Friday, January 18 - What We Did Today!

Today we read “How Full Is Your Bucket” a book that explains to kids that we each have a bucket that is fills up when we are kind and helpful and empties when we are unkind or mean.  This is a concept the kids usually understand as they can see the drops in the pictures going in or coming out.  Then we drew pictures of how we fill buckets at school.  I will turn this into a book, and we can read it together.  I am hoping to create a stronger community among us.

Outside, Jake was a Yeti the entire morning!  I think he deserves some type of recognition for this feat!  Yay, Jake!

Brittni was working with the many soon to be movie stars within the classroom as they talked with her on camera about Addy and Moebius Syndrome.  Don’t forget, January 24 National Moebius Syndrome day so wear purple to support Addy!

The ice in the water table was being hammered, bashed, and nailed in order to break it up into smaller pieces.  The kids were constantly looking for new ways to make this happen.  One kid brought over a screw driver to hammer into the ice, another thought that the hand drill would be a good way to break things up.  Thinking, testing, and moving forward!

Second circle, we told the story of The Mitten with puppets.  The kids enjoyed watching as each of the animals crawled inside of the mitten.  On Wednesday, we will act the story out with masks.

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

Thursday, January 17 - What We Did Today!

Today we made snow from shaving cream, glue, and white paint to paint on our trees.  I saw snow flurries, trees laden with snow and trees standing bare in the night, all of which are possible at this time of year.

During circle, 11 kids sat quietly in a circle while I read The Mitten.  They answered questions I asked about the story and theorized on what might happen next.  My Butterfly class can’t do this yet!  After gym, I brought it out again along with puppets of the characters in the story that also stuck on a felt board.  This time I acted out the story with the puppets asking kids what came next.  Their recall was great.  These kids continue to amaze me!

We added more snow to the snow table.  The kids helped to mix it up and then started playing again.  They like the way this snow feels.  Harlan put it into a basket and called it a cake while she wandered the room asking if anyone wanted some cake.  Several of the kids were using the snowplow to remove snow from the road ways.  Alicia who is from Colorado was telling me they don’t bring out the snowplows until there is a foot of snow on the ground.  I, of course, warned her of our dusting of snow which can shut the city down!

Alex, with James help, built an amazing marble run using the floor, table and stereo to get height.

At the Bubber table, we were practicing our shapes.  We cut out circles, diamonds, pentagons, triangles, rectangles, and y’s.  Oliver and Cordelia were creating new food with their bubber – salami bread and strawberry blueberry cake.

My thanks to Alicia and James for all of their help today!

Wednesday, January 16 - What We Did Today!

Today we talked about winter and what people do in the winter.  Then we wondered what animals do in the winter.  The kids came up with two ideas, camouflage and hibernation.  We talked a little about both and then headed to the art table to make a den for a bear and then add snow.  Most of this is set up much like a craft which is not where I was headed but was enough for some of the kids.  Others went the next step which was to make their own bears to add to the snowy scene.  I was so impressed with what they came up with!  They are all original works of art, no adult interference.

Outside Sebastian and Gus played with the sand and trucks for quite a while.  Tony hung with them throughout the cold until they were ready to come in.

Una asked if Pippa would like to play and when I told her I was sure she would, Una took her carefully around reading to her and caring for her. She came over to me and said that she remember that Pippa liked to dance. She then proceeded to show Pippa some of her dance moves.

The ice in the water table scaffolded to the next level as Liam ask if he could use a nail and hammer on the ice.  Once I suggested a few ground rules off he went breaking pieces of ice off the larger chunks.  He was joined off and on by others, also interested in hammering the ice.

In dramatic play, several kids were putting kitchen items into the bucket and pulling it up to the loft to dump there.  They seemed to have a plan, so I reminded them that it would be a lot of work to cleanup when they were finished.  They didn’t mind so on they went.  By cleanup time, they were not as happy, but they eventually managed to clean the loft and put things back where they belong.

The desire to build is huge with these kids and they are working on building something specific.  They use Magna tiles, Legos, straws and connectors and Duplos.  There was a boat, house, plane, and a two wheeled cart!  This is done not only during quiet game time but also throughout the day.

We are still having difficulty at circle, but we will continue to work on listening and following directions.  My thanks to Rachel and Tony for all of their help today!

Tuesday, January 15 - What We Did Today!

Today we celebrated June’s 3 ½ birthday with rainbow cake and a song.  The cake was filled with beautiful bright colors.  And the cake was good too!

Only one kid wanted to go outside, so Ayo was out in the freezing wind most of the morning as he dug and played.  Thanks Ayo.

At the art table, we were making snowflakes using colored glue on top of plastic.  As the glue dries, we will peel off the glue and it will stick to the window. I think they enjoyed adding the glitter to the glue more than anything else.

The kids and I were checking the thermometer in the water table again today.  It is kind of neat to watch as the red line goes up and down depending on whether it is in the water or out in the air.

At the dry table, walls were being built to save the penguins from the snow plow, I think.  Others were burying the igloo, making snowballs, or using the sled to move the Inuit from place to place.

In dramatic play the favorite game of family was busily going on.  They had Mom, sister and baby.  Mom was busy cleaning up the house, sound familiar?  That’s what happens when you have two kids!

One of our kids was jumping off of the table onto the crash pad for the first time and was so proud of herself, she did it over and over.

Finally, we read The Snowman a story about a boy who makes a snowman and then flies around with him.  In the morning the snowman is melted.  I asked the kids if they thought the boy was having a dream or did it really happen.  I heard, “It wasn’t a dream.  He really melted!”  My thanks to Amber and Ayo for all of their help today!

Monday, January 14 - What We Did Today!

Today we celebrated Margot’s 4 ½ birthday with a song and strawberry cake.  Our bakers are almost ready for the British Baking Show!

During circle, we talked about snow compared to rain, hail, and ice.  Then those that wanted to, stayed and made snowflakes by folding and cutting paper.  Wow, I was impressed with the cutting abilities many of the kids were showing.  The snowflakes came out awesome!  Some of them had so much pride in what they had done, that they continued for quite a while after circle cutting, folding, noticing the differences in each snowflake!  Margot began noticing other things in her snowflakes like a jack-o-lantern and stars and clouds.

I didn’t have much time outside even though Aaron was there most of the morning.  When I checked on Molly though, she explained to me that she and Aaron had built what I would call a sculpture.  It was very interesting although, the wind was so strong, pieces of it were being blown off.

The snow in the dry table feels like snow, including the coldness of snow!  Check it out if you haven’t yet.  The kids have been making snowballs with it, burying the igloo in it, and creating stories using the dog sled and people.

For some reason, the loft was busy.  Not with musical instruments, but with kids and food.  I don’t know quite what they were doing, but they did a good job of cleaning up by the end.

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

Wednesday, January 9 - what We Did Today!

Huge energy day today. What? In this group? I know, but the good news is it is usually a happy energy without ability to listen to anyone over 4 feet tall! We talked about ice and what we had done with ice. Rowan and others let us know that ice was really frozen water. Margot reminded us that ice melts when it gets warmer. At the art table, I was working with the kids on a project. There were many layers to the project including measuring, cutting, fine motor skills, and patience. We were making crystals out of borax. We measured with a ruler and with a measuring cup. We slowly stirred the borax one spoonful at a time, into boiling water. We continued stirring borax into the water until it no longer disappeared, saturation, then added a snowflake shaped pipe cleaner. As the water evaporates, the borax will join together onto the pipe cleaner creating crystals. Circles were difficult again, but we will keep pushing onward! I started reading a chapter book, Polar Bears Past Bedtime, a Magic Tree House book. If you are not aware of Magic Tree House, look into them. They are a great way to move into chapter book reading with your kids. Kids love them, and they learn some amazing things. Several kids headed to the marble run today, building smaller versions to test. Sometimes this leads to collaboration which is always nice. Legos are another opportunity to talk with each other while building individually. My thanks to Tony and Lisa for all of their help today!

Tuesday, January 8 - What We Did Today!

Today we enjoyed another calm day as the kids moved around the centers working alone or with others.

At circle we talked about PJ Day happening on Thursday.  We will have a great time.  Each of the kids let us know which pajamas they would be wearing.  They are getting pretty excited!

At the water table, the ice bergs and Arctic animals have been of interest.  This group is mainly interested in saving the seal frozen in the ice.  They also seem to see this as an opportunity to test their ability to keep their hands submerged in icy cold water.

We painted with colored ice at the art table, testing various types of paper to see which we liked best.  The colors were beautiful, and the kids jumped right in some using their hands to hold the ice cubes while others stuck with the stick to manipulate the ice.

We are so lucky as a school to have so many artist parents.  Today, Josh was here and while the kids were working with bubber, he was sculpting a head using the same tools the kids had.  No one was trying to copy him, but they were watching and noticing how he used different tools.  Definitely a cool learning environment!

The dry table with its’ flax seed and construction vehicles was building new roads.  Knox, James and I were using different trucks as we worked on the road.  Knox could name everyone of the trucks and tell me what they do.

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

Monday, January 7 - What We Did Today!

Today there was an enormous amount of energy.  We did some stretching and breathing and before gym, we did some yoga to help calm everyone down.  Half way through gym, I could hear the kids slowing finally.  They weren’t as loud and were moving at a more normal pace.

Circles were a bit tough, but we were able sing at one circle and each of the kids had an opportunity to share orally with the class.

At the art table, we were painting with colored ice.  We ran into some problems when it appeared we were only going to get clear water on the paper.  However, we were able to somewhat fix this later on.

Many of the kids were working with the bubber.  It has a very different feel to it than play dough and the tools work differently with it as well.  The kids seem to enjoy the feel of it compared to play dough. 

The water table has ice bergs, Acrtic animals, and cold water.  We have talked a bit about why the water is so cold as well as where the ice goes.  Once again, we put the thermometer into the water and watched as, first, the red line moved down and then after taking it out of the water, it moved back up again! 

Outside, the kids were digging for worms and with Violet’s help found many.  River told me they put them in the hot tub!?  Needless to say, there were many happy kids walking around with squirmy worms and a big smile!

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

Friday, January 4 - What We Did Today!

Today we celebrated Addy and Eliza’s 4 ½ birthday with chocolate cake and a song.  The kids helping with the cake did a great job as the many empty plates showed!

In circle, we talked about “Yeti”.  I asked the kids what they knew about Yeti.  The list we ended up with was rather confusing for me.  Here is an example, “they’re brown and furry,” “they’re white,” they’re blue and furry,” “they eat cookies,” “they eat people,” “they eat bunnies,” and “they eat leaves.”  About the only thing they agreed on was that they were big.

I suggested we do some research for factual information which we will continue on Monday.  Of course, this didn’t stop them from creating more traps outside.  Especially, given the excellent Yeti substitute they had available!  Brad was outside the entire day being overtaken by Yeti traps.  Thanks to him, many of your kids will sleep well tonight!

Inside, I had mixed up a secret potion containing Epsom salts and hot water.  The task was for the kids to draw a picture or design on their paper and then paint over the picture with the potion.  Of course, the secret potion took a while before it dried leaving a frosty look on their papers.

The water table complete with ice, water, and winter animals created some good back and forth when it was discovered that two animals were trapped inside the ice.  How to get them out?  How did they get there to start with?  Different thoughts were tossed around when one of them was halfway out of the ice.  They noticed that the ice was melting into the table allowing the animals to get out.

With another group, we were talking about the temperature.  They were sure the water was colder than the ice.  We used a thermometer to see the change between outside, in the water and on the ice.  My thanks to Brittni and Brad for all of their help today!

Thursday, January 3 - What We Did Today!

Happy New Year!  I hope you all enjoyed a wonderful holiday season with those you love!  I missed these kids so much

The kids did a great job today.  There was a little uncertainty as they attempted to join others to play.  Some needed my help with the words while others chose to play alone for a while.

The water table has blocks of ice floating in water along with Artic animals.  The kids told me they were going to break up the ice into small pieces.  When I asked what the polar bears would do without the ice, I was told that they could float on the small ice cubes.

Bubber, the strange sand/play dough mix, brought several kids to work with various tools flattening, cutting, and squishing.  Baker was making an interesting noise while running his cutting tool back and forth across the mix.  When I asked him if he was a work truck, I was told very clearly that he was working with the tools.

The art table was set with a box of different paper types, shapes, and sizes along with other media for collage making.  Although not popular right away, several kids eventually made their way over to the table to create a collage.  Lisette added a whole different realm when she used the glue container lids as part of her collage!

There was a lot of cooking in the dramatic play area where Elliette, Seyi, Cordelia, and Oliver had been working on many culinary creations.  Fruit salad with maple syrup, eggs with hot salsa, and salad with blueberries added.

A lot of activity was occurring in the car and truck area with Lisette and James building with blocks.  James added speed bumps to the road using blocks!  My thanks to Griffin and Josh for all of their help today.

Wednesday, January 2 - What We Did Today!

Happy New Year!  I hope you all enjoyed a wonderful holiday season with those you love!  I missed these kids so much, I told my husband I had lost my joy.  Well, today I found it and it is your children!

The kids did a great job today.  They were busy working well together in almost every center throughout the day, including outside.  Angie was out the entire free choice time helping to test Yeti traps.  I think I had better look deeper into Yeti as a possible study.  They aren’t letting this one go!

The bubber was being cut, squished, and built with by up to six kids at a time.  It took a reminder about asking and offering bubber when someone joins in, but after that all was smooth.

There were ice blocks in the water table along with some winter animals and water.  Several questions came up about the icy cold water and the blocks change.  Of course, I had to throw out some propaganda regarding the ice melting in the North leaving less available for the polar bears and others to survive.

The art table was set up with some new collage materials and several kids took time to create interesting works of art.  I love putting a box of “stuff” on the table along with paper, glue and scissors and then watch comes out.

At the dry table, we were building with construction trucks.  We placed the appropriate signs of warning around the area and then began constructing.

At circle we were talking about winter and what activities we like to do in the winter.  Snow ball fights was the number one pick with building snow people are number two.  Here’s to some snow through the winter for the kids to enjoy!

My thanks to Aaron and Angie for all of their help today!

Tuesday, December 11 - What We Did Today!

Today we celebrated Lisette’s 4th birthday with a song and rainbow cake.  This was a bright and delicious rainbow for sure!

We talked a bit about Kwanzaa, the African American celebration remembering the African roots and community.  We made our own kinara, a candle holder with seven candles, by layering dried beans to represent the harvest.

There was a lot of team work at the dry table as kids were filling up pails with flax meal.  They worked hard together to get as much of the meal as possible.  I have to be careful as I find myself jumping in when, in reality, they are solving problems together without help.

We have been singing songs that are appropriate for each of our celebrations – Jingle Bells for Winter Solstice, We Wish You a Merry Christmas for Christmas, Dreidel, Dreidel, Dreidel for Hanukkah, and Habari Gani for Kwanzaa. 

We are all excited about the Winter Celebration Luncheon and are looking forward to seeing some of you there!  My thanks to James and Alicia for all of their help!


Monday, December 10

Today we read “All About Me” by Josie Zoradi, “All About Me” by River Anderson, and “All About Me” by Sebastian Johnson.  The kids are really excited when it is their book being read.  Several of them have come up to me to read the book themselves!

While the kids were helping with the cake, I was working with a weaving project.  We made Mkeka, a woven mat to place fruits and vegetables from the harvest.  This is not an easy task, but many of the kids persevered.  To make this last longer, I laminated the final project so that it may be used for a place mat or to hang on a wall.

Violet had many kids outside, but they didn’t last very long before they returned to the classroom.  I think it was just a bit too cold!

The water table with the foam mat, soap, and warm water is a great way to work through some sensory needs.  The physical work being done is very calming as is the warm water.

Josie turned 4 ½ and we celebrated with rainbow cake and a song.  My thanks to Trisha and Violet for all of their help today!

Friday, December 7 - What We Did Today!

Today we read “All About Me” by Bodhi McIntyre and “All About Me” by Una Solmon.  The kids are really excited when it is their book being read.  I am trying to ask those listening questions about the book that help to show how they are the same and how they are different.

I was working on a special project with the kids at the art table, so I wasn’t around to see a lot of what was happening, but things seemed to be moving smoothly.  The kids really enjoyed their project and were happy to be having their turn.  The bubber at the play dough table is still a big hit.  There were dreidels, snow people, menorahs, and trees cut out of the dough.   If you haven’t checked it out yet, do so, it is an amazing texture.

Lisa had quite a few kids outside creating what looked like a very fun obstacle course.  Rowan and Bash were there until I had to force them in for clean-up!

All of these kids have been working well with each other lately.  They are solving their own problems, switching partners back and forth throughout play, and trying new things!  My thanks to Rachel and Lisa for all of their help today!

Thursday, December 6 - What We Did Today!

This group is awesome!  We were working on a special project for our families, so I didn’t get to see much of what was happening, but I couldn’t help but hear much of what was going on inside.

First of all, we were lucky to have Josh, Elliette’s Dad, talk with the kids about Hanukkah and dreidels.  He brought each of them their very own dreidel and they were busy practicing for quite a while before placing it in their cubby only to be brought out again later for more practicing!

Ali was outside almost the entire morning with many kids.  She told me that they were working really well working together and problem solving when there were difficulties.

The water table has a foam pad in it with soap and water on top.  I could see the proprioceptive senses working overtime with a couple of the kids as they pushed down on the 4 inches of foam bringing up warm soapy water. 

The sensory table had bubber today.  It looks a bit like play dough, but it is more like kinetic sand, solid one minute than slipping into a liquid like form.  Kids were using various cookie cutters to create shapes.

We read about out last “Can Do Kid” today, Seyi.  All twelve of our “Can Do Kids” are now up on the bulletin board in the front of the room.  Invitations for the winter celebration went home today.  Be sure to search for it so you know the time and the place.  I talked with the kids about what fruit and veggie they would like to bring and was happy to hear a variety of answers giving us a good chance our soup will not be strictly carrot, nor will out fruit salad be apple!

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

Wednesday, December 5 - What We Did Today!

This group continues to grow!  They are loud and energetic, but very involved with each other and the environment.

In circle today, we recapped Diwali, Winter Solstice, and Hanukkah then talked about Santa Lucia.  The Saint of Light, St. Lucy, is celebrated in the Scandinavian countries especially Sweden.  The oldest daughter of the family dresses in white with a crown of lights on her head to wake up the parents and serve them breakfast.

We didn’t go very far into the celebration, but we did use an orange and a flash light to explain why so many of the winter celebrations involve bringing back the light.  It gets very dark in the Northern Hemisphere in winter!

Outside, Kristin had anywhere from two to seven kids playing in the sunny, cold outdoors.  They were finding new ways to use the coaster from the roller coaster while also creating bigger ramps then ever before with the help of the slide.

Inside, Brad was working with those that were interested in making a crown of candles for Santa Lucia Day.  Several kids joined in creating various styles of crowns.  Lex, once finished, created an amazing collage with various papers that he cut in to different sizes and taped or stapled together. 

I was working with kids that were interested in recreating diyas as the previous diyas had been hammered into chunks of clay by a caterpillar student.  Most of the kids weren’t fazed which surprised me, because I was still trying to let it go.

Today we read “All About Me” by Lex Hutcheson, “All About Me” by Simon Darmofal, and “All About Me” by Molly Herbst.  My thanks to Brad and Kristin for all of their help today!

Monday, December 3 - What We Did Today!

Today the kids, although loud, were still working mainly together.  In circle, I told the story of Hanukkah and the miracle of the oil.  As a way to revisit this, we made donuts cooking them in hot oil all the while talking about how many days the oil lasted and why that was amazing.

Because this took the entire free time, I didn’t make it outside to see what the kids were up to.  Lisa told me that they had built an obstacle course that they were enjoying.

Inside, besides the donuts, Brittni was working with each kid to design an invitation to our winter celebration.  We used blue paint and a dreidel.  I noticed that some kids spun the dreidel to spread the paint, while others used the dreidel as a way to stroke the paint on the paper once again showing how we are all alike and we are all different!

We were able to read three of our All About Me books to the class today.  We read “All About Me” by Addy Jones, “All About Me” by Sebastian Riggs, and “All About Me” by Eliza Jones.

We are also reading our books to each other with the idea that we will discover more about each other as well as practice reading.  My thanks to Brittni and Lisa for all of their help today!

Friday, November 30 - What We Did Today!

Today the kids had a great day.  There was some conflict, but that’s what we are here for.  They were loud and energetic but playing and working well together.  Even in circle, they each shared something with the circle which included anything from what they wanted for Christmas to how they were feeling.  They sat through a summary of Diwali, diyas, and light before we talked about the winter solstice or Yule, and the candles and evergreens that represent light and return of the harvest.

At the art table, Angie worked with those that wanted to make a Solstice candle.  Despite being a project more than a process, I love to see how different they all turn out.

Aaron was outside the entire time working with kids creating something to do with Yeti’s.  If Mark only knew what he started with the Yeti traps, I think he would be surprised at the direction this play has gone.

I was working with all of the kids to bind their books.  We used a simple two holes and yarn to do this.  The kids had a bit of time to check out their books before returning them to me.

After snack, we read our books to each other.  We will continue to do this for the next two weeks getting use to reading pictures while learning about each other.  We will be able to see how we are a like and how we are different.

Today we read our first All About Me book.  This one was written by Margot Zieske.  Feel free to have the kids read their books to you when you are in the classroom.  Many of them are very proud of themselves!

My thanks to Angie and Aaron for all of their help today!