Friday, November 17, 2017

November...

I'm a little turkey, happy as can be.
My name is Tom, feathers cover me.
Gobble, gobble, gobble, is what I say.
All the way to Thanksgiving Day!

We became TURKEYS this week!  We enjoyed singing this song and finding the correct name for each child that matched the corresponding picture.  We had to look and listen for initial sounds and ending sounds in order to find the correct written name.  The children practice initial, middle, and ending sounds in poems and many activities in the classroom.  They have especially loved singing this song over and over again and reading each other's names.


Our Room L53 turkey is all filled with beautiful feathers!  THANK YOU for helping your child decorate their feather.  They were all SO excited and eager to share their special feather with their friends.  They often look at it pointing out the different materials and asking each other how they made theirs.

"Hello, Mr. Turkey how are you?"

Weekly highlights...

Outdoor play is a favorite time for the preschoolers.  We had a few "warmer" days at the start of the week!  Unstructured outdoor play is so important for many aspects of their developed.  While children play out doors many skills are being developed:
  • Large and small motor strength 
  • Physical activity and fresh air make for more focused and settled children in the classroom.
  • Children use natural elements (pinecones, sticks, sand, soil, pine needles, etc.) to create their play.  Research shows that this process of reinvention (turning sticks into "magic wands") promotes divergent thinking, creativity, and problem solving.
  • Children make their own discoveries.  For example, as they fill and empty containers with different materials on the playground such as sand, water, or dirt, they are learning about weight, volume, cause and effect, etc.
  • Children take risks outside.  In a natural setting, they experience trial and error...failure and success.  Playing outside builds confidence and resiliency.
  • Children build social/emotional skills...friendships, cooperation, and empathy. 
  • Self-Regulation development...the ability to monitor and control our own behaviors, emotions, thoughts.



We love outdoor learning!  We continue to bring the children outside all through winter.  Please take note of the weather and send appropriate outdoor attire so your children can participate in our outdoor learning experiences.  Even if there is not snow, on cold weather days, snow pants are still necessary. THANK YOU!

In anticipation of Grandparents/Special Guest Day next week, we have been reading books such as Hooray for Grandparents' Day, What Grandma's Do Best, and What Grandpa's Do Best.  These books got us thinking about things we like to do and things we love about our Grandparents/special guests.  We created our own Hooray for Grandparents' Day book and each child illustrated a page.  They thought about why they love their grandparents/special guest, things they like to do with them, and more.  We can't wait to share our book with our guests next week!

We started a new collaborative preschool project this week!  The preschoolers have been busy creating a letter sound wall.  To begin, each preschooler was paired with a partner from another classroom.  Their challenge was to build an assigned letter together out of completely random materials.  This meant focusing on how their letter is formed and ensuring that the letter attributes for both upper and lower case were followed.  First, they had to come up with a plan and talk with their partner about the materials that might work.  Next, they got busy collaborating.  Most of the letters are complete and currently hanging up on display in the preschool hallway.







You will notice that the letters are not in alphabetical order, due to the fact that the children are focusing specifically on the sounds.  They will soon be adding picture under each letter that correlate with each letter symbol.  Sound to letter correspondence along with a strong sense of story are key elements in developing the ability to write and read.  More will be added to our sound wall in the next few weeks.  Not only did this project focus on literacy, but it also required the children to plan, collaborate, communicate their specific ideas, and listen to their partners.  It was fun to watch them work together...and they all made a new friend too! : )

Along with letter sounds and letter construction collaboration, we continue to focus on the traits and vocabulary that form each letter, for example an upper case "D" would be described as a big line down and a big curve.  The children are learning to start writing their letters from the top!  We incorporate letter formation in fun and motivating ways.  This week we used play dough to build letters.  This activity helps build small motor strength and teaches the children correct letter formation.  We added another component by choosing objects out of a basket and creating the beginning sound with play dough!  A few examples...




We began adding environmental print to our classroom letter wall.  Environmental print is the print children see in their everyday life.  Some examples include street signs (stop signs) or signs in buildings (exit signs), favorite candy wrapper labels, stores you frequently shop at (Target) and more. Environmental print helps build emergent reading connections as children make sense of letter sounds.  Also, the children find success with environmental print because they can independently read it.  The children enjoyed cutting out the print and finding specific words they knew to read.  They all added quite a few words to our wall, finding the corresponding letter each word matched with.  They also connected environmental print words to their friends names!




We completed a great activity that incorporated math skills in an inquiry and creative way.  We started by reading the book 10 Black Dots by Donald Crews.  It is a great book that incorporates foundational math skills such as, number recognition and number grouping.  It also encourages the children to think creatively through using their imaginations.  The author uses the same black dots on each page in different number groupings, but turns them into different objects...the eyes and nose of a snowman, the wheels of a train, the windows on a boat, and more.  Afterward, the children had to use their imaginations and create their own 10 black dot pictures using loose part materials.  Loose part materials encourage the children to be creative and inventive and think in ways they typically might not.  Each child thoughtfully created their black dot pictures and were so creative.

Check out some of our 10 Black Dot creations...






While the children completed this activity, not only were they encouraged to be inventive, but many math skills were incorporated through inquiry:
  • Comparing and measuring objects
  • Number recognition
  • One-to-one correspondence
  • Patterning
  • Addition and subtraction
  • Subitizing
  • Number grouping
They had so much fun doing this!  The materials were out the rest of the week and they created many different pictures using the black dots, alway making sure to tell their "black dot" story with a teacher.

We studied the story The Little Red Hen.  There are many versions of this wonderful folk tale, which makes it a fun one to read and talk about with the children.  We used this story to learn more about story elements such as characters, setting, and plot.  Here are just a few of the different versions we read this week...



We read seven different versions of this story and compared and contrasted between all of them.  We noticed many similarities and differences between the characters, setting, plot, and more.  After reading it so many times, the children could verbally re-tell the story with a beginning, middle and end.  They all took turns re-telling the story with a partner using the actual characters.  They each decided what version of the story they wanted to re-tell, which was fun to watch.  Ask your child about the story of The Little Red Hen!



  

Since the children have loved reading and learning all about the different versions of The Little Red Hen, they had the idea to create a puppet show of the story!  What a wonderful idea!  We generated a list of things we would need during our morning meeting.  Afterward the children got right to work and created all of the characters, props, and other important materials that will be needed to re-tell The Little Red Hen.  More to come next week!


Such a wonderful way for the children to learn about story elements and sequence!

Next week is a short week with our Grandparents' Day celebration on Wednesday, November 22nd.  Just a reminder that this is a half day and dismissal will happen at 11:45.  Grandparents' Day is always such a wonderful morning!

Dates to Remember:

Wednesday, November 22nd- Grandparents' Day- Half Day for Students (8:30-12:00)

Thursday, November 23rd and Friday, November 24th- Thanksgiving Holiday-No School

A Look Ahead:

Wednesday, December 6th- Conferences 8:00-3:30

Thursday, December 7th- Conferences 4:00-7:30

Monday, December 11th- Hanukkah Party

Thursday, December 14th- Lower School Holiday Program

Friday, December 15th- Preschool Christmas Party

Wednesday, December 20th-Tuesday, January 2nd- Winter Vacation

Wednesday, January 3rd- School Reconvenes


Have a wonderful weekend!