Thursday, April 29, 2010

Hungry and Busy...two words to describe some bugs

A look at this week:

We started this week by reading "The Very Hungry Caterpillar." The children really enjoyed this story. And of course, this led us to many of our activities throughout the week. One of the favorite places to go was to home living where the children had the chance to "feed" a caterpillar. I really enjoyed watching the children in the block area. At the beginning on the week they went into the area to build things from the story. Some built a cocoon for the caterpillar to sleep in; Jayden, with a little help, enjoyed building a caterpillar and some food for the caterpillar to eat! On Monday the children also had the chance to make their own caterpillars out of egg cartons and paint! On Tuesday we took the art activity a little further and the children made cocoons out of paper rolls and then they decorated a butterfly that is rolled into the cocoon so it can come out when it is ready! Starting on Wednesday we added the story, "The Very Busy Spider." The children enjoyed making a string spider web after we finished the story. Then they went into the classroom to do more bug activities. In writing the children wrote about what they do to stay busy at school. In art they did spider web rubbings and they also made shiny glue spider webs! Some children enjoyed returning to the block area where they tried to use the blocks and string to make a spider web. Other children enjoyed the math activity where they used "The Very Hungry Caterpillar" book to remind them of the order of the foods that the caterpillar ate. Then they had to match the day, the number, the food name and the food picture for each day. Throughout the week the children also enjoyed doing the bug pattern block cards. These are always out in the classroom, but sometimes they are forgotten about so it was nice to see the excitement over these again! I think the most exciting part of the week for the children was snack time on Wednesday. When they saw me take out the paper plates they started asking me what we were making. I put out 5 plates on the table and they all started telling me that we had a plate caterpillar on the table. So we got wiggly eyes and a pipe cleaner antennae and made it really look like a caterpillar. Then I added the fruits (one type of fruit per plate) that the caterpillar ate in the story. After we "fed" the paper plate caterpillar we cut up the fruit and each child got the same amount of pieces that the caterpillar ate of each fruit! It was a very yummy snack!

Listening in:

While the children were feeding the pretend caterpillar lots of foods this week in Home Living, Tyrus walked up to me and said the following:

Tyrus: Teacher, the caterpillar has a tummy ache. He needs his leaf. Where is his leaf?

Lizzy: I can make a leaf! I can draw one!

Levi was very proud of his cocoon he made. However, when I called it a cocoon he responded by telling me: "I built his bed!"

Looking Ahead:
Next week we are going to continue to talk about different bugs. We will be reading the book, "The Grouchy Ladybug" and "The Very Lonely Firefly." We will be talking about time and learning a little about a clock as well as talking about friendship and feelings. We are also going to do a fun project where we will be able to "grow" our own bugs!

Pattern block bugs

Math work: Ordering the days and items (by number) of what the hungry Caterpillar ate

Staying "busy" at The Gan while writing about what she does to stay busy!

Painting his caterpillar

Checking out the caterpillar that he built

Our Hungry Caterpillar Snack!

Building a web as a class

Word work: spelling out words using the letters in caterpillar

He is so proud of his cocoon for the caterpillar!

Thursday, April 22, 2010

One Seed Went

to the window!
A look at this week:
Actually, three seeds per child went to the window. This week we used Eric Carle books to visit nature. We talked about clouds and seeds. On Monday, we started our discussion by taking sunflower seeds and putting them in a wet paper towel. The paper towel was placed in a plastic bag and then we taped the bag in the window. When we checked on the bags today, every child had at least one seed that had the start to a root growing! In addition to our new planting experiment, the children enjoyed many other seed and flower related activities. In math this week the children picked some flowers and colored them in. Then they glued the flowers into a pattern. We also looked at some of the plants we already have growing in our garden. We took a few out of the dirt so we could talk about the roots of a plant. And then the children also enjoyed going to blocks and building flowers and going to home living to play in the sand box as they were pretending they were gardeners. In writing we also wrote about where our seeds went, just like in the story "The Tiny Seed." Each child wrote about where their seed would go and then they drew a picture to match what they wrote and glued a seed onto the paper. And in art the children were able to take colored popcorn seeds and make a popcorn mosaic.

We also had many exciting activities that centered around the idea of clouds. The flannel board was open this week for the children to recreate the Eric Carle book, "Little Cloud." We went outside twice during the week to look at the clouds and try to figure out what shapes we saw in the clouds. While inside the children had the opportunity to take cotton balls and pull on them to turn them into shapes. These were then glued onto paper to turn it into a cloud shape picture! Some of the children were thrilled to name the shapes of the "clouds" they made by pushing paint around on the inside of a folded piece of paper. These can be found on display with our other Eric Carle inspired art. One of the favorite projects of the week was our shaving cream play! The children had the chance to play with shaving cream and create different "cloud shapes" on the table.
Listening in:
The children really enjoyed showing off what they knew about the growth of seeds. They were thrilled to tell me that seeds need water, sun and soil to grow!
Morah Amanda: We are going to be scientists and we are going to predict. What does it mean to predict?
Different children: predict
Morah Amanda: We are going to predict. We are going to guess what might happen to these. If we put three sunflower seeds onto the paper towel when it is wet and then put the paper towel into the bag and hang it in the window, in the sun, what might start to happen?
Noah: A Sunflower!
Morah Amanda: Do you think that a sunflower will just pop out?
Avery: No.
Morah Amanda: Do you remember in the story what was the first thing that happened to the seeds?
Miriam and Avery: The roots.
Morah Amanda: The roots! And I am hoping we will be able to see some roots grow from these. Just by sitting in a baggy in the window; getting some water from the paper towel. What do plants need to grow?
Miriam: Sun.
Morah Amanda: Sun; and...
Miriam: Water!
Morah Amanda: And?
Avery: Soil.
Miriam: Garbage.
Morah Amanda: Soil! No garbage Miriam.
Class laughs
Noah: Garbage.
Morah Amanda: No garbage.
Class laughs again.
Looking Ahead:
Next week, Eric Carle, will be leading us to our two week discussion of bugs. We will be focusing on "The Very Hungry Caterpillar," "The Very Clumsy Click Beetle," and "The Very Busy Spider." We will be making spider webs, having our own click beetle races and making a special caterpillar snack as well as many other activities.

"Planting" our sunflower seeds

Building a flower

Miriam with her penguin paint cloud
Gardeners planting their seeds
Making a corn mosaic
Writing where her seed went
Flower patterns
Shaving cream cloud play

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Pancakes and Pretzels...

Looking at this week:
As we spend another week looking at books by Eric Carle, we focused this week on food. We had three books that led us to this topic and the children really enjoyed listening to each of the books and using them within the classroom. The first book read was "Walter the Baker." The children had the chance to make pretzels on Monday. This was what Walter came up with in his story to solve the riddle he was given. It sounds like they really enjoyed doing this activity with Morah Tzivie! While we stayed focused on pretzels on Tuesday we also introduced the foods and the weekdays as mentioned in the book, "Today is Monday." The children enjoyed spending some time in the different centers with these two books as their main focus. In writing we came up with foods that start with the same letter as each day of the week. The children helped me spell the words and then they added them to a calendar. We also used these same words to make a plate of each item and they will be on display in the room soon! There was also a picture and days of the week match game set up so the children could find the day of the week and the food picture to match what they read in the book, "Today in Monday." Some of the children enjoyed dressing up like Walter with a bakers hat and an apron. Then they played in the home living area, pretending to make baked goods. On Tuesday the children were able to go over to the art area and make yarn pretzels. On Wednesday the children were introduced to Eric Carle's book, "Pancakes, Pancakes!" They went into the block area and built pancakes (or pretzels, ovens or anything else to do with baking). Also we added playdough play where they could make pancakes and pretzels. Some children chose to go back to the art area where they traced circles, cut them out and then added color to them to make toppings on their "pancakes." Although at first there was only blue paper out to make little circles for blueberry pancakes, Levi told me he was going to make strawberry pancakes and went to get the red paper! On Thursday the children enjoyed making real pancakes! We mixed the ingredients, talked about how they matched the ingredients in the book and then also had the opportunity to enjoy eating them! This week we had a great time taking a small taste of food with Eric Carle books!
Listening In:
This week was the first time many of the children saw the new crystal "chandelier" that we made and hung in the home living area. It was fun to listen to the children as they "caught" the rainbows that floated across the area. It was nice to see the sun and watch the children interact with the display!
The other really nice thing to listen to was all the excitement over the children being able to sit in the classroom and read the Eric Carle books that I set out in a basket! I added a chair from the library and shortly after that we had to bring out the other two library chairs so more children could go over and read! Some children even chose to read the books during our center activity time!
Looking ahead:
Although we have already visited the themes of weather and trees and flowers, we are going to revisit them with the main idea of nature. We are using two of Eric Carle's books to lead us into some activities that have to do with nature. We will be taking an up close look as to how seeds root, we will be painting on tissue paper and then turning the tissue paper into flowers (making them look like something that Eric Carle may make) as well as hopefully getting a chance to go outside and look at the clouds in the sky to see what shapes we find! Let's just hope the weather allows this last activity! So while we spend more time with Eric Carle and his ideas we will be enjoying some more investigation into nature!

Dressed and ready to bake!
Taking some time to read on her own
Building a pancake
Cutting out pancakes
Playdough pancakes and pretzels
Adding the ingredients to make pancakes
Watching the pancakes cook
Enjoying the pancakes when they were done!

Friday, April 9, 2010

Welcome Back!

Welcome back from break! I hope everyone had a wonderful Passover holiday! I know that the children came back ready to learn more!
What we did this week:
Although it was a short week, we still spent plenty of time learning! The children really seemed to enjoy the introduction to our author study. We will be spending a number of weeks looking at books by Eric Carle. We will also be developing some special art projects that will be inspired by the way he makes his book illustrations; and this week we started our study!
Since Eric Carle uses lots of colors in his artwork, we talked a lot about rainbows. The children helped hand paint a rainbow, which can be found on the bulletin board in the play room. We talked (and saw) how light through a prism can make a rainbow. We also tried to see rainbows through crystals and the children decided that we should hang them in the door so we can get the rainbows from the sun. Although we are not putting them in the doorway, we did hang them and as we get to much sunnier days we may move them around the room to find a better spot for them. Right now the children decided they should be the chandelier in the home living area.
Continuing with colors, we read the book, "Hello, Red Fox." When reading this book the children were able to look at a specific color animal and then look at a blank page next to it and see the opposite color (as found on a color wheel) in the same shape. Some children even tried to draw their own animals and make the same thing happen. We also had the opportunity to make "color soup" and mix it to see what colors we could make!
While reading the book "Draw Me A Star" the children heard all about drawing different pictures and some chose to make their own stars in the art center. And while we were being artists, this week in home living we decided to be painters instead of cooking. The children decided to take the paintbrushes into the home living area and pretend to paint. Some even chose to wear paint smocks!
We also made popsicle stick shapes to go along with our book "The Secret Birthday Message." And just to bring this book to life, we received our new block shelf today and the children had to solve the shape riddle (just like in the book) so they would know which blocks I need to either take off the shelf or put on the shelf!
One of the favorite activities was a snack activity. On Thursday we made a fruit salad rainbow. We had lots of fun with this and even had a great discussion!
Listening In:
Morah Amanda: We...
Mussie: We are going to have a funny snack. We are going to have a rainbow snack!
Morah Amanda: Yes, we are going to have a rainbow snack.
Children: Yeah!!
Morah Amanda: What color comes first in the rainbow?
Miriam: Red!
Morah Amanda: And what fruit is red?
Mussie: Strawberries.
Morah Amanda: What color comes next?
Tyrus: Red
Morah Amanda: Red and then...
Levi: Orange
Morah Amanda: Orange. And what fruit can we use for orange?
Tyrus: I see green in the rainbow!
Morah Amanda: You are right, but we aren't to green yet. What fruit could we use for orange in our rainbow?
Class: Oranges!
Morah Amanda: So we used strawberries for?
Class: Red
Morah Amanda: We used oranges for?
Class: Orange.
Morah Amanda: What color comes next?
Levi: Yellow!
Morah Amanda: And what fruit do you think we could use for yellow?
Mussie: Banana!
Levi: Now we made the top of a rainbow!
Morah Amanda: We have red; we have orange; we have yellow. What other color do we need?
Tyrus: Green.
Morah Amanda: What do you think we could have that's green?
Miriam: Kiwi!
Tyrus: It smells so good!
Miriam: It smells sour!
Morah Amanda: We are going to skip blue cause we couldn't find blueberries and we are going to move to purple, or actually something closer to indigo. And what are we going to use? What fruit would be a purpleish-blueish color?
Class: Grapes!
Morah Amanda: Now we have made a rainbow fruit salad!
Looking Ahead:
Next week we are going to focus on some of Eric Carle's books that talk about food. We will be making some food in the classroom. While we are going to do some real cooking, we are also going to be pretending to cook and will be taking classroom items and using them to make foods. We will also be talking about the days of the week and writing words that begin with the same letters as the days.

Hanging crystals to make rainbows in the classroom

Looking through the color wheel

Coloring a color wheel

Eating a fruit salad rainbow

Painting a rainbow

"Painting" in Home Living

"Painting the Fire Man's Hat

Making shapes out of popsicle sticks

Drawing a brown dog, later seen as a white dog Drawing a star

Friday, April 2, 2010

More passover prep

some kids were brave enough to taste the Maror "Bitter Herbs" that are traditional on Passover. Other kids just smelled it. We compared it to other sweet vegetables like carrots. All the kids tasted quite a few of those!

Passover Prep

Tasting the bitter marror.

Tasting the sweet Charoset.

The kids compared the color of our homemade charoset with a real brick, which is what the charoset symbolizes.

helping prepare our own charoset

the kids set their own seder during play time and sent out invitations to all the other kids.