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Cultivating Flexibility

Kids love their routines, but the weather changes had all of us on our toes this week: snow and ice, warm breezes, and even a dramatic thunderstorm that sent our kids inside from recess. I love how all of the kids just roll with the changes. They pile on the layers, try to dry out the wet ones before we go out again, and help younger children get dressed for outside. I look to their enthusiasm when mine is waning and find that I'm always glad once we're outside.

We try to cultivate flexibility in our children while still honoring their need for rhythm in the day. Part of that flexibility is in allowing a project to go in a different direction than we originally intended (as both students and teachers). Sometimes it means putting ourselves in the shoes of a friend so that we can be more empathetic or help solve a problem. That flexibility can mean sitting with different people each week for lunch and snack. When we can be a little flexible, a whole world of creative solutions and possibilities opens up for us.

Cheryl's PreK Reflections

We all make mistakes (Tracy read to us all The Beautiful Oops!), and we are stronger together....that was a theme for the week. Throw in a snow day and learning about colors and Thanksgiving, and we had quite a full short week! Our Brown Bear, Brown Bear books were completed. Ask your child their colors...many enjoyed mixing colors with watercolor paints after reading a book all about how mixing different colors makes a more beautiful world. Color paint samples were glued on to our cut-out circles to make turkeys after we introduced the great feast long ago between Native Americans and Pilgrims.

Color shapes pictures were a popular free choice item, eating snow and stomping in a melting puddle outside was all the rage, and everywhere you went, our youngest were caught checking in with a friend struggling or crying saying, "How can I help?" and "I'll show you how to cut out a snowflake/climb a tree, etc." Little ones were able to enjoy sledding down our big hill with assistance from older students to "brake for them" at the bottom. It was a heartwarming week with echoes of "I get by with a lil help from my friends"...and all the colors didn't hurt during all this grey in November either!

Theme: Government's Legislative Branch

The older elementary kids continued to work on their games this week. They got some eager test subjects from the younger elementary kids. The younger kids asked questions, offered suggestions, and even helped to make some changes.

Theresa invented a fun physical way to remember some of the steps that take a bill to a law. The children started with "flags" tucked in a belt to mark them as the House of Representatives, the Senate, and the President. In order to make their bill turn into a law, the children had to collect at least one of each different flag. There were lots of shrieks and giggles as they ran around, and a few very excited shouts of "I'm a law! I'm a law!"

Math Games

How do you get a whole class of kids to practice recognizing numbers and figuring out which of two numbers is bigger? Play "Top It" - a card game that I called "War" when I was a kid. For the kids that need an extra challenge, we have cards that go up through 20. For the kids that need a little more challenge, they can play with two cards at a time instead of one and see if their sum is bigger than the other person's sum. We played three person variations. When it came to math choice time, this was a very popular choice this week.

We also experimented some with probability this week while reinforcing or learning our tens facts (or sums up to 20 for older kids). Each child tossed 10 pennies into the air, then sorted them by heads and tails on a chart. They wrote down their totals for heads and tails, checked that they added up to 10, and noted if heads or tails "won." Over the course of the math class, they were intrigued to notice that the more data we had, the more equal the results seemed to be.

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