Friday, January 12, 2018

Antler, Bear, Canoe

Here is the hill,
All covered in snow.
We jump in our sleds,
And ZOOOOOOM down we go!

We continue to learn new songs and poems each week.  Most of our new poems and songs revolve around winter and snow!  Poetry and music engage children in many important early literacy skills such as rhyme and concepts of print.

The children were eager for fresh air after many days of indoor recess last week.  What a nice change to have some warmer weather during the first half of our week.  The playground was a little wet and muddy, but it didn't stop the preschoolers from running, digging, shoveling, and playing!


Weekly highlights...

During free choice time, the preschoolers have been loving a memory game where they practice taking turns, sharing, and displaying good sportsmanship.  They always make sure to tell their friend they are playing with "good game" or "great job" when they finish.  Games like these help children build important social and emotional skills, such as patience and taking turns.  Later in the week, we also played the game "Go Fish" with letters and practiced letter and sound recoginition.



The marble run has still been a favorite classroom activity!  The children enjoy creating complex marble runs with our classroom set.  At the start of the week, group two spent time creating marble runs in the project room...




This marble run challenge has been fun for the kids and it encouraged development of so many important skills:
  • Executive functioning (creating a plan and following it through)
  • Problem solving
  • Teamwork
  • Flexibility
  • Collaboration
  • Creativity
  • Patience
  • Confidence as they found success creating marble runs!
As the children's knowledge of sounds and letters continues to develop, we have been talking more and more about vowels.  The children have learned that vowels are special letters that help spell words.  We looked at all of the letters in our names and noticed that every single one of our names have at least one vowel in them, but some had two, three, and even four!  They especially love singing a vowel song that helps them remember the vowels and their corresponding sounds.  Our song helps us recognize that vowels each have two sounds just in the words apple and acorn or eagle and egg.

The children have been interested in writing and sharing stories, so we opened up the L53 book making station!  When the children have an idea for a book or want to share information that they know all about, they can put it down on paper and create a story.  We have spent a lot of time verbally sharing stories with each other, so we continue to practice and grow in our ability to display our stories through illustration and words.  There were quite a few books written this week about many different topics.  Some topics included, owls, hockey, and polar bears.  The children are learning that they are authors and have many stories to tell!


 

What has been really fun for the kids is placing their own books on our classroom books shelf and seeing their friends read them during choice time!

We began our study of Minnesota this week using the books Antler, Bear, Canoe and M is for Minnesota.  We started by looking at North America, the United States, and finally, locating Minnesota.  We located Minneapolis, St. Paul and even some places farther north such as the Boundary waters, Lake Superior, and Duluth.  The children are incredibly inquisitive when it comes to learning about our state and their natural curiosity raises excellent questions and inquiries.  This week, our conversations led us to wonderings about Minnesota animals.  The especially enjoyed learning about antlered animals in Minnesota, such as deer and moose.  We compared and contrasted a real deer and moose antler noting the different sizes, shape, textures, weight, and more.  We talked about how animals might use their antlers.  They thought a moose might use its antler to shovel because it is shaped like one.  They also thought both animals might use them for protection!  The children have loved observing them with magnifying glasses and think it would be pretty hard to carry those antlers around on their head all day!



Minnesota animals have been added to the shelf for play exploration.  The children have been loving using blocks and other materials to create homes for them.  We have had caves for bears, lakes for loons, and tall trees for owls and other birds to perch on!


Our sensory materials have also provided many story telling opportunities.  We currently have rice, animals, trees, and snowflakes in our sensory table.  Their imaginations have turned the rice into snow and the children are taking the animals on many "snowy" adventures!  Our blue play dough and loose part gems have turned into ice and other biomes for arctic animals to live in!


 

Snow is always a topic of discussion among the preschoolers this of year and it is incorporated in our studies of Minnesota and winter.  We read some books about snowflakes and learned about the different types and how they are formed.  The children learned that all snowflakes have six sides and no two snowflakes are the same.  We looked at pictures of real snowflakes and discovered that they are made of many different shapes.  A  lot of them have a hexagon shape in the middle!  This was another great opportunity to talk about symmetry, as the children noticed that snowflakes are the exact same all the way around.

Using a favorite classroom material, attribute blocks, we designed our own unique snowflakes using patterning and counting strategies.  All of our snowflakes turned out different, just like real ones!  The children are becoming observers of the world and are realizing that patterns and shapes really can be found everywhere...even in nature!




 


Later, we observed pictures of real snowflakes in books and used loose part materials to create snowflakes.  We continue to incorporate loose part materials in our studies.  Loose part materials encourage the children to be creative and inventive and think in ways they typically might not, which is so important for their development.  Here are some examples of our snowflake creations...



 

While the children completed this activity, they were encouraged to be inventive and creative, but many math skills were incorporated through inquiry as well:
  • Understanding of symmetry
  • Number recognition
  • One-to-one correspondence
  • Patterning
  • Addition and subtraction
  • Subitizing
We honored and celebrated the life of Martin Luther King. Jr. through books and an art project the children completed in Artville.  Each child thought about a dream for our world and illustrated a picture of it.  They put wonderful thought into their pictures.  They are currently on display outside the classroom.






 

We ended the week with a visit from the Richfield Readers!  They performed the stories Owl Babies, The Tortoise and the Hare, and The Kissing Hand.  After their visits, the children are always eager to perform and re-tell their favorite stories in the classroom.  We always love their visits!


What a fabulous week!

Dates to Remember:

Monday, January 15th- Martin Luther King Jr. Day-No School

Tuesday, January 23rd- The Raptor Center visits Preschool

We hope you all have a wonderful long weekend!  Go Vikings!