Ack the cold! This last week was the nose hair freezing sort of cold that makes me want to curl up for the whole day under a quilt with a good book and a cup of tea. We did have some very cozy reading time and found some sun beams to bask in. But we also went outside. The children piled on the layers, including scarves, to make sure we had all our skin covered, and we headed outside. To watch them pile into the snow and roll around like otters, I knew that it was worth it. This is why we go outside in all weathers. Their joy was infectious, and I may have found myself rolling rapidly down a hill in a fit of giggles.
It is cold outside but we bundle up and enjoy being outside each day getting sunlight, sledding, creating snow creatures, even swinging and riding bikes in the snow! The joy inside our school is keeping us all extra warm as well as the movement from circle time dancing (Alabama Gal!) to animal yoga moves (My Daddy is a Pretzel is thoroughly being enjoyed by our youngest). I just love how everyone comes back from vacation and eases right back into being with each other - so happy to be back and learn new things (and how I announce that school is canceled this Friday to my own kids and they are sad because they really want to go to school)! How awesome.
The 3 and 4 year olds have been learning hands-on from counting with pine cones to working on being the rhythm section for our Solstice celebration. We came back this week to learn about a new year, a new month and a new letter of the week, 'O', which we painted in the air and on paper, shaped with play dough and took turns writing on our chalkboard. We will be focusing on a new theme as well: our 5 senses. The sense of smell (and science) was explored with a forced bulb/paperwhite flowers added to our classroom windowsill. We searched for images in a magazine that we can "taste," then cut them out and pasted them into a collage. Our indoor sandbox had the always popular addition for touch: snow! Ask your scientist if their hypothesis/guess was correct about what would happen to our snow when brought inside.
Math free time has taken hold in the K/1 Math class. The math-a-letes get some time every other day to do a free-choice math activity.
The game "Race to 100" has been a popular choice. Ask your child how to play! Giving the kids time to play that game is one of the best ways they can spend a math class. This week, we have been discussing place value. We have been talking about how the 2 in the number 23 is actually 20, and how 54 = 50 + 4. The first graders are getting this idea quickly. The kindergarteners are not expected to entirely understand this yet, but most of them do!
Scientists at Work
Our January theme work focuses on using the scientific method, and everyone has lots of interesting ideas about what they want to study. As a class, we read Snowflake Bentley and were inspired by his dedication to understanding snow. Then we talked about snow - things we know and things we wonder about like why do some snows pack better than others and how does water turn into a snowflake instead of just a chunk of ice. After we had modeled this process as a class, the children did some initial brainstorming around a topic of their choosing, coming up with questions that might be interesting to research. Everyone shared their ideas and picked three they would be excited to study. This next week, they'll work with a partner to refine their ideas, and then we'll start experimenting.