Thursday, December 16, 2010

Another delightful week has passed at The Gan.

We have been learning about the 5 types of vertebrates. We created a chart to list the characteristics of each vertebrate; we have a sorting job consisting of tiny animals, and we have books and picture cards which have allowed us see pictures of the 5 different vertebrates.

This is a compilation of some of the conversations we have had this week about the vertebrates.

Morah Katie: Tell me something that all the vertebrates have in common, they all have it.

Kian: Backbones!

Morah Katie: I agree! Can you tell me something that makes mammals different from fish, birds, amphibians or reptiles?

Levi: Mammals do not lay eggs.

Dena: They have fur!

Morah Katie: What does a bird have that is different from the other vertebrates?

Tori: Wings

Levi: Feathers

Morah Katie: What type of skin does an amphibian have, think of a frog.

Kids: Slimy

Morah Katie: Amphibians have wet skin. What type of skin does a reptile have?

Levi: Scaly and dry.

Morah Katie: Which vertebrates lay eggs?

Kids: Not mammals!

Morah Katie: True, which do?

Dena: Birds

Tori: Fish

Morah Katie: do amphibians and reptiles lay eggs?

Kids: Yes!

Along with this stimulating comparison of vertebrates, the children have been working hard in all areas of the classroom.

matching letters


serious playing

The children discovered something very exciting on thursday morning when we went to play outside.


We talked about just how cold it must have been over night to create the ice on the slide. We had fun peeling it off the slide, feeling how cold it was and breaking it apart.
On friday morning at snack we wondered if we would find ice again when we went for playtime, we found a frosty icy slide indeed!

I wish you all joy and fun over the two week break. I look forward to seeing you all in January.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

We began our week with a wonderful celebration!
Candle making

Doughnut decorating and eating

We finished our week with

hunting for hidden numerals in one of our favorite books

numeral tracing and writing

word building

We have learned 11 of the 26 letters of our alphabet. The letters have not been presented in the typical "abc" order, but in an order which allows the child to quickly put the sounds together to build words. The names of the letters are important for spelling, however the sounds are what enable to child to create and decode words. Words can be mysteries but once a child knows the clues, he/she will take off solving those mysteries. I have noticed an increase in all the children in their recognition of the sounds and it is very exciting to see the smiles on their faces when they begin to connect it all.

Morah Tzivie told us about the Jewish children during the time of the Maccabee's who tricked the Greek soldiers by playing driedel. At circle we played pretend that a greek soldier was coming to tell us not to sing about the Torah, and The Gan children were delighted to play the trick on the greek soldier, putting the Torah behind their back and spinning their drediels.

The smiles were wide and the giggles were loud. They tricked the "greek soldier" over and over and the children's pride and empowerment could be seen and felt.

Next week we will look at the differences of the 5 vertebrate classes of animals. What makes a bird different from a mammal? Are there any similarities between a reptile and a fish? We will these questions and more.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

This week at The Gan we began our celebration of Chanukah.

Morah Tzivie shared the story of the Macabees and their brave battle. We learned about the miracle of the oil lasting for 8 days.
We have menorahs in our classroom to help us celebrate this miracle.

We practiced our counting as we made candle sequence books, 8 pages of candles, 1-8.

We spun the dreidel and kept a record of how many times it landed on a side.

We diligently practiced for our performace for the Chanukah party, and were a huge success.

We continued to explore and learn,

and we continued to build friendships.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Lions and lizards were added to our world as we began talking about day 6 of creation.
We are also beginning to populate our world with people. It is a joyful, beautiful creation of which the children should be very proud.

Morah Katie: What type of animals did Hashem create on day 6?
Children: Big ones and small ones.
Morah Katie: Can you tell me more?
Dena: Cows and horses.
Levi: Pigs.
Tori: Hippos.
Levi: Rhinoceroses.
Dena: Elephants.
Tori: Lions.
Morah Katie: You said He made small animals too, what small animals did He make?
Levi: Mice.
Dena: Cats.
Morah Katie: In addition to all the animals He made, who else did Hashem create on day 6?
Everyone: PEOPLE!!!

Having created all the animal life, we began to talk about the different types of animals.
We separated the animals into two major groups, those that have skeletons with backbones, and those who do not have backbones.
We sat and curved our backs, and reached to feel our spine.
Morah Katie: What do you feel?
Levi: Bones
Morah Katie: Yes, our spine, or backbone. People and animals with backbones are called vertebrates. Do bugs have backbones? Does a bee or a ladybug?
Dena: NO!
Morah Katie: Does a jellyfish?
Levi: NO!
Morah Katie: An animal without a backbone is called an invertebrate.

Tori and Dena are making animals and playdough and deciding if they have backbones.
We then looked at our world and talked about all the vertebrates and invertebrates we created. We will continue to compare the similarities and differences of animals in our world over the next few weeks.

At our Peace Makers circle, we talked about the gentle giraffe. The giraffe has the largest heart for a land animal.
We talked about heart shapes and what they symbolize.

Morah Katie: If someone draws or paints you a heart, what are they trying to say to you?
Dena: Love
Morah Katie: What would it sound like to speak with love, to speak from your heart?
Levi: Nice manners and kind words.
Morah Katie: Jackals are important animals in our world, but they sound harsh and rough on the ears when they make their sounds. How do you feel when someone is harsh with you, or yells at you?
Levi: Not good, I don't like it.
Morah Katie: Would you perfer someone to speak kindly, speaking like a giraffe with a big heart?
Dena: Yes!

We talked about using "giraffe speak" (if they could talk) when solving our problems. Giraffes would use gentle, kind words. Giraffes would begin sentences with "I feel_____, when _______ happens. Please _______."

We took the opportunity to play pretend and practice using our giraffe speak when Morah Katie suddenly got very cranky and behaved like a mannerless jackal!
Levi was reading a book and Morah Katie just grabbed it!! Levi spoke using kind words and asked for it back.
Levi: Morah Katie, I feel mad you took my book, can I have it back?

However, that didn't stop Morah Katie from grabbing the rooster puppet from Kian! And then tickling him with it! Even though Kian didn't want to be tickled.
Fortunately, Kian remembered to speak from his heart and asked Morah Katie to stop.
Kian: (Modeled by Morah Katie, and Kian repeated it) Morah Katie, please stop.

Daniel used giraffe speak to let Morah Katie know knocking down blocks is not nice.
Daniel: (modeled by Morah Katie and repeated by Daniel) I feel angry you knocked my tower over, please don't knock my blocks down.

Morah Katie was spoken too with such loving words she found her manners again and thanked her friends for being so kind to her.

Providing children with feeling words and a sentence to mimic is the beginning of creating a foundation for positive, helpful communication.
We added giraffes to our world, each giraffe will have a heart on it to remind us to speak from and with our hearts.

Thursday we were fortunate to celebrate Daniel's 5th birthday! Happy Birthday Daniel! We are so grateful and lucky to know you!