7 September, 2018
7 September, 2018
19 April, 2019
Warm sunny days and rain melted away the last of the ice and snow, leaving spots of fun squishy mud. We hauled out all the riding, raking, and rolling toys and were very busy making good use of them. We spent as much time outside enjoying the warmth and sunshine as we could, including all of Wednesday and Friday afternoons.
Monday students watched a video of artist Holton Rower creating a pour painting with cups of acrylic paint. As he poured each new color, it pushed the colors before it out, creating a ring of stripes. We were excited to make our own. We put our smocks on first, then selected a board for a base and a block to pour over. The children then selected colors they wanted to use and carefully poured them over their blocks, watching as the colors flowed and pushed out over the block.
Tuesday was hatching day and everyone was so excited to see the starting hole and watch the eggs rock as the chicks pecked and pushed. We were so excited to watch the eggs, anxiously waiting for them to emerge. We read a fun story called Big Chickens about some silly chickens that were scared of everything, until the end when they scared away the wolf, then they were no longer such chicken chickens. Midway through the story the first chick started to hatch out, so we all went over to the incubation area and found a spot where we could watch it come out of its’ shell. It was such an exciting experience! After watching it come out all wet and wobbly, we observed it for a while as it tried to get its’ balance and begin to dry, then we returned to group to set up the chick bin. Everyone had a turn to place a paper towel, pour some water into the waterer, and add a scoop of food to the feeder to prepare for the chicks. We continued to watch them throughout the day and saw as two other chicks began to peck a hole and rock and push on their shells, but no more hatched while we were at school. When we arrived on Wednesday morning, all four were out – two black, and two yellow. We set up the heat lamp, and watched as Alicia transferred them from the incubator to their new home, where they huddled under the heat. She showed them how to drink the water and eat the food, and by the end of the day, after many, many, naps, they were eating and drinking their food and water. The video of the chick hatching can be accessed by copying this link, or seen above: http://www.vimeo.com/phlumemedia/babychick.
As the saying goes, April showers bring May flowers, and lots of showers have been coming down and are predicted to soak us this weekend, so we began to talk about the water cycle. We learned the precipitation song, and read several stories about the water cycle, including The Wonder Thing, All the Water in the World, and Rivers of Sunlight: How the Sun Moves Water Around the World. We learned that all the water that is on the earth right now, is all the water that has ever been on the earth and was around in the time of the dinosaurs. We learned that dinosaurs drank the same water we drink today, and that it goes around, and around in a cycle, being moved by the sun. As it heats, it turns to vapor and evaporates. As it cools and collects around dust up in the atmosphere, it condenses and forms clouds. When the water droplets get too big, they come pouring down as precipitation in the form of rain, sleet, hail, or snow. This cycle continues over and over and over.
We continued to discuss and read about courage and bravery. We learned that having courage/being brave, is not about NOT being scared, but doing things even when we feel scared, challenged, unfamiliar, or uncomfortable. A student practiced and practiced reading the story I Did It, then read it to the group on Tuesday morning. He shared an example of how he had to be brave when he learned to ride his bike, just like the main character in the story he read to us. We read the story Courage, and talked about the many examples shared in the book about different ways to be courageous, such as introducing yourself to a new group of people, riding your bike for the first time, and being brave in the dark. Another student shared how brave she had been the day before when she turned the water on and off in the sink for the very first time. When asked who was or is still afraid of the bathroom sink, many students raised their hands, as the knobs are super hard to turn and they often stick, and sometimes when they unstick it turns on very fast and gets very loud. This is frightening to many students, and has taken a lot of bravery to overcome. We shared examples of things that we are afraid of and how to be brave and conquer them. Another student shared how brave she is when she misses mom, and the mantra she says to herself that helps her feel better by reminding herself that mom loves her, misses her, and will be back soon. We also read the story Orion and the Dark, about a little boy named Orion who is afraid of lots of things, including balloons, storms, monsters, and most of all the dark. When the dark comes to visit and take him on adventures to all the darkest places, they become friends and he stops being afraid of the dark.
The students had a lot of work to do on their bird houses with Mr. Bond, as we missed last week due to our walk around town. They added both the bottom and a side, screwing in a total of four screws – two for the student, and two for Mr. Bond.
We have been singing train songs in preparation for our end of year presentation, when we will be acting out The Little Engine That Could. During music with Susan on Thursday she created a railroad track on the rug with tape. She played the penny whistle, and for each note she played she moved up or down the track according to whether the notes were higher or lower on the scale. Several children then took turns going up and down the track while listening to the pennywhistle to determine if the notes were higher or lower. Susan then introduced some instruments that make train sounds, including sandpaper blocks and tone blocks, which can be used for the chugga-chugga, chugga-chugga, chugga-chugga and a train whistle that goes chooo chooo! Some children played the instruments, and some children formed a train to move up and down the train track.
Friday students discussed signs of spring then took a long walk on the field behind school searching for signs of spring. They located many, including newly emerging clover, grass, and other small plants, buds on trees, puddles, and melting snow. We played “I Spy” and ran together in a group across the field to the item spied. Because it was such a beautiful, warm, sunny day, we spent the rest of the morning outside enjoying our day together before vacation.
12 April, 2019
As the seasons battle it out over the weather, we make the best of the snow, rain, mud, and puddles. Although mud season is a parents’ least favorite season (all those dreadfully muddy clothes), it is the children’s favorite (all those wonderfully muddy puddles).
Monday students worked together to make a Sunnybrook Montessori School poster with Susan to carry during our Week of the Young Child parade on Wednesday. They also made signs with drawings of what they dream of being when they grow up.
We continue to monitor our incubating eggs. We read the story Chicken about the life cycle of a chicken, then checked on the development of the eggs with Alicia. We found a spot to sit in the kitchen, then took turns searching for the blood vessels and body parts in the eggs when Alicia brought them around. We observed that the chick now takes up most of the space in the egg, with the small space at the bottom full of air, where the chick will take its’ first breaths. We located some wings and saw some movement from some of the embryos. We are anxious to see them hatch next week!
We examined some feathers and nests, and read About Birds to learn what makes a bird a bird. We learned that all birds, and only birds, have feathers. We learned that they have two feet, a beak, two wings, and they lay eggs. Most build nests, but other animals also build nests and lay eggs, so that is not unique to birds.
We celebrated two fifth birthdays on Tuesday. The birthday girl brought cupcakes to share, and the birthday boy brought strawberry and whipped cream topped brownies. Yum! They took turns holding the earth and orbiting the sun after sharing what season, month, and day they were born. Happy birthday newest 5-year olds!
Before departing for our parade around town with Lancaster Play and Learn and Mt. Royal Academy North on Wednesday morning, the children each made a new sign on more waterproof water with permanent markers showing and telling what they would be when they grow up (we did not want our others to get ruined if it began to snow or rain). We have future farmers, school counselors, princesses, paleontologists, Groveton market workers, librarians, jockeys, oceanographers, plumbers, etc. at Sunnybrook. Each child proudly wore their sign as we discussed the safety rules and expectations for our walk and read the story The Big Umbrella, about an umbrella that protects and shelters everyone, no matter their size, appearance, or differences, it always makes room for more. The children chose partners, then dressed and lined up for our walk. We met the students and teachers from the other programs out front and joined them as we walked all the way down Main Street, crossed at Simon the Tanner, and came all the way back. We stopped to take a group photo at the band stand before heading back to school.
We read the story Zach Gets Frustrated about a boy who chats with his dad about how to name, tame, and reframe his negative emotions, such as frustration. Zach’s dad taught him some good strategies for taming his frustration, such as taking breaths, snuggling with a pet (or person), thinking of something happy, or meditating. He taught him how, after taming the emotion, he can shift his thinking about a situation from a negative frame to a positive one, such as seeing an experience as a challenge rather than a problem. This mental shift changes the attitude from passively negative to positive action, so rather than thinking “Why does everything bad always happen to me?”, reframing it to “What can I do to improve this situation?”
During Thursday Spanish Zeanny introduced the terms grande (big) and pequeña (small). We played a game where we got really grande and shrunk down low to be pequeña. She read us some stories about things that are grande and penquena and we listened to the fruita bailla song.
During music with Susan we made some rhythms. We clapped, slapped our knees, and snapped our fingers. We sang the train songs I’ve Been Working on the Railroad and Down By the Station, then read the story The Little Engine that Could about a train bringing toys over the mountain who got stuck, and asked other passing engines for help. Many of them were unwilling to assist, even the big strong ones, saying they couldn’t pull that much extra, but when the Little Engine came by, she said, “I think I can” and she tried, even though she wasn’t sure if she was strong enough. She chanted the mantra over and over, “I think I can, I think I can, I think I can” and we chanted and clapped the rhythm/mantra with her. When she had successfully pulled the train cars over the mountain, she changed her mantra to “I knew I could, I knew I could, I knew I could.” The power of positive thinking matched with action can accomplish great things!
During Friday science, the students, who learned about sap in trees last week, set up an experiment to see how water travels through plants. They used some colored water in jars, then placed white carnations and leafy green celery in the jars to see what happens. They saw results fairly quickly, but we are anxious to see the colors deepen over the weekend.
5 April, 2019
Melting snow means lots of great mud, one of our favorite materials to play with! Everyone was busy scooping and pouring muddy water, walking in the puddles, kicking balls, and digging our trench from the puddle under the tree to the back corner. A student collected scoops of black shelled seeds from the bird feeder and dumped them in the trench to help it melt faster because black absorbs heat. This initiated an experiment with Susan. They collected light to dark colored papers and some silver foil and black foil, as well as some black metal trays and a black plastic tray, and placed them around the playground in both sun and shade to see what would happen. The following day, we discovered that the black trays and black foil had sunk further down, having melted the snow underneath, while the snow under the silver foil did nothing. Unfortunately our papers had blown away in the wind, so we were unable to observe any outcomes.
Monday student read The Very Busy Spider by Eric Carle, then each took their painted paper and picture plan that they made last week, and got to work cutting and collaging. Using their picture plans, they drew out the shapes they would need, then cut and pasted them to match their picture plans.
Painting was popular, both at the easel and with watercolors at the table. There was quite a bit of partner painting using monochrome paints at the easel. Some lovely works of art were created.
As of Tuesday morning, our chicks had been incubating for 8 days, so it was time to candle them (hold a flashlight underneath to check development). Some students helped to block out the windows in the kitchen with cardboard to make it nice and dark, then we all found a spot to sit while Alicia brought the eggs in the incubator in. She checked them one at a time, showing us the eggs, and we were able to see the dark eye spot and the baby chicks inside four of the eggs moving! Three eggs did not develop, so we cracked them open to observe. We found that they pretty much looked like eggs we would cook to eat, but one of them had a slight ring around the germ spot. We thought they would smell, but they didn’t, and we got very close to sniff them! We read Where Do Chicks Come From? Which gave lots of detail about how they develop and hatch.
We broke down our theater in dramatic play and voted on a new theme. This time the teachers gave three options of things that we might visit in the community, and we voted between them; a store, a bakery/restaurant, and a post office. They chose bakery/restaurant, and on Wednesday morning the children discussed what they would need and were very anxious to get busy setting up. The kitchen set was pulled out of the back and set up, the dishes and utensils were unearthed, and a variety of restaurant and bakery foods were put into the refrigerator. They set up the cash register, put out tables for customers, and some students worked with a classroom volunteer to create menus. During Thursday morning meeting we discussed the different roles people could play; customer, baker, server, chef, busser, dishwasher, and cashier. We talked about the script that people may use when waiting on customers, such as, “What may I bring for you today?” and “May I clear your plate?.” It was quite a busy area!
We talked about the start of spring and what starts to happen to the length of days and the temperature. We also discussed what is happening with animals (babies are being born) and trees (their sap begins to run). We read Sugarbush Spring about a girl maple sugaring with her family, then everyone who wanted had a taste of some sap and then some maple syrup.
During our discussion of the seasons, we also talked about the months and days in a year. The children learned that there are 365 days in a year, and they know that there are 7 days in a week, so we challenged them to figure out how many weeks are in a year. A group of students chose to work with Susan to solve this question. They decided that if they counted out 365 objects, then put them into groups of 7, they would know the answer. They selected pattern blocks (as there are a lot!) and counted them out. They then counted out groups of 7 and put them in bowls. They found that there were 52 bowls, and one block left over, therefore there are 52 weeks in a year. They presented their findings to the group, lining up their bowls and counting by 10’s to 50, then counted up 2 and one day left over, which Susan explained is actually a quarter of a day, as each year is actually 364.25 days.
We read Talk and Work It Out and chatted with Wolfgang and Henrietta about how to solve a problem when we disagree with a friend or have a conflict. We posed a scenario where someone grabbed some food out of a friend’s hand in dramatic play and we asked the children how it could be solved. A student suggested we ask for the item back and say you can use it when I am done. Henrietta then shared a similar scenario, where Henrietta was building in the block area, and Wolfgang took a block she had set down. Henrietta grabbed it out of his hands, and Wolfgang asked her to ask for a turn rather than taking it, and Henrietta said she had been using it first. They both apologized, and someone suggested that Wolfgang could get another block just like it from the shelf. We saw these scenarios tested out in the classroom and on the playground, and gave reminders that we use our words rather than hands.
Mr. Bond worked with the students to add more pieces to the bird houses, using their strong hand, wrist, arm, and core body strength to twist in the screws.
We celebrated the second 6th birthday of the year with clementines dipped in chocolate. The birthday boy answered questions about the month, season, and day of his birth, as well as how many times the earth rotates on its’ axis in one year, and with a small hint he remembered. After he walked the globe around the candle 6 times, we sang Happy Birthday before enjoying our special treat.
Susan did some fun dancing and moving songs for music on Thursday, and the children had great fun balancing, skipping, galloping, bending, jumping, and sashaying.
Friday students returned to boat building. We again read Who Sank The Boat? then took down our boats from last week. This week the challenge was to not only create a boat that could float, but that could hold something – either round or able to balance on it’s own. There were some aluminum foil wrapped ping pong balls, some tongue depressor rafts, some sponge boats that floated until they became too heavy with water, and the most successful boat was merely a piece of wood which took some cows for a ride, created by our youngest engineer.
29 March, 2019
As we anxiously await the arrival of spring, we continue to make the best of our snowy play yard. We did some sledding, puddle jumping, ditch digging, snowball sitting, potion making, house building, and ball kicking.
Monday students were introduced to the artist Eric Carle, who is well known for his picture book illustrations, including The Very Hungry Caterpillar and Brown Bear, Brown Bear. We learned that he creates his pictures by painting large sheets of tissue paper in different designs, then cuts and glues them together to create collage illustrations. Each student made a plan and drew a sketch of what they will collage. They then proceeded to paint papers using various implements, including paint brushes, a roller, and a spiny ball. Next week they will cut their papers into the needed shapes, then paste them together to create their pictures.
We read This Little Chick about a chick who learns to make the noises of the other farm animals by playing with them, and From Egg to Chicken about the life cycle of a chicken. The sensory table was set up in a safe place against a wall for the incubator, and we discussed how our job is to keep the eggs safe from being jostled by keeping our distance from the table. An egg cycle activity was also introduced, where you can follow the development of the chick within the egg. Alicia delivered and set up the incubator, then returned when it was 99.5 degrees to put in the eggs. One side of each egg was marked with an X and the opposite side was marked with an O, so we can track to ensure they are turning properly. We watched as the eggs entered the incubator, where they will stay for 21 days. We check them regularly to see if they have turned, if their temperature is steady, and if they have enough moisture. So far they are doing well! On Thursday morning we had a visit from some chicks that have already hatched, so we know what to look forward to.
After reading Horrible Bear, Henrietta Hen and Wolfgang Wolf chatted with us about how we speak to our friends. Henrietta shared a story about the time Wolfgang ate her snack, and she got so made she said something very unkind. She told Wolfgang he was not her friend anymore, which made him so sad. We discussed what else we could say if we get upset instead of something hurtful, such as “I am so sad that you ate my snack!” and how to resolve that.
Susan introduced Living vs Nonliving with the story Living and Nonliving. We learned that living things breathe, need water and nutrients or food, and can move on their own, even plants, who make their own food with sunlight, water, and carbon dioxide. We then did a group sorting project where we looked at models of real things and sorted them according to whether they are living (plants & animals –fungi, monera, and protist kingdoms were not discussed) or non-living (everything else).
Illustrators, artists who draw the pictures in books, were introduced. The children were introduced to 6 children’s book illustrators; Eric Carle, Jan Brett, Brian Pinkney, Lynley Dodd, Yangsook Choi, and Mo Willems. The children then sorted books by illustrator, placing them next to the photo of the illustrator who made the pictures in the book. They matched the styles to determine the illustrator.
The children began assembling their bird houses with Mr. Bond. They each attached the four small sections at the base of the walls that will support the floor. It was a lot of work screwing in all the screws! Everyone worked hard to turn and push them in, with a bit of help from Mr. Bond.
During music Susan continued to teach about pipes, and each child made their very own kazoo to take home. I am sure it was a restful afternoon/evening with all those kazoo players tooting around!
During Friday science we read the story about Penny the sailboat, built by grandpete and sailed around lake Winnipesaukee until her boards were too spongy and broken to sail any longer. We used the data we gained last week during our sink and float experiment to help guide us today with boat building. Our goal was to create a boat that could float. We discussed how a failure can be just as helpful as a success, as we can learn just as well from what didn’t work as what did. The children had a great time experimenting with the materials set out, creating boats from ping pong balls, aluminum foil, tape, wooden sticks, tongue depressors, wax, yarn, wood, and pipe cleaners. They tried out all shapes, sizes, and methods of adhering materials together. Next week they will use their knowledge to build a boat that will hold something!