The Magic of Yes
“Can we do a sewing project?” “Sure.” Theresa had children giving up prized items as collateral for needles as they embarked on a wide variety of sewing projects. Each child had a vision, and she did her best to support them in their vision.
We try to say, “Yes!” when the children ask if we can sing a special song or try an experiment with mud or play checkers or make the longest pattern possible out of locking cubes. I ask children, "How could we do that? What materials do you think we need?" They make a plan, modify it as the project unfolds, and I help from the wings. There are times when we say, “No.” because we are in the middle of another project, but as often as possible we try to re-visit these ideas, giving the children a chance to help shape their learning and knowing that we all learn best when we’re really excited to do something.
Song and Dance
Every single day we sing in the classroom. We sing when we gather for our morning circle, for many of our transitions to snack or lunch, when we’re lining up to go outside, and at the end of the day. Many of the songs work on counting down or phonetic skills. “Banana-fana” may not seem like a skill building song, but the ability to change beginning phonetic sounds is a literacy skill. Finding a rhyme is a literacy skill. These skills help children in their reading and writing.
Even with a short week, we sang Los Elefantes, Hunt the Cows, Hambone, The Planet Song, El Burrito Enfermo, Blue Sky City, La Arana Pequenita, and Down By the Bay. We also did Freeze Dance to a few songs from Putumayo's Latin Dance Party.
The children are also making some impressive progress with their recorders. Besides picking them up during their free choice times, we are dedicating a little bit of morning meeting on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays to playing. Wait until you hear us rock “Hot Cross Buns.”
Theme Change: Space to Eric Carle
We wrapped up our space them this last week and sang “The Planet Song” a bunch of times to celebrate. Our solar system will be coming down, and all of the stars are going home. We talked about what we had observed in our Moon Journals. I told the children they could bring them in to share or leave them at home. My main goal in doing the journals is to give the children lots of chances to observe the moon and its changes. Judging from the discussions that we have had at school where they are beginning to use "waxing," "waning," and "Gibbous moon" correctly, I feel like we met that goal. Even the children who don't quite have all of the vocabulary down will find it more familiar the next time they encounter it.
Inspired by our Mermaid Puppet Theater performance, we are doing a mini study on Eric Carle. The children are familiar with many of his stories and his illustrations are pretty unique. It makes him a great author and illustrator to study because when we talk about his style, the children have lots of examples to drawn on. We did some compare and contrast work with his stories and other stories. The children created papers in an "Eric Carle" style, mixing paint and using their brushes in innovative ways to mimic the richness and texture of his colors. Then we cut those papers up to make collages like the ones in Brown Bear, Brown Bear. We wrote our collective story and read it as a class. As we immersed ourselves in Eric Carle's rich colors, we reviewed how to say and write the names of the colors in Spanish and made tissue paper rainbows.