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Feeling Thankful

I know that as adults we can have mixed feelings about the first snowfall, but in the eyes of the class, snow is nothing short of magic. They laugh, spin, flop, and revel in it. We throw snowballs at each other. They shovel pathways around the playground. We also take the time to examine snowflakes close up, discover frozen ice crystals in the sandbox, and describe our observations. I feel thankful for all of our families for outfitting the children to handle spending all of this time outside in the cold.

Stone Soup, Turkeys, and Counting Our Blessings

Thanksgiving is one of my favorite holidays, and we pulled out a few of my favorite Thanksgiving books in the past few weeks. I also told the story of "Stone Soup." Though it is not technically a Thanksgiving story, it is a story about sharing what we have and coming together as a community through a shared meal. To me, that is the essence of Thanksgiving, and we made our own stone soup on Tuesday. The children brought in a wide variety of ingredients to wash and chop for our soup. We re-told the story as we put the different ingredients in the pot, and everyone had a pint of soup to bring home and share with family. When Nancy came, she told us the story of "The Mouse and the Turkey." She also shared turkey feathers, wings, a tail, a foot, and an egg model. The children even had the chance to try using a turkey call. Theresa led us all in an activity to count our blessings (counting by fives). The children discussed and drew many of the things that make them feel thankful: family, friends, and food were among the common themes.

Theme Change: Eric Carle to Maps

Our Eric Carle study continued as we read Pancakes, Pancakes. This book served as a jumping off point to talk about "how-to" books. The children talked about things they know how to do from feeding the chickens to making a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. Then they used paper to plot out the steps that are needed to follow the process to completion. We also read The Scarecrow Clock, a book illustrated by Eric Carle, and practiced using our arms as the hands of clocks to make different times. We also made clocks and used them to make different times. Some of the children are working on identifying the numbers around the clock while others are working on being able to tell time to the nearest five minutes (more counting by fives). The older math students have been working on time books, talking about what we do at different times of the day and the difference between a.m. and p.m. This is something you can talk about at home as well, the time when you wake up, eat lunch, have dinner, go to bed, and do other daily routines.

We'll be studying maps these next few weeks: making maps of the classroom and the playground, looking at maps of the country, and maps of the world. If you have any map books or resources that you would like to share with the class, please feel free to send them in.

Experimenting with Color

You may have wondered about the series of colorful dots that came home last week. One of our recent wonderful guest readers read two Herve Tullet books to us Press Here and Mix It Up! While both books play with color, the second one invites children to actively mix colors. Most of us know that yellow and blue make green, but for many children it seems pretty amazing that this can happen. Using oil pastels we layered different colors, then used a finger to mix them up. We started with the primary colors from the book, but after guiding them through those, I let the children flip over their papers and just experiment. I thought this would hold their attention for another ten minutes, but they were utterly intrigued and just ran with it. "Come see this one! Guess what I mixed to get it?" They were so excited that I had to remind them to use their inside voices, but really I was thrilled. After another twenty minutes, I got them to reluctantly put their papers away so we could go outside for recess. I did remind them that they could experiment with the pastels during any free choice time, and a number of them said they couldn't wait to do more.

When I see the children light up, I feel so very lucky to be working in this school. Please know how thankful I am for the chance to share your children and learn with them each week!

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