As I write this, I am racing a thunderstorm, hoping that I can finish before we lose power. Please forgive any extra typos and mistakes.
Thank you for sending in suits and towels so that we could stay cool this week. Between the sprinkler, watering our plants, and watering each other, everyone managed to get truly drenched each of our really hot days.
Our Theme: Senses
This week we read My Five Senses to talk explicitly about the ways that we use each of our senses and how we often use input from more than one sense to really understand the richness of a moment. Touch the Poem provided us with some striking sense images and gave us a chance to try to define how poems are different from prose. The children wrote a poem about something they really like to touch or something they really don't like to touch. We practiced identifying geometric shapes and other objects from around our classroom using solely our sense of touch. We experimented with fruit flavored gummies to see how their taste changed when we had our noses pinched closed. Ask your children if I could tell more flavors with my nose open or closed. We read The Handmade Counting Book, a beautifully illustrated book that shows how to make numbers in sign language. It was an interesting merging of math and literacy skills, and we tried to figure out the logic behind the forming of each number.
A big focus of our week was preparing for the parent luncheon on Friday. The children scrubbed carrots, potatoes, cucumbers, broccoli, tomatoes, celery, lettuce, peppers, and strawberries. We talked and demonstrated safe knife handling skills before getting to work on some serious chopping. The children worked on the differences between chopped, diced, and minced. Most of us cried from the onions at one point or another. We measured amounts as we went to make sure that we were making enough. Our compost bucket became full with all the extra skins and vegetables ends that didn't make the cut (pardon the pun) for our soups and salads. The table got a thorough scrub down at least three times each day, and we all had some sparkling clean hands. We reinforced lots of our learning about the senses as we did all of the cooking.
Bugs, Bugs, Beautiful Bugs
With the warmer weather, we have all been noticing lots more bugs. While we do flush the occasional tick down the toilet and squish black flies when they are munching on our faces, we try to cultivate a sense of awe and wonder around bugs. The children (inspired in part by Nancy's last visit where she talked to us about bees) will yell to each other, "There's a bee over here, collecting pollen!" A few interested friends will run over to see what's happening, and they all look closely to see what exactly the bee is doing on that flower. On Thursday morning, the homeschoolers joined us for a macroinvertebrate search in the creek. I had printed out a variety of guides. My goal isn't necessarily for the children to all be able to identify a damselfly versus a mayfly larvae, but I do want them to start noticing that different macroinvertebrates have a different number of tails or hooks on the ends of their legs. If they want to start naming them too, that's great, but looking closely and noticing the differences is more important here. On Thursday afternoon, Nancy was here (as I'm sure the children mentioned). Our favorite naturalist and storyteller was teaching us about bug homes this week. She pulled out a wide variety of homes, and we talked about all of the different materials the bugs were using (mud, leaves, pine needles, wood, plant stems) to make their homes. She encouraged the children to think about the size and shape of the insect that could be living in each home. Nancy also taught the children a story they could tell their families about a tailor with a beautiful coat. The sheet that they brought home should help them remember the steps of the story.
New Theme: Simple Machines
We'll be heading to Hanford Mills on Wednesday for a full day field trip. They have a series of activities designed for us to learn about simple machines, and we'll be doing some explorations of our own in the classroom.
Hope you are enjoying your long weekend, and we'll see you on Tuesday!