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The Home Stretch

It's that time of year when we are doing final assessments of all the children and writing narrative reports for each child. Do they know their letter sounds? What are they reading? How is their comprehension? What math facts do they know automatically? Can they translate a word problem into an equation? Of course all of this looks different depending on whether we're assessing a 3 year old (games and baskets of fun cards) or a 9 year old (a combination of observation, work samples, and more standard assessments). We tell our kids that assessments are here to help us shape our teaching and make decisions about what concepts we need to spend more time on. It gives us a chance to reflect on our teaching and for them to reflect on their learning. We're gathering all the learning of the year together and finding ways to celebrate all we have accomplished.

Rachel's PreK Reflections

Nature creates such wonderful opportunities for learning! We explored the world around us this week in many different ways. As the plant life on campus has really come to bloom now, it gave us the chance to learn more about Poison Ivy and practice identifying it. There’s plenty near the creek, so it’s an important thing for the children to learn about! We went on a “poison ivy hunt” walk (pictured), read a book about the plant, and practiced counting leaves to see if the plants we saw had “leaves of three” or not. As the saying goes—“leaves of three, let them be!”

Other books led to outdoor learning as well. As we are gearing up for our upcoming trip to Via Aquarium, we began exploring oceans. Some of the children worked on identifying bodies of water around the world, others learned about the anatomy of a Clown Fish, and everyone learned about the water cycle! The water cycle led us to discussing rivers during a river book we read. That led to discussing how tree roots helped prevent soil erosion on river banks, and then that led to us examining the walls of our own creek. Everything’s really related, isn’t it?

The children made “soup” with grass and other plants, built their own art projects with nature items they found, picked flowers...but their favorite activity outside this week was when we brought scissors outside and practiced cutting “the tall, tall grass.” It was such a hit, and was also an excellent way to practice fine motor skills and cutting skills!

Our Theme: China

We invited everyone to wear red to school on Thursday as we followed some Chinese New Year traditions to help us celebrate our study. First, the children took to the nooks and crannies of the school with spray bottles and cloths in hands to get the school extra clean and ready for a "New Year." Then they exchanged decorated red envelopes with money in multiples of 8 cents (a fun math project of our first and second graders from earlier in the day). We each had a bowl of yarn "noodles" that had been measured and then randomly cut by the older math students. We all searched for extra long noodles and compared them to find the longest one - a sign of good luck. Finally we ate some real noodles with yummy sauce using chopsticks, a skill that many students had been practicing on and off all month during choice time.

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