Monday, May 21 - What We Did Today!

Today the classroom was very mellow.  There was a lot happening, but the kids were handling it on their own with minimal conflict!  What more can you ask for with Kindergarten around the corner?

Margaret was outside for all of our free time.  The couple of times I headed out things seemed to be very much child oriented outdoor play.  Avery and Otto were climbing in the trees and adding to their tree house.  Mae was digging for China.  I didn’t have the heart to tell her that China was not straight down, and she would most likely end up in an ocean (assuming she made it through the core!)  Finn, Marcus, Henry and Edie were creating mud slides.  They piled up an assortment of things at the bottom of the slide, added dirt and sand, and then one of them would be the mud and slide down wiping out everything in the way.

Inside, Aria wanted to play some of the board games I brought out recently.  One is about patterns, one is shapes, and the last is numerals.  She, Lucy and I started then several joined in later.

At the art table, we were making butterflies using tissue squares and fabric starch.  Our water table was filled with blue soapy water and the kids wanted to change it to another color, so I dropped some yellow food coloring and just like magic, the water turned color from blue to green.  The play dough table was very busy today.  Even with only a small amount of play dough, these kids made things work.  Great job!  My thanks to Summar and Margaret for all their help!

Friday, May 18 - What We Did Today!

Today was our Authors' Tea.  We celebrated 15 authors with blueberry and honey vanilla tea and scones.  The kids did a great job moving through their three stations - building a community, putting together bags for the homeless, and baking their scones.  My thanks to those of you who were able to help us with supplies for our bags!  Thanks also to Marya and Jeff for their help today and to Kyle for coming in early in order to bake scones and help set-up!

Tuesday, May 15 - What We Did Today!


Today Josie, River, and Addy wrote their books.  Before gym, we read My Family by Josephine Zoradi and “My Family” by Adeline Jones.  Then after gym, we read “My Family” by Isla Hall and “My Family” by River Seidel.  We hope that you will be joining us on Thursday at noon for our Authors’ Tea celebration!

While I was busy taking dictation for my writers, Rachel was outside with many kids.  She said there were about four different play scenarios going on sometimes crisscrossing, but not joining.  Rachel was outside the entire free time with kids coming and going.

Inside, Brittni was working with the kids to make invitations for the tea.  I had paint, soap, and water mixed together in bowls.  The kids job was to blow bubbles high enough to put their paper over the top and pop the bubbles on the paper.  It leaves some great patterns on the paper.

The colored water in the water table is being enjoyed with pouring, squirting, and some splashing.  I brought out the worm farm for kids to check out with the understanding that the worms had to go back into the farm rather than be carried around because they had a job to do.  They were surprised and excited to see so many in one place. 

My thanks to Brittni and Rachel for all of their help today!

Monday, May 14 - What We Did Today!


Today we celebrated Lucy’s fifth birthday with a song and rainbow cake.  The bakers once again created a visual delight which I heard also tasted great.

Josh was outside the entire free time while kids came and went.  The only time I ventured out was to get recruits for a project.  Easton and Avery were building a helicopter in the trees.  They explained to me what it could do as well as let me know that I was floating in air right then.

The project was our bags for the homeless.  The kids drew pictures with magic fabric crayons and the adult helper ironed the picture on the bag.  Don’t forget, we will be filling our bags Wednesday and taking them up to the church office.

The butterfly tent had a few visitors today.  The kids are very gentle and get excited if their butterfly opens its wings to show them it’s beautiful colors.  After school, I released the two remaining butterflies, so they might have some life experiences.

We started out first circle talking about gardening and what the kids would like to plant in our garden.  Their list was pretty long with some good ideas.  We will start planting next Monday our last week of school.

My thanks to Kyle and Josh for all of their help today!

Friday, May 11 - What We Did Today!


Today we celebrated Barkley’s 5th birthday with a song and chocolate cake.  There was a large group helping with the cake this time and they were very helpful as well as skilled.  The chocolate cake received thumbs up from all the kids eating it.

At first circle, we talked about the last phase of a plants life – flowering and seeding.  As Simon said” it goes on and on” through the cycle.  I brought in a branch from my apple tree still flowering.  Then I showed them an apple and talked about how it would form on the end of the flower if it had been pollinated.  Finally, we cut open an apple to find – seeds!   And back to the beginning again!

We planted and wrapped mothers’ day presents while others went outside to play.  Otto, Mae, and Avery were busy making a cool mud mix although I have no idea what it was for.  Simon and Edie were in the garden area while Henry and Marcus were in the sand box.

The butterflies had a couple of visitors, but mainly, we left them alone.  There are two left, one of which seems a little worse for the wear.  Freedom will soon be theirs!

We read “The Very Hungry Caterpillar” by Eric Carle taking note of the pictures and how they were created.  Sometime in the next two weeks, we will create our own art work based on this premise.

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

Thursday, May 10 - What We Did Today!

Today I was outside most of the day.  The kids came and went, and I was able to help write two books.  We read “My Family” written by Molly Herbst, “My Family” written by Bodhi McIntyre, and “My Family” written by Stella Stewart.  Five more to write and seven more to read!  AND the Authors’ Tea is on Thursday the 17th.  Oh, my! 

The kids did an awesome job listening to the books today all the way to the middle of the third book.  They tried to let me know that they were done, but they held in there with me and we made it through!

Jenny was working with the kids in the butterfly tent, helping them to hold them and keep them safe.  When I asked who was able to hold a butterfly, I found that not everyone chose to be inside for that project and missed out.  But really there was important work to be done outside such as digging, building, and keeping a baby dragon happy. 

I asked the kids what it felt like when they were holding the butterflies.  The only word they had to describe it was “tickles”.  Well, it is pretty descriptive.

Jake was at the art table helping kids with a butterfly project.  After they finished up, they came outside with their butterfly trailing behind them.  I fun project, even if it is a craft (sorry).

My thanks to Jake and Jenny for all of their help!

Wednesday, May 9 - What We Did Today!


Today we talked about our Butterflies.  Due to some mishaps, we are now down to two butterflies.  I waited to add them to the tent until I had time to talk with the kids about the expectations of holding the butterflies, moving around in the tent, and the number of people allowed in the tent with one adult.  Later, I brought kids into the tent two at a time.  Not everyone made it as they had other important things to do, like playing!

We also read a book called, “His Name is Joe”.  This is a story about a homeless man from the perspective of a child.  The book is based on the Sisters of the Road café in Portland where no one is turned away because of money.  They can pay for their meal by cleaning, washing or other necessary duties of the café.  I asked them what they thought someone might need to help their body stay healthy if they didn’t have a place to live and had to carry it with them in a small bag (think 8x8).  They came up with many ideas such as toothpaste and toothbrush, water, medicine, soap and shampoo.  We will be personalizing a small bag in which to put what the kids decide on then passing the bags on to Joyce in the church office for distribution.

Outside in the warm weather, most of the kids were doing one of two things, crashing trucks down the slide or climbing in the trees.  This is the first year so many kids have been about climbing trees!  I love it!  My thanks to Julianna and Kacy for all of their help today!

Tuesday, May 8 - What We Did Today!


Today we worked on a special project for Mother’s Day.  Shh!  The kids did a great job working on it and everyone was involved.  The weather was so lovely that Ginny was outside the entire free time.  Kids were building, climbing, and digging.  I was out for about five minutes and had to come back in, too hot for me!

Over the weekend, the butterflies came out of their chrysalides.  We had five yesterday and due to some mishaps three today.  The kids were watching them and asking about holding them.  I told them they would be able to hold them on Thursday when I put them into the tent.

Molly wrote her book today.  We will read it on Tuesday.  She is quite the writer!  She had many things to tell me about each of her pictures.

There were many musicians playing in the loft.  They were using sand blocks, rhythm sticks, and bells.

At the water table there was green water with clear cups, pitchers, and bottles.  I was served several cups of tea that was actually green (color not type.)

Finally, at the last circle, we read, “Room on the Broom”.  We have tried this before and it is just that little bit too long to keep 15 kids’ attention, but today, we made it through!  My thanks to Trisha and Ginny for all of their help today!

Friday, May 4 - What We Did Today!


Today we had an extra long circle as we talked about the job of the leaves.  Did you know that they can make their own peanut butter and jelly sandwiches?  Not really, but they do make their own food for the entire plant.  After talking about which leaves we eat, we completed our library page for our community books.  This takes a while and can be tough on those not use to having to do something they aren’t interested in, but all 15 completed their pages!

Outside, Marya was busy with the hustle and bustle of the majority of our class playing outside.  There were kids working on the “tree house”, kids digging in the sand box, and kids playing their favorite slide game, crash the truck.  This game evolves over the school year and today was an attempt to use one truck to rush down the slide and crash into another truck at the bottom of the slide hard enough to make it drive off of the slide.

Inside, I was hoping to have kids write in their journals about their plants.  Unfortunately, after having them write about the library, they were definitely done writing.  I had three girls I asked if they were ready to write who agreed and completed a page in their journals, but I couldn’t coax anyone else.  Maybe on Monday!

We ended our day reading about the dentist as we will be visiting Pediatric Dentistry on Monday.  My thanks to Michelle and Marya for all of their help.

Thursday, May 3 - What We Did Today!


Today was a bit of a crazy day.  Mainly, I think, because I wasn’t able to get ahead of what was going on.  I felt that I was coming from behind fixing rather than helping kids problem solve.

I was outside for the first part of the day.  It was great to see what these kids have been doing!  Sara had told me Tuesday how well they were working together, and I was able to see some of that today.  We had many tree climbers, Stella, Bash, Josie, Adam, Margot, and Sebastian.  Some of these kids climb as high as the tree allows them while others are just beginning to feel safe on skinny limbs.  If you ever have the chance to watch this process, watch their bodies and their faces to see the ah-ha moments or the uh-oh realizations.  They are learning about their bodies and what they are capable of.

Rowan and Jubilee stayed out of the trees today and were building huts to stay in.  They created a pathway from one hut to the other.  They picked up heavy boards and trunks to place where they wanted them, building strength and confidence while allowing their creativity to be realized.

Molly and Bash were looking for worms to no avail.  I think the warm weather has sent them below, below ground.

Inside, some of the kids were making wind socks.  They are hanging from our butterfly near the sun and moon.  Josie and River were making music for us to listen to.  Addy and Bodhi joined them later.

My thanks to Lisa and Kai for all for their help today!


Wednesday, May 2 - What We Did Today!


Well, today was our field trip to the library.  The kids did great on the walk to and from the library with only a few shouts of “Where’s the bread!”  They did very well staying between the bread of our sandwich.

I have been taking kids to the Albina Library for years!  The children’s librarian there is Nina and she is amazing.  She always knows when it is time to stretch or sing songs – Josh, we heard the original version of “The Slippery Fish”!  She read several books which we enjoyed. 

On the way back to school, we found a bird house on the curb.  I asked the kids if they thought we should take it to school with us and they agreed that would be a good new home for it.  Of course, I had to explain that when someone leaves something on the curb, they are giving it away.

Back at school we had a little time while snack was being prepared to play.  I was outside with about seven kids who were working at various things.  Easton, Otto, Avery, and Marcus were building a tree house with the boards we have outside.  I was watching without directing only interjecting when I was concerned about the placement of the board for safety. 

Inside I noticed Mae working with the Tangrams, Barkley and Henry building with Legos, and Finn and Lillian building with Widgets.

At first circle, we checked our stem experiment to see what the job of the stem is.  We noticed that the leaves of the celery were red.  When the stalk was cut, we could see red dots showing where the dye had moved up the stem and into the leaves.  When I cut the celery the same direction as the veins, we could actually see the line of red dye up the stem.  So now we know that the seed has a baby plant inside, the roots take in water and nutrients, and the stem carries the water to the leaves!  I wonder what the leaves job is?

My thanks to Summar and Kymberli for all of their help today and Julianna for walking up to the library with us!

Tuesday, May 1 - What We Did Today!


Happy May Day!  Today we were able to write and read two My Family books, My Family by Eliza Jones and My Family by Margot Zieske.  It was difficult for the kids to sit and listen today, but we persevered and finished up!  That makes four read, six written, and nine to go!

Many kids were outside with Sara at various times, but I noticed one group in particular as I came out to observe.  Liam, Bodhi, and Adam were busy building a loft for the structure.  With hard hats on they got to it!  Sara told me they worked really well together working through different ideas, problem solving, and listening to each other.  Now if they could only train some politicians!

Inside at the art table, there were plastic berry baskets, long plastic strips of different colors, and paper strips.  The kids went right to weaving a May basket, some in the traditional sense while others had their own ideas.  They made some flowers to add to the baskets.

We had River cooking up a storm for Stella and Bash until he decided to join Adam and play his game.  Stella and Bash did a great job cleaning up their area before moving on to jungle animal play.  River moved to the marble run, which he created on his own but let others test it out.  Nice job!

At the water table, I had promised several kids that I would leave the bubble water for another day, so we had more bubbles.  This time I added some straws.  They were blowing to make a huge number of bubbles as well as blowing into an individual bubble to make it grow.

My thanks to Brittni and Sara for all of their help today!

Monday, April 30 - What We Did Today!


Today we talked about the job of the stems.  No one really knew the answer, so we began an experiment.  We placed two pieces of celery into water dyed red with food coloring.  By the end of the day, some of the kids noticed the celery was turning red.  We will follow up on Wednesday by cutting open the celery to see what may have happened.

Several kids were outside with Marya.  Easton, Avery and Otto were climbing the trees for a bit.  Later Marcus and Edie took over.  Henry was running trucks down the slide and Lillian was digging in the ground.  Otto, Avery, Marcus, and Edie helped me plant the bean seeds around the bean house structure.  Now we wait!

Inside at the art table, we were painting with stems – asparagus, broccoli, and celery.  Otto painted a picture of a watering can surrounded by flowers.  Aesa, Aria, and Lucy were playing fashion in the dramatic play area.  Kyle told me they were checking to see what “suits” them by looking in the mirror.   Dash and Barkley were playing games on “tablets” they had found in the science area.  Now that’s imagination!

I made a major faux pas while attempting to get some input into the kids’ scientific journals.  I had them all in the circle area as they finished snack along with crayons, journals and plants.  This was our first input into our journals and that is always more difficult until they get the idea of what to do.  Needless to say, it felt like total chaos even with the help of Kyle and Marya.  Better planning for next entry, I promise.

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

Friday, April 27 - What We Did Today!


Today we celebrated Marcus’ 5th birthday with a song and banana cake!  The cake was a big success among the majority of preschoolers.  It certainly smelt good!

We talked about roots and what their job is – to bring the plant water and nutrients.  We described nutrients as similar to vitamins.  I showed them various roots that you can find in the grocery store, green onion, carrots, potatoes, yams, and radishes.  Then, at the art table, we made prints on cardboard using the vegetables and paint.  These became our book covers for our last book, “A Scientific Journal”.  Here we will be observing and documenting what our gardens are doing.

Outside, Avery, Easton, and Otto were building with loose parts such as boards and tools to create their own house.  They even had a potty with the capabilities of turning pee and poop into drinking water.  This is our future!  Edie and Simon were digging for worms although none seemed to want to be seen.

Many of the kids discovered some tubes I had out that you can use to build things.  Needless to say, by the end of the day we had seen more swords and blasters than in the previous month.  They lend themselves well to this type of design.  It also allowed some reminders about guns and the need to check with anyone near by to be sure they are okay with gun or sword play.

In the dramatic play area, Aesa, Lucy, Finn and Aria were cooking, eating, dressing and acting out a complex storyline that they have been working on for a couple of weeks.  The office is still enticing many to test out the type writer.  They have been noticing some of the things it does even though it does not have an ink ribbon.

My thanks to Julianna and Andrew for all of their help today!

Thursday, April 26 - What We Did Today!


Today the kids were split between outside and inside.  Outside, Jubilee and Rowan were playing scenes from the Hobbit.  They were using the ropes to act out their story.  Several kids were busy climbing trees.  Molly was digging with Ginny and Josie was busy everywhere!

Inside, I was able to sit with a couple of kids and write their books.  I actually printed three books and still had time to see what everyone was up to.  Of the books written, we read “My Family” by Adam Soares and “My Family” by Jubilee Hotchkiss.  Three down twelve to go!

The art table had various roots for printing with paint.  It was a busy station at first but petered out fairly quickly.  The water table is filled with cool bubble water.  The favorite tool with this is a plain metal hoop about 11 inches in diameter.  As you pull it out of the water, a film is created covering the area of the circle.  Depending on how fast you bring it out, you may get a bubble in the air, a dome on top of the water, or a stretchable cover on the hoop.  The last instance is fascinating to watch.  As you move the ring up and down, the film stretches to go back and forth through the center of the ring.

The office at the writing table is very popular due to the typewriter.  Many of the kids haven’t seen a typewriter and are fascinated by what happens when they hit the keys. 

Several kids were working together in the dramatic play area taking care of babies and each other.  There was cooking and dress-up as well.

My thanks to Kari and Ginny for all of their help today!

Wednesday, April 25 - What We Did Today!


Today was picture day on the Smile Bus!  I was so proud of these kids!  They were amazing while on the bus as well as while waiting for their turn.  Everyone listened to Louise, sat quietly, and had their picture taken. 

The classroom was fairly quiet although somewhat warm.  While waiting for their turn in the bus, kids were working with collage materials at the art table.  Watching, I noticed kids thinking about what they wanted to add rather than just gluing whatever they saw onto their paper.  I good beginning to executive function skills. 

There was some fun bubble blowing going on in the water table with kids helping other kids use the tools.  The play dough is still one of the best opportunities for fine motor skill development with squishing and squashing the dough.  It also has the ability to bring out a calmer child by the end of play.

Outside, while I was taking kids to and from the bus, Kerri was on outdoor duty.  She had the kids playing a game called circus clown.  They were having so much fun, I had to find out how to play, so the kids shared the song with me about the clown Ding-A-Ling and doing a silly thing!  They were very careful to be sure and applaud for each other.

On Monday, Lucy and Aesa had turned the writing table into an office, so I immediately brought out an old typewriter and office phone.  Today, kids were lining up for a chance to try out the typewriter.  I never know what is going to inspire them next.

My thanks to Kaci and Kerri for all of their help today!

Tuesday, April 24 - What We Did Today!


Today was picture day on the Smile Bus!  Louise has been doing this for ever and it shows in the pictures.  These are not your fancy artsy pics, they are snapshots of your children at this point in their development.  What does that mean?  Well, for my youngest, it meant a bruised forehead on one side or the other in each annual picture, staged, bored or normal smile, and the clothes that he loved at that time of his life.  Looking back at my boys’ annual pictures always reminds me of where they were at that moment in life.

Unfortunately, with the Smile Bus here, that is about all I was able to see going on other than some outdoor fun.  Margot and Liam both dug in the sand and buried their feet while Josie was sliding on the slide.  Sebastian and Adam were looking for worms in the garden, surprise, surprise!

We had bubbles in the water table which were a hit and collage items on the art table.

In the gym, Addy and Isla were dressed as vampires wandering through the area.  We had a baby shark which many of the kids were taking care of and Princess Eliza was gathering kitties to take home to her castle.

My thanks to Brittni and Teresa for all of their help today!

Monday, April 23 - What We Did Today!


Today we had a guest visit from “Talk About Trees”.  Lisa started talking with us in circle about how scientists sort.  Then she had us sort some pictures by live and not a live.  Next, we sorted the live pictures into plants and animals.  We took the plants and sorted them into trees and others.  Finally, we took the trees and sorted them into conifers and broadleaf trees.

We looked at different leaves and decided if they were conifers or broadleaf trees.  We used the symbol of one finger up for conifers (it kind of looks like a needle) and the whole hand with the fingers spread for the broadleaves.  The kids caught on to the sorting pretty quickly and were very engaged with Lisa while she was going through the presentation.

She showed us many different types of cones, careful to tell the kids that pine cones came from pine trees, but fir cones are from fir trees.  She proceeded to show us various types of pine cones, some fir cones, and cedar cones.  Again, the kids stayed very engaged.

We went outside for a short walk up the block looking for conifers and broadleaf, both of which are easily spotted on 14th.  Upon returning, we took turns making our own paper!  I think the kids did great!  Most were very attentive, all decided to be involved with the paper making, and our walk was lovely.

My thanks to Margaret and Julianna for all of their work today!