Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Come light the menorah...

With the Gan children.

A Look at This Week:
While Chanukah is in full swing, so is our learning at school. This week we focused on the menorah. Most of our activities had something to do with the menorah. On Monday we started the week by making a class menorah out of toilet paper and paper towel rolls (there may have been a wrapping paper roll added in as well) and tissue paper for the flames. Each day we "lit" the menorah just like we lit menorahs at our homes the night before! Then we started our activities. Many of the children enjoyed making pop-up Chanukah cards. The cards either had dreidels or menorahs in the middle (the children chose which one they wanted) and they were required to copy some words into their cards and add their names. These were taken home on a daily basis. We built menorahs in the block area, pretended to light the menorah in the home living area and made playdough menorahs in the art area. All week long, while children were answering the morning question (and signing in) and doing their journals, they also had the opportunity to color on our large menorah that we will be adding to our wall display at the end of the week. We had a large number of math activities to go along with our study of the menorah as candles are a fun thing to count! We sorted candles by color, put menorahs in order by the number of candles that were lit and we also picked numbers and added that many candles to the paper menorahs! It was definitely a fun week full of activities to help us enjoy the celebration of Chanukah. One more activity that was enjoyed (though it had nothing to do with menorahs) was sound song bingo. Some of the children have been learning a song that helps them with their letter sounds. We even used this song to make a word wall in the classroom. We have taken copies of the pictures of the words from the song and have made bingo boards and then played bingo with these boards. It is a favorite game in the classroom right now!
Listening in to the discussions going on in the class:
It was really interesting to listen to one child go to another this morning and ask the other child if they were "going to be a good boy today." The other child answered "yes." The first child then responded saying, "so you aren't going to hit anyone? You aren't going to kick anyone? And you are going to listen? Because I don't like it when you hit or kick me. That is not being a good boy."
Just thought that I should share this conversation since it goes to show that at least the rules are understood if not always followed!
And looking into the future:
Although I normally mention what we will be working on next week, I am unable to do that as The Gan will be closed for the next two weeks for winter break. When we do resume, on Monday, January 4th, we will be spending the week talking about Israel and doing many fun activities that will take us on a pretend trip to another part of our world. And speaking of our world. The children have brought in about 88 mitzvah notes so far this year. They are definitely working on making the world a better place one mitzvah at a time. We hope to continue to see mitzvah notes coming in as everyone is always excited to share their notes and add them to our wall. And one big mitzvah that seems to be the leader of mitzvahs on our wall is many of the children are willing to share their tzedakah with others when the others do not have tzedakah, which is another thing we collect on a daily basis.

Playing sound song bingo

Candle number match

Playdough menorahs

Candle order

Menorah building

Candle number match

"Lighting" the class menorah

Candle color match

The musical performance by the Gan Children at the Clark County Chanukah Celebration!

The announcement of the performing group!

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Dreidels, dreidels, dreidels

A look at this week:
We have been spinning around in the classroom, moving from one dreidel activity to another. We have really focused on them. We did start the week by talking about dreidels, getting to spin them and also discussing our dreidel costumes for this coming Sunday's celebration. Then we had the chance to use dreidels in our learning areas. We wrote pages about dreidels in writing. In math we sorted dreidels by color, matched dreidels to numbers to work on one-to-one correspondence and also graphed which letter we landed on when we spun our dreidels. In art we made 3-d dreidels, sparkly contact paper dreidels and bead dreidels. We also had the chance to build a dreidel in the block area (even though cars became part of the building too). We even added in to our busy days the chance to paint our dreidel costumes for Sunday and using a dreidel cookie cutter (along with other Chanukah shapes) to make special snack sandwiches!

Conversations from this week:
I did not document any specific conversations this week, however, it was a pleasure to hear all of the children really wanting to be involved with what their friends were doing. Many times throughout the week I heard "can I do that with you?" or "can I help you?" It was just really nice to hear this!

A look at next week:
With Chanukah being in full swing, next week we are going to focus on the menorah. We will be making a menorah and even "lighting" it each day. We will be doing some menorah number math (focusing on numbers 1-8) as well as building a menorah in the block area. Overall, we hope to really "light up" the week with all of our menorah work!
Building a dreidel
Dreidel color sort
Graphing dreidel spins
Dreidel number math
Sparkly dreidels
Chanukah shape snacks!
Making bead dreidels
Spinning dreidels
Spinning dreidels before graphing

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Where's the oil?

A look at this week:

Where is the oil? Ask the children at The Gan! This week we talked about oil and even went on an oil hunt to find a very small bottle of oil. We started out the week by talking a little about why oil is so important. Then we started learning about oil. We went on an oil walk (where we walked on the letters that spell out OIL), we wrote out a recipe for latkes and even played latke letter memory. For math we had a bean bag toss and depending on which number the beanbag landed in we had to add that many latkes to the frying pan. We used forks to paint on latkes in art this week as well as we made oil/water bottles as a science experiment. We saw that the oil and water separated. Then we added food coloring and watched how it all mixed together and then the oil slowly separated and eventually lost the color that was added by the food coloring. And to make sure we got into the Chanukah mood while talking about oil, we made latkes and watched them fry in the oil before we got the chance to eat them for snack!

Conversations from the week:

We took water bottles and filled them about half way with water. Each child had their own. Then we took out the oil and talked about what would happen when we add oil to the water.

Morah Amanda: When I put the oil in the water, what do you think is going to happen?

Mussie: It will turn yellow.

Morah Amanda: Mussie thinks it will turn yellow. Does anyone else have an idea?

Avery: I do!

Morah Amanda: What do you think will happen Avery?

Avery: It will turn orange.

Morah Amanda: You think it will turn orange?

Avery: Yeah.

Morah Amanda: Any other ideas?

Lizzy: Um…red.

Morah Amanda: You think it is going to turn red Lizzy. Any other ideas?

Miriam: Me!

Morah Amanda: Yes?

Miriam: Pink!

Morah Amanda: Miriam thinks it is going to turn pink. Any other ideas?

Jayden: Red.

Morah Amanda: You think it will turn red, Jayden.

Josh: I think it is going to turn in your tummy.

Morah Amanda: It’s going to turn in your tummy? Are we going to drink this?

Class: No.

Morah Amanda: No. Once we are all finished we are going to make sure to keep the lids on all the time! We don’t drink oil. We cook with oil but we don’t drink it. Something special happens when you mix oil and water. Are you ready to see what happens?

Class: Yeah.

Pour oil into the first water bottle.

Mussie: It turns white a little.

Morah Amanda: What happened? What’s this and what is this? What’s at the top?

Mussie: Yellow.

Morah Amanda: Yellow, and what’s at the bottom?

Mussie: White

Morah Amanda: Just like this (taking a bottle of just water). What’s the difference between the two bottles?

Mussie: This just has white and this has yellow and white.

Morah Amanda: This one is just white because it has water and this one has yellow and white cause it has oil and water. And what happened to the oil? Where is the oil? Watch. (Shakes bottle) Is it all mixed up?

Class: Yeah.

Morah Amanda: Now just watch the bottle. Do you see what is happening at the bottle? Do you see that it is turning more white at the bottom? The oil is going to the top. Oil and water don’t mix; they separate. So, if I shake Avery’s bottle it is all the same color cause it is just water. But if I shake Lizzy’s bottle do you see where at the top it is turning yellow again?
Lizzy: There’s oil in there.

Many of the children start shaking their bottles.

Mussie: There’s no yellow in mine.

Morah Amanda: When you shake it they start to mix and then they separate back out.

Noah: Oil!

Mussie: Look. Mine is coming back. My yellow is coming back.

A look at next week:
Next week we will really “spin” into Chanukah as we talk about dreidels. We will be using dreidels in many of our activities, which include making our own dreidels, graphing the spins of dreidels, sorting dreidels and making a dreidel class book.
Oil find
Latke math
Walking on oil
Oil bottles
Watching the potatoes getting grated
Adding eggs to the potatoes
Mixing the latke mixture
Eating the class-made latkes!