Our Little World and the Bigger World
The children love keeping a close eye on the world around us. This week we were all a little surprised as car after car pulled into our parking lot during snack time. Theresa popped outside to see what was happening and found out that it was a group of politicians and engineers doing a stream survey. It turns out we aren't the only people that like to stand on our bridge and look at the water rush past. "Can any of you talk to our children about what you're doing?" We had a willing engineer who helped to explain what they have done to the stream and why. She talked about how when a river travels through a narrow channel it speeds up and when it winds back and forth it slows down. Our kids have an intimate knowledge of this stream from months of observation and play, building tributaries, dams, bridges, and boats. They had lots of questions and comments for the engineer. She seemed a little surprised but tapped into their eagerness.
We said sang to our chicks this week, played them their song on our recorders, and said good bye. Before we sent the chicks to their new homes, the children also really enjoyed making them chick playgrounds during recess time complete with bridges, freshly dug worms, and multiple water features.
One of the interesting parts of being a teacher of young children is the realization of how many things we need to learn. I don't think when I am using scissors about what my hand is doing, but there was a time when I didn't know how to use scissors. Winding yarn is one of those skills that you don't realize you have until you watch a group of children striving to get string to wrap around a balloon. But they persisted and helped each other in that wonderful way of a multiage class. Eventually everyone had a balloon wrapped in different colors of string, and then we only had to wait until they were dry. Watching each balloon shrink into itself and the string stay strong in its shape was pretty magical.
Have to Have a Habitat
What Lives in the Wetland, Around One Log, Log Hotel, and Welcome Home Bear were a few of the books we read this week as we learned more about different habitats. The children finished pages for their habitat books. A few of them wanted to add a camel to their river or a floating castle to their forest, and we talked about how these were science books and needed to be accurate. As we reinforced the notion of fiction and nonfiction books, we had a chance to discuss the importance of having a trusted source for information.
Pick a Poem
I am not the sort of teacher who likes to limit poetry to a certain month. But having April be "Poetry Month" did give me an excuse to get a little wild at the library and take out lots of favorite poetry books. We've been reading them at morning circle, during relax and read, at read-aloud time, and at the end of the day. Understanding the idea of a poem takes some wrestling. How is a rhyming story different from a rhyming poem? How is a poem different from other writing? I like to tell children that poems use words in unique ways so that with fewer words an author can paint a very full picture. It's not a perfect definition, and I like to have children help me to refine it as we study poetry. I'll let you know if we come up with something better.