Mr. John’s Corner – January 2014

Cuyahoga Falls School

I wanted to again thank Miss Dana and Miss Kathleen for their devotion, love for the children, and hard work.  We do have a new motto that I use at line time… “This is…. a good start, to a good day, with GREAT children.”  My motto for the teachers is “We work. TOGETHER!”

I wanted to again thank Miss Dana and Miss Kathleen for their devotion, love for the children, and hard work.  We do have a new motto that I use at line time… “This is…. a good start, to a good day, with GREAT children.”  My motto for the teachers is “We work. TOGETHER!”
We all returned to school after a well rested, extended winter break.  Due to the long break we did a refresher week covering the classroom ground rules.  We went over the four basic rules of: 1) No running in the classroom.  We do not run because we can get hurt or hurt someone else.  2)  Use our listening ears.  The students pay attention to the teachers during line time and before cleaning the room and line time.  Important information is shared during line time and listening is a sign of respect and courtesy.  3)  Keep our hands to ourselves.  We do this to honor other student’s personal space.  In addition, we do not hit, punch, push or do anything to physically hurt other students.  4) Respect others.  This is basically being nice to your fellow students.  Use nice words, smile instead of giving mean faces, sharing, and helping those in need.


To honor the late Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. we learned a bit about his life and his accomplishments.  The students became actresses and actors as they recreated Rosa Parks making her stand on a bus in Montgomery Alabama.  The students enjoyed playing the part of the bus driver, Rosa Parks, “the mean guy”, a police officer, Martin Luther King Jr., and passengers on the bus.  We discussed our differences such as skin color, eye color, hair color, and gender.  Then we discussed how we are similar.  We talked about discrimination and segregation.  We talked about if someone with red hair wouldn’t be allowed to do art “just because” they have red hair or if anyone who had blue eyes would have to go to a different classroom with less materials, broken crayons, or no books “just because” they have blue eyes.  I had only boys fetch the chairs for the skit and brought that to the attention of the class.  We had some very sad girls…. I did let the girls take the chairs back after the skit.

 
We sniffed, touched, heard, saw, and even tasted things around us.  We learned about our 5 senses.  Our sense of touch can determine if something is cold or hot, rough or smooth, hard or soft.  We also learned that we can feel on any part of our bodies.  When we feel something it sends a message from your skin to your BRAIN.  The sense of smell captures scents in the air, goes in our noses, and sends a message to the BRAIN.  We learned the sense of sight happens with our eyes.  The eye captures light; the light passes through the eye and sends a message to the BRAIN.  The ear provides our sense of hearing.  The ear captures sounds, the sound travels through the ear canal, hits the ear drum, the ear drum vibrates and sends a message to the BRAIN.  The sense of taste happens in the mouth particularly on the tongue.  The taste buds on the tongue capture the taste and send a message to the BRAIN.  We did have a taste test of sweet (sugar water), salt (salt water), sour (lemon juice), and bitter, my favorite (unsweetened baking chocolate).  For the baking chocolate we use most of our senses.  We started out by looking at the pieces of chocolate. Then we felt the piece of chocolate and smelled the piece of chocolate. THEN… we tasted the piece of chocolate.  (If it looks like a duck, it may not be a duck)  I have to admit this is one of my favorite activities on line time.


We ended the month about learning about our body.  We looked at the skeletal system and if we didn’t have a skeleton we would be one messy blob on the ground!  We learned the skull protects our brain, the rib cage protects our lungs, and the spine keeps us sitting and standing straight.  We learned technical terms for our arms, leg and our digits which is a funny name called phalanges. We brought our life sized foam puzzle into our room.  His name is Elvis because we learned about the pelvis and it was a cool rhyming name.
   This month we started our unit in Math.  We learned about the unit (ones), ten, hundred, and thousand columns.  The kindergarteners composed numbers, and were introduced to dynamic and static addition (with and without carry overs).

Cultural Subjects
During line time lesson we can count to 10 in nineteen different languages (English, Sign Language, German, French, Greek, Japanese, Arabic w/Lebanese dialect, Italian, Russian, Romanian, Swedish, Tagolog, Hebrew, Korean, Hungarian, Polish, Irish, Kiswahili, and Welsh.  In kindergarten we can count in the same languages with the addition of three languages (Dutch/Flemish, Serbo-Croatian, and Cebuano).


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. 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!


Mr. John’s Corner – November_December 2013

Cuyahoga Falls School

At the end of the third month of school my classroom is running like a well oiled machine. Children are advancing nicely in math, reading, and their social skills. Dana, Kathleen, and I are pushing for more “Thank Yous, Pleases, and You’re Welcomes.”   When we call a name we are expecting a “Yes, Ms. Kathleen or How can I help you Ms. Dana?” rather than “What? or Ya?” I want to tell the parents of the older children in the classroom… “Be Proud!” They are taking a leadership role like I’ve never seen. They are helping younger children and helping each other with more challenging work. I wanted to once again thank Dana and Kathleen for their hard work and dedication. They step up and just do what needs to be done without me asking.

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After learning about the five major classes of animals at the beginning of the month, we looked at some creepy crawlers. We studied insects and arachnids. These were the first animals that were not classified as vertebrates instead are called invertebrates. We discovered most have an exoskeleton. We now know insects have six legs, a head, thorax, and abdomen and arachnids have eight legs. Also, students learned all bugs are insects but not all insects are bugs!!!

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898Next, the class went back in time and studied dinosaurs. We learned the names of 5 dinos (T-Rex, Triceratops, Stegosaurus, Pterodactyl, and Brachiosaurus) and if they were meat eaters (carnivores) or plant eaters (herbivores). We learned when they lived and I introduced the phrases “extinct” and “fossils” what they meant. We read “Dad is a Dinosaur”, and Dinosaurs go to School”

We then learned about Pilgrims and Thanksgiving. Students worked on a craft where they wrote what they were thankful for on feathers. The feathers were put on turkeys that we placed on the bulletin board. Hand print turkeys and pilgrim hats were also made for the holiday.

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896Our final week in November, which was a short week, I managed to slip in a “lesson” on Buckeye Football. It was appropriate since “THE GAME” was that Saturday. If your child hears someone shout O-H they will give a resounding response of I-O! They know Hang On Sloopy is the official rock and roll song of Ohio and will yell O-H-I-O and do the hand gestures as they sing the song. We watched several Ohio State Buckeye video highlights and the children especially loved “Script Ohio” 42-41 Go Buckeyes!!!

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We spent the majority of our group time together in December practicing for our Christmas program. Our little reindeer performed nicely. My big reindeer did a fantastic job getting our students ready for the show!

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Cultural subjects:

We can count to ten in 15 different languages. We can count in English, Spanish, Sign Language, German, French, Japanese, Greek, Arabic (with the Lebanese dialect), Italian, Russian, Romanian, Swedish, Tagolog, Hebrew, and Korean.

Kindergarten lesson:

The kindergarteners are learned how to tell time. We ended our section of telling time by learning how to tell time to the minute. We have done many worksheets, use flashcards, and use a toy clock with moveable hands to help us learn to tell time. Then we delved into everyone’s favorite thing…money. We learned about coins. What they look like and how much they are worth. The kindergarteners learned how to count coins when presented with multiple coins of different denominations. We went over bills including the ever elusive two dollar bill. We ended November with learning the parts of plants, flowers, and leaves. In December the kindergarteners discovered the ruler. They first learned to measure lines in inches and centimeters and ended up measuring things around the house.

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The kindergarten class can count to ten in 17 different languages… English, Spanish, Sign Language, German, French, Japanese, Greek, Arabic (with the Lebanese dialect), Italian, Russian, Romanian, Swedish, Tagolog, Hebrew, Korean, Hungarian, and Polish.


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. Brandy’s Corner – November_December 2013

Tallmadge School

The month of November began with my students preparing to lead their first Student/Parent/Teacher conference. In an elementary Montessori classroom there is great freedom, but that freedom can only be achieved if the child is willing to take the responsibility that comes with it. I expect my students to take responsibility for their education. They are responsible for completing every assignment on their Work Plan each week and turning in their work to me when it is completed. In preparation for the conferences each student filled out a paper with a script to help them explain their work. Each child listed the concepts they have learned in Language, Mathematics and Geography to tell their parents. Children also listed their favorite works and had the opportunity to demonstrate these works to their parents. A few of the favorites were Golden Bead Multiplication and Division, Imaginary Island and writing in Cursive. Parents seemed to enjoy watching their children work and learning about the materials in the classroom. Each student ended the conference with telling their parents what their academic goal are for the rest of the year.934

After conferences we spent the next few weeks discussing what we are thankful for and reading about the first Thanksgiving. We discussed why the Pilgrims wanted to come to America and what their needs may have been when they arrived. We discussed how they learned to live in a new land and how the help of one particular Native American named Squanto, saved them from the cold, harsh winter. We made turkeys with feathers listing out what we are thankful for this year. Many of the feathers stated things like school, books, friends and family. It made me so happy to see that the children like school and reading so much!

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We jumped into the Christmas spirit by filling boxes with great toys for active boys and books and special gifts for children less fortunate than ourselves, there were some plantwear accessories included as well. The children truly experienced the joy of giving and the feeling of love for others.

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After Thanksgiving break we dove into practicing for our Christmas play, The Legend of Santa Claus. The children loved acting and enthusiastically got into character during each rehearsal. The children learned a lot about St. Nicholas and acting. They learned about stage presence, developing a character for the audience’s enjoyment, and public speaking. The children’s performance was flawless in front of over 600 people! I was very proud of them.

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932The last week of December we focused on learning about Christmas celebrations around the world. We discussed traditions in England and learned that a popular tradition is the mistletoe. Children made their own mistle’toe’ by tracing their feet, and decorating them with glitter, pom-poms and bells. We read about the history of the mistletoe and learned that the tradition of kissing under it found its origins in the legend of Goddess Frigga and her son Balder. The story goes that life the people on earth was held on the shoulders of Balder. If Balder died life on earth would end. Balder’s enemy, Loki, the God of Evil, killed Balder. It was the sprigs of a mistletoe plant and his mother’s tears that brought him back to life. The legend states that anyone who is kissed under the mistletoe will have love and friendship forever.

English Christmas tradition also gave us the classic story by Charles Dickens ‘A Christmas Carol.’ We read this story and watched the Disney Mickey Mouse version.

The next country we talked about was Germany. We read about how the German children celebrate St. Nicholas day by placing shoes outside their door full of straw for St. Nicholas’s horse. St. Nicholas will fill the shoes with treats. Outdoor markets are a Christmas tradition in Germany where children can get cookies, so naturally, we art cut-out cookies! The decorated Christmas tree is also a tradition that came from Germany. Our craft for Germany was making a tree out of Popsicle sticks and sequins, with a golden start on top!

We read the story of The Nutcracker and talked about the Russian tradition of this beautiful ballet. The children enjoyed the whole story, but most of all, the battle between the Nutcracker and the King of Mice.

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We spent the last day before break in our PJs playing games and watching the movie Prancer. It was fun and relaxing. I hope everyone enjoyed their break!


Ms. Brandy’s Corner – October 2013

Tallmadge School

The month of October was full of a variety of fun activities. We began the month with a Gym class field trip to Downview Golf Course for a little miniature golf excitement and driving range laughter. Some of us were very serious about our golf game, while others found fishing the ball out of the water to be just as much fun! The driving range was thoroughly entertaining for those of us in the audience. The kids enjoyed watching how far their ball would go, attempting to hit the little cart picking up golf balls. Thank you to Mr. Martinelli for planning such a fun outing and to each of our parent volunteers who drove us that day!873In science we studied roots and stems and their functions. We did an experiment with white carnations, celery and colored water. Each flower and celery stalk was placed in blue, yellow or red water for several days. Students made predictions of what was going to happen to each flower/celery, why it would happen, and the time of when it would happen. Each day we kept a log of our observations. Many of us thought the flowers would change to the color of their water. Almost all of us thought red and blue would change first, we were wrong! The flowers in the yellow water turned color first and had the most color by the end of the week. The flowers were interesting, but not nearly as exciting as the celery stalks. We predicted the leaves on the top of the celery would change color like the flowers. They did slightly, but the true surprise came when we cut the celery stalk in half and saw the colors running through the veins. This was a great demonstration of the function of a stem and how it transports nutrients to the other parts of the plant. We also explored electricity by turning on a light bulb with a battery. Mason asked if the size of battery mattered or if more than one battery would change the light. Se we tried it. The size of battery didn’t make much difference, but when the students held three batteries together, the light was very bright! What a fun experiment.874

Junior Great Books were introduced this past month. This is a fantastic interpretive reading and discussion program. Students read a classic work of literature, study it and have small group discussions. Students listen to me read the text, read the text independently and take turns reading together as a group. Along with each story or group of poems, I lead discussions, dramatizations, creative writing activities and art projects. The program’s structure offers children ongoing opportunities to develop their ideas about a challenging work of literature and to share those ideas with others. Junior Great Books focuses on stressing the enjoyment of literature for its own sake, while at the same time, assisting each child with developing comprehension skills, interpretive thinking, and oral and written language skills. By listening to and reflecting on works that are rich in meaning, the students will feel that their efforts at understanding are rewarded, and they will become more motivated to learn and read for themselves.

872The last week of October brought extra candy and high energy. Students planned their own Halloween party and enjoyed every minute of it! Earlier in the month they chose a committee to be a part of for planning the Halloween party. Each committee met to create their portion of the event. The Food Committee created a delicious menu of pizza, chocolate covered strawberries, chips, juice, veggies and dip. We even had silly skeleton straws to drink from. The Decoration Committee came up with covering our room with spider webs, creepy crawly spiders, gel stickers, hanging ghosts and bats, and pumpkins. I think the Game Committee had the most fun planning our mummy wrap with toilet paper, the mystery box, a witch hat ring toss and a worm search game.  To find their worm, students had to dig with their mouth through whipped cream and pull out their gummy worm. Once they found it, it was theirs to eat! Yummm! The mummy wrap was the most popular game, especially since the students turned it into a race to make the fastest mummy. Our Craft Committee came up with an adorable Frankenstein light which turned out nicely. I hope everyone is enjoying them at home!

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I would like to say THANK YOU to Emily Smith (Nick and Elise’s mom) for organizing and planning our Usborne Book Fair. Both classrooms were able to get almost everything on their wish lists. It was a great success! Thank you to all of the parents who supported our school through this book fair.


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.


Mr. John’s Corner – October 2013

Cuyahoga Falls School

“It is so quiet in here.  It is so calm.”  This is what I have been hearing teachers and parents say about my room.  Usually it takes several months for my room to become normalized but this year it was on it’s way to being normalized within a month of school starting.  I credit those around me for the earlier than usual success.  Miss Kathleen and Miss Dana are wonderful teachers and work well with the students.  They are fun yet firm and know how to handle difficult situations well.  When I mentioned “those around me” I didn’t only mean the teachers but I want to give credit to the older students and  the leaders of the room.  They are showing the newer/younger students how to work with materials and are guiding them through the classroom.

 Children love animals, and I enjoy teaching them about different types of animals.  This month we started by discussing mammals.  I chose mammals because we are mammals.   We learned that mammals have hair or fur, are born alive, and drink mother’s milk when first born.  We learned that mammals are warm blooded (their body temperature remains constant) and that they are vertebrates (have spines).  We learned that dolphins and whales are mammals and that the bat is the only mammal that can fly.
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Then we slithered our way into discussing reptiles.  We came to the conclusion the snake is the most popular reptile. We learned reptiles are cold blooded, vertebrates, lay hard shelled eggs, and have dry scales.  The children enjoyed seeing our own albino garter snake and a visiting black garter snake.  The geckos were just as appreciated.

851Next, We hopped into our discussion of amphibians. We all agreed that the frog was the most popular amphibian and that amphibians are cold blooded and vertebrates.  We also learned their skin is moist and soft and  they can live on BOTH land and water. Amphibians lay eggs, these eggs have no shell but are like jelly.   The children were encouraged to look for our Pac Man Frog and our Eastern Toads in our nature center.

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After learning about amphibians, we swam to our friends called fish.  We learned that fish are cold blooded (their body temperature changes to the temperature in their environment) and are vertebrates.  We learned that most fish have scales, gills and fins. Some fish lay eggs and some fish are liver bearers (babies are born alive). We introduced a new word, “habitat”.  This is where something lives and the fish’s habitat is the water. The children were thrilled to learn that the shark is a fish.We then flew with the animals called birds.  Birds have feathers, are warm blooded and are vertebrates.  All birds lay hard shelled eggs and have wings.  All birds have wings but some birds are flightless (cannot fly) such as the penguin, ostrich, and emu.

Cultural Studies

At circle time we count to ten in different languages.  We now know how to count to 10 in English, Spanish, Sign Language, German, French, Greek, Japanese, Arabic with the Lebanese dialect, Italian, and Romanian.

Kindergarten 862During Kindergarten Lesson, students learned about landforms.  Ask them what the definition of a lake, island, bay, peninsula, gulf, harbor, cape, isthmus, straight, chain of lakes, and archipelago.  We went over telling time to the hour, half past, and quarter after.  Your kindergartners now know how to count to ten in, English, Spanish, Sign Language, German, French, Greek, Japanese, and Arabic with the Lebanese dialect, Italian, Russian, Romanian, Swedish, and Tagalog.


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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