This morning I was informed, "That ice is too thin. It will break if I step on it. I'm an ice expert." We have all become ice experts, or at least very dedicated novices, in the past few weeks, and there's nothing like looking at something really closely to make you come up with all sorts of questions. "Do you notice how the ice looks like it has bubbles in it over here?" "Why is it made up of crunchy crystals along this side?" "How did it get so smooth in this part?" We break the ice and inspect it closely, talk about the flow of water, and notice how even though our little waterfall has frozen along the top, water is rushing along underneath the ice. Watching everyone play in those calf deep crunch crystals, rolling and making snow angels, made me realize just how much we all could use a good snowfall. But the children were completely happy playing in, on, and around the ice.
Our Theme: The Haudenosaunee
One of my favorite parts about being part of a small, independent school like ours is developing my own curriculum. I have taught themes on the Haudenosaunee before, and each time I come to the topic from a slightly different angle. One year I focused our time on learning about the Great Law of Peace and the founding of the Iroquois Confederacy. Another year we really focused on tools: materials used, how tools were used, and how tools changed over time. This year I am really enjoying using stories as a way of learning about the Haudenosaunee. Each day we gather some information from our informational texts and listen to at least one story. At the end of each tale, we talk about any morals, what we can learn from the story, and make connections to the nonfiction books. Today when we read "Two Daughters," the children noticed that the 3 sisters (corn, beans, and squash) were mentioned in the story and that listening to your parents is clearly important to the Haudenosaunee.
Plays: Professional and Otherwise
Thank you to everyone who helped drive on our "Three Little Birds" field trip. The children filled their role as good audience members and got an amazing amount of information from the story given that the sound quality was not great. As a class, we talked about some of our favorite parts and favorite songs. We also used it to help us think about our own performance on Thursday and how we could make it as successful as possible.
Everyone worked to be ready for our version of "Rabbit's Snow Dance" and danced until their legs hurt on behalf of "Philadelphia Chickens." An extra thank you to Ally for her hard work getting the wings ready in time for the show given challenges ranging from the puppy who ate the felt to the glue gun that refused to operate. The children seemed proud of their work, and I hope everyone enjoyed the result. As I was busy dancing my heart out, I didn't get any pictures of this, so please do share any that came out well. I may have to stage a couple this next week with the whole class so that we can fully appreciate their dancing talent and beautiful wings.
Math: Greater Than, Less Than, Yesterday and Tomorrow
For young children, it can be confusing to figure out the relation of things. This is why we talk about how today is Friday, yesterday was Thursday, and tomorrow will be Saturday. I try to remind children what we did yesterday as a way to both activate their knowledge about a topic and help them remember that yesterday is the day before today. Understanding how numbers relate to each other is an important part of number sense. We play the card game "Number Top It" (aka War) and "Number Squeeze" to help us figure out which number in a pair is bigger. For children who have this concept down solidly, we add more numbers and try to make the same comparisons about greater than, less than, and equal to. This week we introduced the hungry crocodile mouth (she wants to eat the bigger number) you may all remember from your own early math days.