Friday, November 11, 2016

November!

The turkey is a funny bird,
Its head goes wobble, wobble.
And all it knows is just one word...
GOBBLE, GOBBLE, GOBBLE!

The children are learning many new songs and poems in anticipation of Thanksgiving and Grandparents' Day, which are approaching quickly!  They have been busy creating turkeys of all different shapes, sizes and colors at the art table.  The children also finished up their "geometric turkeys" on Monday, which are now on display in the classroom.


Our geometric turkeys have brought new levels of interest and curiosity to the pattern block shapes in the classroom.  The children have been busy exploring new ideas and designs they can create with them!


 

The weather continues to be beautiful.  We read the book WonderFall by Michael Hall that illustrates the progression of Fall with an upbeat and playful text.  Fall is a popular topic of discussion as the children make observations of the world around them.  They are noticing the animals, specifically the hungry squirrels and birds at our feeder!  The children think the animals are preparing for the next season to come...Winter!  We hope to take another nature walk around campus before snow comes.  For now, we will enjoy this "Wonder-Fall"!


More weekly highlights...

Creative art exploration with new materials!  Our "creation station" has been a popular place this week.  Exploration with tape, pipe cleaners and paper tubes galore, has been great for creativity, small motor and problem solving.  The children have invented some pretty neat things such as their own roller coasters and necklaces!


 

Tuesday brought election day.  We read a book called Max for President which highlights the concept of voting in a child friendly way.  We talked about what it means to "vote" and the children immediately thought of the time we "voted" to carve a happy or scary face on our pumpkin! We shared in discussion about the importance of being respectful and kind towards all people...alike and different from us.  A few friends thought Mr. Ginsburg might make a good president! : )

  
We also began learning about the continents in our world.  The children have been so inquisitive about the various maps, geography puzzles and globe in our classroom.  They ask frequent questions about the colors, places and textures.  We enjoyed observing and discussing our globe even more this week, noticing that there is more blue than any other color.  The children quickly realized this is water!  We also felt the textures on the globe and learned that the bumpy parts are places where there are mountains.  We looked at the place where there are mountains in the United States!  The children made excellent observations of the sizes of the continents, noticing that Asia was the biggest and Australia was the smallest.

We also read the book, Where is my Continent?, which focuses on North America and its unique qualities.  It also helped teach the children a little bit more about where we specifically live, highlighting the concepts of city, state, country and continent.  We looked at a United States map and found our state of Minnesota.  We did a fun stacking activity to highlight this concept as well, and narrowed it all the way down to our very own Breck School community, where we are!

Explorations of the world...



 

 


 


Our world!

The children have especially enjoyed learning and singing a catchy song called Tell me the Continents, which helps remember each one.  They sing the song while they explore the maps, puzzles and globe.

Tell me the continents, tell me the continents, tell me if you can.
There's North American, South American, Africa, Europe and Asia.
Don't forget Australia!  Don't forget Antartica!
Tell me the continents, tell me the continents, tell me if you can.


 
Our study of the world is incorporated in many ways throughout the year.

For all of the wonderful donations to "Breck Scares Hunger", the entire Lower school was rewarded with a bounce house obstacle course in the field house!  They children were thrilled and ran and laughed with delight.  Thank you for all of your donations...over 14,000 pounds of food was donated!  Our other reward is a Lower School "pajama day" on Friday, November 18th! 


 



We had a new challenge in the project room this week!  The challenge was to build a specific letter for a preschool "letter wall" with a partner.  Each child was assigned a partner from Mr. Thayer's class.  Their task was to work together and create a plan to BUILD an assigned letter with random materials.  They first had to think about the way their letter was formed (using the correct terms they have learned to form letters), talk about materials they could use to create it and last work together to build it!





 







This challenge required the children to plan, collaborate, communicate their specific ideas, compromise and listen to their partner's thoughts as well, all while exercising their creativity.  It was fun to watch them work together and problem solve when they couldn't get their initial ideas to work quite right.  They had to practice revising and rebuilding at times too.  More wonderful skills being built and practiced in preschool, all while strengthening literacy skills.

While one group was in the project room, the other group learned how to use ipads to take pictures.  The children went on a scavenger hunt and had to look for specific letter sounds, words, patterns and numbers in the environment and take pictures of them using the ipad.  We will soon be going on a letter and word hunt around the school and use our ipads to take pictures of what we find!  We hope match our letter and word pictures with our letters we built in the project room.  Soon, we also plan to use the ipad cameras for the children to capture their own work in the classroom (projects they are proud of, activities they complete and more).


 





On Thursday morning, children's book author and illustrator Nancy Carlson (also Mrs. McCool's mother!) came and presented to the children.  For the past many weeks, we have been reading her books, studying her illustrations and getting to know her characters.  They have many favorites they want to read often, such as Harriet and the Rollercoster, Harriet's Halloween Candy and I Like Me, to name a few.  She read a few stories to the children, talked about what an author and illustrator does, did some imagination exercises and even taught them how to draw some of her characters.  She also gave the children some great ideas for writing their OWN stories!  After her presentation, the children were eager to use their imaginations at the art table and get busy reading her books!

 

 

With Thanksgiving approaching in a few weeks, we began talking about what it means to be thankful.  We read the book Thanks for Thanksgiving and all shared things we are thankful for.  It was truly heartwarming listening to their discussions about things they were thankful for in their lives.   Conversations among our group consisted of being thankful for friends, family, chocolate, pets and more.  Each child illustrated a picture on a feather of one thing they are thankful for.  Their feathers are all together on our class "thankful turkey"!

 
 

Our CARE theme this month is responsibility.  Lower School is defining this as "seeing a need and taking an action.  I do the right thing!"  All of the preschoolers went to community meeting on Thursday morning with ALL of Lower School.  They learned more about responsibility and things they can do at school and at home to demonstrate this character trait.  We have some very responsible preschoolers in room L53 and practice this everyday!

Next week we look forward to more learning with themes of Thanksgiving, turkeys (including a special visit from a REAL turkey), project room creations and a special morning next Friday that includes "pajama day" and an introduction to coding with Mrs. Jones, which will have the children practice early computer programing skills.  All of Lower School will be participating in coding activities that morning and it is being called a "code-in"!  How fun!

Dates to Remember:

Wednesday, November 16th- Tom the Turkey visits Preschool with Farmer Nelson

Friday, November 18th- Lower School Pajama Day

Wednesday, November 23rd- Grandparents' Day- Half Day for Students (8:30-12:00)

Thursday, November 24th and Friday, November 25th- Thanksgiving Holiday-No School

Monday, November 28th- Faculty Workshop- No School

Have a great weekend!

  

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