Classroom News

Week of January 18, 2016

The 4/5s classroom was a busy place this week.  After seeing how much everyone enjoyed hearing books written and illustrated by the 4/5s at Town Meeting, there was a big increase in book making.  Other children wanted to be published authors and have their books read aloud too.  The group has come such a long way in this area since the beginning of the year.  In September, not very many kids were interested in drawing or writing.  Now they are so much more comfortable with and confident in their abilities.  They like to draw pictures and have gotten accustomed to the idea of writing their names.  They know what an author and illustrator are.  Putting all of this together, they have learned that they can depict their ideas visually, a grownup can record their words, and their work can be shared time and time again.  What a powerful notion!

Also this week the children enjoyed some truck play in the rice and beans buckets, building Duplo vehicles that travel on land, in the sea, and in the air, and water color painting.  They discovered that if they used just a bit of water, the colors were much more vibrant.  Check out the new paintings hanging in our classroom.

 

We borrowed Snap Cubes from the 5/6s & 6/7s and the kids enjoyed exploring this new material.  Snap Cubes are interesting in that one can build creations that go out in all directions.  The children built two-headed dragons, dogs, and even letters.  One boy crafted the letters in another classmate’s name!

I have recently noticed a change in their block building and block play.  We still get many roads and tall buildings with people inside, but now they are also building enclosures with a clear entrance and exit.  Within the enclosures are blocks that serve various purposes for the people inside.  There are beds for sleeping, exam tables for doctors, nurses, and patients, and the people are “talking” to one another.  It’s exciting to see this new level of play.

Sledding remains to be an exciting adventure during outside time.  The kids have been sliding down the hill together and working together to get the sleds back up to the top of the hill.  They have been making up new ways to go down the hill too: piled up, feet first with head tucked in, etc.

We have slowly been moving into an in-depth study of birds.  As a Christmas gift, I was given a beautiful bird seed ornament/feeder.  We hung it on the tree directly in front of the school door and have an excellent view of it from our classroom.  The children get so excited when they see a bird at the feeder and are eager to bring everyone over to the window to see.  We’ve been reading lots of “bird” books, some fact-based and some fictional stories.  These books have included About Birds, by Cathryn Sill,  a sweet book about taking care of friends called A Home for Bird, by Philip Stead, You Nest Here With Me, by Jane Yolen and Heidi Stemple, and Baby Bird, by Joyce Dunbar.  We have adapted a song called “Two Little Blackbirds” to include verses with other kinds of birds.  And we went on a “bird walk” around the pond.  We didn’t have any luck finding any nests or seeing any birds, but we did hear two kinds of birds, one a chickadee and the other was a mystery.  We’ll be taking more “bird walks” around town and hope to visit The Vermont Bird Place at some point in the next few weeks.  It’s sure to be an exciting study!

Well, that’s all the news for this week.  As always, thank you for sharing your children with me, and please feel free to contact at any time.

Sincerely,

Heather

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