they used primary colors to paint in their shapes like Mondrian. We are looking forward to the month ahead in Art class!


October 2014 Monthly Overview

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

09/29:    Down On The Farm

  • Learning ASL farm animal signs
  • Learning what animals live on a farm
  • Life cycle of the chicken
  • Making butter, learning about other foods made from milk
  • Sink or float experiment with eggs

10/6:      Healthy Eating

  • Learning about the food pyramid
  • Learning about foods that are beneficial for our bodies and what is “junk food”
  • Learning the difference between fruits and vegetables
  • Making a healthy snack as a class
  • Singing songs that reinforce healthy food choices

10/13:    All About Spiders

  • Learning the parts of the spider
  • Stories about spiders-”The Very Busy Spider” by Eric Carl, and we’ll begin reading “Charlotte’s Web
  • Discuss the ways spiders are helpful
  • Discussing the difference between arachnids and insects
  • Learn about the spider life cycle

10/20:    All About Bats

  • Learning the parts of the bat
  • Reading “Stellaluna”
  • Learning about echolocation, and how it helps certain species of bats see
  • Ven Diagram comparing bats to birds
  • Making a “bat cave”

10/27      All About Pumpkins/Halloween

  • Discuss how pumpkins grow and the pumpkin life cycle
  • Discuss what we can make with pumpkins
  • Decorating our own white pumpkin in class using crayons
  • Taste testing pumpkin pie
  • Singing songs about Halloween and Pumpkins
  • Halloween Party Friday, October 31st! 

Letters of the Week: Try to find objects that begin with each letter wherever you go with your child.
9/29: Pp
10/6: Yy
10/13:Ss
10/20: Ii
10/27: ie

Sight Words of the Week: Try to find each word in books as you read to your child.
9/29: Pig
10/6: Yes
10/13: Sit
10/20: It
10/27: Pie

Things to do at Home this Month to reinforce our themes:

  • Plan a healthy meal as a family. Include your child in the preparation.
  • Ask your child to show you some of the ASL signs they’ve learned for farm animals.
  • While reading to your child, point out the sight words they are learning this month.
  • Pick out a pumpkin together with your child. Discuss with them what they have learned about how pumpkins grow, what foods we can make with pumpkin, etc.

Kristen’s Class Overview – September 2014

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

08/25: Grace and Courtesy / Ground Rules

  • Learning Control of Movement-Rolling A Rug, Carrying A Tray, and Carrying A Chair.
  • Learning Grace And Courtesy- How to Introduce Yourself, How To Say Please And Thank You, How To Interrupt Another.
  • Learning classroom rules.
  • Discussing what it means to be kind to others and what are “kind words”.
  • Making a “Kind Words Chain” in pre-school lesson.

9/1: Grace And Courtesy/Ground Rules

  • Reading the book, “The Bear That Was Chicken” and discussing with the children how they felt before coming to school and how they feel now about school.
  • Lessons on saying “Excuse Me”, “I’m Sorry”, and “Thank You”.
  • Singing songs and playing game to review what we’ve learned about classroom rules and manners.
  • Having the children write our classroom rules and display them in the classroom.
  • Read the book “There’s A Bird On Your Head”. Discuss how to speak to someone when we’re frustrated.

9/8: All About Me

  • “ Who’s Baby Picture Is This?” guessing game. (Be sure to send in a baby picture of your child with them this week.)
  • Discussing what makes each of us special: hair color, eye color, likes and dislikes, our birthdays, our names, our emotions, etc.
  • Graphing our differences such as hair and eye color.
  • Practicing saying our full names.
  • Learning our birth dates.

9/15 All About Apples

  • Read the story “Little Bear’s Star”- Story about an apple.
  • Sorting apples by size and color.
  • Learning the fractions of one whole and one half using an apple.
  • Taste testing different color apples and making a graph, as a class, of our favorites.
  • Learning the Apple Life Cycle.

9/22 All About Fall

  • Discuss differences between Summer and Fall.
  • Go on a nature walk outside to find leaves.
  • Painting with leaves.
  • Learning the parts of the leaf.
  • Learning Robert Frost poem about Fall.

Letters of the Week: Try to find objects that begin with each letter wherever you go with your child.

8/25: Aa
9/1: Cc
9/8: Rr
9/15: Tt
9/25: Review Of All Four Letters

Sight Words of the Week: Try to find each word in books as you read to your child.

8/25: at
9/1: cat
9/8: rat
9/15: tap
9/25: Review All Four Sight Words

Things to do at Home this Month to reinforce our themes:

  • While reading a book have your child point to all of the letter of the week she/he can find. Have them do this with the sight words as well. Play I-Spy using things that only start with the letter of the week.
  • Go on a walk as a family. As Fall comes, point out the differences you see in nature, now that the weather is changing.
  • While reading to your child, point out the sight words they are learning this month.
  • Find a fun apple recipe to try as a family. Let your child practicing measuring the ingredients, assemble the ingredients, etc. Discuss with your child the other things that can be made with apples

Kristen’s Corner – May 2014

Cuyahoga Falls School

This last month of school was busy and productive in our classroom! During the first week, we learned about fish and other creatures of the ocean. We started off the week by learning the parts of the fish during morning circle time. We then discussed the characteristics of fish. We learned that fish breathe through their gills and breathe oxygen from the water. We also learned that fish have scales, and fins to help them swim. During preschool lesson, Ms. Kim continued the discussion by teaching the children the names of all five oceans. The children also enjoyed learning about sharks, turtles, and octopuses. We learned that a shark’s entire body is made up of cartilage, just like the cartilage that is in our ears! The children also made a fun jellyfish craft with Ms. Kim during preschool! 1199 In week two, we learned about Community Helpers. We learned that a Community Helper is someone who has a job helping others, such as a doctor, a fireman, a police man, a teacher, or a mailman. We also learned that our moms and dads are community helpers in our homes because they love and take care of us. We also learned ways we can be a community helper in our homes and communities as well. We learned that by simply helping mom and dad with household chores, keeping our rooms clean, helping little brothers or sisters, etc. can help our family in a big way! 1201 Students also enjoyed making a fireman’s hat craft, and police badge craft, and a doctor bag craft with Ms. Kim in preschool. We also had fun singing songs about firemen and policemen during circle time. It was so much fun! During the third week, we studied mammals. We discussed the characteristics of mammals. We discovered that mammals have hair or fur on their bodies, that they breathe oxygen from the air around them, that they give birth to their young, that they feed their young with milk from their body, and that they are warm blooded. 1197 The children also enjoyed learning the parts of the horse, and reading the book, “It Could Sill Be A Mammal” during circle time. We also learned about Lions and Grizzly Bears. We learned that Grizzly Bears live in dens, and that the female Lion is actually in charge of hunting for food. The children also enjoyed making a Lion and Grizzly Bear craft with Ms. Kim during preschool! In week four, we learned about reptiles and amphibians. We learned that a reptile has scales or scutes on their body, they lay eggs, and they leave their young once they are born. The children enjoyed learning about lizards and snakes, and even about Komodo dragons! We learned that the Komodo dragons bite is poisonous, and that Komodo dragon will even eat people! Luckily they live in Indonesia! The children also enjoyed learning about frogs and their characteristics and life cycle. They also enjoyed making a frog craft with Ms. Kim during preschool. 1200 During week five, we learned about summer safety. We learned about safety when riding in our car, safety in our home, when riding our bikes, at the pool, etc. We also learned how to dial 911 if there is ever an emergency. Ms. Kim also used the story of Little Red Riding Hood to illustrate to the children why we should not talk to strangers. I would encourage you this summer to take time with your child and practice their letter sounds with them. Even playing simple games such as “I Spy” will help with this. I also encourage you to make a trip to the library to find books on subjects that interest your child. Reading with your child will instill in them a love for reading as well! I have enjoyed this year immensely! I hope your children did as well! It is my privilege and honor to be their teacher!


Ms. Kristen’s Corner – April 2014

Cuyahoga Falls School

The month of April was very busy in our classroom! The children have been working hard and learning so much. With practicing for the International Festival, Dads and Doughnuts, and all the other fun activities we had this month, time just flew by! During the first week, we traveled to Africa. We also discussed how the people in Africa dress. Ms. Kim had the children make beautiful African necklaces from pasta. We also made African tribal masks! We learned about the pyramids of Egypt, the African Savannah and all the animals that live there. Students loved learning to play a children’s game from the country of Kenya called Mancala! 1111During the second week of April, we explored the continent of Europe. The children enjoyed learning about how the Germans invented pretzels, about how the Leaning Tower of Pisa is in Italy, how Ireland is called the Emerald Isle, and Norway is famous for the Bryggen in Bergen. I especially enjoyed sharing pictures of my trip to Bergen, Norway with the children and sharing about the people and the culture there! Students also enjoyed many visitors that came in to share about their experiences or heritage in different countries this month. Thank you to those who came and spent time teaching our students; we loved it! 1102 In the third week of April, we explored Asia! The children enjoyed listening to a CD of my choir singing Russian music, learning how people in India celebrate Diwali (which is similar to New Years), and learning how to say “hello” and “goodbye” in Japanese. (Also, did you know Russia is part of two continents? Europe and Asia!) During the fourth week of April, we traveled to Australia! We learned about all the different animals that are native to Australia. We learned that kangaroos, wombats, and koalas are classified as marsupials, which means the mothers carry their young in pouches. 1104 We then traveled to Antarctica. We learned the continent of Antarctica is not claimed by any one country, but is used by many scientists around the world for research. Since no country governs Antarctica, it does not have a flag or any ruler. We also discussed how many of the animals in Antarctica can stay warm because they have a layer of blubber underneath their skin! 1105The children very much enjoyed their trip around the globe and learning about the seven continents. For each country they learned about, the children also had the opportunity to color a flag of that country during work time. The children also enjoyed learning how to work on the Africa, Europe, Asia, and Australia map puzzles. The map puzzles have become very popular in our classroom. It is wonderful to see their knowledge of the world around them growing! 1103 Take time with your child over the next few weeks and discuss with them which country was their  favorite. Which continent might they want to visit someday? Which food that they tried at the International Festival was their favorite? I consider it an honor and a privilege to work with each of your children. They teach me new things every day!


Ms. Kristen’s Corner – March 2014

Cuyahoga Falls School

This month was a busy month in our classroom! We have been learning a lot (myself included) and the children are working very hard!

We started off the month of March by learning about Dr. Seuss and his life. We learned that his real name was Theodore Seuss Giesel. We also learned that he became good at rhyming because he and his mother played rhyming games and made up silly words together when he was a child. We also read some of his famous stories such as “The Cat In The Hat”, “And To Think I Saw It On Mulberry Street”, “The Lorax”, and “The Sneeches”.  We even had fun in class making our own “Dr. Seuss” book. Ms. Kim brought in some “rhyming words” cards with different pictures on them. I then asked the children one by one to come up and find two cards with pictures of objects that rhymed. Next, the children came up with a rhyming sentence using those two words. We then turned those sentences into a book and drew pictures to illustrate the sentences. The children had so much fun making their own book!

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The second week in March, we began discussing our world. Going from biggest to smallest, we discussed how we all live on the planet Earth, on the continent of North America, and how we all live in the United States. Next, we all live in Ohio, and then many of us live in Cuyahoga Falls (or in the surrounding cities), and how all of us go to Absorbent Minds Montessori School! We then learned about the continent of North America. I started the week off by introducing the North American puzzle map to the children during our morning line time. We put each country back in place one at a time and went over the names of the countries. We also 1074discussed that English and Spanish are the main languages spoken in North America, the exceptions being Haiti, where they speak Creole, and parts of Canada, where they speak French. Also, in learning about North America, we learned about Ohio and that it is the state where we live. We learned that the Cardinal is our state bird. Ms. Kim also did a fun craft with the children where we made Cardinals out of paper plates. Next, we learned 1073there are many people who farm or who work in factories in Ohio as well. We also learned that the Buckeye Tree is our state tree. We also found out that there is also a famous astronaut from Ohio, John Glenn! We then “traveled” to Mexico. We learned that people in Mexico speak Spanish and often eat rice and beans and beef and vegetables. We also learned that flour tortillas are often place on the table at meal times in Mexico. Students enjoyed eating tortilla chips and salsa while listening to authentic Mariachi music!  We also enjoyed reading about the ancient Aztec and Mayan peoples, who were the ancient native people of Mexico. We also learned that they built pyramids in Mexico. Students were taught a pyramid is a square based triangle.

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During the third week of March, we focused on the continent of South America. We learned about the countries of Peru and Brazil. We discussed how Brazilians speak Portuguese, which is a language similar to Spanish and how they celebrate “Carnival.” This is where the Brazilian people wear brightly colored costumes and decorate beautiful, colorful parade floats. We also learned about the Amazon Rainforest and the different kinds of animals that live there, such as the tapirs, the jaguar, and the spider monkey. We also learned that the Llama lives in the Andes Mountains in Peru, and people in Peru often raise them as livestock!

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I encourage you as parents to take time with your child this month and ask them about what they have learned about the countries and continents. Maybe take time and cook a traditional Mexican dish as a family. Go to the library and find books to read with your child about animals that live in the Amazon, or go to the Zoo now that the weather is becoming warmer and find animals from the continents we have learned about.

As always, it is a pleasure and a joy teaching your children! We have fun every day learning from each other in our classroom!

 


Ms. Kristen’s Corner – February 2014

Cuyahoga Falls School

by Ms. Kristen Minnich

The month of February was a busy month in our classroom. The children worked very hard, and we learned a lot in just a month!During the first week of February, we talked about Groundhog Day! The children enjoyed learning about groundhogs and making their own groundhog puppet to take home. The children also enjoyed watching the video coverage from the previous day to see if the groundhog saw his shadow. We were sad to learn that he did see his shadow, but we know spring will be here soon enough!

We also talked about dental health in our classroom since it was National Children’s Dental Health Month. We discussed the different ways we can take care of our teeth by brushing, flossing, and eating healthy food. The children also had fun brushing pretend teeth!

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We also talked about our pets and how to best care for specific pets. The children loved Ms. Kim’s guessing game where she described a pet and the children had to guess which animal she was referring to. We also graphed how many of the children had dogs, cats, and fish.

A big topic of conversation this month in our classroom was the Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia. The children enjoyed discussing the different sports they watched with their families on television. Many of the children expressed that they would love to learn to ice skate or ski so they could one day go to the Olympics. We also kept track of many gold, silver, and bronze medals the United States won. In total, we won nine gold medals, seven silver medals, and twelve bronze medals! We even watched a video of a medal ceremony and talked about how important that moment is for an athlete.

1044During the second week, we learned all about Abraham Lincoln and his life. We explained that Abraham Lincoln was our president and that he wanted everyone to be free. We discussed that because Abraham Lincoln was such a wonderful president, his picture is on our penny and the Lincoln Memorial was built in his honor.

We also discussed penguins and penguin facts with the children. We discussed how penguins are black and white in order to protect them from predators in the ocean, such as whales and seals. We also learned that not all penguins live in cold climates and that some actually live where it is hot! The children also had lots of fun making a penguin craft with Ms. Kim!

During the third week, we discussed the job of the President of The United States and where he lives, and he is only able to be elected president twice. The children were amazed to find out that the White House has one-hundred and thirty-two rooms! We also learned that our current president’s name is Barack Obama.

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We also learned what it means to be patriotic and reviewed some of our national symbols, such as the bald eagle, the Statue of Liberty, etc. We then learned about the Pledge of Allegiance and what the words in the pledge mean.

1047We then celebrated George Washington’s birthday by learning about his life. We learned that he was the first president of our country and that his picture is on the quarter and the one-dollar bill. Also, we learned about the Washington Monument in Washington D.C. That was built in his honor.

The last week of the month was we focused on fairy tales. We read Goldilocks and The Three Bears, The Three Little Pigs, The Gingerbread Man, and The Tortoise and The Hare and talked about the morals and values we can take away from each story. We then wrote our own fairy tale, which was very fun!

As a closing thought, I would encourage you to take time with your child this month to review what they have learned in the classroom. Continue to discuss more with them what it means to be patriotic. Include them in the taking care of your pet. Maybe walk the dog, feed the cat, or clean out the fish bowl together. Read fairy tales with your child. Reading to your child will also foster their love for reading!

Thank you for allowing us to be a part of your child’s education and development! It is truly a joy to teach them!

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Ms. Kristen’s Corner – January 2014

Cuyahoga Falls School

by Ms. Kristen Minnich

Our classroom was busy this month after returning from Christmas Break! It was wonderful to see the children pick up where they left off and work so well in the classroom this month! During the first week of January, we learned about the planets, outer space, and about being an astronaut!  We learned the order of the planets and played a matching game in the afternoon to help us remember the names of these planets. The children also enjoyed learning about famous astronauts such as Neil Armstrong and John Glenn. We also enjoyed watching a video of the Space shuttle launching! The children we fascinated! Together we graphed which of the planets we studied was the children’s favorite. The winner, by quite some margin, was Neptune! The majority of the children said they picked Neptune because it’s blue and “lays on its side”.
During the second week, we learned how to take care of our bodies. We discussed how we need to take care of our bodies by brushing our teeth, taking a bath, eating healthy food, drinking plenty of water, and exercising. We also discussed the food pyramid. We learned which foods are healthy to eat, and which foods are “sometimes” foods. The children enjoyed separating pretend food into grains, fruits, vegetables, proteins, dairy, and oils. We also enjoyed learning about different ways we can exercise, such as dance, yoga, riding a bike, etc.977

Next we explored our five senses as well. To further investigate our sense of taste we tested something sweet (a sugar cube), something sour (lemon juice), something salty (a cheese-it), and something bitter (a piece of baking chocolate). To explore our sense of touch, Ms. Kim brought in several items and had the children categorize the items by how they felt and separated them into piles ( soft items in one pile, bumpy items in another, etc.). We also talked about how our ears help us to hear. To further explore their sense of hearing, the children played a game where one child would close their eyes, and another child would say, “Hello Friend”, and the child with their eyes closed guesses whose voice they heard.

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To further investigate our five senses, we celebrated National Popcorn Day. Ms. Kim popped popcorn in an air popper, and we were able to hear the popcorn pop, smell the popcorn, touch the popcorn, see the popcorn change from seeds to fluffy popcorn, and we were also able to taste the popcorn. So much fun!

We also learned about our skeletal system during the final week of January. We read a book entitled “Dem Bones.” This help teach us how all our bones work together to help us move and to help protect our organs.972

During morning circle time, we also reviewed our orange sandpaper letter packet. We learned the sounds “l”, “u”, “f”, and “d”. The children enjoyed coming up with words that started with those sounds.

We also have a new addition to our classroom! A male Beta fish! The children have enjoyed watching him swim and observing him during their work time.

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It’s truly a joy teaching your children and I am amazed by them everyday!


Ms. Kristen’s Corner – November_December 2013

Cuyahoga Falls School

First, and foremost, I would like to sincerely thank you for entrusting and sharing your children with us. They bring us such great joy. All of them are kind, bright, and funny (not to mention the cuteness factor). Everyday, when I drive to and from work, I find myself feeling very thankful for each and every one of them. We are very vocal about our feelings in the classroom, so our students are very aware of this (and vice versa). It was so nice to meet for conferences, and I hope you enjoyed and found it informative as well.
The children love listening to stories, learning new facts, and receiving new presentations. But most of all, they love learning and singing new songs. Their faces truly beam bright, when I say it is time to learn or sing a new song(s)!914
Here are a few you can enjoy as a family at home:

Indians and Pilgrims (tune: “Row,Row,Row Your Boat.”)

Beat, beat, beat the drum;

Beat it loud and clear,

To tell brave Indians everywhere

That hunting time is near.

Cut, cut, cut the logs,

Make them long and short.

To help the pilgrims build a house,
Turkey Dinner (tune: “Are You Sleeping?”)

Turkey dinner, turkey dinner, gather round, gather round

Who will get the drumstick, yummy, yummy, yum stick

All sit down, all sit down

Corn bread muffin, chesnut stuffin’, pudding pie one foot high

I was so much thinner, before I came to dinner

Me oh my! Me oh my!

Vegetable Harvest (tune: “Are You Sleeping?”)

Vegetable garden, vegetable garden, harvest time, harvest time

Gather corn and snap the beans, dig potatoes, pick the peas

Veggies taste good, veggies taste good

Some of the other things we enjoyed learning about were, What Is the Universe, What is the Solar System, What is Planet Earth, and What Are Countries, Towns and Cities. We took this opportunity to learn the names of the cities or towns we live in. As well as, the name of our wonderful country! The children did very well indeed!! Maps, borders, island groups, and country capitals were briefly touched upon along with people, their homes, food, clothing and celebration.

We tied this into our study, songs, and crafts we did for our Thanksgiving Celebration. The children learned about what maps are, and what maps show. They loved working with the globes, and the maps of the 7 continents in our classroom. Some children are building the maps on the rugs.

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The children always enjoy being read to in circle. They pay close attention, using their eyes and ears only, till the end of the book. Then comes the comments, and questions!!! The children enjoyed learning new words from our children’s’ dictionary – pie, sang, yolk and igloo. These words correspond directly to the sounds they are learning. The sounds they are learning corresponds directly to the order of how the Sandpaper Letters are or will be introduced to the group or individually to each child (tracing the letters and learning their sounds). Counting is also enjoyed by all the children, especially during roll call. The children take turns in counting how many children are present during morning circle time. Students cannot wait to see if they will be called to do the head count for the morning!

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In the afternoons, Ms. Kristen has been focusing on teaching our students about families, thankfulness, yoga and building more sign language vocabulary. I hope you were able to see our “We are thankful” tree on display at our Thanksgiving Feast!

We love to read in our classroom! I hope you enjoy reading to your child at home too!

Reading to Children
Children need to be read to from infancy through elementary school. Reading to your child on a daily basis improves your child’s comprehension development, vocabulary expansion, and exposure to the world. The following are suggestions of how to read to your child and some activities to assist your child in developing thinking skills.

Start reading to your child, as early as birth or even before. As a newborn you can read your child books intended for young children, and you can also read aloud anything you are reading: the newspaper, a textbook, a piece of fiction… A newborn’s brain develops at such a fast pace that hearing the language of anything you are reading can aid their development. Risley & Hart, in their 1995 book Meaningful Differences in the Everyday Lives of American Children, compared the early language environments of children from 7-9 months until 3 years, and then correlated language exposure to achievement test scores in 3rd grade. Children who heard the greatest amount of language when they were young had the highest achievement test scores, while children who heard the least amount of language had the lowest achievement test scores.

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Continue reading with your child into toddler-hood. Toddler aged children love the repetition of books. Favorites include Goodnight Moon by Margaret Wise Brown, The Little Engine That Could, and Brown Bear, Brown Bear by Bill Martin, Jr. A note about using books with toddlers: do not underestimate a toddler and their ability to handle or stick with a story. Not all toddlers require board books but few board books provide great stories. Left to their own devices you may want to stick with sturdy books, but for reading time with your child branch out past board books to stories. With a toddler (and older children) you have many options for story time. Before you begin a story you can read the title to the child and have your child guess (predict) what the story may be about. You can go on a book walk – look at the pictures in the book before you actually read the book to get an idea about the story. If the book is obviously about a topic (Brown Bear is about animals and colors) you can discuss the topic with your child beforehand. Ask your child if they remember when they went to the zoo, park, pet store… to see animals. Talking about a topic ahead of time enables the child to remember their prior knowledge on the topic. As you are reading the story you may want your child to listen as you read or you may encourage your child to participate (pointing to a picture, making an animal noise while reading Brown Bear). Think as you read about the vocabulary in the book and if a word or an expression requires an explanation; give it. Exposing your child to vocabulary outside what they use everyday is critical for their vocabulary development.

913After the story you can ask your child about their favorite part. It isn’t critical that you do all of the above items with every book. Reading with your child should be a special, enjoyable time. With a preschool aged child you can do the same as with a toddler aged child. A preschool aged child will likely want to re-read the same book occasionally, but will also enjoy exposure to new books. Your child may even venture into the chapter book arena. As your child learns to read and is working on reading phonetic books, continue reading to your child. You are likely to spend time nightly listening to your child read. This is not a time to neglect reading to your child. You continue to set an example on how to read: reading fluently so your child hears proficient reading. Read aloud books are typically several reading levels above a child’s reading ability. An important component of reading aloud to your child is keeping their interest. What is your child interested in reading? They may be interested in a topic that doesn’t hold high interest for you. Consider reading a book on that topic to your child and then picking a book that has high interest for both of you. This is a wonderful age to introduce chapter books and higher quality pieces of literature. Think about what books you consider classics: Winnie the Pooh, Laura Ingalls Wilder books, etc. No matter the book you choose, continue reading to the child, perhaps a few chapters a night. Reading chapter books at this age helps your child increase their attention span (entire chapter books are not typically read in one sitting) and it gives your child the opportunity to follow the development of characters.

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December was such a fun month! In addition to our individual work time, we focused on naming and identifying different musical instruments, learning the concept of addition and subtraction and incorporated many fun winter themed lessons in our classroom. Ms. Kristen conducted some fun experiments with ice, students made their own snow and even walked like penguins!

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The Christmas Show was such a success! All the hard work paid off! The children sounded and looked beautiful. I am ever grateful for Ms. Kristen’s expertise in the Music field, as I have none! I thank all of you for your support, also Ms. Kelly and Ms. Brandy’s of course. We all hope those of you who attended Breakfast with Santa had as mush fun as we did. I wish you a very happy New Year!


Ms. Kristen’s Corner – October 2013

Cuyahoga Falls School

The children are adapting very well to their classroom!! All of us are truly enjoying being at school. Here are a few things we are working on in the classroom. In language and vocabulary, we are learning about autumn’s changes, weather, nature, and activities. My students enjoyed observing the changing season this month and I loved talking with them about it! We are also discussed fire prevention and fire safety.  While we were learning about fire prevention, children enjoyed trying new “routes” around the school, walking up the different stairways in the building to explore our safe exits.  We also talked about “stop, drop and roll” and practiced putting action to those words!  Students loved singing, “The Wheels on the Fire Truck.” Ask them about it I’m sure they will sing it for you!

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We also talked about Halloween safety, and the concepts of real and pretend. We also enjoyed new colors in our classroom for the Month of October which gave special attention to black and orange. I also enjoyed hearing the beautiful voices of our students as we sang together a few fun filled Halloween themed songs at circle time. We also focused on the directional and positional concepts of IN and OUT. We put objects in a variety of containers, and then took them out to demonstrate the concepts of IN and OUT. We also used a variety of the Sensorial materials to reinforce the concepts of big and little.

Students were able to work on refining their fine motor skills this month while practicing with lacing, cutting, coloring, drawing, play dough manipulation making circles and path tracing. The children were also able to enhance their perception skills by learning about same and different, puzzles, sorting, and copying block and peg patterns. Gross motor activities such as organized games like musical chairs, tossing and catching and moving to the music is also enjoyed many afternoons!  Students focused on where they live, learning their phone numbers, new ASL signs and also baked some very tasty items this month with Ms. Kristen in the afternoons.

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Students learned and sang their own phone numbers and worked hard to memorize their address, city, county and state they live in. Together they also enjoyed the tastes of the season by making a very tasty pumpkin dip, baked pumpkin seeds and even home made butter!  Students also enjoy their yoga time with Ms. Kristen.  The music and the moves truly help our students relax after a hard day at work! 

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Last month I shared a bit about Practical Life in our classroom, this month I wish to focus on the Sensorial area. Every area of the Montessori classroom includes multi-sensory materials that encompass sight, smell, sound, touch, and taste. These sensorial areas of the Montessori classroom focus on educating through the senses. Dr. Montessori wrote, “Nothing comes to the intellect that is not first in the senses.” (Montessori Method). As early as the infant program, young children explore Montessori materials through their senses. The toddler environment may include knobbed cylinders which are cylinders that have a knob, but are exactly the same size, making the child successful due to the self correcting nature of the material. The 3-6 year old environment also includes knobbed cylinders but they are graded according to height, width or both to distinguish differences in these two properties.

Attention is also drawn to the totality of an objects’ properties – size, shape, color, texture, weight, smell, sound… Eventually children learn to pay attention to small details in an object and the environment, which helps them discover how to learn.

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The Montessori materials help a child to distinguish, to categorize, and to relate new information to what they already know. Dr. Montessori believed that this process is the beginning of conscious knowledge: Knowledge that is brought about by the intelligence working in a concentrated way on the impressions given by the senses. The Directress assists the child in developing their learning techniques by creating a prepared environment and presenting exercises with deliberate, exact and slow movements that the child can follow. The Sensorial area can be further divided into sub-categories:

  • Visual: pink tower, brown stair, red rods, knobbed cylinders
  • Tactile: Touch boards, touch tablets, fabric boxes
  • Auditory: Sound boxes, bells
  • Baric: Baric tablets (differ by weight)
  • Olfactory: Taste Jars
  • Gustatory: Smelling Jars

An additional sub-category includes geometry. Geometry is introduced at the toddler level with shapes (circle, square, triangle, sphere, cube, prism) and further developed in the 3-6 environment and the elementary classrooms. The children are introduced to what they know first, plane figures. We begin with the triangle, square and circle. Once a child masters these basic plane figures, additional ones are introduced. Then a child can find different plane figures in the environment. Once solids are introduced, a child can match a solid figure with its base. The sensorial area of the environment is one that naturally draws children to it so each child can explore and further develop their potential through the senses.

As I was reading the Ohio Department of Education standards for preschool learning and what is expected in grade K, I was amazed to find that the Sensorial area helps the child meet and exceed their ma thematic requirements, such as number, number sense and operations, measurement, geometry and spatial sense, patterns, functions and algebra, as well as, data analysis and probability! 

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The Sensorial area builds up the child’s Mathematical Mind, as Dr. Montessori discovered. Just imagine what the Math area of our classroom can do for our children in meeting those same standards. Therefore, next time when you hear that your child builds with the Pink Tower and the Brown Stair, or worked with the Red Rods among others, rejoice! The website of the Ohio Department of Education is www.OhioAcademicStandards.com

Activities for the Home:

Keep your child moving to help them develop their senses. It is through movement that babies first learn to crawl, walk, and then run! Allow your child to walk (safely) on the flower bed wall. This encourages your child to develop a sense of balance and to become aware of them self. Let them jump, hop, skip… while playing games or outside. Take walks often – whether you live in an urban, suburban or other environment there are always things to see and do. Go on a sensory walk – listen for sounds or smells in your environment and point out smells and sounds that change with the different seasons. Your goal is to help heighten your child’s awareness and it is a wonderful opportunity to bond with your child. A walk can be around the block or a long hike. Let your child be the guide in terms of when they are finished or how long they want to continue. Keep sensory activities active. Video and computer games can be very sensory (especially visual and auditory) in nature, but limit the amount of time your child spends on this type of activity. Video and computer games tend to be very sedentary. Visit a new playground in your area. Find out where your community has handicap accessible playgrounds. Often, these playgrounds have equipment for blind or otherwise special needs children. These playgrounds provide a great opportunity for your child to learn about other children and their needs and the opportunity to play with something that might be new.