Welcome to Little Hive!
Mrs. Sewell/Mrs. McKnatt
Our first week back from winter break was a blank slate. We knew we would continue our shape study and meet a new friend (triangle), but we wanted to see in which direction the girls would lead us for our other areas of learning. We introduced frozen triangles in ice and plastic penguins with loose parts of “ice” for pretend play in our small world center, along with other play centers around the classroom. We waited to see what ideas might take off. The girls immediately began creating stories in their play with the penguins. We were excited to see this development. We encouraged their story-telling by asking questions about their penguin characters.
The students had questions for us, too. “What do penguins say?” The girls wanted to make noises with their play, but they were unsure how to make a penguin sound. We used our SmartBoard and the internet to explore some educational penguin documentaries. We listened to the penguin sounds and attempted to copy their noises. It’s a difficult sound to mimic, but the girls enjoyed trying.
The next day, another friend made a request. She said, “I want to see the penguins swim in the water.” We explored another documentary on our classroom SmartBoard to find real life video of penguins swimming in Antarctica. The girls were fascinated by the way the penguins glided through the water and plopped their bodies out onto the ice and snow. They enjoyed watching the classic penguin waddle and copied the walk in their play. In these documentaries and informational video clips, we discovered many facts about penguins. Our amazing school librarian provided us with Penguin books to extend our learning. These books reinforced the facts we had heard in our videos. The books had great images of real penguins in the wild. You could see the girls soaking up the information at circle time on the carpet. We learned about where penguins live and pointed it out on the globe.
In hopes of extending the story-telling and pretend play, we made pretend snow for our penguins.
Pretending with penguins in the sensory table:
I had a quesion for the girls to evaluate their knowledge of penguins. I asked, "Girls, let's think about this question... How could we describe a penguin to someone who had never seen a penguin before?"
We did a science experiment to explore the properties of ice. From our classwork, we knew ice was cold. And we knew ice was frozen water. We took a bowl of warm water and added ice cubes. I asked the girls to guess (to make a hypothesis) about what might happen to the water and the ice if we added ice cubes to warm water.
(Touching the water)
The students have been fascinated by the fact that penguins eat fish. They have talked a lot about fish swimming in the water, seeing fish in the ocean, and how fish use their fins to swim.
We introduced a fishing game with number and color matching. The girls would pretend to catch a fish and feed it to our penguins.
This admiration for fish inspired us to get a class pet - a fish. Always ready to be big helpers, the Little Hive students helped put together the fish habitat in the fish bowl. The girls voted on what to name our fish and "Elsa" won the vote. "Anna" was a close second.
We are excited to see where this fish study might take us. As is the Reggio Emilia approach, we will be following the lead of the students to see how the topic grows. Be sure to follow along on the blog and the Instagram account.
Happy New Year and welcome to the second semester of Little Hive! We hope you had a wonderful break and enjoyed some time with family and friends.
As was discussed at the parent meeting at the beginning of the school year, the daily reports in the yellow communication folder will be coming to an end this semester. The girls have been talking up a storm in the classroom, and we hope they are talking with you about their school day.
Sometimes the question, “How was your day?” may be too vague for this age group, so more specific questions can help you dive deeper into your daughter’s day. The link below has some helpful examples of specific questions you can ask your daughter in the evening.
If your daughter seems weary to discuss her school day, try recalling what you did during your day. It may encourage her to open up, or jog her memory about something she did at school that day.
The class Instagram account can be an ally in your journey to learn about your daughter’s school day. We create stories and posts that may inspire your daughter to recall different parts of her day.
As always, please feel free to contact me with any questions about your daughter's school day.
December has been a great month in the Little Hive! The girls have welcomed me into the classroom and I’ve so enjoyed being with them. We have been busy bees working and playing and singing and dancing.
As I’ve interacted with the girls and seen them work around the classroom, I can see how much Mrs. Sewell and Mrs. McKnatt have taught your girls already this school year. The girls work well together and know how to take care of their classroom responsibilities.
We started December by meeting a shape friend, Cindy Circle. Our circle song taught us that “Cindy Circle goes around and around.” Round drums in Music, hula hoops in Movement, circle songs in Spanish, and a circle hunt around the classroom were just a few of the highlights from our circle study. We learned how to draw a circle (as part of our pre-writing work) and studied snowmen to see how circles could be put together to make a picture. We also watched a perfectly straight line bend and form a circle. Wow! This blew the girls away and they loved playing with their own lines (pipe cleaners) to make circles. Learning is so much fun, especially when it’s hands-on.
”A circle is a shape. Like the moon!”
”The ball is a circle.”
”The ornaments are circles!”
”I can roll my hula hoop and it’s a circle!”
The following week, we introduced the girls to a new shape friend: “Suzy Square.” Suzy Square has just four sides. The square song was a fan favorite (see video). Our square hunt showed us just how many squares we see in the classroom every day – A LOT! The girls painted with square blocks and made square impressions in our play dough. We sorted circles and squares at the carpet and the girls loved showing off their shape knowledge. It was fun to see the girls experimenting with how squares could break into two pieces to form two rectangles or two triangles. Geometry at work during snack with our square cheese! : )
”It’s a square!”
”Look! I have one too!”
”Now I have two rectangles.”
”And Mrs. Rainer make me two triangles with my cheese!”
”I see squares on the carpet.”
We look forward to meeting more shape friends in January after our holiday break. Until then, you can help your daughter spot shapes in the world around her.
Gingerbread cookie cutters in our play dough center were a big hit for most of December, so we chose to dig a little deeper into the story The Gingerbread Man before the semester ended. We ate gingerbread cookies at snack time, went on a gingerbread scavenger hunt and counted our findings, made gingerbread play dough, painted with gingerbread puff paint (glue+shaving cream+watercolor paint+cinnamon), and acted out The Gingerbread Man story at our “small world” play center. We love to see the girls telling the story while recalling the characters and plot.
“I’m the little old lady... and here’s the little old man.”
“I put my cookies here.”
”Oh no! He’s running away!”
”Run, run as fast as you can! You can’t catch me I’m the gingerbread man!!”
We celebrated the holiday season at our class party by decorating our very own gingerbread cookies! Thank you to our room mom coordinator for providing the gingerbread cookies, icing, and sprinkles. The girls had a blast! We were so happy our gingerbread cookies didn’t run away – like the cookie in The Gingerbread Man. : )
We hope you enjoy your hand painted tree ornaments from your daughters. They were excited to create a special gift for the people they love.
Wishing you a happy holiday season with family and friends!
Over the past few weeks, we have been discussing what it means to be thankful in our classroom. As Thanksgiving approaches, we have begun to identify feelings of gratitude and what we are thankful for. The girls identified that they are thankful for things that "make them feel happy". An early emphasis on developing gratitude is important when looking at development of the whole child. Discussing and instilling a sense of gratitude in young children can help them to develop important empathy skills that will serve them as they continue to grow. In discussing an "attitude of gratitude" the girls have been discussing all of the things that they are thankful for. Take a look at some of the things that our Little Hive girls are thankful for:
"My Mommy, my Daddy, my house, and milk" - Anika
"Fruit and marshmallows" - Natalie
"Mommy, Daddy, ice cream shop" - Aubree
"Momma and Dad" - McBride
"My animals" - Margaret Rose
"My Mommy and Daddy" - Lucy
"The lions" - Elizabeth
"Milk, my dog names Lincoln, my Mommy and Daddy, and my House" - Lou
"Riding a horse" - Carina
"My doggies" - Elle
It is so sweet hearing all of the things that the girls are thankful for, and we wanted to share this sweet video of them telling us what they are thankful for.
We are so thankful for all of the girls in our class, and so grateful to you all for sharing them with us each and every day! We hope you have a wonderful, relaxing, and gratitude filled Thanksgiving!
We had the best time playing with our Dads this week in our classroom! The girls loved painting pumpkins with their Dads, and had the best time showing their Dads all their favorite centers in the classroom. The girls even got to invite their Dads to our morning meeting. Take a look at all the fun pictures from our Mornings with Dad:
In Little Hive we have been working hard and gearing up for Fall. The girls have been noticing all the pumpkins and scarecrows placed around campus and have been excitedly telling us what they are dressing up as for Halloween. Our classroom centers have transitioned and the girls are loving all things spooky in our classroom! Our dramatic play center has turned into a pumpkin patch that the girls have loved playing in and selling lots of yummy fall goods that accompany a pumpkin patch store. Often when listening to the play in the dramatic play center I will hear the girls talking to each other:
“Hello, welcome to my store! Do you want a coffee or hot cocoa?”
“This is the big pumpkin, it is too big for you!”
“Will you paint my face? I want to be Spiderman!”
In the dramatic play center the girls are working on a variety of social-emotional play skills as well as developing team work skills that they will continue to develop throughout their entire educational career. In dramatic play, girls work on:
- developing conversational skills
- developing turn taking skills
- working on interactive play skills
- developing creativity
The girls played a special role in the creation of our classroom pumpkin patch. As we discussed transitioning the play area as a class the girls played an active role in developing different portions of the pumpkin patch. Some girls worked on painting paper bags to make into pumpkins, others balled up paper to make popcorn, while others worked on coloring the money that we would use in the cash register. After working on these projects, the girls were so excited to see their hard work in action when we put everything together in the pumpkin patch. They each love pointing out “their” pumpkin that they painted!
The girls have been exploring various other concepts as they investigate our play centers around the room. They have been investigating emotions while creating jack-o-lantern faces, working on sorting and color identification while strengthening fine motor skills as they sort spider rings, developing finger strength while using tweezers to manipulate pumpkin pasta pieces, have worked on identifying similarities while sorting pumpkins, and have investigated scientific reactions while concocting potions! We have been busy over the past few weeks in Little Hive, take a look at all the fun we have been having:
As we work to foster a sense of community and belonging in our Little Hive classroom, we often address how each girl is a valued member of our classroom culture and community. We discuss with the girls that we are all members of our classroom community and they each have something important to add to our class “family”. As we discuss the important role they play collectively in our class, we also talk about how each girl is unique and how their individual differences are important to recognize.
Throughout our study of similarities and differences we read stories such as Todd Parr’s “The Family Book” to recognize different family structures, as well as “The Rainbow Fish” by Marcus Pfister, and “What I Like About Me” by Allia Zobel Nolan. Our books lead to many discussions about how we are all different. We practiced sorting by hair color, identifying what color eyes we have, as well as investigating height differences to show how we are all alike and how we are different.
As a culminating project, we traced each girl’s body and allowed her to decorate to demonstrate how truly unique she is. The girls loved using their creativity to decorate the outlines of their bodies. As the girls shared their work, we discussed how each person’s was different and unique, and we also discussed similarities in the girl’s work.
In conjunction with discussing our similarities and differences the girls also explored their unique features and what they liked best about themselves. We listened to portions of “The Best Part of Me” by Wendy Ewald. After listening to these children share what they enjoyed best about their bodies, the girls were eager to share what they considered their best features. Take a look at each girl considers to be her best feature:
"I like my earrings because I can touch them." - Anika
"My legs because they help me run." - Natalie
"I like my mouth." -Elizabeth
"My shoes." - Aubree
"I like my shoes because I run with mommy and daddy." -Anne Willis
"I like my shoes because it helps me run around." - Lou
"I like my feet because they are blue shoes." - Carina
"My hands are best because they make a house." - McBride
"My feet." - Elle
"My hands and my feet." - Margaret Rose
"My hands because they help me eat breakfast in the car." - Lucy
"I like my hands because they can touch my eyes." - Adhira
Come stop by our classroom to take a peek at the display of the girls' hard work! They love stopping and looking for themselves and their friends on the wall!
We had the best day celebrating Black and Gold Day! We played in Bouncey Houses, ate snow cones, and even had a dance party with Dr. Ring :) Check out the video below of our busy and fun day!
In the Little Hive classroom we are always busy as bees working and playing in a variety of centers. To the average person it may just look like we are playing all day long, but in reality there is a lot of hard work and skills that are developed throughout our play. A plethora of research supports the importance of play based learning in the development of the brain. Hirsh-Pasek et al. conducted a research field study in 2015 in which they identified four ingredients that lead to successful learning. They concluded that the best learning occurs when children are mentally active, engaged in learning and not distracted, socially interactive with their peers or adults, and are making meaningful connections to their own lives. If you think about it, PLAY contains all four of these constructs that help promote successful learning, which is perhaps why play is such an important tool when learning!
The vast majority of what you see in our classroom on a daily basis falls under the category of guided play experiences, guided play continues to let your daughter engage in the joyful aspects of child-directed free play, but adds additional light guidance, direction, and scaffolding from a teacher to ensure progress towards a learning goal. Guided play provides a discovery learning approach that increases student’s knowledge base through a variety of learning opportunities, coupled with meaningful and engaging feedback from teachers. Weisberg et al. (2014) found that guided play is especially important because it helps develop proactive control, an area of the brain’s prefrontal cortex that determines what happens next. In animal studies, researchers have even found that play in the early years leads the brain to be more adaptable in later life especially with social skills and executive functioning skills (Pellis, Pellis, and Himmler 2014). Guided play also helps to develop language and mathematics and spatial skills which are important pre-academic skills as your daughter prepares for reading and higher level math skills. It truly is amazing how important play is!
As you see pictures of your daughter playing around the room, you may think that they are simply engaging in play but in actuality she is growing her brain! A girl that plays with others in the dramatic play center or in the block center is actually working on a variety of social skills such as sharing, turn taking, and working cooperatively. She is also developing key language skills, such a learning to engage in conversational speaking, learning to listen to her peers and formulate an appropriate response, as well as developing her vocabulary. She is also developing key executive functions such as paying attention to the play schema, planning responses, and working on her proactive control in her prefrontal cortex!
You may also see your daughter playing with playdough, pom poms and tweezers, and stringing beads. While your daughter is enjoying these fun play activities she is also busy developing tiny muscles in her hands and fingers and fine motor skills that will help her when she learns to write her name. Her hand-eye coordination is growing and improving while enjoying these activities and important skill that will help you daughter as she begins reading and decoding words.
Girls in the classroom are always engaged in a variety of art activities, coloring, drawing and painting. While exploring these guided play experiences, girls are working on developing important pre-writing skills such as learning to make straight and curved lines. They are also working on fine motor skills such as the correct way to hold a paint brush, marker, and crayon which translates to holding a pencil as your daughter learns to write.
Play is an important part of childhood and as your daughter plays throughout the day in the Little Hive classroom she is working on developing critical academic and social skills she will continue to use throughout her entire life!
What a busy few weeks we have had in Little Hive! As we begin our study of colors, the girls have been investigating all things Red. We have loved learning the “Red Song” and creating with the color red over the past two weeks. We have made red playdough and the girls have LOVED playing with this at the playdough center. The girls have also worked on developing fine motor skills through painting and collaging. Painting is a precursor for important writing skills and we will continue to work on developing these skills throughout the remainder of the school year!
The girls have also worked on stretching their ability to work together and develop team work skills through our red scavenger hunt throughout the classroom. The girls each had to practice taking turns, waiting patiently for their turn, and making sure that everyone had a turn during our hunt. The girls did a great job practicing these important skills, talk about some hard work!
We also donned our chef’s hat this week as we made red jello to enjoy as a special snack. We each had a turn adding to the mix and stirring. The girls practiced using three of their five senses as they smelled the jello as we were making it, saw how it changed from a liquid to squishy jello, and tasted it after. It was a BIG hit, one of the girls exclaimed “This is DELICIOUS!”
In addition to our study of the color red, we have also begun to investigate the world around us. As we look about the world around us, we start by looking at ourselves and discovering things about ourselves that we can do, our preferences, and our similarities and differences. We have been doing lots of discussion about our body parts the past few weeks and the girls have loved giggling and laughing while singing “Head, Shoulders, Knees, and Toes”! We have also discussed the things that our bodies can do. The girls have all realized that they can do a lot of things even though they are small. We have talked about how they can run, jump, dance, walk, and throw! One of our favorite activities has been throwing the bean bag into a basket during circle time. The girls love this game and they are secretly practicing and developing their hand-eye coordination skills!
We have also been talking all about our similarities and differences. One of our big focusing points the girls loved looking at was how we all had different colored hair! We had the best time sorting our pictures by hair color to see which hair color won in our classroom (it was the dark hair!). The girls have been working so hard over these few beginning weeks of school, and they have been adjusting so well to our classroom routines! I am so proud of them and cannot wait to see what is in store for the rest of the school year.
Welcome to Little Hive! We are excited for a wonderful school year. Check back here for updates on what is going on in our classroom!