Friday, January 19 - What We Did Today!

 

Today we were missing three kids which brought about an entirely different dynamic.  Kids broke up into various groups, moved from group to group, and other than being very loud by the end of the day, were calmly playing and interacting.

We talked about ice during circle, how is it made, is it warm or cold, what happens if it gets warm and so forth.  Then we read about ice.  It is amazing to me that they can sit in circle while I’m reading a book, giving their opinions about ice and what they are seeing in the book, but if anyone walked into the room at that point, they would be sure there was no control of this chaos!  They did a great job of staying on the topic and when someone veered, I reminded them to talk about ice and they managed to change immediately so that it was focused on ice.  Loud?  Yes!   Learning?  Most definitely!

At the art table, we had a little bit of science while also doing crayon resist.  The kids drew mostly designs with crayons.  Then they painted the paper with Epsom salts mixed into hot water.  They can see the resist right away, but later, they get to see the growth of some crystals that look like a frosty window.

The Bubber was very popular again today.  We were making cakes and cutting them into pieces.  Lillian was making little cakes as samples to give away.  Edie was getting right into her project!  Many kids went straight to the wood working table after finishing up with the Bubber.  Simon and Aesa were drilling holes, Simon was working with tape to create a scene, Marcus used tape to enhance a tree cut out, while Edie was building with the wood, but not attaching them with anything.

Another great day in preschool!  My thanks to Jessica and Andrew for all of their help today.

Thursday, January 18 - What We Did Today!

 

Today was another great day with the caterpillars.  From the time they walked in to class, they were busy playing or checking out one thing or another.  It is great to see them all working together so well.  At circle we had a fire drill.  Well, it was close to a fire drill.  I have a song to sing that tells the kids what to do and we practice this.  We didn’t go all the way outside to the gate today as there were so many bare and stockinged feet.

At the sensory table we have been experiencing Bubber, a sand like play dough.  It rolls, stacks, cuts, and builds, but will also slowly fall apart like sand, it doesn’t dry out, and it is much easier to pick up off the floor or rug.  Today a lot of kids were working on cutting with the shapes, or building volcanos. 

The ice brought many smiles as the kids walked in.  Margot created a sculpture that she gave to Adam with the stipulation that he was not allowed to break it.  As the ice began to melt, we wondered what the polar bears would do if the ice was all gone.  They are still contemplating this possibility.

Outside, they have gone from rolling trucks down the slide, rolling tools down the slide, and today, rolling tree rounds down the slide.  The tree rounds are about six inches across and four inches deep.  River and Rowan were climbing up the ladder while holding on to these large pieces of wood with both hands.  Think of the balance and knowledge they need in order to complete this task.

There were several magicians dueling in the loft.  I’ve never seen so many frogs in one place!  At the art table, we were drawing with crayons on black paper then painting over it with a Epsom salt wash.  This dries with a frosty look to it creating a winter scene.

My thanks to Jesse and Kari for all of their help today.

Wednesday, January 17 - What We Did Today!

Today I set up signs around the room with the NO symbol covering a picture of girls, boys, brunettes, and blonds.  These were placed in the dramatic play area, woodworking area, dry table, and the writing table.  Many of you saw more than I, but essentially, the idea is for kids to know that they can’t play in certain area just because of their gender or hair color.  Most kids followed the rules, but when I asked them at circle to remember the new rules, a few of them asked why they couldn’t play everywhere.  I said I just decided that it was better if I decided based on what they looked like.  Barkley looked at me said, “You’re fired.”  “But why” I asked?  “Because you won’t let everyone play everywhere.”  I asked the rest of the group if I should be fired.  I received mixed reviews, so I asked them why shouldn’t just boys get to play in dramatic play.  Aesa said it wasn’t fair.  Avery said he was just going to play in the woodworking anyway.  I asked the group if they thought it was fair.  Most chimed in with “no, everybody should get to play everywhere.”

At this point, I told them how proud I was of them for standing up for everyone.  We then read a shorter version of Happy Birthday Martin Luther King, a book written for this age to understand some of the unfair rules we had years ago.  The kids agreed that it wasn’t fair.  Someone mentioned that Dr. King was killed.  So, we kept a low profile on this just saying that, “yes, someone killed him because they didn’t like what he was saying.”  That brought us to mention Dr. King's belief in finding other ways to solve problems rather than fighting.  I asked them how we settle problems in school and they all said by talking.

I never know how this experiment will go with this age, so I was very proud of them for understanding that it is not fair to leave people out just because of the way they look.  My thanks to Julianna and Josh for all of their help today!

Tuesday, January 16 - What We Did Today!

 

Today we celebrated Margot’s 3 ½ birthday with vanilla cake and a song.  There were only a few bakers, Isla, River, and Josie, but the cake must have been good because everyone, well almost everyone, enjoyed every last bite.

I was outside for a while enjoying Liam’s sand and water hard work, Sebastian’s search for worms and slugs, and Margot’s excitement upon finding said slugs.  All of the kids had a great time.  By the time Josie came out, Liam and Adam had flooded the sandbox and the water was spilling out onto the ground.  As it became one big puddle, Josie went puddle splashing along with a few others.

Back inside, ice was somewhat of a theme.  I had ice in the water table with water and the winter animals.  It was melting fairly quickly, but I didn’t get a chance to spew my propaganda regarding climate change and polar bears.  Not to worry, I will get to it next week!  We were painting with colored ice cubes on two different types of paper.  One was a regular construction paper feel while the other was slippery like finger paint.  The final product is very different so be sure to check it out.

Adam was working in the snow with the igloo, dogs and sled, polar bears, and Inuit people.  This was the snow that was made of a polymer and water – a bit easier to clean-up than the paper snow.

The ice cream shop is still popular.  I’m not sure if that is because you can virtually “dump” all the various sized pom-poms without anyone giving you a hard time, or because it is fun to create different types of ice cream concoctions!

At circle, I asked about Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and if anyone knew about him.  Only Liam said he knew who he was, but he didn’t want to tell us.  At this age, I keep it simple – Dr. King thought everyone should be treated equally and he stood up for this by walking in marches and having sit-ins.  Then I read a book called, “Strictly No Elephants” which discusses exclusion.  Kids this age understand fair and unfair, so they got the basic idea.  In Butterfly class, we talk more about Dr. King and exclusion based on what we look like.  My thanks to Angie and Sara. 

Tuesday, January 9 - What We Did Today!

 

Oh my gosh!  Have I told you how much I love your kids!  They are sweet, helpful, and thoughtful.  Today when Josie hit her head, I ask if anyone could make her laugh.  The next five minutes was priceless as several kids made silly faces and/or movements.  Needless to say, she was laughing by the time they were through.

We celebrated Josie’s 3 ½ birthday today with vanilla cake and a song.  The bakers in the class have been doing an amazing job and everyone seemed to enjoy the cake.

I was working with a group of kids making snowflakes that will stick to the window (we hope!)  We squeezed colored glue on clear plastic to create an image.  Once dry, it will peel off the plastic and act similarly to a window cling.

“Buy more pizza” was the chant of the day.  Our pizzeria was so popular we weren’t always able to find enough dough to make more.  Rowan was enjoying the delivery aspect of pizza more than making pizza.  He would find some random food, put it in a pizza box and deliver to any and all in the vicinity.

Our snow in the dry table is still drawing a crowd.  My only concern is that the kids always want to transport whatever is in the dry table to the kitchen (it is a little-known fact that children will transport anything available from one area to another!)  The concern I have is because the snow is a polymer which, in its snow form, is very slippery and if left on the ground someone will slip in it and fall.  Alas, it will be someone’s body that helps them understand this concept. 

We sang a couple of songs about snowmen (snow people is too long to put in the song) that the kids are enjoying.  Be sure to have them sing to you.  Kids pick up songs very quickly.

My thanks to Trisha and Lisa for of their help today!

Monday, January 8 - What We Did Today!

 

Today we talked about snow.  The main word that came up over and over was fluffy.  The kids are doing a good job in circle lately once they settle.  During second circle, we had a fire drill and then rejoined circle.  They jumped right in to a song with minimal trouble.

The sensory table had a new substance called Bubber.  It comes together somewhat like playdough, but it eases out of its’ shape and begins to break a part.  The kids seemed to enjoy testing it out.

The water table has been enjoying its’ share of play with the ice bergs and animals of the arctic.  It’s fun to listen to the stories kids come up with while manipulating the animals on the ice.

There was a huge group of kids outside playing with Summar keeping an eye out.  When I checked out what was going on, I noticed some great mixtures of kids working together.  They were really enjoying the water in the sand box.  Of course, this meant wet clothes for all involved.  If your child came home with different pants and/or socks, he/she was probably having a great time in the water!

We changed dramatic play into a pizzeria with dough, cheese, sausage, Canadian bacon, tomatoes, peppers, mushrooms, olives, and pineapple.  Poor Ali ended up eating 8 pizzas in about 10 minutes.  They deliver as well.

During last circle, I began reading a chapter book.  Because of winter, I chose Polar Bears Before Bedtime.  This is from the Magic Tree House series.  I have found this series to be one of the best for moving from picture books to chapter books.  The stories are interesting, they have both a boy and a girl as main characters, and there are one to two pictures per chapter, helping to keep the interest.

My thanks to Ali and Summar for all of their help today!

 

 

Friday, January 5 - What We Did Today!

 

What a wonderful day we had today!  All 15 of the kids were here, signed in, and busy by 9:40.  During circle, we read about snow – what it feels like, what it looks like, what fun things we can do in the snow, and what things we can’t do because of snow.  The kids did pretty well.  They have been helping me sing because my voice is gone, and they have been patient with me because one of my ears is not working.  This is so appreciated!

The play dough wasn’t very interesting today.  The play dough we made on Wednesday was greasy and unappetizing.  Instead they headed to the water table with the ice, water and Arctic animals.  Or to the dry table with snow and Arctic land animals.  Both tables brought out some great scrips as well as some practice negotiating.  Only once at the dry table did I have to intervene and help with the process.

At the art table, we had many winter stickers.  They were anything from Penguins to snowflakes, walrus to fox and sleds to ice bergs.  They create a scene using the stickers and then painted white snow where they wanted it to complete their winter scene.

Outside, I interrupted a game four or five of them were playing.  Ali told me that they were watching the water droplets run down the slide, join up with others to become bigger, and move past obstacles on their way down.  The obstacles were mainly added by them – a little sand, dirt, whatever.  I asked them a question and pulled them out of their plan.  All laughter and discussion stopped immediately.  Sometimes it is better to just watch and not ask questions!  I left with the hope that they would start their process again.

Aesa and Lucy were getting married today, so they were making food and dressing up for the wedding.  For some reason it was canceled, but no one seemed to be too upset.  I am assuming it was a mutual break off. 

My thanks to Stefan and Ali for all of their help today!

 

Thursday, January 4 - What We Did Today!

What a wonderful day we had today!  We had a special guest at circle, Mark McIntire, Bodhi’s Dad.  Mark brought his guitar and Bodhi brought his ukulele.  Mark sang several songs while Bodhi joined in on the ukulele.  Several of the audience headed up to the loft to add additional percussion.  There was River with bells, Sebastian on floor drum, and Jubilee on the guitar.  Others began dancing alone or with others.  It was marvelous music indeed.

There was much going on that was new to the group today.  We made snow and set up some Artic animals as well as Antarctician penguins to the scene.  This snow is made from a polymer similar to one used for baby diapers.  It absorbs water and fluffs up.

At the water table, we had ice bergs and whales, seals, and polar bears.  As the ice begins to melt, we talk about where it went and why.  These kids are pretty smart and already knew that it melted.  Now comes the propaganda! 

We were playing with a new play dough recipe called Cloud 9 play dough.  When were made it yesterday, it was soft and smooth, but today it was heavy and rather like pie or biscuit dough.  This didn’t stop the kids though.  They were making ice cream and cookies or just enjoying cutting the dough.

We tested some new manipulatives as well as some old favorites.  Bash was interested in the marble run and directed me as to what piece to put where.  By the time he was finished, many kids had gathered around to test out the run with the marbles.

We built a farm, made dinner, painted snowy trees, and played outside as well.  My thanks to Jenny and Mark for all of their help today!

What We Did Today!

Wednesday, January 3

Today we talked about somethings that happened during break – holidays, presents, snow and ice were some of the kids’ ideas.  I told them we had changed seasons and asked them if they knew what season we were in.  We then proceeded to talk about Winter what they know about this season.  They hung in the circle for a long time while we talked through winter’s changes from Fall.

At the playdough table, eleven of our fifteen kids help me to make a new type of playdough.  It is called cloud 9 playdough and comes out very soft.  By the time we finished the ingredients and mixing, most of the kids moved on to other things.  Otto, Lillian, and Aria stayed and helped to knead the dough until it was ready and they were able to create with it.

Outside, kids were in the sand box digging for treasure, climbing the rock wall, and sliding.  Easton helped me by pulling out our last sunflower stalk.  Wow, is it ever tall!  I had to go back inside the classroom when Edie, Simon and Finn were using the water from the rain barrel.  Burr!

There were many new manipulatives out today giving the kids something new to check out.  I noticed the parquetry blocks being used to create patterns, the matching faces game, and the counters.  I will be interested to see if any of them become long term choices.

During quiet game time, Finn, I, and Avery put together a large floor puzzle of dinosaurs in a museum.  Simon was working with Edie using Legos to build with.  Marcus and Henry were building with the bristle blocks.  And Dash and Barkley were using the Wedgits!

My thanks to Kacy and Margaret for all of their help today!

What We Did Today!

Tuesday, January 2

Today we celebrated Addy and Eliza’s birthday with a song and chocolate cake!  We were missing four kids, so our group of eleven seemed very calm and quiet today.  There was some pairing up as well as some group play going on with problem solving happening without adult intervention.  It is always great to see this happen.

There was ice in the water table with water and winter animals.  Liam did a great job deciding which animals would be on the ice and which would be in the water.

Outside, once they had donned coats, the kids were looking for worms.  Liam was creating a trail of sand I think in case he got lost but for all I know, it could have been food for bears!  Though it was freezing to me, they were out there for most of the morning enjoying the digging and sharing of what they discovered.

I the loft, Adam was working with Stella as they created music.  He then came down to the kitchen area and began playing for Addy.  He picked out an appropriate costume and continued with his music.

In the kitchen area, Stella was making tea for me.  Bodhi joined us, and she made him a cup as well.  Then she added some grapes for us to snack on.  Yummy!  She will be quite a cook.

There was lots of work at the woodworking table by Stella, Sebastian, Rowan, and Liam.  I love that they just head on over and begin drilling, hammering, or creating.

My thanks to Sarah and Brittni for all of their help today.  Happy New Year everyone.

 

What We Did Today - Friday, December 15th

Today was the butterfly class' Winter Celebration.  What a smooth operation we had with Jennifer and Summar helping.  My thanks to Julianna for also helping out with the cooking and setting up.  It is always a bit of a concern when you see 3 to 5 year-olds using knives and peelers, but you have to admit, they take the job seriously and get it done.  Enjoy!

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What We Did Today!

Today we had our Winter Celebration Luncheon!  What a great job everyone did.  My thanks to Trisha and Jenny for their help not to mention our extra helpers Lisa, Rachel, and Ginny.  I wandered without having to worry about anything.  A big thank you to all of our guests as well.  I know that I tease about the potato the size of a soft ball, but really, today there were many carrots at least 5 inches in length.  Finally, I want to thank Isla for her amazing addition to our soup - pickled beets!  It made the soup.  We were all a bit worried, but truly, it was wonderful (and I hate beets!)  Please enjoy the pictures when I finally get them up.  I forgot my camera at school so it will be sometime Friday or Saturday.

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What We Did Today!

Tuesday, December 12

Today we celebrated Rowan’s 4th birthday with vanilla cake and a song!  There were about five kids helping out with the baking.  The kids all agreed, it was a good cake.

I spent the first part of the day outside with a few kids who were busy building the play structure.  Evidently there was a fire and everything had to be rebuilt.  They were doing a great job sharing the hammer and other tools.  Eventually, others came out and joined them.  The play changed somewhat, but the comradery was still there. 

Inside, some of the kids chose to create a centerpiece for the winter solstice.  We used clay for a base, fir branches to represent bringing back the green, and a candle to represent the light returning.  Oh, and we also added some pine cones just for looks!

The water table was a question of what sinks and what floats.  There were various items in the table for the kids to check and see what would float and what would sink.  I think the fact that the water was warm was more of a motivator than the items in the table.

We have set up a farm in the dry table with crinkled paper strips for hay or grass or whatever.  Different kids were interested in different parts of the scene.  Some preferred the pigs while others just wanted the horses.  The cattle were a favorite as well.  The stories that come with this type of provocation are always interesting and fun.

Rowan was making some amazing soup in the kitchen for me.  I believe he followed through while working with Stella and Bash to make an entire meal.  My thanks to Sara and Naomi for all of their help today!

What We Did Today!

Monday, December 11

Today we had slow start arriving to circle.  When I find myself getting frustrated in circle, I try to remind myself that these kids are 4 and 5 years-old.  They come to circle and are ready to talk, listening is more difficult, but they still manage to take something away with them. 

We were talking about the winter solstice today which was quickly passed by in order to talk about Christmas.  Later there was a long discussion regarding why Rudolf was needed to guide Santa’s sleigh.  This is not usually where I try to lead the kids during the holidays, but it was fascinating to listen to them explain that “Santa couldn’t see the chimneys without Rudolf’s red nose” and “Santa is magic”.  Last week, we talked about Hanukah and Christmas and, not for the first time nor I’m sure the last, no one seemed to realize that Christmas is the day Christians celebrate the birth of Jesus and that not everyone celebrates Christmas. 

With all of this in mind, I would like to let you know that I believe in differences and the joy of diversity.  I will continue to talk about the holidays as a way to compare the similarities and the differences of each holiday.  If you find yourself in a quandary this holiday season while talking about why some people celebrate Christmas and others celebrate Hanukah, or why some people who celebrate Christmas may also celebrate Santa Lucia or Los Posadas, remind your kids that we all have our traditions.  Some things are the same, and others are different.  One is not right and the other wrong, they are just different, and I celebrate differences!

My thanks to Marya and Michelle for all of their help today.  Please enjoy the pictures the kids were pretty great today (even if I had some frustration!)

What We Did Today!

Friday, December 8

Today we celebrated Henry’s 4 ½ birthday with chocolate cake and a song!  The kids said it was good and it smelled divine!  There were many kids helping with the cake.  They had a difficult time staying focused and listening, which continued during circles as well.  I would normally drop what we were talking about and move on, but today we were reading “All About Me” by Henry Curry and “All About Me” by Mae Jackson.  I am attempting to have all of the books read before the celebration and we still have five to go with two days in which to read.  So, needless to say, I held to the plan and waited until everyone could hear the books leaving us with no time for gym.  This was upsetting for many of the kids not to mention parent helpers and me!  We found a way to work some of our physical needs out by making storms using our bodies without our mouths.

At the art table, we made something special to give to someone special for the Winter holidays.  The rest of the inside play was around the train and setting up tracks, houses and block towers.  It was a bit disappointing as the kids didn’t get time to try out their track. 

Outside, Margaret watched as several kids made cakes and pies using special herbs and spices to top them off.  When I checked, I noticed six kids working very well together.  This is always a joy.

We have been reading our books to each other for the past two weeks.  The kids seem to enjoy sharing about themselves as well as listening to others’ stories.  I asked them what is one thing they learned about their reading partner and is that the same or different from them.  The more times we talk about different as normal the more kids are going to expect differences in life.  My thanks to Mary, Henry’s grandma and Margaret for all of their help today!

What We Did Today!

Wednesday, December 6

Today we talked about Santa Lucia Day.  Our special guests Kyle and Lucy Roach told us a bit about the light and read a story explaining what happens on Santa Lucia Day.  Lucy dressed up like Santa Lucia in a white dress with a crown of lights on her head and she shared some ginger cookies with us.  From there, many kids headed to the art table to create their own Lucia crown.

Several kids were making music in the loft.  They were using drums, ukes, and bells.  Many have been singing Christmas carols throughout the day as well.  We sang “Dreidel, Dreidel, Dreidel” and “Santa Lucia” in recognition of the two holidays we have talked about.

While wandering about the classroom, I noticed many kids joining with others in their play be it puzzles, music, family, or building.  This group has come together really well.  I don’t see clicks and I’m not constantly battling with exclusion.  I am really proud of these kids.  We are working on respecting property as we have had some destruction recently.

At the workbench, several kids were working on different tasks.  Avery was creating a vacuum which, by the way, looked like a vacuum and was made using nails and rubber bands.  Barkley made a sword, while Lucy was working on various projects.

Boy was the water table fun today!  For the first time in over a week, someone found a way to make not just one big bubble but numerous bubbles at a time.  Aria, Marcus, Mae, and Finn were working together like a factory line creating a ton of bubbles holding themselves together.  My thanks to Kyle and Kacy for all of their help today!

What We Did Today!

Tuesday, December 5

Today we celebrated River’s 3 ½ birthday with lemon cake and a song!  Teresa worked with several kids making the cake and from what I heard, it was very good!  The entire day was a joy to be part of. 

Lisa was outside almost the entire morning.  The kids outside were enjoying puddle stomping, pouring water into the sand box, flying down the slide, and fixing the play structure.  It was cold, but beautiful!

At the art table, the kids were making their Winter Celebration invitations by spinning a dreidel with paint on the tip on top of paper.  Some of these kids have spinning down and ended with lots of drips and swirling paint.  Others were learning and ended with what almost looks like footprints walking across their paper.  Finally, some kids used the other end of the dreidel to paint dots across their paper.  The invitations will go home on Thursday so watch for them and help your child choose ONE guest to join us for lunch.

I continued the warm bubble water as the kids seemed to have a great time last week making bubbles and using different tools to do so.  The metal hoop is still the favorite as you can see the bubble stretch from the water to the hoop as you lift the hoop out of the water.

The kids did a great job cleaning as they went along, so clean-up was a breeze.  Just a few last-minute items and on to circle where we sang our autumn songs.  My thanks to Teresa and Lisa for all of their help today!

What We Did Today!

Monday, December 4

We had Josh, Avery’s Dad, as a guest to talk about Hanukah.  He read us a story about some of the things to do to get ready for Hanukah.  He explained the story of Hanukah involving a bully named Antiochus not allowing Jews to believe in their God.  He had his soldiers trash the temple which was very special to the Jews.  There was dirt, garbage, and many things that the soldiers broke such as the menorah and the oil. 

The Jews fought back under the Maccabees and after many years they won the battle.  Upon arriving at the temple, they found no menorah and only a small amount of oil to burn.  They built a new menorah and used the oil that they had left which would last for only one night.  The Hanukah miracle was in the oil lasting for eight nights which is why Hanukah is celebrated for eight days.

To remember the miracle, we made doughnuts using oil.  We talked while making the doughnuts about why the oil was special.  Hopefully, they will be able to tell you about the miracle.

Josh also brought each of the kids a dreidel to keep.  I have never seen so much spinning before.  As a matter of fact, we were making invitations for our Winter Celebration using a dreidel and blue paint and by the time they sat down to make their invitation, most had mastered their little dreidels and were doing well with the larger ones.

We read “All About Me” by Barkley Orehovec, “All About Me” by Finn Van Metre, and “All About Me” by Aria Van Metre.  The kids have been practicing reading by reading their books to each other after snack.  It is great to watch them and listen to them.  When we read them out loud to the group, the kids are really proud of their work. 

My thanks to Kelly and Marya for all of their help today!