We are that time of year where everyone is truly settling in. The children are grounded in their routines, and we are digging deeply into some real learning. It is a joy to watch them at work and play though the line we draw between those two words is rarely in evidence. They spend their free choice time writing on the white board and making books, quizzing each other with clocks, and drawing numbers in sand. They are reading together, reading aloud to each other, and reading all around the school.
Although the first day of Winter is not here yet, as a teacher I get excited when December comes. Out with the leaves and in with the evergreens. We changed the month on our circle time bulletin board and looked at our seasonal picture book to identify things that occur in this new season approaching. We discussed the days getting shorter/darker and one student said, "The light of a fire brightens us!" We began practicing our poem about a bunny who cannot resist a snowman's carrot nose and were little 'lights' in the dark practicing our nursery rhyme of the week: Twinkle Twinkle Little Star. Sleep Tight Farm captured all of our students' attention and led to many hands being raised to share a story of how their family/land/home/animals rest and stay warm during winter. Always exploring our five senses, we talked about the smell of coming winter (the air smells 'cold') and pine needles at Friday Forest recess - which led to pulsing and smelling a pine cone. Ask your child what begins with the letter "L" and what they can do when they feel the big feeling of "angry" as we worked hard on exploring these things using many mediums. Marshmallows (cotton balls) in hot cocoa were counted, cutting and pasting led to winter collages placed around school (students voted on one of the placements in their lunch room) and pinecone necklaces were painted with snowflakes in anticipation of our Winter Solstice potluck. Despite the need to rest in Winter, the excitement of catching a snowflake on our tongues this week makes me think this cold, dark time of year will feel warm and bright in our school thanks to these little ones' wonder and joy of learning and just being together. Their play this week also reflected this - they all were excited to hide together in a den (stick fort outside) and build a home (blocks inside) including everyone.
Theme: Our Body
We read Are My Bones Bendy, and the children answered lots of questions about everything from their skin to their brains. The children donned their external bodies, and we played Simon Says. It was pretty novel saying, "Simon says touch your trachea." We reviewed the parts and processes of the circulatory system, respiratory system, and the digestive system. Make sure that your child takes you on a tour
Theme: Local Geography
Theresa and I read Me on the Map, Yo En el Mappa, to the children in English and Spanish. It's a bit confusing to understand that we live in a town and a state and a country and a continent all at the same time. We'll be working more with this concept next week. It can also be really tricky to take something that is in three dimensions and figure out how that translates into something flat. To help the children make that leap they worked with a partner to construct models of the rooms of the school using blocks, Legos, and other materials. They then hid a treasure on their model and in the room, then sent their partner searching. They had some amazing discussions about size, shape, and direction as they worked through this activity.