Friday, February 24, 2017

Winter...or Spring?

Bear is sleeping, bear is sleeping,
In a cave, in a cave,
I wonder when he'll come out?
I wonder when he'll come out?
In the spring, in the spring!

The warmer weather this week made the children think of SPRING!  Spring isn't officially arriving until March 20th, so until then the animals will still be hibernating.  However, it sure was fun to play outside without snow pants, hats or mittens!  As we continue to learn about our state, we always enjoy talking about how "funny" the weather can be in Minnesota!




The children were excited to find one purple flower on the playground and thought it must be a sign of spring! 

Weekly highlights...

The children were eager to be back in the classroom after a long weekend.  They love their routine at school and always look forward to the daily specials.  They come in each morning and read the schedule to see what is in store for the day!  This week, the children especially enjoyed making discoveries with a few new activities...

Engineering with gears!  The children have been busy figuring out different ways to put the gears together in order to get them to all move with a crank.  They have built some pretty intricate "machines" with these this week!


 

How many trapezoids can fit in a hexagon?  Creating patterns and new shapes through exploring the way trapezoids can fit together.


  

Playful learning with triangles!  The children explored triangles of different sizes and put them together like a puzzle to create even more triangles!  We counted 14 triangle shapes all together!


 

We started a new challenge in the project room this week.  To kick off this challenge, we read the book The Most Magnificent Thing by Ashley Spires and talked about what it means to "invent" something.  Through discussion the preschoolers decided that an inventor is someone who makes or creates something new.  The book gave us a perfect example of the design process as we watched the main character come up with an idea, create a plan and use imagination, creativity and problem solving to invent something brand new.

 

For our project challenge, we decided it was time for the preschoolers to become inventors and create their OWN magnificent thing, just like the character in the book!  First, we took some time think of an idea...remembering the possibilities are endless because it is our OWN invention.  Next, they got to look at the different materials they could use to create their invention and go "shopping" to pick out supplies for their idea.  Lastly, they got busy inventing!  The first group started their project this week and the second group will begin next.  We are letting the children guide how much time is needed to complete this task, so it could still be a few weeks until they finish.



 

It was fun to watch them get started and turn random parts into something new, just the character in the book.  After both groups are complete, we hope to have a "Magnificent Thing Museum" so others can come and see our inventions!  Stay tuned!

Next week is famous author and illustrate Dr. Seuss's birthday (March 2nd)!  In honor of his birthday, we have been busy reading his books.  The children love the playful rhymes, silly sentences, tongue twisters, funny characters, imaginative places and more.  We enjoy practicing rhyming words as we listen to his stories and like to come up with our own funny rhymes!  Our class library is filled with Dr. Seuss books right now and the children love reading them.

 

Minnesota continues to be a topic of learning and discussion among the preschoolers from places, animals, state symbols and more.  This week, we read a few books about monarch butterflies, which is our state butterfly.  We learned about the process of a caterpillar turning into a butterfly, what they they like to eat, that monarchs migrate to Mexico and more!

Today, we decided it would be fun to make our very own monarch butterflies.  We used this opportunity to review symmetry, noticing that monarch's wings are exactly the same on both sides.  The children each drew half of a butterfly on paper by drawing a big upper case "B".  They also noticed the shapes and patterns on the wings and included those details as well.  We outlined the wings and shapes in black, folded the paper in half and ended up with a perfectly symmetry monarch butterfly!  Next week, we will complete them by adding in the orange colors with paint.


 

We continue to assess the children's academic skills, noting the progress in both math and language as we match materials to challenge each of them at their individual level of learning.  It is so exciting to see how far they have all come since the fall!  We look forward to sharing our observations of your wonderful children at conferences next week.  Conferences are next Thursday, March 2nd and Friday, March 3rd.  Make sure to sign up if you haven't already!  Please come with any questions or observations of your child that you would like to share or discuss as well.

Dates to Remember:

Thursday, March 2nd- Conferences- No School

Friday, March 3rd- Conferences- No School

Week of March 6-9th- Lower School Book Fair (Preschoolers will pick out books during their scheduled library time)

Thursday, March 16th- Field Trip to Westwood Nature Center

Saturday, March 18th- Sunday, April 2nd- Spring Vacation- No School

Monday, April 3rd- School Reconvenes

A Note from Ms. Zosel:


Used Book Drive & Sale
Upper School students are collecting kids picture books, chapter books, YA books, adult novels, non-fiction - everything! Books will then be sold in the Middle School entrance over the two days of conferences on March 3 and 4. Every book will cost $1 and the proceeds will be used to support Reading Partners, a literacy tutoring organization.

Please bring in gently used books for the book sale. There will be donation boxes in every division through March 2. Then come shop the sale! Pick up some books to read over spring break!



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