Friday, May 24 - What We Did Today!

Today was our last day, and as in previous years, we had an end of the year picnic at Irving Park! The kids did a wonderful job walking to the park, stopping at the corners, waiting for the all clear, and staying between the bread! Although we did get rained on, the kids had a great time and I hope that adults did as well!

Tuesday, May 21 - What We Did Today!

Today we celebrated Oliver’s 4th birthday with rainbow cake and a song!  The colors were beautiful even though there was only part of the rainbow, red, yellow, blue, and purple.

At the art table, we were making prints.  I had the kids use chopsticks or skewers to create on a Styrofoam plate.  The indentation becomes the negative space.  They rolled some paint on the top of the design and placed a piece of paper on top.  Using a brayer, they roll on the back of the paper before pealing it off to reveal the print.  The kids seemed to be enjoying this and even tried different colors or two colors for their prints.

Dramatic play is a doctor’s office, and when I walked in, I noticed Elliette all tucked into the bed.  I asked her if she was seeing the doctor.  She told me she was just going to bed, and this was a family.  Then she looked up surprised and said, “Hey why is the bed in the kitchen?”

Knox, Alex, and Morrie were building a marble run, but when it fell down, they asked for help.  We decided it needed to be more stable, so we added another base and together, we built a very tall tower.  They are beginning to understand what they need to do to create an awesome run, but I must admit, when they ask me for help, it is tough not to take the project over!

Baker, Oliver, James, and Knox were adding water to the soil in the dry table to make mud.  This is a childhood favorite for many even though in Portland, we don’t usually need to make our own mud, Mother Nature does it for us! 

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

Monday, May 20 - What We Did Today!

Today we celebrated Bash’s 5th birthday with a song and chocolate cake.  The cake was gooey and good!

During circle as a way to wind up our community project, we read “His Name Is Joe”, a book about a homeless man.  It was based on the “Sisters of the Road” café in Portland.  From there, we were able to talk about what a homeless person might need to stay healthy.  There was one restriction – it had to fit in an 8 x 8 bag.  The answers came quickly, and I was having troubles keeping up.  Here are some of the responses – Protein bars, Gatorade, toothbrushes, hairbrush, and toothpaste.  I explained the project.  Choose what you think someone without a home might need, buy it, and we will put it into a bag for the church to give out.  If you are one of the parents reading this, more is coming via email today!

From there, the kids went to the art table and using fabric crayons, drew a picture or design on paper, and then Violet ironed it onto the fabric bags.

In the dramatic play area, Addy was pretending to be sick while Dr. Eliza and nurse Liam gave her a checkup and food.  She had bandages on her cheeks and in her hair.  Hopefully, they were able to heal her!

Outside, I started digging in the dirt to try and level the ground out and discovered that the garden bed boards were rotting.  Simon immediately found ants and eggs in large numbers.  All of the kids were checking it out.  Margot, Liam, and Simon were also using the cars to cruise up the slide while Lex was busy cruising down in the roller coaster.

One of our last acts before gym, we let the butterflies go.  It seems a little cold, but they should be fine – as long as they actually fly away.  Last I saw they were just sitting on the dirt or a plant.

My thanks to Violet and Lisa for all of their help today.

Thursday, May 16 - What We Did Today!

Today the class quickly broke into thirds with about four kids outside, three in the doctor area and five at the art table!  From there, they moved smoothly from one area to another with minimal conflict.

At the art table, they were gluing confetti on black paper.  My idea was that they would draw with the glue and then pinch and drop the confetti onto the paper, shake it off, and voila! One of the best parts of my job is when the kids take the tools and supplies I have put out for them and then do something totally different than anticipated!  You should have seen the fine motor skills developing as they made tiny dots of glue, picked up individual pieces of confetti, and carefully placed them in the glue.  They knew exactly what they needed to work on!

In the doctor’s office, Doctor Cordelia was working with Elliette trying to get her to take her medicine.  I don’t think she was getting very far.  Later, Dr. Cordelia, Dr. Elliette, and Dr. June were trying to save some babies with booboos.

Outside, the kids were digging for treasure.  One form of treasure was a skinny little worm that Baker found.  They continued digging, although I am not sure if anything else was found.

The water table was very busy today.  Several kids were changing the set-up in order to control the flow of the water.  It was really fun to watch as one would say “stop up that pipe” or “how can we make it go up this here”.

We spoke for a bit about our last day picnic.  I will be sending you an email with more information.  My thanks to Alicia and Griffin for all of their help today! 

Wednesday, May 15 - What We Did Today!

Today some of the kids took the opportunity to hold the butterflies!  The butterflies weren’t as cooperative as they usually are.  I was wondering if that was because we waited longer for them to mature before attempting to hold them.  The pictures are wonderful, so be sure to take a look.

We started our first circle working on some of the final parts of our community books.  Despite not having very many field trips, we still have several pages of jobs in the community.  Our tea will be on Friday at 12:00!

Many of the kids outside were busy with the roller coaster.  They really enjoy having it set-up again.

A group of kids decided to move everything from the dramatic play area to the loft – just because.  I should have taken a picture of it as it was heaped up.  Of course, clean-up time arrived and even with the regular warnings of “you will have to put everything back” they did not want to clean-up.  Everything worked out in the end, and I think they figured out whether or not they would try it again!

With all of the extra energy and noise, I want to thank Tony and Lisa for hanging in there today!

Tuesday, May 14 - What We Did Today!

Today some of the kids took the opportunity to hold the butterflies!  They said it tickled their fingers.  Some of the kids choose not to hold them as they were so busy with other things.

At the art table, the kids were painting with watercolors.  The only rule I gave them was to stick with only one palette, either red, orange and yellow – a warm palette or green, blue, and violet – a cool palette.  The kids don’t really understand why I do this, but it is to give them a chance to explore the colors and how they mix without running into the muddiness that comes with mixing contrasting colors.  Several of the kids even tried the rock salt or the Epsom salts to see what would happen.

I had set out a busy town game that included airplanes and soon I had a group of kids flying around while the game was kicked a side.  They had created their own game without the need for the board and extra pieces, the airplanes were enough!

Despite the rain, several kids headed outside off and on.  There was lots of roller coaster riding, but also some river building.  First rain in a while means water in the rain barrel again.

The water tubes were still popular, and several kids worked on finding ways to make the water flow one way or another.

My thanks to George and Ayo for all of their help today!

Monday, May 13 - What We Did Today!

Today was a perfect day to be outside!  Not to hot, not to cold, and not raining.  The kids outside with Kristen were busy with various jobs.  Margot, Lex and Molly were busy taking apart and rebuilding the roller coaster car.  They were using saws, hammers, and wrenches.  Later, I was able to see how well it was running as Bash, Eliza, Rowan and many others rode down the coast.  Liam and Simon were playing their regular car game outside, throwing cars up the ramp to see where they land on the other side.  Bash, Sebastian and River were busy in their shady tree area climbing and talking about zombies.

Inside, the art table project, yep, it was a project, was to use a picture of a body and dress it the way you would dress for the job you would like to do when you grow up. I enjoyed watching what the kids chose.  They had to add one tool that they would need to use on their job.  We had a ballerina with a tutu, a basketball player with a basketball, an astronaut with a helmet, and a police officer with handcuffs to name a few.  We will be finishing our books and celebrating them at the Authors’ Tea on Friday the 17th.

At the water table, kids were building with the pipes trying to get the water as high as they could by closing off the lower pipes and then building the others up high.  Later, they went back to blowing through the tubes to force the water upwards and out through the upper pipes.  Other than the water all over the floor, it was a fascinating exercise, and watching it grow into a thinking and theorizing game, I didn’t worry to much about the water.

My thanks to Aaron and Kristen for all of their help!

Friday, May 10 - What We Did Today!

Today there was a lot to do.  At circle we talked about our time with Rachel when she talked to us about photography.  Then I had each of the kids choose a subject to take a photograph of.  Many kids chose the butterflies or guineas while others chose portraits.  These will be in our books.

Anthony helped us with wrapping our Mothers’ Day presents while Nathaniel took us outside.  It was so hot; many kids came in early on their own accord.  The main attraction outside is the roller coaster.  The kids have been excited to have it up and running again.

The water table has the amazing Hart tubes.  The kids get to choose where to put the tubes and then follow the water.  Today something new happened.  After many kids had set up the tubes and played for a while, Liam was testing them out.  One thing led to another (meaning I wasn’t around to see what triggered his great discovery) and I see Liam blowing into one of the tubes which causes a large amount of water to come spraying out of another tube directly at him!  Despite getting wet, he continued to entertain the other kids as they filled up the tubes and turned them different ways.

We had several tired kids today.  I think that the weather and late light are beginning to play havoc on their bodies.  Do your best to keep them on a regular sleep schedule and you and the kids will be happier for it.

My thanks to Anthony and Nathaniel for all of their help today!

Wednesday, May 8 - What We Did Today!

Today I wasn’t sure what would happen with our walk out, but we tested it out and you won’t believe what an amazing job these kids did!  We started with a talk about why the teachers were not having school today.  Many of the kids have older sibs who had the day off today because of it.  Then I read them a book called “If you’re going on a march.”   It covers the weather, clothes, snacks, and signs.  It tells you what to expect including some boring parts (I’m not a fan of the word boring, but it is something they understand!)

We followed this up with some ideas for signs we could make.  There was we need more money, not hitting, no picking flowers, as well as we are the future.  Once the kids got to the sign making table, Tony and I tried to help them relate to the actual protest.  For instance, We need apples was easily changed to We need education.  I need money was tougher although we thought it would work to change it to schools need more money it wasn’t being bought.  Everyone needs education became education (easier to write!)

Anyway, you get the idea.  While kids were making signs, those finished went outside and stood at the fence and began chanting and holding up their signs.  Others joined as they finished their signs.  They received about 8 cars that honked.  It was great and I was so proud of them.  By the time they were tiring out and the signs had all been finished, it was time for clean-up and snack.  So, our walk became a standing protest!

They absolutely made my day!  They are our future and if they continue to stand up for what they believe is right!  There is hope for this country!

My thanks to Cassie, Forest, Keene, and Tony for all of their help!

Thursday, May 2 - What We Did Today!

Today we had a lot going on.  To start us off, butterflies began emerging from their chrysalides allowing kids to crowd around and see the process.  It was very cool!  This went on from 9:15 through 11:00 during snack as three different chrysalides broke open.

I was able to take dictation for both June and James finishing the last of the “My Family” books!  Now we are ready for the Authors’ Tea.  James and I were at the play dough table writing when first one, then another kid came over to check out the play dough.  This group has really missed the play dough.  By the time James and I had finished, the table was full of kids using the play dough and the tools squishing, squashing and rolling play dough.

We also had a family visiting while all of this was going on.  Henry and Emma were looking into Irvington to see if we were a good fit.  Lisette and others showed them different parts of the classroom helping them to feel comfortable.

At the art table, we were working with melting crayons while drawing on a heated piece of paper.  The heat was coming from a warming tray.  Some of the kids had so much fun experimenting, they left their crayons on the paper to sit for a while causing a puddle of color.  This led to some swirling of colors.  After school, I had several kids ask if they could do it again.  I think it may have to be repeated to allow for them to complete some of the processes not yet explored.

In the dry table, the kids added some water to the dirt making it muddier which they must have liked as they continued their play afterward.  My thanks to George and Alycia for all of their help today!

Wednesday, May 1 - What We Did Today!

Today was a bit of a crazy day.  Lots of energy!  We started our day with a question – “How many butterflies do we have?”  The kids ran over to the terrarium to check on the chrysalides and found one empty.  Looking around they found the butterfly on some food.  Some of them were able to see him using his proboscis to drink from a cotton ball.

Outside, the kids were running, climbing, playing cars, and building yeti traps.  Rowan found his stick which looks like Gandalf’s staff to me, flipped it upside down and told me it was a hockey stick and wanted to know where a hockey ball was.  I found a flat round object and said “here’s your hockey puck” at which point he began playing hockey.

Inside, there was a large group at the playdough table.  Each time someone would join, I would ask if anyone would give some of their playdough to the new person.  After a while someone would come through with a bit of playdough allowing me to thank them for being so thoughtful which would start others to pass on a bit as well.  It is still hard for them to be willing to give something they have to others while they are still playing, but we continue to work on it!

We are still washing dishes at the water table, and funnily enough, the kids like doing it.  They feel proud of themselves, so be sure to have them help at home!

In circle, we talked about our trip to the grocery store.  The favorites of the trip seemed to be the whole snapper with the tongue and the large wheel of cheese.  I agree!  They dictated a note about their drawings, and we will send them as a thank you to Whole Foods for having us.

My thanks to Kristen and Tony for all of their help today!

Tuesday, April 30 - What We Did Today!

Today we had special visitors from the office next-door.  Familia’s en Accion is a Latino organization that helps those in the Latino community with any necessary health issues.  Rebecca read us two books, one about community and one bilingual book about the body.  They came to celebrate kids’ day which is a tradition in Mexico (and/or Latin America.)  When they were finished, they gave each of the kids a coloring book and a bag filled with crayons, stickers, and bubbles.  Gracias!

I was working with the kids on something special, so I didn’t get many pictures taken, but they were so busy working together, I wasn’t needed elsewhere which was unusual.  They were outside with Justin for a bit, then inside with Amber and I.  The water table is filled with warm soapy water with dishes to be washed.  These kids have dishwashing down, so be sure to utilize them at home.

The dry table has dirt and trucks for excavating or just moving dirt!  There is much interest in the movement of dirt, as is expected from 3, 4, and 5 years old.  They have been peaking into the aquarium to see if we have butterflies yet, but we are still 5 chrysalides to 0 butterflies.  Just a few more days!

There were several groupings at drop off today.  A group of boys playing with the wooden garage and cars were working through some rougher play and how to maneuver that while still having fun.  A group of girls were playing in the grocery store and dressing up.  These may seem like gender roles, but this is not the norm with this group.  There are several kids who “crossover” the gender stereotype regularly and therefore bring another voice to the play.

My thanks to Justin, Amber, and Ayo for all of their help today!

Monday, April 29 - What We Did Today!

Today we had our field trip to Whole Foods.  Ben was our guide through the store as well as person of knowledge regarding Whole Foods.  We started at the front entrance where he greeted us and showed us the flowers which were amping up for the Mothers’ Day holiday.  We checked out the apples, mangos, and berries which he told us come from all over.  In this case, Mangos from Mexico, berries from California and apples from Oregon.

We saw the pizza area, premade food options, and salad bar.  When we arrived at the pastry cases, he stopped to ask us if we new the name of the person who makes coffee.  We gave them the first syllable and the first answers we got were barber and Starbucks.  No, barista! 

We discovered the yummy looking desserts and Margot wanted to know where the pastries were.  (I didn’t even notice they were gone!)  Ben told us that the pastry chef, who usually starts at 5:00 AM, was sick and didn’t make it in today.  Is there really a 5:00 in the morning?

We found out that they have things other than food for sale when he showed us some frog candles and handmade soap on our way to the frozen foods.  Ben asked us which of the refrigerated foods was the coldest and we discovered it was the frozen foods, followed by the yogurt and milk.

At the meat counter, we found out that the guy behind the counter was called a butcher, he cuts the meat and packages it.  Next to that was the fish counter with all of the various types of fish.  My favorite was a red snapper that was held up to show us his tongue.  I never knew!  And the guy behind the counter is not a fishcher, he is a monger.

As we passed through the wine area (no free samples) the kids did a great job keeping their hands at their sides on our way to the cheese counter.  We saw an amazing wheel of Gouda that was huge – about $80 worth!  My thanks to Brittni, Brad and Bevin for their help on the field trip as well as in the classroom!

Friday, April 26 - What We Did Today!

Today we talked about wiggly worms and how they help the soil and plants.  We also found out about the egg sack or cocoon that travels down their body as eggs are deposited until it falls off and into the dirt.  From there, some of the kids went outside to look for worms.

The class was split with about six kids out and six kids in.  Things went along fairly smoothly.  Inside, we were making butterflies using liquid starch and tissue squares.  Once they dry, we will add antenna and they will be ready to fly!

The water table was set-up to wash dishes.  Many kids practiced this skill with much success.  You may be able to utilize this at home.

The grocery store was once again turned into a restaurant.  This class much prefers dining out to going shopping.  Una, Eliza, and Bodhi were working at the restaurant while Addy was “Super Addy” protecting others from danger.

Outside, I noticed a couple of kids talking about zombie games.  I tried to figure it out, but I am definitely without zombie knowledge, so I continued to listen hoping to gain some insight.  Molly and Bodhi were busy scrubbing the play structure while Gus was washing the ground.  Everything looks ship shape now!

Liam and Simon were, as usual, playing their car game.  They had to work around the cleaners while the slide was being washed, but other than that, they were not slowed down at all.

With the rummage sale in the gym, we took a treasure hunt around the block.  We found beautiful leaves, petals, and flowers, cool pokey balls and sticks, and my favorite lichen – especially old man’s beard.

My thanks to Jake and Nathaniel for all of their help today!

Tuesday, April 23

Today we celebrated Harlan’s 4th birthday with a song and rainbow cake.  There were 6 helpers, but only two colors in the rainbow cake.  It is amazing how many colors you loose if you don’t have any red food coloring!

At the art table, Sara was working with the kids while they created their version of a caterpillar ala Eric Carle.  They are so darling!  And the ideas – he has to have legs, don’t forget the white in his eyes.  If your child made on, we attached it to their green houses.

Speaking of the green house gardens, be sure to ask you kids about them.  Only a few kids decided not to make one.  They are growing Sugar Snap Peas and I already see roots and green starting toward the top of the soil!

Morrie and I sat and worked on his book.  He finished his dictation, and we were able to read it to the class at the end of the day.  Nice job Morrie!  Three to go before our authors’ Tea on May 9th.

Outside, there was lots of action, some were creating a path for the truck to drive down using some boards and blocks.  Others were saving each other from bad pirates.  There was a question of how you know which pirates are bad and which are good, but I don’t think it was taken very seriously.  Alex was enjoying the play structure and hanging from the cross beams.  And, of course, there was lots of digging.

Inside, there was a large group that began by grocery shopping only to be found later under the loft sleeping and preparing for their lunch.  They were busy creating imaginative stories all morning.

During circle, we took a look at our caterpillars only to discover they were all chrysalides!  We learnt a song describing the journey of metamorphosis and acted out being each stage.

My thanks to Sara, Cara, and Debbie for all of their help today!

Monday, April 22 - What We Did Today!

Today we celebrated River’s 5th birthday with a song and chocolate cake!  There were only two full time bakers and one part timer.  The cake was ooey, gooey good!

At the art table, we were using various shapes of pasta to show the four stages of metamorphous a butterfly goes through.  Now that the caterpillars are all in the chrysalis stage, most of the kids can tell you all four stages.

Outside, Cheryl was busy the entire morning.  At first most of the kids were out there.  Bash, Sebastian and Addy were looking for worms.  Liam, Simon, and Bodhi were flying cars up the slide.  Others were running around chasing each other.

In the dramatic play area, I had set-up a grocery store.  Eliza was working the cash register while Margot shopped with her baby.  When I checked out my bill for ½ a bag of baking supplies was 98.31.  That’s even worse than Whole Foods!

I set-up some items in the water table for mixing.  There was glue and liquid starch and some food coloring, all liquids.  From these Josie, Gus and Lex created a solid, Glop!  We thought more kids might want to make some, but only Julian came over to work with the mixtures.  Josie told him what to do and ta-da!  A new substance.

Up in the loft, I have set-up a smaller version of our home area, so that those who love to play family will still be able to and sure enough, after shopping, Una, Eliza, and Bodhi took their groceries up to the loft and made dinner.

We read about dentists and the tools they use.  Then Pooky was ready for anyone who wanted to practice cleaning teeth.  We have also been reading a new chapter book called “The Princess in Black” which the kids seem to be really enjoying.

My thanks to Violet and Cheryl for all of their help today.  Also, to Julian who volunteered to help out today as his school had a day off.

Thursday, April 18 - What We Did Today!

Today we read “All About Me” written by Elliette Victor.  Elliette is number eight leaving us with only four more to write and read before our May 9th Authors’ Tea!

We had two grandmas help out today, Elliette’s Grandma and Harlan’s Nonie.  They did a super job with the kids, and I hope they enjoyed themselves.  At the art table with Nonie, we had various beads and stringing implements allowing kids some choices in what they would like to make and how.  Many of the kids took this on and persisted through with their plans.

Outside, kids were busy playing in the mud as well as on the slide.  It was a beautiful day, but many of the kids had no desire to go out.  They preferred dressing up as a fire fighter or astronaut with a jet pack on. 

Alex chose to build a marble run and got pretty far before others wanted to test it out.   He let them help out and they took turns running the marbles through the four levels of the marble run.

Several fancily dressed ladies headed through the area and ended in the library reading the “My Family” books by fellow preschoolers.

My thanks to Donna and Caroline for all of their help today!  It was a joy to have you.