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Powering On

People often talk about the unlimited energy of children, and it is a sight to behold. When they are excited about their learning, they can be incredibly industrious and focused. All sorts of maps were created during free choice time this week, and they kept adding sections as their worlds grew. Hearing the children work out the details of their wind measuring devices was inspiring. I also heard an older student trying to explain that wind comes from a difference in air pressure, and it's related to differences in temperature. I'm not sure that the 4 year old really grasped the details, but she at least stopped to listen to the full explanation. I can feel the ideas popping all around me.

Cheryl's PreK Reflections

Zooming like bumblebees from flower to flower, giggling and creating everywhere - this week students were filled with life and wonder and were asking a lot of questions. Hands were raised almost constantly with some very deep insights, thoughtful questions, and okay, extremely silly remarks. Patience was tested and hearts became fuller as they problem solved and learned to be careful with their words and hands with others. Their physical energy was channeled learning some Maypole dance steps. The littlest ones picked it up fast!

Ribbit by Jory Hurley was our read-aloud exploring the life cycle of a frog. Following students' excitement about those 'peepers' we are hearing outside, we cut and glued and wrote our numbers for three lily pads - our number of the week. We counted a three leaf clover and three clusters of pine branches (to become fairy wands and play dough birthday candles later of course) from our school yard and talked about how cool that "math is in nature."

In the spirit of Earth Day and our upcoming field trip to local off grid neighbors at the Octagon Barn, we read Energy by Allen Drummond. We delved very broadly into the topic of green energy learning about an island in Denmark that changed their ways and went 'green' using the wind (and sun) to create all of their energy. Three propellers on wind turbines were happily constructed with popsicle sticks. Bubbles were also enjoyed on our upstairs deck as children asked about the wind blowing their bubbles across the way to the sun drenched Vroman's Nose. Just like a waterfall and streams flowing fast, the pre-K are rushing forward in their growth, like the bubbles they are soaring, and like the windmills, they are powering on. Some call it Spring Fever, but I like to call it Pure Joy. Watch out for these smiling Sprouts!

Exploring Insects with Nancy

Nancy told us the classic Aesop story of The Grasshopper and the Ants. Then she took the children through the process of animal classification with a focus on insects. They acted as entomologists, studying the different types to figure out their key characteristics. Finally Nancy tossed her enormous insect (and more) collection on a sheet and set the children to work sorting them out by type. By the time they were done the original chaos had turned into a series of neat piles that highlighted the common characteristics in each.

Maypole Dancing

The children have been finding the joy, but also the math in Maypole dancing. We have all been working on counting the measures in the music, jumping on the downbeat, and counting out the 8 notes before the next measure begins. Some of the children realized that all of our dance parts are multiples of 8. "So we do this for 16 right? That's 2 eights." Everything we do requires us to have even numbers, and the children move in pairs or groups of 4. We're a bit rough around the edges still, but they let out a whoop as they looked up to see the weave they had created.

Our Theme: Weather

Did you know that nature makes its own snow cylinders when the conditions are just right? Or that an algae can cause watermelon snow? We found out about these and a host of other interesting facts in This Book Might Blow You Away. When the children came up with their initial questions about weather, many had lots of questions about wind and tornadoes. We answered some of their questions in Tornadoes: Be Aware and Prepare. The children also started to develop ideas for a device to measure the wind. They made diagrams, wrote descriptive text, and came up with a list of needed parts. Ask your child for some details on her design and check in to see if there are any special materials she should collect from home.

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