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!
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.
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.
The 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!
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
It’s truly a joy teaching your children and I am amazed by them everyday!
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.
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.
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).
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.
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!
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.
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)!
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?”)
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.
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!
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.
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.
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 all in day cares in plano. Ms. Kristen conducted some fun experiments with ice, students made their own snow and even walked like penguins!
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!
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.
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!!!
Next, 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.
Our 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!!!
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!
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.
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.
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.
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!
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!
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!
The 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.
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!
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!
“Joyeux Noel” is how you say Merry Christmas in French. In France, the traditional Christmas Eve meal, Le Reveillon, means “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. The boys played with toys and had even learned from some of them that they had a mobile crane operator safety training manual next to the box! I though they were all grown up and ready to operate one already haha! 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!
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.
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!
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.
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.
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!
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!In 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.
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.
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.