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!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Day five of creation was a busy day. Hashem filled the ocean and rivers with animals, as well as the sky. The children have been creating fish for our ocean and butterflies for our skies. We are creating birds, from Flamingos to toucans to populate our mural.

A lot of collaboration is going into the creation of the mural. Daniel cut out our great white shark, Levi gave it the color.

A pre-school classroom is a special place. At The Gan, the environment is set up to embrace and nourish the child, helping the child develop life skills. Socialization is an important part of a child's development. Social relationships surround the child in all aspects of their lives. These relationships involve kind manners and politeness, as well as how the children interact with other people. Play is a key opportunity to help the child create and sustain positive social interactions.
The development of social play is age related, and as a child grows and is offered social experiences, a particular sequence of play can be observed.
  • Unoccupied Play, during which the child watches but stays in his/her spot.
  • Onlooker play, during which the child will move around to watch the other children and ask questions, but refrains from joining in the play.
  • Solitary Independent Play occurs when the child engages and is active, but plays on his own.
  • Parallel Play, during which the child plays independently but is next to other children, often using the same materials or toys.
  • Associative play, during which the child will play with other children using the same materials and toys and talking with them, however still acting on his own.
  • Cooperative Play, the child plays in a group with the specific goal of doing a particular thing.

Encouraging cooperative play, sharing, and respect for our friends is an essential aspect of our classroom.

This weeks Peace Makers circle focused on our purpose in the world. We talked about how we can and need to be creating peace for all people with kind deeds and words. We brainstormed ideas about mitzvahs to do in the classroom with friends, and at home with our family.
The following conversation occurred:

Morah Na'ami: Why did Hashem put us on the world?
Levi: To live
Morah Na'ami: We need to live and do mitzvahs. Can you think of a mitzvah?
Levi: Sharing
Noah: No grabbing
Morah Na'ami: Mitzvahs help make the world a peaceful place.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

We began this week reviewing the first 2 days of creation, and began talking about the third day. On the third day, Hashem created the rivers, seas, trees and plants. The children created a pear tree, and coffee filter flowers, and added a tissue paper river.

On thursday we began to create the Sun and the Moon and stars for our mural. Hashem created the "big bright sun, the moon and the stars for the dark of night." (a verse of our song)

We talked about living and non-living.
Living things grow. Non-living things do not grow.
We have living things in our classroom,
a plant, fish, children, teachers.
We have many non-living things in our classroom,
tables, chairs, books, pencils, toys.

On tuesday, November 2, our class did took part in some voting. We had apples and oranges for snack. I asked the children to think about what they liked about each fruit, and what they did not like. Then we took a vote, which fruit is tastes better? Oranges won by an overwhelming majority. Some of the reasons it won were:
juicy, sweet, and fun to peel.

One of the ways I help the children learn vocabulary and concepts is with a technique
called the 3 Period Lesson.
First, I give the name of the object or symbol.

Kian is tracing the sandpaper 1 and saying "1".

Secondly, I ask the child to touch the object or move it. The child doesn't need to tell me anything, but to show me. Step 2 takes more time than either step 1 or 3. In step 1 and 3 the vocabulary is being given or recalled. It is during step 2 that the child begins to connect the vocabulary with the object or symbol. This is done with repetition and fun: Please place the 2 under the table/please place the 1 on Morah Katie's head/Please place the 2 on your head, etc.

Kian is pointing to the 1.

Kian has already moved the 2, and is getting ready to put the 1 under the table.

Lastly, I ask the child to name the object.
If the child correctly identifies the vocabulary, we move on and add more. If the child mis-identifies the vocabulary, I thank them for working with me and we put it away for another day.

This is a process. All 3 steps can occur in one lesson, or over a few lessons.

One of the things I find most fun about the Montessori method
is that the teacher provides the tools and the opportunites for the
child to explore, discover and utilize. For example, once a child has mastered a certain group of letters, he/she can be introduced to the idea of blending sounds, and building words. Sounds continue to be added to what the child knows, more words can be built and soon we have writers and readers.

The red and blue rods, also called the number rods, are a very concrete tool for helping children learn 1-10.
The 1 is 10 centimeters long, the 10 is a 1000 centimeters long. The children can hold the 1 in one hand, whereas they need to hold the 10 with both hands and often with full arm extension.
These very real things help the child form the connection between the realness of something and the symobls given to communicate that something.
Morah Katie: Daniel, which is longest? the 1 or the 10?
Daniel: 10
Morah Katie: Which is longer, 2 or 7?
Daniel: 7
Morah Katie: Which is the shortest? The smallest?
Daniel: 1!

Thursday we spoke about what Peace Makers can do if they are getting teased. We read the book Yoko, by Rosemary Wells. We paid attention to her face through out the book, the sadness on it when she was feeling bad and the happiness we saw when she made a friend.

We used a toy swing set to role play what we can say if we experience teasing or see one of our friends getting teased.