Thursday, November 29, 2012

 It has been an exciting week back from Thanksgiving break.  The children quickly became engaged as they returned from the long weekend.
Nature provided us with a wonderful gift Monday morning upon our return.
Morah Katie: How did our buckets get this way?
Noah: It got so cold it got ice!
Tori: It rained and then it got so cold it made the water ice
Morah Katie: Why is the tennis ball half sticking out of the ice?
Dena: It floated up in the water. 
Kian: The ice trapped it.
Morah Katie: Why aren't these rocks I put on the ice dropping into the water?
Noah: Cause it is ICE.

We are beginning to celebrate a great miracle that happened a long time ago.
Morah Tzivie shared a story with us which takes place a long time ago, before our parents were born, before our grandparents were born.

We listened to the similarities between us and the Jewish people who lived over 2000 years ago!
 We give Tzedakah, they gave Tzedakah; we are nice and kind, they were nice and kind.
We celebrate the holidays, they celebrated the holidays; we light Shabbat candles, they lit Shabbat candles.
 There are differences between now and 2000 years ago.
We drive in cars, they rode camels or horses or walked.  We can quickly go to the store to get our food, they had to grow and harvest their food.
We learned that in the city of Jerusalem there was the Beit Hamikdash, the holy temple.  We learned how the  Kohens took care of the temple, and that one of their jobs was to light the menorah each night.
Morah Tzivie brought olives to class.
She explained how the olives were collected from the olive groves in the countryside far away from the Beit Hamikdash.  The olive oil was made by squeezing a lot of olives under a big rock to get the juice and oil from the olive.
Morah Tzivie explained that the oil would rise to the top of the juice, which would then be collected and jarred, and brought to the temple for the menorah.  Just the journey from the groves to the temple was about a week.
Noah: A week can be a long time.  To bad they couldn't just go to the store to get it like my mom.

We lit oil in our classroom menorah and kept an eye on it throughout the day. It had finished burning before lunch, it was fun to watch it.

We began creating a model of the great temple. This involved looking at pictures/drawings of the temple and careful planning and discussion.  One interesting point of discussion was what would have happened if...
Noah: There should be booby traps for the Greeks.
Kian: They would have gotten trapped.  
Noah: They would have been caught and not destroyed the temple.  But the Maccabees were out in the caves and made an army to chase the Greeks out. 
Kian: Traps would have helped.
We had Chanukah parties.
We played with Mr. Potato Head, and drew portraits of Mr. Latke.
We dressed up as the brave Maccabees.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

At the Gan we express our thanks throughout the day.
 We begin our day by singing our thanks.
Thank you Hashem for all the sunshine
and for the raindrops that must fall
For the flowers in springtime, 
and for the Torah we're thankful most of all
Morah Katie:  We are grateful for the sun, rain, flowers and the Torah.
We sing our gratitude everyday.  What are some other things you are thankful for?
Josiah: Gramma's and Grandpa's
Noah: All of our my preschool friends
Dena: A house
Tori: The Torah
Efraim: Hats
Dena: Coats
Aaron: Movies
Kian: Mom's and Dad's

In honor of Thanksgiving,
we created "thankful turkeys".

One of the things that generated a lot of thanks was food.
We talked about how the food comes to our table.
Morah Katie: How do you think the apples and tangerines made their way to our snack table?
Josiah: Well they grew from the a tree from a seed from the ground.
Morah Katie: They did, what do you think happened after they grew on the tree?
Kian: A farmer picked them.
Dena: And the farmer brought them to school or a store.
Morah Katie: We can be grateful for the work of the farmer and the clerks at the store, and our mom's and dad's for buying the fruit.  There is more to be grateful for, what do the fruit trees need to grow the fruit? 
Dena: Dirt
Tori: Sun
Morah Katie: Who provides the dirt and sun?
Dena: Well Hashem does.
Morah Katie: When we say our blessings before we eat, what are we doing?
Kian: Thanking Hashem for our food.

Friday, November 16, 2012

The last habitat we have been learning about is our very own Pacific Northwest temperate rain forest.
Similar to the Amazonian Rain Forest, our temperate rain forest has layers.
The tall emergent conifers, the canopy of deciduous trees, the shrubs and the forest floor.

Morah Katie: The Pacific Northwest is a habitat with some very cool trees.  Some of the trees we have in our neighborhood are Evergreen trees. They are always green.
Noah: Yeah I've seen some of the those around my house.
Morah Katie: These trees that are ever green have a special name, Coniferous. It is a big word.
Children: Con if er ous.
Morah Katie: Coniferous trees are always growing new leaves or needles, so these trees are always?
Dena: GREEN!
Morah Katie: Do we have any evergreen trees or shrubbery around the Gan?
Kian: Right outside.

Morah Katie: What other trees do we have in the Pacific Northwest, and around the Gan?
Dena: The ones that lose their leaves.
Morah Katie: They have a special name also, they are Deciduous trees. What are the deciduous trees doing right now?
Tori: They are changing colors and falling to get ready for winter.
Morah Katie: Why is the Pacific Northwest a rain forest?
Josiah: It rains a lot.
Morah Katie: Does it rain all the time?
Noah: Not all the time but a lot.
Morah Katie: Our rain forest collects the fall and winter rain, and in the summer the fog brings MORE water and moisture.   
We sang a song about trees; we were Coniferous Fir trees and Deciduous Willow trees.
There are some interesting animals in our temperate rain forest.
We used our binoculars to "hunt" for a bear and a moose!
We dodged trees, splashed across streams and rivers, tiptoed over beaver lodges, squelched in mud and pushed through grasses. 
On our "hunts" and "trail walks' we discovered our forest is home to not only to bears and moose, but also elk, cougars, owls, butterflies, beavers, deer, squirrels, eagles and so many more.

We also:
Enjoyed our lunch while watching a crane deliver construction materials
Greeted Ari's brother.

We continue to play, learn and build friendships.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

The first Tuesday of November can be a very big day.
In honor of election day nationwide, we held an election at The Gan.
This particular election determined what fruit we enjoyed at snack.
Morah Katie:  We have been talking about our place in space, in the world. In the universe our place in space is on the planet....?
Dena: Earth.
Morah Katie: On Earth our place is....?
Tori: North America.
Morah Katie: On North America our place is...?
Kian: United States America.
Morah Katie: And in the United States of America, our state is...?
Noah: Washington.
Morah Katie: Today, all over the United States, adults will be voting. We are going to have our own election. An election is an opportunity to express what you want, your opinion.

We had 2 choices, apple or olive.
We tasted the apple; we tasted the olive.
We marked our ballot for which fruit we preferred.
We put our ballot in the box at our voting booth.
We tallied the votes and discovered which fruit was liked the most.

The votes were tallied and it was easy to see early on that Apple would win in a landslide.
Shouts of "Hooray"  "Yay" were heard through out the building.

We continue to develop our grace and courtesy.
Chalk is a wonderful medium for art. When everyone works together to erase the slate, it allows for a new canvas to be used.
It is always kind to hold the door for your friends.
Helping a friend write their name is a kind act and something to feel proud of.
Problem solving to create a solution which benefits the entire class is respectful to the whole community.
Participation in the preparation and offering of snack demonstrates grace and care of others.
It is always kind and gracious to help a friend in need.