It was a rich week for applied learning. A parent volunteer led our children in how to change a tire. Two girls told me with confidence, "Yeah, we jacked up the car, took off a tire, and put on the spare. I could definitely do that on my own if I had to." Our youngest children continued to work on expressing and describing their emotions. Many of our children continue to crunch into the bounty of our fruit trees (which may explain why they haven't been quite as hungry at lunch time). When some of our younger students complained that they couldn't get to the fruit, some of our older students helped them out. Our monarchs keep emerging from their chrysalises, and we send them off with good wishes to Mexico. The children's enthusiasm for all of this is contagious - they are always calling over friends to share. As their teachers, we offer a few questions and a little more information than they currently have to help them reach an even deeper understanding.
Cheryl's PreK Reflections
Preschoolers dived deeper into their Feelings theme this week and had opportunities for practice. Mesmerized by our "Emotions Chart" as it was passed around I heard, "I feel embarrassed when I have an accident too!" It was cool to see the empathy many felt for the children who looked scared, tired, and shy on the chart and get that practice in "checking in with faces" and finding the vocabulary to go with their own feelings. We read Dr. Seuss' My Many Colored Days and hands flew up to share what color described them. We took that energy and created our own puppets, using different color yarn and markers to show our feelings. The practice part came in when Rebecca and I encouraged them to use the puppet theater or talk to another students' puppet. "Ask how you can help!" we encouraged to students talking with "angry" and "sad" puppets.
The practicing didn't end there...the K-2 kids visited our circle on Thursday and wow did preschoolers show off their singing, counting, phonics, dance skills, and self control! The space and time to practice being our best kind selves and enjoy nature and play is our school's asset. Leaf men, women, and animals were inspired by Lois Ehlert's Leaf Man and celebrated the beauty outside.
Nancy gave us a "What's it?" day this week where all our children collected everything from crickets to bees. "How do you catch a bee?!" I asked one student. "Carefully," she answered. They shared their discoveries with each other, did some careful observation, and gently returned each critter to its home. Magnifying boxes and lenses helped them notice how many legs a creature had, its coloration, details on its body (like hairy legs!), and all sorts of other details.
Our Theme: Chemistry
Ask your child how many atoms are in a hair? We found the answer to that question and lots of other interesting bits of information in the book Matter Matters.
Our younger chemists learned how to use straws as droppers, discussed liquids and solids, and experimented to see if they could make a solid react with a liquid. They carefully marked paint pans so they could keep track of all of their materials and better understand their results.
Meanwhile our older chemists worked with a partner to develop their experiments. We talked about controlled and uncontrolled variables, and the importance of only changing one variable at a time to be able to track what caused a change. We shared procedures with a different pair to see if they could understand and follow our directions. Everyone is very excited to start our experiments next week, and we'll be sure to share some of our results.