We all had so much fun this past week reveling in the warm weather, and it was amazing to just put on our shoes and head outside without layering up first. Everyone made the trek to the waterfall on Thursday morning - something we had attempted earlier in the year but never actually completed. We got typically muddy, finding some really nice clay and great puddles. The nice weather looks like it may be around for a bit, but do keep those extra clothes stocked and send a rain jacket if the forecast looks wet.
Fairy Tales Around the World and Close to Home
Thank you to everyone for helping to get us to The Egg for the ballet Cinderella. The children had some interesting reflections and questions about the performance. "Why did the clock have legs and hands?" "There really weren't any words at all. They did it all with their bodies." I was curious to see how this version compared to other ones they had seen or read. A few children noticed that the prince in the ballet had brown skin and Cinderella had white skin. While we have a number of books in the classroom that have princes of color, they generally appear in books where everyone else has brown or black skin. We talked about how it was neat to see this diversity represented in the performance.
We have been talking about how many different cultures have Cinderella tales, so this week we looked at a world map, located where we live, and tried to mark spots for the different tales we've heard. I wanted the children to begin to understand that these tales really do come from all corners of the globe. This week we read The Irish Cinderlad (with a boy taking the main protagonist's role), The Tale of the Crocodile (from Indonesia), The Golden Sandal (from Iraq) and Mufaro's Beautiful Daughters: An African Tale. It's interesting to try to identify what makes these Cinderella tales or what might make them a different sort of story.
Edible Math and the Function Machine
Everyone got very excited when I told them they could eat their math lesson on Tuesday. We were playing a game called "Snack Train." The children rolled a die that was marked with addition (+) and subtraction (-) signs, flipped a card, and then either made their snack train longer by adding popcorn or made it shorter by subtracting popcorn. I told them they didn't have to eat it, but everyone seemed willing. This was one of those lessons where there were lots of different entry points. Everyone could practice recognizing the symbols, knowing what those symbols meant, and counting out the appropriate numbers. For some of the students, they wanted to know how many were in their train, and this gave them the chance to use a variety of strategies for adding and subtracting.
I also introduced the children to my super special "Function Machine." I am big believer that by introducing the idea of functions and algebra at an early age, they seem much less intimidating. The children are going to be making their own machines this week, so I'll let them show you how they work and why they are super special.
Technically, we're not studying frogs right now, but we did spend some time on them this week because we discovered one on an afternoon adventure walk who didn't look especially well. We had a discussion about hibernation and food sources. Then we read one of my favorite springtime books Peeping and Sleeping. And Nancy did a whole series of frog activities on Thursday. She brought in some observation tools for us to use: magnifying glasses, magnifying boxes, and a plastic bag (to protect amphibians from our dry skin). We studied wood frog eggs, and Nancy told us that they take about two months to turn into frogs. Then she showed us a bullfrog tadpole and told us they take 2 years to grow into frogs. She told us a story that some of us heard at the fundraising event in March about a frog in Australia who caused a drought.
Earth Day Celebration, Friday April 22, 11 am
We'll be getting an order of 30 seedlings from NYS DEC this week to plant around the school grounds and hopefully help to further stabilize the stream bank. Please feel free to join us as we dig holes, plant, and water our seedlings. Bring your lunch, and we'll have a picnic when we're done.
I hope you had a great weekend, and I'll see you tomorrow!