Friday, April 26, 2013

Artists are creative people who share how they see  the world with others.
Painters take what they see around them, or in their minds, and put it on paper.
It is a beautiful form of expression and communication.
Before we begin to learn about specific painters, we will be learning about a few different subjects that can be found in paintings.
Morah Katie: What would I expect to see in a painting if it was a Still Life?
Dena: Flowers.
Josiah: Fruit.
Aaron: A rose.
Tori. Fruit and flowers.
Kian: Vegetables.
Morah Katie: Sroli, what did you paint?
Sroli: Flower.
Morah Katie: Tori, what are you painting?
Tori. I"m making a purple plate for the fruit.
Morah Katie: Artists like to give names or titles to their work, like "Green vase with Flowers". Do you have a name for this painting?
Tori: Still Life with fruit on purple plate.
Morah Katie: Noah, what are you painting?
Noah: Well, I am an artist. I am painting a still life of the flowers.
An artist always signs their work.
Noah: I signed it and I named it "Noah".
Artists explore with color and color combinations.
The children discovered something in the entry of the center and made an interesting observation and connection:
Kids: Hey it's a still life/ I see flowers I see a still life/ We have a still life.
Morah Katie: Why do you think it is a still life?
Joshiah: It's flowers.
Kian: It's in a pot.
Morah Katie: That is true, it is a pot with flowers.  Is it a still life?
Tori: When it gets painted.

We looked closely at 2 still life's painted by Odilon Redon.
We noted that they are similar because:
Dena: They are both of flowers.
Noah: They both have vases.
Josiah: They both have red in them.
We noted how they are different:
Kian: That one has a tall blue flower.
Tori: The vases are different.
Josiah: The background is different.
We saw how one artist painted many different yet similar flowers in vases.
Two of our friends played a memory game. 
One at a time they looked at the potted plant in our entryway.
 One at a time each painted the snapshot they took with their memory.
 We took note of how the two painting were of the same subject, and how they were different and similar.
We observed that they both had blue and purple flowers with green. We saw that they both had brownish pots.
We noted that they flowers were different, and the shapes of the pots were different.
It was interesting to see how 2 children painted the same potted plant.

Over the next few weeks, we will continue to learn about different subjects of paintings as well as looking closely at some master painters. 
We will use our critical eyes to look for similarities and differences between painters.
We may even try to replicate some classic pieces of art.
Due to the creativity and self expression the Gan children possess, I expect to see the classroom transformed from a preschool into an art Gallery.  

Friday, April 19, 2013

From a purely academic point of view, music in a pre-school classroom is very important to the development of the pre-school child.  Listening to music, playing music games, and singing helps children use various parts of their developing brains, at the same time.  It stimulates  their language, mathematical, and motor development.

From a purely non-academic point of view, music in the classroom is  fun. 
We sing to express ourselves, it makes us happy, and can be a good distraction (or in classroom terms, redirection).

There are many practical reasons to sing in a pre-school classroom.
We sing at transition times.
When gathering in the morning for our morning meeting we sing: 
(to Farmer in the Dell)
It's time to clean up now,
 It's time to clean up now,
heigh-ho it's time to go, it's time to clean up now.
When the children hear this, they know it is time to gather. 
Even when at times I fumble for the tune, by singing the initial notes of the song,  the children redirect their  attention and  prepare for cleaning up or choosing their name card.

Similarly at the end of play time, we sing:
(to Mary had a Little Lamb)
Our friends will meet at the tree, at the tree, at the tree
Our friends will meet at the tree, 
At the tree we'll meet!
When we are getting close to the classroom we sing

Singing is an excellent teaching tool.  
Songs are catchy,  and offer a fun way to teach basic skills, body control and social skills.
Singing increases everyday and thematic vocabulary.
Rather than providing children with a definition or a list of attributes about a topic, a song provides a fun and easy way to remember the facts and information.

 Songs get the children involved and active. 
In our  preschool classroom we sing our prayers and our blessings.

Songs are joyful, and none more so then when sung with young joyful voices.

Friday, April 12, 2013

We became botanists this week.
We used real vegetables to create a plant.
Morah Katie: Carrot is what part of the plant?
Kian: Root!
Morah Katie: What is celery?
Gracie: Stem.
Morah Katie: What is lettuce?
Noam: Leaf.  It is good!
Morah Katie: This artichoke is what part of the plant?
....... silence......
Morah Katie: Let's look closely, what do these flaps look like?
Dena: Petals.
Morah Katie: What do we find petals on?
Tori: Flowers!
Morah Katie: From flowers we get fruit, which has seeds for new plants. What is this fruit we have?
Kian: Peaches!
Morah Katie: Let's eat some plant for snack!
Our artichoke petals took a while to soften, so we ate them at lunch.
We began many experiments to study different aspects of plants.
Question: How long will it take for roots to sprout from a potato?
Question: Will white flowers change color if the water is colored?
Question: Will a white petals change color if we put them in the water, or does the stem need to be in the water?
Question: Will a shorter stem make the flower color faster?
Question: How bright will the flower color be if there are more then one flower on a stem?

Morah Katie: What is one thing plants give us that we need?
Josiah: Oxygen.
Morah Katie: Air has oxygen, we breathe it, plants create it.
We snipped a leaf, placed it in a jar with water and tried to catch some oxygen.
After a few minutes, we found air bubbles on the leaf.

By the next day, the leaf was covered with tiny oxygen bubbles.
We enjoyed the fruit of a vine.
Kian: WOW look at all those seeds, there's like 100!
Tori: Or 199!!
As botanist we observed with our eyes, we held plants in our hands, and documented our understanding through art.

Friday, April 5, 2013

We began a discussion of living vs. non- living.
Morah Katie: How can we tell if something is living?
Noah: It eats
Aaron: It moves.
Dena: It grows
Morah Katie: Yes, and it can make more of itself, it can reproduce.
Is this plant living?
Tori: Yes.
Katie: How can you be sure?
Gracie: It  grows.
Efraim: It makes more.
Morah Katie: Does it eat?
Kids: No yes Yes no.
Morah Katie: It does eat, it gets it's nutrients from the soil and the sun. 
We classified a few objects by living vs non-living: apple/ plant/ plate/ plant/ Dena/chair
We determined that the apple, plate and chair do not eat, grow Or make baby apples, plates or chairs.
We sorted the 2 plants and Dena under living, as they do eat and grow and when Dena is very very very very very very much older and married she could have a baby.
We extended this game by labeling items in the classroom. 
With a clear understanding of what makes something living, we are taking a closer look plants. 
Morah Katie: What can we do to take care of this living plant? 
Noah: Water it.
Dena: Water it everyday.
Morah Katie: Is a tree a plant? 
Efraim: Yes!
Morah Katie: Are flowers plants?
Anton: Yes. 
What do we need to care for the flowers in our yards or gardens?
Dena: Water them!
Morah Katie: Who can name the parts of the flower for me? 
Aaron: Roots.
Morah Katie: Where would we find roots?
Scout: In the ground.
Morah Katie: What is another part of the plant?
Tori: Stem.
Abigail: Leaf
Tori: Flower petals.
Just as we got very busy learning and playing as we re-entered the classroom after our Passover break, we also began to count down to our next holiday.
Morah Tzivie: What special present does Hashem give the Jewish people?
Dena: The Torah.
Morah Tzivie: Yes.  49 days from when the Jews left Egypt, something really exciting happened.
The Torah has all the mitzvahs we do in it, helping others, giving Tzedakah, celebrating the holidays.
Just like you count down to something really exciting (like your birthday) the Jewish people counted down to when Hashem would give them the Torah, the really special present.
We are going to count down also. We will fill each square on the chart for each of the 49 days until Shavout.
We are looking forward to learning why we are creating flowers to fill in the empty squares.