Friday, January 25, 2013

Celebration of Tu B' Shevat
 Bird Feeders for the trees and birds.
 Chicka Chicka Boom Boom trees and snack

Friday, January 18, 2013

Gracie: I see branches in the puddle!
We continue to explore trees and discuss what they provide for us.
Morah Katie: What do trees give us?
Tori: Oxygen.
Kian: They gives us food.
Dena: Turns dirty air into clean air.
Gracie: A place for tree houses.
Aaron: Wood to build things.
Efraim: Umbrella for shade.
We used clay to sculpt our very own trees.
We painted them when the clay set.
We have a beautiful forest.

 With our fingers prepared and ready to explore, we went out on an expedition.
We made tree rubbings, 
We searched for twigs and leaves for a sensory table.
The children explored and described the tree treasures.

In celebration for Tu B'Shevat, we have begun to create this year's mitzvah tree. 
The children voted on a sweet peach as the fruit to represent their sweet mitzvahs.  
It is delightful to see the tree filling so quickly.

Friday, January 11, 2013

Morah Katie: Sroli you are waiting so patiently.
Sroli: Natan painting. Waiting. 
I am pleasantly surprised each January with what the children show me: what they have learned and absorbed in the previous months of school.
These "things" can be small yet are quite big, as they demonstrate each child's growth.
I said above that I am "surprised",  I am not really surprised.
What I am is re-affirmed in the amazing capability of a young child when he/she is given the opportunity to explore, observe and follow his/her interests.
Dena (with a giggle and grin): Wait a minute, that isn't BLUE!
Morah Katie: Why did that happen?
Dena: Because the paper is yellow and the paint is blue,
yellow and blue make green!
 As a new year begins, there is  literal hand holding a young toddler through a task, describing each step as we go. (We will be painting/we need to put on an apron/we can get an apron in the bathroom/this is how we put it on/now we can paint).
Now, I can ask "I see you want to paint, what do you need to get first?"  Reliably my young friend will reply with "an apron" or show me by going and getting an apron.
Growth is seen when  the self sufficiency is taken a step further when the child cleans a spill without prompting and redirecting.

Building with blocks takes coordination and gross motor control and gives us a glimpse into the creativity of a child.
Early in the year, the use of blocks may have simply been to stack them.
This skill can be extended when a structure is created and the children are asked to add to it with purpose (The Holy Temple during Chanukah).
Now we are seeing spontaneous creations made with determination and /or collaboration.
As gross motor skills improve, so do fine motor skills.
As a child refines their ability to use a crayon, pencil or marker, we also see an increase in concentration and attention.
Earlier in the year we may simply see wild scribbles or letters all over the paper, now we see more purposeful scribbles and well formed letters.
With increased attention and concentration comes the ability to follow multi step directions.
This allows the older children to build on skills and knowledge they have.  
It encourages and promotes greater independence.
Once I have confirmed they have an understanding of the directions, I can leave them to accomplish their goal and check in with me when they are finished, or if they have a question.
Providing a classroom designed specifically for the children to explore, experiment and observe, allows for all of the above and more.  
It is the beginning of January and so much has been accomplished, I look forward to seeing what they reveal as our year continues.
Gracie: We are building our own marble tubes.

Friday, January 4, 2013

Back to school with a new month, a new season and a new year.
We had a lot of updating to accomplish with the Calendar.
January February 
March April May and June
July August 
September October
November December too!
Winter Spring Summer Fall
They are seasons, 4 in all
Weather changes, sun and rain and snow
Leaves fall down and flowers grow.
We made a list of words we think of when we hear the word winter.
We had the good luck of snow in the playground.
We created winter scenes.
We painted a snowy day ( or blizzards...) with bubble wrap.
We expanded on a book with creative thinking and art.
The Mitten by Jan Brett is a winter story filled with fun possibilities.
After the story we discussed how incredible it was all the animals fit in small knitted mitten.
Morah Katie: We each have a mitten, and it is sooooo big it can fit a ?????
I think my mitten can fit a..... Whale!
Dena: A whale?! Mine can fit a train!
Kian: Oh well mine can fit a dinosaur.
Noah: My mitten can fit a huge box.
Josiah: Mine can fit a lot of boxes too!
Tori: Mine can fit a fish.
We had enough snow for snowballs, we did not have enough for a snowman; we drew one instead.
Nose by Tori
Mouth by Dena
Scarf by Josiah
Arms by Kian
Feet by Noah
Eyes by Isaac
Buttons by Anton
Hat by Gracie
More Buttons by Scout
We finished our week with an experiment.
Can we make.....
 A class vote determined the color.

No cook play dough
2 cups flour
1/4 cup salt
1 cup warm water
1 tbsp oil (we used olive oil) 
food coloring
mix ingredients together, add coloring last.
keep in ziploc bag.
(add more water/oil depending on consistency)