Owning Our Learning
I love watching our children revel in the snow. They build all sorts of creations, throw snowballs, slide on their bellies, and roll around. Somehow the combination of layers of outside gear and a slightly softer ground allows them to throw themselves around with abandon while not getting hurt. This week we spent a good bit of time negotiating sledding on our back hill. There were a few ground rules for safety that the teachers established, but then the children discovered a range of concerns. It's fun to grab onto the back of someone's sled except maybe not as fun for the person on the sled. How many children can fit on one sled? We used our community meeting time to let the children share concerns and come up with ideas for making sledding work. We practiced "turn and talk" where all the children talk with a partner before we get into a discussion with the whole group. They came up with some pretty specific ideas, and once we get some snow back, we'll see how they work out. They own this process just like they own their science projects and so much of their learning.
We continue to dance and do yoga inside the pre-K classroom as movement helps us to learn (and laugh)! Children are gravitating to the art center during free choice time to create their own books or the block center to make intricate shelters for animals. Older kids are caught helping a younger child reach their mittens and outside our youngest are making snow cones, gliding boots across ice patches and using shovels to create penguin caves (and navigating sharing the cave with other penguins). The letter 'Q' was molded with play-dough, oil crayoned, 'painted' in the air, and practiced on chalkboards after we recited a funny rhyme about a Queen (ask your child if they can sing it to you!). Painters left no white on their papers as they watercolored a winter sky over masking tape to make beautiful bare trees. We delved into our sense of hearing, listening to the sounds a frog may hear in a Beatrix Potter story (and talked about how quiet Winter can be). Rhyming words were introduced with a feltboard story: "Anna Mariah Who Jumped Into the Fire" and each child proudly had a rhyme of their own to share afterwards. The grayness outside had us reaching for a hopeful read-aloud right smack in the middle of Winter: Will Spring Come Early? by Crockett Johnson. The hope a flower can bring inspired all to pretend they were groundhogs and make a prediction as well.
Our Theme: Science Projects
We wrestled with procedures this week as we work on our science projects. We talked about how this part of the scientific method is like a recipe. We need to be specific so that someone else could read the procedure and do the experiment just like us. Theresa led the children in an activity where they helped instruct in her on how to make a tuna sandwich. They quickly learned that they had to be very specific, or the results were not what they intended. Ask your child to tell you about Theresa's sandwich making!
Tracy's Math Class
We have been working with money quite a bit in math. The children know the values of coins, and everyone is working on accurately counting a small pile of change. We examined dollar bills and everyone made one of their own - though we did use brown paper. The children "bought" different items in the classroom and practiced paying and making change. We also played a game called "Spinning for Money" where each spin got them a certain number of coins. Two children played "bank" to exchange smaller coins for bigger ones, and they all worked to get to $1.
Our midyear narrative reports are coming out, and the teachers have been doing some extra assessment with the children. It's a great chance for us to realize what concepts children have mastered and where we need to spend a little more time. Writing about each child gives us a chance to reflect on the growth that's happened so far this school year and goals for our remaining time.