We had quite an exciting Valentine's Day!!! Mrs. Koeppel who is the ballet teacher invited us to watch the 8th grade girls practice some of their ballet. We got to join them as they stretched to prepare to dance and pretend to be butterflies and create hearts with our arms and legs. The girls participated like they had been in the class previously. The 8th graders build a tunnel with their arms and our girls got to dance under. We all curtsied as we left the ballet room as all ballerinas do at the end of a performance. When we got back to the classroom I asked the girls what they learned about ballet. These were their replies:
-there were monkey bars
-they made a tunnel
-we made hearts and butterflies
-I liked all the stuff
-I liked the bridge
-a new pose
After reading the book A Color of His Own by Leo Lionni the girls made their own color. We revisited how to make different colors. It was amazing how much they remembered form the beginning of the year. We also talked about shades of colors and how you can make it lighter or darker. The girls loved mixing the colors they chose and watching it evolve in to the color they hoped for and in some instances a color that was a surprise!! We talked about what we could do to make it more like the color they wanted. It was fun to hear their thoughts and why they would add more or less colors. After creating "A Color of their own" we talked about naming their color. Many of the girls are still trying to decide on the perfect name but some of the names we have are:
-Night time Blue
Ask your daughter about her color and how she made it!!
As we walk back and forth from our classroom to our special classes the girls are often commenting on what is happening in nature. The leaves are all off the trees but there are nests in the tops of trees that they weren't able to see when there were leaves.
What is that in the top?
Who lives in there?
These questions sparked a discussion about what animals do when it is cold outside. We have read many books on this topic: What Do Animals Do in Winter by Melvin and Gilda Berger, Shh! Bears Sleeping by David Martin, Bear Snores On by Karma Wilson, The Snowy Nap by Jan Brett, and Time to Sleep by Denise Fleming. The girls have loved becoming so knowledgeable about what animals do in winter.
We brought several boxes in the classroom and asked the girls if they thought we could make something for the animals that needed protection from the cold. We quickly got to work building a tree and the girls have enjoyed putting the appropriate animals in the hole in the tree to stay warm.
The girls are also exploring tracks that animals leave in the snow. They are aware that some animals migrate, change colors, and grow more fur for the winter. They have enjoyed playing in the snow that we have in the tactile box. We separated the animals that sleep in winter and the ones who like the snow. From time to time we might find a deer in the hole in the tree!!! "The bear is sleeping and we do not want to wake him up".
As the girls entered the room they were very curious about what was in the tactile box. I asked them what they thought. All the girls felt like it was ice. Let's wait and see when all the girls get to school what they think. They could hardly wait to see if it was real ice. We had a discussion about what ice is.
You put it in the refrigerator and it makes ice.
What do you put in the refrigerator?
NO - water!!!
Let's see if it is real ice. I let each girl have a cube of the fake ice and some said yes while others said it is not real A couple of the girls put it in their mouth to check it out. We had a discussion what would happen if it were real ice. Then we brought out the real ice!!! The girls had lots of comments!!!
-It is wet and slippery
- It is dripping!!!
- I can eat this ice!!
-IT IS TOO COLD!!!!
Several of the girls went to the sink to get rid of their ice.
It is so fun exploring with the girls. We also walked by the lake on our way back from the gym to see if the lake was frozen!!!
Where in the world?
Before the holiday break we talked about maps and how they help us find our way. We printed out a map for each girl to see where their house is in relation to Hutchison. We have a world map that has animals from the different countries. The girls have had fun coloring and discussing where they want to go. One of the girls pointed to Australia and said, I want to live there!! I hope they share with you what we have been talking about in class.
We have been busy getting ready for the holidays!!! The girls have been painting, building, cooking, and writing letters to Santa and friends. We had fun talking about the smells of Christmas by making gingerbread play dough and a special gingerbread treat for their family. We decorated a gingerbread house together and then the girls went to the block center and built their own gingerbread house. It is amazing to see how creative they are and how they have learned to play so cooperatively with their friends. The writing center has been a busy place as the girls write and send letters to Santa. We have talked about maps and how Santa finds your house. The girls have been introduced to the word address. They each have a map from their house to Hutchison.
Visit with Santa
We had a fun morning walking to Dr. Ring's house to see Santa. The girls had many comments and questions as they walked:
-She (Dr. Ring) is the Queen Bee!!!
-Is she really a bee?
-Santa lives at the North Pole - he is not at here!
-Where is his sleigh?
They each had a turn to tell Santa what they wanted . Here is what they asked Santa to bring:
-A bigger tower!!
-Pink princess bike
- red robot
- Yellow robot
- snowman outside
-My mom and dad want a baby!
-Ornament – a pink one and a blue and purple one
-A pretend Christmas tree
-A golf game
-A purple bike
The most popular structures created in our class this year are cakes and castle!! The girls create cakes for their families, teachers, and friends. There are pretend birthdays and they live in carefully erected castles. As the girls play and imagine they are telling wonderful stories and learning to work and cooperate with their friends. There is so much learning and developing happening as the girls work and play. Some of the areas that are being developed as the girls build are:
Problem solving - How many can we put on top? Will it fall? What made it fall? We need to make it taller! What chairs can we use?
Imagination - We are going to sleep in the castle. We have to make more beds.
Self- expression - I want to be a ballerina and I am going to make a stage.
Math - We need another big block. Are there any more square blocks? We need one more for the tower.
Self -esteem - Look what I made ! My house is really big!
Social and Emotional growth - Often the same girls will return to the block center to work together. It is so fun to watch these girls let others join in their fun and help them create. The girls love celebrating each other!!!
EARLY LITERACY is developed through making connections between books and personal experiences, identifying sounds in the environment, using a variety of writing tools to make scribbles, and engaging in and enjoying word play with silly songs and real and nonsense words.
Early Writing Behaviors and Skills:
As the girls work and play they often will tell stories as they write. It is so fun to watch and ask them questions about what they are working on. They love to make lists in the kitchen. One day the girls decided to make a cake and I asked them what they needed to prepare the cake. They got out their clipboards and paper and started making a grocery list.
I asked them if they helped in the kitchen at home and many responding YES!!!!
The drawings on the window are fun doodles and pictures they did using window markers. They love them and they are easy to remove with a baby wipe or a wet cloth. It was the perfect activity for a rainy day.
Morning with Dads!!
I have been a teacher at Hutchison for 28 years. This is my 6th year as a teacher in the Little Hive. It is so fun watching these girls grow and love to learn.