Friday, March 16, 2018

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

I'm a little leprechaun can you see?
I'm as tiny as I can be.
I only come around just once a year,
That's when St. Patrick's Day is here!

The children have been busy drawing leprechauns, rainbows, and clovers in anticipation of St. Patrick's Day.  They were excited to celebrate today!

On Monday, we also got to visit the Lower School Book Fair!  The children were thrilled to be able to "shop" for their own books.  Happy reading!

More weekly highlights...

On Monday morning we talked about what it means to estimate.  We read the book titled Ish by Peter H. Reynolds to begin our conversation.  It is a wonderful story that focuses on the idea of thinking more "ish-ly" instead of worrying about getting everything perfect all the time.  We related this idea to estimating, when the children were asked how many gold coins they thought they could pick up with one hand.  Some had estimates from 10 to 1,000!  After their initial guess, each child got to actually try and pick up the gold coins with one hand, count them, and see if they had a "close-ish" amount.  We had great discussions about their estimates, deciding whether their guesses were "close-ish" or not.

After counting how many they could actually grab, they wrote the amount next to their estimate.  We discovered that estimating can be tricky, we be always try our personal best!

Today, we gave it another try and it was fun to see how the children changed their estimates of how many gold coins they could grab!  They all had "close-ish" guess this time around.

After studying monarch butterflies last week, we used loose part materials to see if we could build monarchs.  They children remembered monarchs are symmetrical, so they applied this when creating their pictures.  They also observed real pictures of monarchs and included the shapes, patterns, and designs they saw on the wings.  This was another fun way to express creativity and inventiveness, while applying what they had learned about monarchs.

The preschoolers learned all about how maple syrup is made, which is another neat thing we can do in Minnesota.  We read stories about maple trees and how the sap from the trees becomes syrup.  We also practiced sequencing the steps and re-telling the story of sap turning to syrup.  On Tuesday morning, we had a wonderful field trip to Westwood Nature Center and engaged in a hands-on learning experience all about how maple syrup is made.  We began the trip by exploring artifacts inside the nature center and watching a short puppet show that taught the children how maple syrup is made.

Exploring insects in the nature center...

Learning about the steps of making maple syrup with a story and puppet show...

Next, we went on a nature hike with a guide through the trails in search of maple trees.  We recognized the maple trees because a few of them had buckets waiting for sap already.  We also learned how maple tree branches are different from other trees, in order to help identify them.  Our nature guide taught us about the process of turning the maple sap into maple syrup and showed us the equipment they use to boil the sap.


After that, each child got to help drill a hole in the tree and we learned how to attach the bucket on the tree in order to collect the maple tree sap.  The weather wasn't quite warm enough that morning to see the sap drip out, but the children still loved helping!  We learned that this week would be ideal weather for maple syruping...cold nights and warm days!

We ended the trip getting to sample some real maple syrup that was made at the nature center.  Delicious!  It was a wonderful morning and another fun connection to our Minnesota studies.

"Syllables are beats we hear in each and every word!"  The children learned all about syllables.  We practiced counting and finding syllables by clapping our hands and finding the "beat" in our names and other words.  We enjoyed learning a special syllable song and clapping out the number of syllables in all of our friends names.  Most of us has two syllables in our names, but some had one, three and even four!  Syllables are an important part of phonological awareness as children learn to read.


Later, we completed a syllable sorting activity where the children had to sort pictures by one or two syllables.

Last week when we studied Dr. Seuss books, we read one of his books titled Bartholomew and the Oobleck.  It is a longer story, so it took us a few days to read it.  This was a great exercise for the children, as they had to recall what had happened in the story from the day before.  The children were enthralled by this story, and had many questions about oobleck, which was described in the book as a green colored, gooey, sticky, messy, slimy substance that causes a lot of problems.  It led to a great class discussion about what oobleck is made out of and the steps to create it.  The children's inquiry lead to two fun investigations.

First, we explored with REAL oobleck!  Through this sensory exploration the children raised many great questions.  They wondered why it was so sticky and slimy, how it could be a solid and a liquid at the same time, how it turned green, why it couldn't stay formed into a shape and more.  We talked about what made it a liquid and a solid in our small groups and practiced using descriptive words to talk about the way it felt.  They children had so much fun!

After exploring the oobleck, the children each created a page for a class book titled "How to Make Oobleck".  They thought of three things needed in order to make this secret, slimy, substance.  They  make a plan, verbalize their three steps to create oobleck and put it on paper through writing and illustration.  It was a perfect and engaging way to practice planning and sequencing, as well as,  many early literacy skills as the children practiced writing.  A few examples...



St. Patrick's Day has been an anticipated holiday among the preschoolers.  Their imaginations have been thinking of ways to trap a leprechaun.  Since it has been another topic they have have been very interested in, we read the book How to Trap a Leprechaun and generated ideas about how we could trap a leprechaun and what we would need.  From there, children wrote and drew plans for different traps and set them out in case any leprechauns happened to come by today!  Collaborating on leprechaun traps and houses...

After music this morning the children were excited to return to the classroom to see if any leprechauns had visited. They were all taken by surprise when we returned to the room and saw that some peculiar things had happened.  There was green glitter sprinkled all around, some chairs tipped over, materials out of place and a note was written to the preschoolers from a "clever leprechaun"!  It turns out, the leprechaun could not be tricked by our traps, but he did lead us on a scavenger hunt around the classroom.  We enjoyed reading the clues and guessing where the next one would lead us in order to find the treasure.  Although we weren't able to see a leprechaun, we were thrilled with the lucky gold coins he left us!  Here are some pictures of the children looking for clues...

What a great week!  We cannot believe it is already spring vacation.  The year is flying by!  When we return from break themes of spring, plant growth, change, and farming will fill the preschool environment as we enjoy our final two months of school together.  Hopefully, we will have warmer weather back too and can officially leave snow pants, boots, hats, and mittens at home for good!

Dates to Remember:

Saturday, March 17th- Sunday, April 1st- Spring Vacation- No School

Monday, April 2nd- Wednesday, April 4th- Faculty Workshop- No School

A Look Ahead:

Thursday, April 5th- School Reconvenes

Monday, April 9th- Wear CARE shirt day in Lower School

Tuesday, April 17th- The Minnesota Zoomobile visits Preschool

Friday, April 27th- Field Trip to Stages Theater to see Whoever You Are

Hope you have a wonderful and relaxing spring vacation!