Thursday, May 27, 2010

"We're going to the zoo, zoo, zoo..."

A Look At This Week:
We had been hopeful that the weather would be good and we would be able to go to the zoo this week to help us end our discussion on animals. However, the rain has been here and we were unable to go. We are hoping that June 7th will be much better weather and we will be able to get to the zoo then. It will be a fun end of year field trip!
As for in the classroom, we continued to have our own zoo. The first thing that children noticed was the change in our home living area. It became a zoo itself. The pictures that we had been using over the past couple of weeks were put up on the wall and on the kitchen items and cages were put over them. So when the children went into the home living area they were taken to a pretend zoo instead. They had the chance to use binoculars to get a little "closer" look at the animals this week! The best part was when Jayden went into home living and looked back at me and said, "is this the kitchen?" I answered, "yes." And he responded, "no it isn't. It has animals. It's a zoo!"
On Monday we tried an experiment using grape juice, baking soda and vinegar. Since one of the books we focused on this week was "The Mixed-Up Chameleon," we took pictures of chameleons and colored them. Then we cut them out and glued them on to paper and drew scenery. Then we painted them with dark grape juice. When they dried we added either a baking soda and water mixture or some vinegar to our chameleons and watched them change color. We then add these mixtures to small cups of grape juice so it was easier to see the reaction. The vinegar ones turned a greenish-blue and the baking soda mixture turned pink. The children enjoyed seeing this. And although it was not as noticeable on their chameleons after they dried, the crayon color really turned bold after having the mixtures put on!
For math this week the children used the pattern blocks, with no pattern cards, to make snakes. This helped introduce the book, "The Greedy Python." It was fun to see what different pattern snakes the children could come up with!
In blocks the children continued to build a zoo. It is always neat to see what different creations they come up with when they work with different friends. In writing we talked about what animal we would like to be if we could be any animal. Then we had to draw a picture to go with it. The animal zoo was still available this week for the children to play in as well. And in art the children took a pre-colored chameleon and had to draw a background to match the color of the chameleon. Then the children wrote a sentence about where the chameleon was!
Since we did not go to the zoo, the children have been working on making the zoo animals out of hand prints. We are trying to make a book of the animals we will see in the order we will see them. It has been a fun project to work on, especially since they were disappointed in the weather!
Listening In:
While Miriam and Mussie were in home living pretending to be at the zoo they had a little discussion that could be heard around the room!
Miriam: There is a monkey on the tree. I will let you out.
Mussie: No! (pretending to lock the cage back up) Chk, chk.
Miriam: There's the baby polar bear.
Mussie: He needs to stay in there. He's a cub. Remember baby bears are cubs.
It was nice to hear them take something they have learned and use it within the conversations that they have on their own!
Looking Ahead:
Next week we are starting our theme on Community Helpers. We will be starting with a topic that the children have been displaying in the play area as they pretend that someone has been hurt and has to go to the hospital. They use the underneath area of the play structure as the hospital and use the white pipes to make different doctor tools. So we will be starting out with talking about medics. The children will be making band-aid letters, using an ambulance toy in the block area and using doctor tools in the home living area!
Please remember we are closed on Monday, May 31 in observance of Memorial Day.
Coloring chameleons
Cutting out chameleons
Still cutting!
Putting grape juice on the chameleons
Writing about where her chameleon lives!
Making a pattern block snake
Writing about animals
Building a cage for the lions

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Animals and Garden Beans

Animals and Garden beans...what do they have in common?
A Look At this week:
They were both discussed during this short week! We were closed Wednesday and Thursday this week so there was not nearly as much going on. However, we did continue our discussion on animals this week. In math this week we focused on our pattern block animals. It is always interesting to watch how each child comes up with different ways to use the pattern blocks to match the animal cards! For our language development the children were able to use the animal zoo again. They have really enjoyed learning about animals that start with each letter. It has also been fun to listen to them using more animal names in the classroom. On Monday there were a few children that were really excited to talk about ostriches. In home living we pretended to be a parent as this goes with the book, "Does a Kangaroo Have A Mother Too?" This book as well as "Slowly, Slowly, Slowly Said the Sloth" were our main books, as well as Eric Carle books. In blocks the children continued to build a zoo. For art this week the children created animals out of playdough.
With our reading of "Slowly, Slowly, Slowly Said the Sloth" we talked about fast and slow. We played a game where we followed a leader who had to do something either fast or slow. The children enjoyed trying to come up with different ideas of what to do! They also had the chance to walk (to go get their lunched and wash their hands) slowly, just like a sloth.
We had a very nice discovery this week! While watering the plants on Tuesday, I noticed we had our first garden bean! Then we noticed another one growing as well. After letting the children look for this great discovery, we picked the large garden bean and sampled it! Although our garden may not look the prettiest, it did work and that was the exciting part.
Listening In:
This is the discussion that took place while talking about the garden bean. Most of the conversation took place while outside. The children first came out, not sure what we were going to look at but the conversation quickly led them to see!
Tyrus: Oh, poor plants.
Morah Amanda: What are we growing?
Levi: Corn.
Morah Amanda: And?
Mussie: Garden beans.
Levi: The cantaloupe is not going to even grow.
Morah Amanda: What do you think I saw when I looked at the plants while watering them?
Mussie: The corn is growing tall.
Morah Amanda: What else did I find? One of them we will leave there and you can show your parents.
Mussie: I think everything is growing.
Tyrus: I see a bean!
Mussie: That's just a rock.
Morah Amanda: What is this? (pointing to a bean)
Tyrus: A bean!
Mussie: A garden bean!
Miriam: Our garden bean is growing.
Mussie: That is yum!
I picked the large bean and we went back inside.
Morah Amanda: Tell me about the garden bean.
Miriam: It grows.
Lizzy: Do we get to eat it?
Miriam: I see dark.
Levi: There are peas inside it.
Tyrus: I see the seeds.
We break the garden bean into pieces and taste it.
Morah Amanda: How does it taste?
Class: Good!
Morah Amanda: What taste did it have?
Mussie: A bean taste.
Tyrus: A lemon taste.
Levi: A pea taste.
Lizzy: I don't want to eat it anymore.
Looking Ahead:
Next week we will be finishing our study of animals. We are going to use a few more Eric Carle books as we finish up. One of these will be "The Mixed Up Chameleon." We will be doing a science experiment with trying to change a chameleon's color as well as we will write about what animals we would like to be. Hopefully the weather will be nice so that we can still take our trip to the zoo, a perfect way to end a three week study of animals!

Making an animal with pattern blocks
Moving as slowly as a sloth
Searching for garden beans
There is a garden bean on the bottom third of the picture
Tyrus and his zoo
Writing a page for Avery's special birthday book
Pretending to be a mommy
Making playdough animals
Playing the movement game
Avery is enjoying her birthday cupcake

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Gan Children, Gan Children, what do you see?

We see lots of animals starting with letters from A to Z!
Looking at this week:

We started our three week theme on animals. We are still using Eric Carle books to lead us through this discussion, but we are adding in other things too! This week we introduced all the animals that can be found in "Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See?" and "Panda Bear, Panda Bear, What Do You See?" We used these animals to do matching card games where the children matched the animal picture with the animal name. This was a great way for many of the children to work on letter sound recognition, even if they are not able to read yet. We also did this with color words and pictures this week! In writing, this week, we looked at ourselves in the mirror and decided what we wanted to write about. Then we filled in the blanks to: ______, _______ what do you see? I see __________ looking at me. The children could write about something on their clothes, their eye color, their hair color or anything else they saw in the mirror. While focusing on animals in general, we had many animal activities going on throughout the classroom. In art the children made an "animal print" by finger painting/ mixing colors of paint on half a piece of paper. Then we folded the paper and pressed it together to repeat the print on the other side. Many of the children enjoyed doing the animal pattern block cards this week. We also had the chance to be a zoo keeper in home living where the children prepared food for the animals. In blocks we built a zoo (cages) for the animals. And then as a special treat the children were able to play with the visiting animal alphabet zoo. This toy zoo will be in the room throughout our study of animals, allowing the children to do multiple activities with these animals! And of course, we can not forget about the display that we have been making in the classroom! We have been creating our own zoo by making animals out of colors that begin with the same letter as the animal name. So far we have a black bear, a brown bear, some teal turtles, some purple penguins, a pink penguin, a red rooster, a black bat, a blue bat, pink porcupines. I am sure our zoo will continue to grow!

Listening In:

For our animal card match game this week I took all the animals mentioned in the two books we focused on this week. The children spent some time with me looking at the pictures and talking about the words (names) on each card. Then they worked on matching them. Many of the children had not heard of some of the animals in "Panda Bear, Panda Bear, What Do You See?" I started reading this book on Wednesday. About a third the way in, Mussie looked at me and smiled. I had her wait until the end of the story before I let her tell me what she realized. "Those animals are on the cards!" I think they finally figured out where I get a lot of my teaching materials from!

Looking Ahead:

Next week we are going to continue looking at animals. We are going to be talking about the speed that animals move at and how in our lives we rush through some things and slow down on others. We are also going to be talking about names of adult animals and baby animals.


We will be closed next Wednesday and Thursday in observance of Shavuot. We have been talking about this holiday in the classroom. The children have learned that this holiday is 49 days after Passover (as we count the day between the two holidays) and it is when we received the Torah on Mt. Sinai

Just to show how the children take what they learn and move it into other activities, last Shabbat, when we were making challah, Levi decided he wanted to make a challah in the shape of a butterfly.

Animal word card match
Looking for matches to the animal card
Making animal paint tracks

Building a zoo for our animals

Making a teal turtle and a blue bird
Playing with the alphabet zoo

Two zoo keepers preparing the food for the animals.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Can you guess how we are feeling?

A look at this week:

We finished our look at Bugs this week by growing our own bugs. However, before we look at this week's activities, can you guess the emotion each child is showing? On Tuesday we acted out different emotions before making ladybugs to match the emotion (this was inspired by reading "The Grouchy Ladybug. (See answers at the bottom of this post)"






We also used this book to teach us about some other things! We looked at a clock and even took time to make the clock match the clocks in the book. We learned that everything happens at a "time" and that things take time to do! It took the lady bug over 45 minutes to fly down the length of the whale! While talking about time we had the chance to write about what we do in the morning, the afternoon or night. We also used a lady bug and added dots to it as we worked on number recognition by adding the same number of dots as shown on the die that we rolled.

The other book that we focused on was "The Very Lonely Firefly." We had the chance to make our own fireflies by using different shaped paper. This also helped us recognize our circles, triangles, squares and rectangles.
In Home living this week we pretended that we were collecting bugs and even had special tweezers that we used to pick them up and put them into a special bug box! We had to watch out so they didn't fly out! In the block area the children enjoyed trying to figure out how to build their own bugs. And the most enjoyed activity of the week was growing their own bugs with sponge capsules. We then had to try to figure out what bug we each grew! While the bugs were growing the children also had the chance to use a special bug eye toy that allowed them to see in ways that bugs may see.
And the final thing we did was we wrote about what made Lizzy such a special friend as we celebrated her birthday. And to make the celebration even more special, her cake ended up being in the shape of a caterpillar! How perfect!!

Listening In:

Sometimes it is just fun to sit back and listen to conversations going on in the classroom. One day this week, during lunch, Miriam had vegetables in her lunch.

Miriam: I like eating vegetables!

Lizzy: It's also called produce!

Looking Ahead:

Next week we are going to continue looking at Eric Carle books as we start a theme about animals. We are going to be using other books as well in the classroom as we start to grow from our Eric Carle theme. We are going to be focusing on his books, "Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See?" and
Panda Bear, Panda Bear, What Do You See?" These two books will lead us into discussions about color, senses and other animals. We will be starting to build a zoo in the classroom as we start to get excited that we may be going to the real zoo in a couple of weeks!


Pictures are this Wednesday. Please remember to wear your smiles! And also return your picture order forms!!!
Making a lady bug to match our feelings

Looking at the world through a bug's eye
Collecting bugs

Building a bug, and using different vehicles to help the people get to the bug!

The caterpillar cupcake design

Watching a bug grow!

Making a paper shape bug

Working so hard on his clock

Checking out the clock to match the story

Answers to the emotion pictures:

Miriam: Sad

Lizzy: Mad

Levi: Happy

Tyrus: Grouchy

Mussie: Surprised