Friday, September 25, 2015

A scientific look at lemons and apples

Morah Katie: Tell me what you know about apples.
Ari: They have seeds.
Evelyn: You can make apple juice with them.
Clara: They can come in all different colors.
Judah: They grow on trees.
Ari: You can use them to make a pie.
Olivia: They have stars in them.
Morah Katie: Let's look at those stars.
Morah Katie: What would happen if we left these apples out without eating them?
Abe: They would become yucky and rot.
Morah Katie:  Let's conduct an experiment. Please take a deep breath in. What did we just fill our lungs with?
Evan: Oxygen.
Morah Katie: What does oxygen help us do?
Evan: Grow.
Morah Katie: Does it help apples grow?
Clara: Yes, it helps the trees grow.
Morah Katie: I don't see the oxygen we are breathing, where is it?
Ari: All around us.
Morah Katie: Even around the apple?
Clara: It is everywhere.
Morah Katie: Before we continue with our experiment we need to learn 2 new words.  
The first is enzyme.  All living things have enzymes.  They are "specialists" or experts at doing their  job.  
The second word we need to learn is oxidation, which occurs when an element like an enzyme  combines or mixes with oxygen.   

Morah Katie: What do you think will happen if we leave the apples exposed during school?
Ari: They will turn yucky brown.
Morah Katie: They will turn brown because of oxidation. The oxygen in the air mixes with the enzymes in the apple and causes the apple to turn brown.  
Let's see what happens when we put lemon juice on some of the apple slices, and  nothing on the others.
At 9:30 we placed our plate on the shelf. All the apples were looking tasty.
Before story time we checked in with our apples.
Clara: The ones without lemon juice are looking brown.
Abe: This one looks really brown.  
Evan checked in with our apples during class time.
Evan: They are really brown, they don't look very good. But the lemon one looks ok.

Morah Katie: Who can tell me what happened in our experiment?
Judah: The lemon covered apple turned brown more slowly 
because the lemon juice was protecting the apple.
Morah Katie: What is the process called that causes the apple to brown?
Evan: Oxidation.

While our apples were, or were not oxidizing, many wonderful conversations occurred.
Evan: Ari I had the sprayer.
Ari: No, I did.
Evan: Morah Katie I had the sprayer first Ari won't give it too me.
Morah Katie: Boys I did not see who had it first, how can you solve this problem.
Ari: Evan can use the rag to clean the paint and I will spray with water.
Evan: Oh yeah we can do that.

Abe crashed into Judah.
Abe: Morah Katie I crashed in to Judah and I don't know what to do.
Morah Katie: Have you asked him what you can do to help him feel better?
Abe: I am sorry I crashed int you Judah, what can I do to help you feel better?
Judah: You can just say sorry.
Abe: OK, I'm sorry.

 Abe: Ari when you tell me I can't play I get sad, can I play with you?
Ari: Well I wanted to play alone but yeah you can play with me.

 Nora: Clara you kicked me.
Clara: Oh Nora, I'm sorry how can I fix it?
Nora: You can kiss it better.
Clara: Ari you were spinning and fell into me.
Ari: I'm sorry.  What do you need to be better?
Clara: Can you control your body next time?
Ari: Ok I will try.
These conversations are similar to conversations I've previously shared on the blog this year.
The distinction with these moments are that they involved very little teacher mediation, 
or were solved completely by the children themselves.
We have been keeping track of how many days we have come to school.
We have only had 13 days of school this year.
These moments of kind words and positive solutions point to a very happy and productive year.

Friday, September 18, 2015

Fixing mistakes

When the High Holy days begin in early September,  it could be looked at as a lot of missing days of school. 
I see it as an opportunity to introduce the children to the core values of The Gan. 

At The Gan we model and encourage kindness, respect, and compassion.
We have been talking about sweet, kind acts of friendship.
This week our attention was on fixing mistakes, whether that was spilling water or speaking from anger.  
As we began our transition from Rosh Hashanah (the Jewish New Year) to Yom Kippur (the Day of Atonement), we explored Teshuvah: regretting a mistake, and deciding to fix it and do better next time.
We read the story Engineer Ari and the Rosh Hashanah Ride.
Engineer Ari is very proud to drive the train from Jaffa to Jerusalem.
However, Ari begins to brag causing his friends to become upset and angry.
As he journeys, he realizes he made his friends feel bad and wonders what he can do to fix it, to be a better friend.
Morah Katie: What can Engineer Ari do? He isn't feeling so happy anymore.
Judah: He can say he is sorry to his friends.
Augie: He could just not say rude things next time but now he can say nice things.
Abe: He can be nice and remember to say good-bye to his friends next time.

After listening to the story, I invited friends to think of a mistake and to draw how they could fix it .

Ari: Engineer Ari is going to invite his sad friends to a puppet show.
Olivia: Sadie had the parachute. I wanted it so I grabbed it. Sadie got mad.
I asked if I could share and she let me.
Evelyn: He looks sad. I look happy. I was wild and fell into him. 
He asked me not to so I sat nicely.
Our puppets came to circle. 
They had been having some problems and asked the preschoolers for help being better friends.
Billy (Morah Katie): Sally bumped into me and she made me spill my paints!  Now paint is everywhere.
Augie: You guys can clean it together.
Abram: And then you can paint a picture together.
Sally(Morah Katie): Well, Billy took all the food toys I was playing with so I couldn't pretend to make breakfast.
Ari: Billy can just say "may I please share with you" next time.
Billy/Sally (Morah Katie): Ok, we will give those thing a try and be better friends.

Preschoolers are learning to navigate friendships and social expectations as well as their own feelings and bodies.
It is heartwarming to hear young voices say they are sorry, and to ask what they can do to help fix the problem.  

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Feeling sweet is better than feeling sour.

Rosh Hashanah is the new year.
We dip our apples in honey to celebrate a sweet new year.
What makes a sweet new year?  How do we help create a sweet new year?

We had a taste test/feeling test to help us better associate and identify our feelings.
We began with lemon.
By the looks on their faces, we could tell the lemon left a very SOUR taste.
Evelyn: Oh this is not good.
Judah: It is very sour.
Maya: The sour makes my tongue feel bad.
Morah Katie: It is sour. Look at your friends faces. Feel the face you are making?
Does the sour lemon taste good? Does it make you feel good?
Ari: NO, I do NOT like the sour. It does not make me feel good.
Morah Katie: What is something that might happen in class that would make you feel this way?
Maybe if someone takes your toy? What if someone doesn't let you play with them?  Those things might cause you to make a sour face.

Our next taste was a brown powder.
Clara: OH Yucky.
Nora: I don't like this.
Morah Katie: How does the bitter cocoa make you feel?
Abram: Not good, I don't like it, I don't like feeling yucky.
Morah Katie:What might happen on the play ground to make you feel like you just ate bitter cocoa?
Judah: Not sharing the bike, pushing.

Our final taste was golden in color.
Judah: HONEY!
Clara: Oh this is good, I like this.
Morah Katie: What can make us feel good like honey?
Abram: Sharing and helping.
Augie: Being nice.
*Most friends do not enjoy the bad feelings we are associating with sour, 
however, there are a few friends
whom simply really enjoy lemons.
Our taste test had an exciting and interesting result, during the day when a friend had hurt feelings they used the word sour to describe how they felt.
It was exciting to see the children attach a very clear sensory experience to their feelings.
These attachments helped the children express how they felt, and it helped their friend who may have acted "sourly" to identity with the feeling as well.
Ari: Evan I was here I got down to wash the honey off my face. I feel sour that you got up here I wasn't done.
Evan: Ok Ari, but you weren't at the sink. You were  done.
Ari: I wasn't and now I feel sour.
Evan: I'll wait til you are done.
Ari: Thank you.

We had a second taste test.  We reminded ourselves of sourness,
but this time we took the sour lemon and dipped it in the honey.
Judah: The honey makes the lemon MUCH better.
Morah Katie: Sometimes things are going to happen that make us feel sad or angry.
 How can we take a sour feeling and make it sweet?
Angie: We can share.
Abram: We can help someone.
Evan: We can ask them to stop.
Judah: We can talk nicely.  
Abram: I can share a helmet with my friend when he is sad. I did that.
 Olivia had built a great big building. 
Abram scooted a little to close to it and knocked it over.
Olivia: Oh No, my building.
Abram: I'm sorry next time I won't crash it. 
Morah Katie: Abram, would you like to offer Olivia help rebuilding it?
Abram: Yeah! That is a good idea. Olivia can I help you build it?
Olivia: Yes, thank you. 
Judah and Maya were playing Zingo.
Maya was interested in playing it one way, and Judah had his own idea of how it should be played.
Soon there was some very loud, frustrated and sour voices to be heard.
 Morah Katie:  Judah, I can tell you are frustrated. What sweet and kind words can you say to Maya?
How can you turn this sourness into sweetness?

Now that we can better describe our upset feelings, we are doing our best to make sweet kind choices.
Sadie is sharing her puzzle with Evelyn.

Judah brought a chair to the table so Asher could join in the play-do fun.
 Evan and Sadie are helping set the snack tables.
Evelyn gave Amelia a flower.
Evelyn: Would you like to go on a walk with me?
Amelia: Yes.
Evan made a teeter totter.
Sadie made a new friend.
Abram made room for Sadie at story time.
Olivia and Asher shared the bubble wrap bee hive craft.
Maya helped Sadie wash her hands.
Asher, Abram and Augie built a "balanced building so it won't collapse." (Abram)
 Olivia helped Evelyn sweep up paper scraps.
As we continue to practice using kind words and thinking of sweet solutions to problems, 
we will spend most of our time feeling as sweet as our apples and honey.