Play as Practice
I love when our teacher directed work blends into free choice time activities. The older math class has been doing lots of graphing lately: bar graphs, line plots, picture graphs, and even pie graphs. Then I saw two of our students surveying the rest of the school during their "play" time. They were tallying their results and were eager to graph them as well. Earlier in the week I modeled drawing a cow and helped the children to think about the different shapes in her body. They were drawing other animals, and then Theresa set them up outside during free choice time to sketch our beautiful view to Vroman's Nose. It wasn't something they had to do, but it was certainly something they wanted to do.
Cheryl's PreK Reflections
I am hearing a lot of our littlest ones processing what they are learning in their play. The alphabet song is being sung while setting up a tea party and another 'teacher' child is telling the 'students' to sit criss-cross on the rug. It seems they almost start conflict to practice making the right solution and finding those boundaries. What an amazing thing to witness: a safe space (with teacher support never too far) to fail and explore - and grow in their learning and kindness with others.
The letter Z was our finale this week as we talked about how much hard work we've done since the start of school exploring all the letters of our alphabet and the sounds they make. Their hard work was praised as they quickly identified the letter on their celebratory alphabet cookies! Eggs were shaken to the beat of the ABC song and our read-aloud Spring Song had them all chatting/sharing away about baby animals in Spring. We read (and sang) All in the Woodland Early - spying for forest animals throughout the book that begin with each letter of the alphabet. Pincer grasp work was at an all time high as little chia seeds and tiny macaroni were glued onto the shapes of our letters along with nature treasures and 'lil bits' to create stunning alphabet costumes (these group of kids are motivated by dress-up).
Finally, thank goodness, the melting started this week. Friday recess in the woods revealed multiple real springs gurgling out of the earth and flowing downstream rapidly. Children were buzzing with the excitement. One 3 year old with walking stick larger than herself in hand and water cascading around her boots declared, "I smell Spring!" Between finishing the alphabet and Spring arriving, it felt like a culmination with all the joy and triumph - what better kickoff for Spring vacation? They are rushing forward in their learning after much foundation work and are owning it happily. Now, bring on the mud cakes and mud pies (and please check/replenish extra pants and socks, families)!
Nancy and the Magic of Owl Pellets
"How do we pull them apart?" "With your fingers." "Can I use my pencil?" "Sure." After a few hesitant pokes with their pencils, the children turned to watch as one brave classmate (who was using her finger) declared, "I found a jawbone!" Soon everyone was avidly pulling apart the bits of fluff and examining the bones with their hand lenses, trying to identify all the different parts. The children sorted bones into type and size, tried to put them together into skeletons, and drew them in scientific illustrations. Ask your budding scientist how a "scientific illustration" is different from a normal drawing.
Theme: Women's Suffrage
This is a new theme for me, and I've been tickled to find so many children's books that help to make this topic sing. Sometimes I find myself doing lots of talking, storytelling, and interpretation to help translate big ideas into something the children can grasp. But these books have been doing that job for me. This week we read The Taxing Case of the Cows: A True Story About Suffrage. Ask your children why the Smith sisters had to keep getting their cows back from the town. We also read I Could Do That: Esther Morris Gets Women the Vote and When Esther Morris Headed West: Women, Wyoming, and the Right to Vote. Both of these books helped to paint a vivid picture of this important figure and dynamic figure who often gets less recognition than Susan B. Anthony or Elizabeth Cady Stanton. The children wrote and illustrated pages about both Esther Morris and the cows for their books about women's suffrage.