Ms. Kate’s Corner – February 2014

Cuyahoga Falls School

This month was super busy for our classroom. Throughout the month of February we learned all about community helpers! The children really enjoyed doing a variety of activities and having special guests visit our classroom. Some of our visitors included a nurse, geologist, dentist, a toy designer, business owner of WebDesign499 and a police officer!

During the first week we lead a discussion about what a community helper was and what they do for us. Next, we brainstormed all of the community helpers we could think of and jotted our answers down on chart paper. The following day we did an activity called, “Helping Hands Writing Chart.” Each child 
1032was given a paper hand and was able to write out a community helper and what they do for us. The children were then able to decorate their hand and hang it on the wall. Over the next couple of days we talked about Doctors and nurses and what they do for us, tools they use, the different places they can work and the clothes they have to wear. Also, during that time we had a special nurse visitor come in and show the children the different tools they use and the her job at the hospital. We also went over the similarities and differences between a veterinarian and doctor. During that week I presented how to address an envelope and we practiced together. 

1037The second week was all about police officers, fire fighters, stranger danger, and “stop, drop, and roll.” The first book I read was a special book about police officers and what they do for us. We then added onto our web about the things  we learned so far. Ainsley said, “They have to have a partner so that they can be safe when they go out on calls.” Riley said, “They have people that dress like us called detectives,” and Zachary called out, “If you need help and are lost you can go to them.” I loved hearing the children retain so much of the information!  The next day we had a special Police Officer visitor! He came in and talked to the children about his job, and the different tools that he uses. He then passed around all of the different items that he has to carry on a daily basis. He was very informative with the children. Throughout that week we learned how to “stop, drop, and roll” and played a game called “Below the Smoke.” With this game some of the children had to hold up a sheet and move it up and down like smoke and one child at a time had to crawl the proper way under the smoke. 
1048The last day we visited a fire station. The children were able to see all of the tools that they use on a fire truck, where they eat and sleep, their fire suits, and the different jobs that need to be done. It was a great field trip!!

1035The third week we had two special visitors. The first day was all about nurses. One of our parents came in and talked about what a nurse does, the different places a nurse can work, and the different tools they use. She then shared her stethoscope and the children were all able to come up one by one and listen to their heartbeat! The second visitor we had during the week was a toy designer. This parent came in and talked to the children about how a toy is designed and where they are produced. It was interesting to see all of her sketches and then her final products. As you might guess, the children loved playing with her toys! 
1033The last week we focused on bakers, chefs, and what you need to have in order to own a restaurant. During this time the children learned that bakers have to be at work before the sun comes up so that people will have their breakfast. They also learned that bread, rolls, muffins, cakes, and cookies come from a bakery; the different tools they use and what kind of education they require. We also talked about the restaurant business and the different types of restaurants that are out there. Our last visitor was a geologist. During her visit she talked about rocks and how they are formed, where you can find rocks, and the many different kinds out there. She then read the children a book about the ten rules for picking out the perfect rock. She then gave each child a small pile of rocks and they were able to pick out two rocks that were their favorite. It was a really awesome visit and the children loved it!!!
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A big thanks to all of the parents that came in and talked to our class about their careers. It was very interesting and our students learned a lot!! 


Ms. Brandy’s Corner – February 2014

Tallmadge School

Our class has been going on a wild and courageous adventure with the great Robinson Crusoe throughout the month of February. Before reading each student made a list of what they thought they would need if they were stranded on a deserted island. I was impressed with many of the items. Several students said they would bring weapons for hunting food, seeds to plant crops and a dog or cat for companionship. Other items that made the lists were an iPad, a game system and favorite stuffed animals. We then discussed that a deserted island most likely would not have electricity, which was extremely disappointing to our tech-savvy students.

1017As we journeyed around the globe with Crusoe, students were asked if they would make the same choices he did throughout the story. The class was split when deciding to leave their families or stay home at the beginning, but as the journey progressed, each child became more and more excited about the adventures. We finished the story last week and students are now working on building models of Crusoe’s island and home or writing their own adventure story. Stay tuned for photos of their projects next month!

We have also focused on human anatomy this past month in biology. Children were fascinated to learn about the inner workings of their bodies, especially their heart and brain. As we read books about each organ students asked questions and researched their answers. We learned the names of each lobe of the brain and their functions. We learned how to use a stethoscope and check our heart rates. Students loved checking their heart rate, doing an activity, and then re-checking their heart rate to see what happened.

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In our Geometry studies students have been focusing on types of triangles and angles. We read a story about how geometry came to be and have been using our infamous Box of Sticks to create the seven different triangles (right-angled isosceles, right-angled scalene, acute-angled isosceles, acute-angled scalene, obtuse-angled isosceles, obtuse-angled scalene, and equilateral equiangular.)

1050Excitement overflows each Monday afternoon as students prepare for their Latin class with Magister Tom (Mr. Tom McCaffrey). I have been so proud of each child as they answer Magister Tom’s questions about English words derived from Latin and their ability to remember, from week to week, their new Latin vocabulary. They have learned simple greetings, feminine and masculine forms of nouns and verbs, as well as plural forms. This past week, their favorite activity was answering questions in Latin. Magister Tom would ask, “Quis est?” and point to the table. Every hand shot up in excitement to answer “Est mensa.” They can say over 30 words after just a couple of lessons and their pronunciation is fantastic! We have made labels for our classroom in Latin and students enjoy reading the label and placing it in the correct spot.

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One goal of mine is to provide the children with several experiences outside of the classroom. This past month we went to Playhouse Square in Cleveland to see a show called Dino-Light. This was a show done without words, using only light and music to convey the emotions of the characters. The story was about a scientist who built a dinosaur, but the dinosaur was missing a heart. The scientist gave the dinosaur a heart in hopes he would became a kind and loving dinosaur. The scientist and his dinosaur were separated and they searched for each other throughout the play. In the end, the dinosaur defeated his foe to save the life of the scientist, thus showing his love. The play was fantastic, but my heart melted when we completed our “End of the Day Journal” entry and Annika said she had a lesson on friendship because the dinosaur in the play learned to love and care for another person, just like a true friend.


A Peek At Our Week| Ms. Kristen’s Class| Week of January 22nd

This week, we learned all about the Food Pyramid! We learned about the different food groups of Veggitables, Fruits, Dairy, Grains, and Protein. We also learned the difference between healthy food and food we should only have sometimes, there are other ways to maintain your health like taking supplements for kidney health and many other measures. We also learned it is not good to eat too many sweets such as cookies and soda, because too much sugar is bad for our teeth, and our health that’s why doing sports and using supplements from sites as quinnova.com could really help with this. It’s not only a beauty to look at but will always tempt the little ones to dip their hands at the right time. The children were also very interested in the Food Pyramid work we put on the shelf to help them practice what they have learned,

Proud of her cursive letter “x”! Writng on the chalkboard is a great pre-cursor to writing on paper!
Practicing Opening and Closing Containers! This material helps to promote the childs independence!
Working on the Memory Game from the Math area of the classroom! This material aids the child in practicing their quantities and symbols 1-10!

A Peek Into Next Week:

-All About Our 5 Senses.

-Learning about how the different parts of the tongue help us to taste.

-Playing the “Mystery Bag Game” to explore our sense of touch.


Brandy’s Corner – January 2014

The Elementary Journey
When the child enters our elementary classroom, he will find himself in an environment full of knowledge waiting to be discovered. His academic studies will be challenged with the curriculum outlined below, and his life skills will be nurtured, allowing him to grow into the person he was created to be.

Life Skills
There is no tangible measurement of character, initiative or inner drive; yet these are the life skills your child will develop at Absorbent Minds Montessori School. Weekly and daily goal setting, encouraged and reinforced by the teacher, guides the work of the elementary student; thus creating a strong sense of ownership of their education. Responsibility has the power to educate through self-direction. Your child’s confidence and self-esteem will grow and flourish as he learns to challenge himself until he becomes proficient in a skill. This personal drive will catapult your child into a world of information where his work ethic will create the character he needs to become a truly great person.

Mathematics/Geometry
Every child uses the environment around him to learn, thus creating his Absorbent Mind. This, in conjunction with what we have discovered through current research of the hand constructing the neurological pathways of the brain, we can conclude, that mathematics is made easy if its roots can be implanted in the work of the hand that is developing the mind. Children are provided the opportunity to touch, feel and experience math. Every material takes the child on a tangible journey through operations, memorization, graphing, fractions, square and cube roots, the study of lines, angles, area, and equivalence. Through these experiences guided by the hand, each student discovers the process of how an answer is found, and gains an understanding of why an answer is correct.

Language
From birth, all children pass through a period in which they can only pronounce syllable; then in early childhood they pronounce whole words, and finally, as a young student they use to perfection all the rules of syntax and grammar. Our curriculum encompasses reading, print and cursive handwriting, spelling, grammar, creative writing, research, and oral presentation. Through stories, charts, timelines, purposefully created materials and carefully chosen books we enable the child to develop an understanding of language. Junior Great Books and studies of the Classics enrich each child’s reading experience. Discussions of life lessons learned from characters in stories such as Robinson Crusoe and Anne of Green Gables equips your child with creative thinking skills she will carry with her in all areas of life. “Learning to read and write becomes a delightful exercise, a loving guide to lead the child along pleasant pathways to the discovery of things he has actually performed. Yes, the child will suddenly find himself, one day, in possession of a little composition, a little ‘work of art,’ that has issued from his own pen!” (Maria Montessori. The Montessori Elementary Material.)

Biology/Physical Science
We believe curiosity is the foundation of all discovery. Our Montessori science curriculum seeks to cultivate the child’s natural curiosity and to allow children to discover the answers to all of their “why” questions. Through science we facilitate the child’s understanding and admiration for all living things and respect for our interconnectedness with nature. The universe and its parts are brought into your child’s hands through experimentation. Scientific study at Absorbent Minds Montessori School concentrates on the process of question, hypothesis, procedure, observation, data analysis and conclusion (the Scientific Method). This method teaches children to think before deciding, to use a logical method of discovery and testing, and to use data to evaluate results and arrive at a thoughtful conclusion. Along with the process, the science curriculum provides each child a basic knowledge of chemistry, matter, energy, simple machines, water, engineering, and magnetism.

Cultural Subjects (History/ Geography)
The imagination of the elementary child flourishes when information is presented in the form of a story. Historical stories have the power to awaken the child’s imagination and take him on a tour of creation. This introduction will grab the child’s attention and encourage him to research the areas he find most interesting. As children discover new places through history, their interest in Geography intensifies. They start asking “where,” “why,” and “how.” The natural thirst for knowledge drives the child’s cultural studies through the solar system, physical and economic geography, map reading, vexillology (study of flags), and the study of rocks, minerals and biomes.

“Education boils down to two things: the student putting in the work to educate himself, and the teacher getting the student’s attention long enough and deeply enough to get him started and help keep him going.” (Oliver DeMille. A Thomas Jefferson Education. 2009.) Absorbent Minds Montessori School believes the child creates his own mental muscles, using what he finds in the world around him to accomplish this task. We call this type of mentality “The Absorbent Mind.” Through our prepared environment and curriculum beginning in preschool continuing throughout 4th grade your child will be equipped to develop his mind, body and soul.


Ms. Courtney’s Corner – January 2014

Tallmadge School

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

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

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

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


Ms. Kate’s Corner – January 2014

Cuyahoga Falls School

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Ms. 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!


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, even more if is at the time they’re going to sleep, and parents can even use bedwetting alarms, so they make sure their kids sleep dry and comfortable. 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!