Sunday, May 20, 2012

Panda Party, Gardening, Face Project & Lollipop Trees!

Older Classes, May 14-18, 2012

RM 15 AM
We are lucky to have a wonderful garden space outside our classroom windows which we try to use in our curriculum as much as possible.  This spring, after our wonderful parents did a garden re-design, we spent time planting dahlia tubers, both for summer enjoyment, and to be there to greet the classes in the fall.  We even filled our "water tub" inside  with dirt and turned it into a planting area too so that we could extend the fun.  Right after we put in the new plantings, the weather turned into summer!  We love the sunshine and blue sky so we didn't complain, but we did make sure to water the garden each day.  We discovered that garden "chores" can be lots of fun too!

We also celebrated one of our favorite end-of-year traditions - Panda Day.  The children take turns during the school year taking a stuffed toy Panda home for visits and bringing him back with stories of their adventures together.  When Panda was done with his home visits, we began planning a party to celebrate his day.  The children helped make a list of things they thought would make a good party and we all worked together to make most of them happen.  We made Panda Party hats  - even the visiting stuffed animals got to have one.  We played party games like a Panda Bean-bag Toss.  And we even decorated our own Panda Cupcakes.  It was a fun and exciting day for all - including Panda!

RM 15 PM
We have completed our study of faces, a project that has taken place over a few weeks and was enjoyed by all. Last Monday we finished painting our clay faces and they look great. We created a bulletin board display from the children's self portraits and study of skin tone and facial features.


This Thursday the afternoon younger class experienced a magical preschool moment.  While the children were outside and Teacher Jean was setting up snack, she saw a mother duck and her ducklings racing by the windows along the garden strip toward the playground.  The children were lined up by the outside door when the ducks reached the end of the strip, so they all quietly watched as mother and babies tried to find their way through the open gate.  They finally got around the obstacle and on their way toward the creek with a little help from Teacher Meryl, who had raised ducks in England for a few years when her children were young.  After snack, they abandoned their plans for other stories and songs to take advantage of the "teachable moment" and read the classsic children's book, Make Way for Ducklings, which just happened to be in the classroom at the time.  What a treat to witness firsthand this miracle of nature that happens every Spring!

RM 19
We learned a song called "The Lollipop Tree". We thought it would be fun to see what would happen if we planted a lollipop stick just like the child did in the song. When we came back to school on the next day we couldn't believe our eyes-a lollipop tree had grown! We got to each pick a lollipop to take home. Simply magical!

In the Spring, the children take turns taking a stuffed panda home and writing about their adventures with panda. They share the pictures and stories written with the class. At the end of the year we have a "Panda Party" to say goodbye to our good friend panda. We play panda games, make panda headbands and decorate panda cupcakes.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Kindergarten: Spring is in the Air...and the Classroom!

It has been very busy in the kindergarten room for the past few weeks as we've welcomed spring in a variety of ways. While we were waiting for our Painted Lady butterflies to emerge from their cocoons, we did several activities about symmetry, two of which included butterfly art projects. The first was a piece using oil pastels and watercolors.


 The second was a garden filled with flowers painted at the easel and butterflies made of tissue paper.


At last, our butterflies came out!


As if that wasn't enough excitement, the eggs we had been watching for 21 days began to wiggle and crack. Six baby chicks were born!


Everyone had a turn holding one. Some were more comfortable than others!

Look who came to get a closer look at all the fun we're having:

Happy Spring, Everybody!

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Flowers, Gardening & Monkeys!

Younger Classes, May 7-11, 2012

ROOM 15 PMMay has brought flowers into our classroom in a big way!  We started with a celebration of May Day by creating our own flower shop.  Each child brought a small collection of flowers which were put into one large collection from which they put together May Day bouquets.  Here is our class getting ready to meet their grown-ups with flowers in hand.

The children also planted some marigold seeds in pots that they painted themselves.  After they get a chance to watch them sprout in the classroom, they will bring them home to their families.

After watching our caterpillars hatch into Painted Lady Butterflies, the children made butterflies by dropping liquid watercolors onto coffee filters, gathering the filters into wings with clothespins, and adding chenille stems for antennae.  These decorated the gifts that they wrapped for Mother's Day.

One of our favorite ways to tell stories is to have the children act them out.  Here they are all being monkeys who steal the peddler's caps in the traditional folk story, Caps for Sale.

Room 19
As a celebration of May Day each spring our children set up a "flower shop" from flowers brought from home. They take turns choosing flowers to create a bouquet that they put into a school made flower holder. At the end of the day it is fun to see the faces of moms and dads when the children present them with their beautiful bouquet of spring flowers!

We have continued our focus on flowers and planting these past two weeks in the Younger Class.  We began the month with a wonderful May Day celebration when the room was filled with real flowers of all kinds.  We wanted to extend this activity so we put dirt in our tub this week and filled it with plastic flowers, trowels and flower pots.  The children seemed to enjoy making and designing their own flower gardens and it certainly kept our room looking like spring is here!  We also painted flower pots and planted them with marigolds which we we will watch grow and then send them home to be enjoyed over the summer.  And we planted sunflower seeds in peat-pots which we will plant in our school garden.  Hopefully these will grow into giant flowers over the summer and will greet us on our return in September.