Classroom News

Week of February 29, 2016

The interest in birds remains steady among the group.  The bird stories and identification books continue to be captivating.  As the kids flip through the pages of the books, they notice familiar birds and want to show their friends.  One boy even drew a picture of a bird as he looked at a photo of that bird in a book.  We’ve been talking a lot about the different parts of a bird (body, legs, feathers, wings, beak, etc.) and that knowledge has shown up in a few drawings and paper bird creations.  While these paper bird creations may not be recognizable to adults as such, it is very clear in the children’s minds that a particular piece of paper is a body, a head, a wing, a leg, or some other specific bird part.  Some even identified their birds as blue jays or cardinals.  The next step in that process will be for me to trace some general bird body parts and have the kids cut out those shapes to make their birds.  This will still give the children creativity in their work, but it will also give them the opportunity to do some more exact cutting.

The children were proud to share three more verses from the “What Am I?” song at Town Meeting.  This week we sang clues about a bald eagle, a robin, and a black capped chickadee.  As we were practicing, the children were very careful to sing the clues out loud, but only to whisper the answer (name of the bird) so as not to give it away before Town Meeting.  More nests were built this week, some out of blocks, some out of pieces of material, and some out of both.  Two boys even decided that their birds needed to take a rest under some hats.

In Mandarin, the children had their first opportunity to draw some Chinese characters.  Mario had them start out by drawing the number 1, then 2, and then 3.  With the three lines they were then able to create the Chinese character for “sun.”  Yet a different (and fun) way to firm up their knowledge of Mandarin and practice writing and drawing.

Building continues to be an activity enjoyed by all.  Roadways and buildings were constructed out of Magnatiles.  One girl even suggested they build parking lots for their cars.  Injured people were added to the scene and taken to the hospital to be helped.  Mobile pieces were snapped together to make firetrucks.  Extra red pieces became fires that flamed up all over the block rug and extra blue pieces became water pouring out of the trucks to put out the fires.

These play opportunities allowed the children to work on their fine motor skills (snapping pieces together), work on their sense of design (creating buildings and roadways), use their imagination and solidify their understanding of what certain community workers (firefighters, doctors, nurses) do to help others.

The water table returned to the classroom this week and the babies were scrubbed and washed from head to toe.  A little bit of spontaneous yoga happened on Friday morning.  The children flipped through the pages of an ABC Yoga book which depicts yoga poses for various animals and objects accompanied by short poems.

This week I introduced a material that would allow a new sensory experience: fine white sand.  Each child had his/her own small tray of sand.  The play was left completely open to them as they explored this material for the first time.  Many commented on how the sand felt: cool and smooth.  They gently patted the sand with their whole hands.  Some delicately “rained” the sand down, others created volcanoes by piling up the sand and making a crater in the middle, and others discovered they could create holes/spaces by gently blowing on the sand.

Some used an isolated fingertip to draw lines, snake squiggles and shapes.  Many were proud to point out that they made a square, a door, or a rectangle.  In the future, there will be times to use this as a free play material and times to use the sand as an opportunity to practice making shapes and letters in a fun way.

A lot of great stuff happens when kids play!

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