Our Theme: NYS History
This week was all about our play. We did vocal warm-ups, stretched our bodies, pushed our imaginations, and did our best to root ourselves into the ground. The children turned their bodies into statues reflecting some of the key words of the play: explore, trade, and excite. We made a recording of one of our rehearsals, watched it, and reflected on what we noticed. All that hard work resulted in a great performance and a proud cast of children.
As we continued to learn more about the journeys of immigrants during colonial times, we imagined ourselves in the hold of a ship. We made hardtack to see what we might have eaten during that journey. They worked in two groups to read the recipe, counted out cups of flour, and helped coach each other through the mixing process. The children were sort of awed and horrified by the solidity of the result, and we talked about how people might have softened their hardtack in tea or other beverages.
We spent a little time looking at the traditions of Groundhog Day and learning more about groundhogs (aka whistle pigs or woodchucks). We watched Punxsutawney Phil's prognostication for this year (six more weeks of winter). We talked about how he's right about half of the time which means he's not a very accurate weather forecaster. We read Groundhog Weather School and found some interesting facts mixed in with the fiction. Did you know that a groundhog only breathes once every 4 minutes when she is hibernating? Ask your child about the different "rooms" that a groundhog makes in his burrow.
Sliding in the Snow
The children got in touch with their inner penguins and otters as they found lots of different places to slide in the woods and along the creek on our adventure walks. We had some discussions about acceptable places for sliding - no big rocks, no trees in the path, no rusty metal, and a gentle way to end (like not in the creek). They were so very excited when they found a good spot, and before I could blink they would be organized in a line, taking turns down the slide. I love watching them when they self-regulate like this not needing me to provide all of the structure and the rules.
Our Next Theme: Science Fair
I sat down with each child this week to talk about what he or she would like to do for a science experiment. A small sample of the questions generated includes:
What's in snow when it melts?
How fast do different things grow mold?
How can we make the best possible bird feeder?
What kind of fur is the warmest?
We'll be shaping these questions, developing procedures for our experiments, following those procedures, and recording our results over the next few weeks. When we're all done, we'll see what sort of conclusions we can draw, and then we'll be sharing all of this work with our families and school community.