Teachers as Octopus?!
Earlier this week, I was watching a group of children frolicking in the snow like otters while another pretended to be hunting and gathering (as inspired by our study of the Haudenosaunee). We were taking a break after working hard on our mask design process with Leyla and learning about woodworking from Angela. The sun felt warm on my face, the children were solving their problems, and I felt awed that this was my job.
Weeks like this can feel a bit hectic with special guests, special celebrations (pajama day!), special schedules (as we push hard on getting our plays up and running), and special birthdays. But I felt like the teachers were this wonderful octopus of productivity - holding the group, shaping the learning, and providing exciting learning opportunities.
Rachel's Preschool Reflections
The preschool kept busy finishing our month-long learning about Outer Space along with several “special days” woven throughout this week. Stars and more planet work were the topics we focused on, culminating with a book about Mars and a star constellation art project. Watching the kids absorb all of the information and make links between all of their newly acquired “space knowledge” has been absolutely delightful to see!
Woodworking and Dancing with Angela
One of the unique days we had focused on wood working and dancing with special guest, Angela. The children were able to come up with ideas of things to create with wood, and then to bring one of those ideas to life. They helped Angela drill holes into the wood, measure and saw a dowel rod into smaller pieces, and then place the freshly cut dowel pieces into a larger piece of wood to create a unicorn creature. Dancing is always a popular activity for our class, and they enjoyed interpreting songs about “hellos” and “goodbyes,” as well as “walking on a tightrope” (pictures) with Angela, too!
Our Theme: Working on our Plays
Leyla came in this week to share her expertise as a costumer. She shared some general design concepts with the class and then some basic mask making concepts. The children struggled a bit to take their characters from their literal place ("I'm a blue jay.") to a more representational place ("I'm a chatty, busy, bossy bird.") They tried to find a word that embodied their character, and this led them to talk about stereotypes and symbols.
There are so many different pieces of putting on a play. All the children are working on saying their lines with clarity and expression. They also helped us figure out some of the blocking and had ideas about how to make the action interesting for the audience. We started working on some props to support the action and adding music as well. I can't wait to see the final result this week!
Read Across America Day aka Pajama Day
Coming to school in your pajamas was a highlight of the week for many of us! We celebrated Dr. Seuss by making "Pink Ink Yink Drink" for snack. Each small group created their own recipe, then sampled it, and made any changes to the original recipe. We played a "Cat in the Hat" find the matching silly rhyme game. The children also read lots of favorite books in pairs and small groups. With Dr. Seuss especially, we read the words out loud so that we could appreciate his rhythms and rhymes.
Something about being cozy in pajamas seemed to also bring out even more hugs than usual... or maybe that was just the teacher as octopus again!