Friday, December 9, 2016

Gingerbread, Marble Runs and More!

"Run, run as fast as you can!  You can't catch me I'm the gingerbread man!"

We read the Gingerbread Man, Gingerbread Baby and Gingerbread Friends all by Jan Brett this week.  We compared and contrasted the books through discussion.  The children love any opportunity to share in conversation about books.  We make predictions, connections, introduce new vocabulary words and more during our group read alouds.

We also learned a new poem for our pocket chart that became an immediate favorite.  We turned into gingerbread people!  Just like our turkey poem last month, the children changed the name in the poem for each child in the class.  They thought it was pretty funny to see their faces on a gingerbread cookie!  Along with our many daily read alouds, all of our name games, songs and pocket chart poems continue to be wonderful tools for building foundational literacy skills.  Whether starting to read or just learning letter sounds/identification these activities are great for all learners.

December continues to be an exciting month for the children.  When we complete our calendar routine each day, the children frequently ask to count down the days until Christmas.  On Monday morning, the children were excited to play in the little bit of snow that was on the playground.  They all played in the small "snowy" area and were delighted!

More weekly highlights...

The children made and decorated their very own stockings this week and are very proud of them! The stockings hang nicely from our reading loft.  They keep asking if someone is going to fill the stockings...I guess we will have to wait and see!

We completed our monthly glyph, which are gingerbread people!  The children answered questions about all of their holiday favorites. Afterward, we analyzed the class data and learned:
-There are 9 girls and 7 boys in our class.
-Most of us have made cookies before
-11 of us like sugar cookies best and 5 of us like chocolate chip
-Most of us like to run like the gingerbread man
-8 of us like Halloween best, 7 of us like Christmas best and one of us like Hanukkah best!


We began exploring with marble runs in the project room.  The first part of the challenge had the children investigate in groups of four to create a marble run using a store bought set.  They had to figure out how the pieces fit together and observe the different ways the marble moved as they went down the tubes and tunnels.  They were guided with questions such as, what makes the marble go faster?  What makes the marble change directions?  How high can we build the marble run?  A few examples of them working...


For the second part of the challenge, we combined with Mr. Thayer's class in order to create marble runs using somewhat random materials.  Cardboard, plastic and rubber tubes, pool noodles, paper and tape and were a few of the choices.  The children got busy thinking, collaborating, analyzing and designing.  They had to come up with solutions to problems they were encountering such as figuring out ways for the marble to build momentum, getting the marble to change directions, connecting tubes of different shapes and sizes and practicing patience while listening to others thoughts and name a few!  They are in the process of creating some pretty AWESOME marble runs!  This is just the beginning.  More to come next week!

Two video examples of one marble run a group of kids created...



While the marble run exploring took place for one half of the group, the other were presented with the challenge of building with play dough and toothpicks.  The children were very creative with using the play dough and tooth picks in numerous different ways.  Some built towers, while others built shapes and letters.  This was a great task that involved design thinking as well as exercising our small motor skills.


We read the story Pete the Cat Saves Christmas.  The children LOVE Pete the Cat books and ask to read them frequently.  For this read aloud, we specifically listened for rhyming words, which the children know are words that sound the same at the end.  They did great at listening for rhyming words as I read and we stopped throughout the see if we could come up with other rhymes!  Afterward, we played a group rhyming match game.  Each child had a card and had to walk around the room and find their rhyming match.  They did a great job of talking to each other and finding the correct rhymes!  As a class, we came up with other words that rhymed with our matches as well.  Being able to identify rhymes, allows children to build understanding of language patterns and structures in written and spoken language.

As we read about and discuss different holidays this time of year, "give" seems to be a recurring word.  We discussed how it is fun to receive gifts, but how important it is to give as well.  To end the week, we practiced the act of giving with our 3rd grade buddies.  The buddies decorated and wrote holiday cards together for families and friends.  The best kind of way to end a great week!

Next week is our final week before winter break.  The children have been practicing and preparing for the the Lower School Holiday Program that will take place next Thursday, December 15th in the Chapel.  Please have the children in the classroom by 6:15!

Dates to Remember:

Monday, December 12th- Preschool Hanukkah Celebration

Thursday, December 15th- Lower School Holiday Program at 6:30 p.m.
*The Holiday Program will take place in the chapel at 6:30.  Please have the children in the classroom by 6:15.  Children are encouraged to wear "semi-dressy" attire.

Friday, December 16th- Preschool Holiday Celebration and Reading of Peef the Christmas Bear by author Tom Hegg

Saturday, December 17th- Monday, January 2nd- Winter Vacation- No School

Tuesday, January 3rd- School Reconvenes

Enjoy the snow filled weekend!


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