Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Our First Days Together - Teacher Marah

The friends in Room B have been really working and having fun since starting the new school year. We have new friends in the older class and are getting acquainted in the younger class.

One of the first activities we did in the older class was Partner Marble Painting. It was fun working together with a partner to see what we could make together.

We did a patterning game with shells and coral, some of which Teacher Marah brought back from Maui. We wanted to see where the children are as far as making patterns.

We set up our class notebooks for the year and our first dictation page is "My favorite summer memory". We looked at the books with the parent if we had them and then drew a picture.

We also did a Nature Scavenger Hunt. It was fun looking for bugs, grass, flowers, many things on our list that we carried on a clip board and marked off. 

We have enjoyed reading Tumble Bumble, Friends, and Bear's New Friend which all talk about making and enjoying new friendships.

In the Younger Class I want to focus on how we are getting used to the classroom and the different areas to play in.

Friends have been enjoying the seed table. 

We have also enjoyed painting, the play dough table and playing at the big table with Potato Heads. 

There has also been a lot of gluing, taping, and cutting at the invention table.

As you can see, it's been a very busy start to the school year in Room B.

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Circles and Sunflowers: Our First Weeks Together - Teacher Lisa

We have enjoyed a very smooth start to our school year these past two weeks. The children are happy to come into the classroom each day and both classes are settling easily into the routines. Our first days together flew by!

Of course a huge part of coming back to school in September is reconnecting with "old" friends and making new ones. In our Older Class we played "Up the Ladder, Down the Ladder" to learn each others' names and in the Younger Class we've been chanting "Hickety Pickety Bumble Bee" to get to know one another. Ask your child if s/he can teach these games to you!

Our Younger Class has been doing lots of activities with circles. CDs and sequins were available at our self-help table for making decorations to hang in our windows. They were so much fun that we put them out for the Older Class as well.

They also used pipettes to drop yellow paint on coffee filters (great for developing fine-motor strength). We added pipettes to the water tub as well because they didn't want to stop using them! 

These yellow circles turned into sunflowers as they added brown circles (created by painting with fly-swatters) and sunflower seeds.

Come into the classroom to see these bright flowers growing out of grass that the children made during a marble-painting activity. After dipping marbles in green paint, they put them into a can that they rolled back and forth to one another. Not only did they create a piece of art together, but they got to practice each others' names as they sent the can across the floor.

Another circle activity was learning how to play our Curious George Balloon game. We had this out as an option for our Older Class as well and several of them enjoyed playing it together during our first week back.

Both classes enjoyed the polka dot soup in our water tub and the split peas in the texture table. After hearing several of you share during our Orientation that your children love Legos, we made sure to get those out as well - LOTS of dots!

Our Older Class jumped right into sunflower activities. Thank you to those that brought the huge sunflower heads for them to disect. Both classes have enjoyed that very much!

The older children had an opportunity to observe sunflowers with a parent. Here are some of the things they noticed:

"There are big ones and small ones."
"The stem is fuzzy."
"Seeds are stuck."
"Bees like flowers."
"The flower lines look like veins."
"That feels like a sponge."
"It likes water and sun."
"The water goes up, up, up."
"It feels like the fake grass I have at home."

The next day they did an observational drawing of a sunflower - doing their best to draw what they saw. This was a very directed activity and they were concentrating hard!

They used water colors to complete the project. These are hanging in our classroom.

An addition to our writing area this year is a "How to Draw" sample. Right now it is a step-by-step sample of how to draw a sunflower. This is not to diminish children's opportunities to draw whatever they want, but rather to provide some tangible help for those who would like to draw something but aren't quite sure where to begin. Children enjoyed using this at the writing table and also at the paint easels.

We brought some science into the older class with a Hopping Seeds experiment. After measuring and stirring baking soda and water, children used tweezers (more fine motor practice) to drop 20 seeds into the mixture and followed them with spoonfuls of vinegar. After the initial explosive fizzing stopped, the seeds continued to hop up and down!

We are working on counting and number recognition to 20 with our Older Class this month, so we played this sunflower seed counting game. The children took turns rolling 2 dice and counting the dots and then adding that many seeds to their sunflowers. When they had 20 or so, they began taking seeds away until their flowers were empty.

Our Younger Class is learning their first nursery rhyme, "1, 2 Buckle My Shoe" to practice numbers 1-10. We will do nursery rhymes with them all year and in May they will have an illustrated collection that they can bring home and "read" all summer. Ask your child to tell you about the hopscotch game Teacher Jennifer taught them to go along with this rhyme.

Some of the stories our Younger Class enjoyed include Dot, The Blue Balloon, Molly's Balloon Adventure, and Preschool to the Rescue! Ask your child if they can remember the poem that begins, "I had a little blue balloon and I blew and I blew and I blew..."

Some of the stories the Older Class read are Press Here, The Sunflower House, Ten Black Dots, Little Blue and Little Yellow, and The Incredible Book-Eating Boy. They have also looked at some non-fiction books about sunflowers. One day they pretended to be sunflowers in various stages: seed, stem and flower.

During story time children have been sharing their Summer Memories journals. If your child hasn't returned his/hers, there is still time!

We hope your children have had as much fun as we have these past two weeks. It's going to be a great school year!