Week of May 9, 2016
Our garden is coming along! On Tuesday, we worked hard to spread wood chips along the walking paths and around the edge of the garden. The children used various garden tools to scoop wood chips into five gallon buckets, load the buckets into the garden cart, wheel the cart over to the garden, unload the buckets, and spread the wood chips. While some children helped for a short bit of time and then moved on to other playground adventures, a few kids stuck with this job the whole time. Strawberry plants were added to the garden and we noticed that the chives, peas, and spinach have started sprouting. We’re still waiting on the lettuce and beets. This week we’ll start some seeds in the classroom and care for them until they are ready to be transplanted. Hopefully, we be able to see and taste some of the fruits of our labor before school’s end in four short weeks.
As a teacher, it is quite exciting for me to think back to what the children were capable of doing way back in September, see what they are doing today, and reflect upon on all the growth and learning that has taken place these past eight months. They have gelled as a group. They know one another really well and use this information daily in their interactions. As a group, they have shifted from playing either as individuals or alongside their peers, to playing cooperatively together. There are moments each day where I feel as if I could just disappear and they would be fine.
Outside on the playground they all worked together to fill every possible container with wood chips to make “bad guy ice cream.” In the classroom, a group of three children each constructed a dinosaur out of snap cubes and this family of dinosaurs played together.
And a traffic jam of Mobilo and gear cars waiting to get to a birthday party cropped up on the block rug.
Easel painting is still sometimes a sensory exploration, but the kids have also become much more representational in their work. They paint something and it is not just an experiment of color mixing and making lines, but it is a person, an animal, or a vehicle. Book making has become a familiar, enjoyable activity. The children know that when they are done with the illustrations, I will add their words. Some have even begun doing their own “writing,” and a few enjoy “reading” their books to their friends. None of this was happening at the beginning of the year. How far they have come!
Introducing new activities and songs, as well as revisiting “old” materials, is always exciting. The 4/5s along with the 7/8/9s enjoyed the new Magna-tabs I brought in this week. There are three of them—one with uppercase letters, one with lowercase letters, and one with the numbers 0-9. With a magnetic wand the children “pull” up little magnetic balls to form letters and numbers. With their fingers they can push down the balls and get some sensory input as to how the letters feel. With card stock, scissors, and tape the children made more masks, but also figured out how to construct shields and slippers.
This week I also shared a new song/activity called “Mat Man.” Mat Man is a song/activity from the “Get Ready for School,” program developed by “Handwriting Without Tears,” (a program implemented in the 5/6s, 6/7s, & 7/8/9s). The purpose of this song/activity is to help children learn how to create a person. As we sing the song, we add pieces to create Mat Man’s body. Using simple lines and curves, children sing a simple song and learn about where body parts go in relation to one another. This will help them in the future with drawing people and also being familiar with the lines and curves used to form letters and numbers. They are learning important information, but they just think they are singing a fun song and doing a fun activity. Check out the Mat family one child created out of blocks after singing this song!