It has been a great beginning of the year, and I am so thrilled to be teaching again. After being part-time these past 3 years, it's such fun to be building a class community with your children.
What have we been up to so far? We've been playing and exploring for a big part of each day. Imaginations have created a train service (in the red wagon), a lawn mower clown act, and lots of stories about dinosaurs. Our morning recess and adventure walks in the stream have been highlights for everyone. While we haven't made it to the waterfall upstream, we plan to get there before too long.
Social and Classroom Skills
We are establishing how we work and play together. We created a class constitution to help define our rules. Everyone is learning how our day ebbs and flows from Morning Meeting to our daily afternoonwalk. Each activity has its own set of expectations in terms of our bodies, our words, and our actions. Role playing helps everyone to figure out strategies for different specific situations. Starting with Aliki's bookManners, the children generated a list of "Apology by Action." Sometimes just saying, "I'm sorry" doesn't really make our friends feel better, so we ask them what action on our part can improve the situation. Our list is still growing, but it includes help fixing something we broke, a hug, a run for an ice pack, or a special drawing.
We read-aloud 2 or 3 stories each day. The children are all pretty careful picture detectives, looking for clues about the story in the illustrations and knowing that the pictures help to tell the story. We have started to meet Houghton Mifflin's "Alphafriends" that connect a letter with an animal picture and a little song. So far we introduced Sammy Seal and Reggie Rooster. The children generated lots of words that share those starting sounds, good practice for our reading and writing. We have been playing with rhymes as well in songs, stories, and other activities. Each of the children has been working on "All About Me" book that will go home this next week.
We practice counting each day. Sometimes we skip count by 2's, 5's, or 10's. We start at numbers other than 0, and practice both counting up and counting down. Our pattern on the calendar has prompted many children to find and create other patterns around the classroom. We played "Penny Snatch" on a number of different occasions and made some interesting number discoveries. This morning we made rolls, a fun combination of science, math, art, and eating. Hopefully everyone enjoyed the ones that went home.
This is a an art loving class. When we are dancing, everyone listens to the music to hear the rhythms, and in many of our songs, to follow directions (clapping, turning, and tapping). Music also helps to set the tone for different parts of the day. After reading, A Picture for Harold's Room, we experimented with taking our "warm color" crayons for a walk across the page, and then used "cool color" watercolor paints to make the crayon lines "pop." When the homeschoolers joined us on Thursday, everyone had the chance to make a simple book, and then do leaf rubbings in them.
Beginning of the Year Check-In
I'd love to have each family stay after school for a short meeting either next week or the following week. I'll have a sign-up in the classroom on Monday. This is a chance for us to touch base now that the school year has started and address any questions.
Have a wonderful weekend, and I'll see you on Monday!