Friday, January 27, 2017

Raptors!

Snowflakes falling everywhere,
Floating, floating in the air.
Whirling, twirling round and round.
Falling softly to the ground!

We LOVE snow!




Weekly highlights...

A current favorite is wooden block exploration.  This week, our blocks became houses, buildings, big ships sailing across the ocean and playgrounds with slides for animals!  A few examples...

 

  

We started off Monday morning with a visit from the Raptor Center.  The children were enthralled!  Prior to the visit, the children had learned that raptors are birds of prey that eat meat, have sharp talons, great eye sight and hearing and hook shaped beaks.  This information came in handy when they got to meet REAL raptors!  The children got to see an American Kestrel, Great Horned Owl, Red Tailed Hawk and Eagle.  They especially liked learning that these are all birds that live in Minnesota.  The children learned facts about each unique bird and even got to watch them eat.  Some preferred to close their eyes for this part, while others thought it was pretty awesome!  Afterward, we recorded our favorite raptor and something we learned in our journals.



Here are all of the pictures again.  Check them out if you haven't had a chance yet:
Raptor Center Pictures

The rest of the week the children were very curious about raptors, asking great questions and wanting to read books about different types.  The raptor themed books are currently the most favorite in our class library.  We played a game where we had to listen to clues about specific Minnesota birds and decide whether they were a raptor or not.  Some clues that told us the bird was a raptor were the types of food they ate, the beak shape, if they had talons and more.  The game also lead to a great discussion about birds that stay during the winter and birds that migrate.  The children are so inquisitive about anything that revolves around animals and nature.


Our monthly glyph project incorporated our study of raptors and birds.  Each child made an owl as they answered questions related to information they learned about raptors and other birds. As always, they enjoyed answering the questions, interpreting the data and learning more information about each other.






 


From our glyphs we learned:

-The overall favorite raptor was the eagle
-11 of us like to stay up late like an owl 5 of us do not
-9 of us like to take naps during the day like and owl
-The overall favorite bird to see at the bird feeder is the Blue Jay

We started learning about our state symbols and discovered that our state bird is the loon.  They were very curious about this special state bird, learning that Minnesota is home to many loons because of all of our lakes.  We even listened to the different calls the loon makes and tried to see if we could make the same sounds!  We looked at real pictures of loons and noticed that loons swim with their babies on their backs.  They liked this fact the best.  Come spring, the children will be eager to see a real loon on one of our many Minnesota lakes!  The children made beautiful loons in Artville that are currently on display outside our room.   We also learned our state tree, which is the Norway Pine (or Red Pine) and our state apple.  The children were thrilled to learn the state apple is the Honey Crisp!  We will continue to learn all of the symbols of Minnesota and why they are important to our state.

Some of our loons...

We started adding and labeling the symbols we are learning about on our classroom Minnesota map.  We labeled the Mississippi River, Lake Itasca where the Mississippi begins, Lake Superior, Breck School and St. Paul.

We introduced the children to the classic and favorite book, The Mitten By Jann Brett.  The Mitten is such a fabulous book for children to study and learn from.  They love the characters, which are all Minnesota animals and they enjoy the illustrated predictable clues that Jann Brett includes throughout the story.  We read the book a few times and noticed new details and connections each time.  We discussed story elements and looked at the main characters, setting and events that happened throughout.  The children practiced verbally re-telling the story through using sequence cards and a real mitten and play animals!



 


On Thursday, we had some kindergarten "readers theater" performers who are also studying The Mitten.  They read for us and shared in conversation with the preschoolers about story elements.  It was fun to make some connections with them.


We ended the week becoming the actual characters in the The Mitten!  The children retold the story again but this time through the perspective of the different characters.  They were beaming with excitement and loved playing the role of different animals trying to squeeze in the mitten.  We performed the story two times, playing the role of different characters each time. Their favorite part was when the bear sneezed and the animals flew everywhere!








The art table or "creation station" is a daily favorite place for the children.  If they aren't writing or drawing there, they are using paper to create hats, purses, bracelets, masks and other clothing items.  In anticipation of Valentine's Day, they have also been busy cutting out hearts and writing valentines for friends and family.  They are excited for February to come next week so they can decorate their  valentine "mail bags"!



We can't believe that January is just about over.  The children still enjoy counting the days each morning and reciting the date.  We continue to practice and reinforce numbers beyond 10 in a variety of different ways as well as one-to-one correspondence.  We count with unifix cubes each day and have been practicing counting by 10's!  Another favorite morning routine is answering and counting our daily question.  The children eagerly wait for everyone to arrive so they can see the results.  Counting our question involves daily practice with simple addition and early graph analysis.  The children are always excited when we have our "magic" number...16!  This means all our friends are at school.  We are looking forward to a fantastic February!

Dates to Remember:

Wednesday, February 1st- Lower School CARE shirt day

Tuesday, February 14th- Valentine's Day Celebration (***A friendly reminder to have valentines at school by Monday, February 13th.  Please do not include candy or other food items.***)

Friday, February 17th- Faculty Workshop-No School

February 20th- Presidents' Day- No School


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