30 April, 2019
30 April, 2019
24 May, 2019
With a few new toys from the yard sale donations, including some trucks, bikes, and a wagon, the children have been racing and zooming and pulling around the yard.
Monday students read some books about rocks, including Petra, about a rock that pretends to be different things until it is picked up by a child and decorated to look like an elephant. The children each selected a rock that was just the right shape and size for their needs, located the colors they loved best, and proceeded to paint their own rocks.
Most everyone was excited for our final visit from Believe in Books with Katie, A.O., and their friend Curious George. A.O. read a story about George visiting a chocolate factory, which was as entertaining as usual. Everyone then greeted Curious George with a hug, high five, wave, or fist bump, then chose a book from a wide selection to take home for their very own. Thank you to Believe in Books for all their wonderful visits and gifts of books this year!
Wednesday was the big field trip of the year. After 15 weeks of collecting recyclables and tracking our trash and paper towel waste, it was finally time to take it to the transfer station to drop off and have a tour. We had lots of families join us for our very informative visit with the Transfer Station director Dennis Patneaude! Dennis first took us to the metal, plastic, and glass recycling area. The children had a great time sorting and throwing all the recyclables into the correct locations. We got to see the glass put into the chute and hear the glass grinder chopping up the glass into small pieces. We learned that all the #5 plastics are taken to a plant in Northumberland where they are turned into fuel, and Dennis said that anyone, even non-Lancaster residents, are welcome to bring their #5 plastics to the Lancaster transfer station (good news for us VT residents)! After sorting our recyclables, we checked out the big pit where trash is thrown, which was very large and deep. We then saw where metals are left and items that are left for others who may be interested in reusing them, such as doors, shelves, chairs, etc. Next we went out back behind the recycling sort to see where all those recyclables go. We saw a large cube of crushed aluminum, and big piles of tin and plastics. We also saw a big stack of plastic and steel barrels, which Dennis said anyone is welcome to take for free. He pointed out the solar panels, the large hill of crushed glass, which is used under culverts and sidewalks because it does not freeze (and is also free to anyone in the public who may have need of crushed glass), and the giant pile of brush that will be burned. We checked out a spot where crushed glass was used to fill in a large hole, then proceeded to the recycling storage areas. We saw boxes of TVs waiting to be picked up and recycled and where clothes can be dropped off to be recycled/reused. We then got to see the cardboard crusher in action and saw a 2500lb cube of crushed corrugated cardboard, which will be sold for recycling. We also saw the crushers for low grade paper and newspaper. We learned that newspaper will be recycled into mdf board, and low grade paper is turned into paper towel tubes, etc. The office paper is collected and sold for recycling into new paper. Dennis sent coloring books and water cycle posters home for everyone. It was such an informative visit! When we returned to school we made Thank You cards for Dennis, which we will send off next week.
On Thursday morning for health with Zeanny, we joined Bridget outside to do some planting in our garden. Wednesday morning Bridget had topped off our garden bed with nice rich compost from her farm. She brought corn seedlings and pole bean seeds to plant together. Working in groups of 5, the children each planted a corn seedling and a bean seed next to each other. Bridget explained that the pole beans would wrap up and around the corn stalks, and in the fall we should have some nice fresh corn to eat. Zeanny will be sending home a letter for families to sign up to spend a week tending to the garden over the summer for anyone interested.
The children have continued to practice their plays for the last day performance, and The Little Red Hen crew did a run through for the group on Thursday. We were all appropriately impressed!
Friday students continued their study of birds. We read and talked about bird beaks and how different birds have different beaks that are just right for the type of food they eat. Hummingbirds birds have long suctioning beaks for drinking nectar. Seed eating birds have short strong beaks for cracking open seeds. Great Blue Herons have beaks for spearing and grabbing fish. Raptors, such as osprey and eagles, have beaks that tear and rip flesh. Robins and other worm eating birds have pointy beaks for digging down and grabbing worms. And ducks and other water birds have broad, strainer like beaks for scooping up small plants and animals. We did an experiment where we used different tools that represented different beaks, and tested them out to see which beaks were best for eating different foods. They figured them all out pretty quickly, but had fun experimenting anyway!
17 May, 2019
We have been making the best of the cool, cloudy days, spending as much time outside as possible. The children have been actively engaged digging, running, pretending, hopping, pedaling, chasing, driving, investigating, kicking, pulling, balancing, climbing, jumping, and exploring.
Monday students read about the painter Jackson Pollock, who made enormous dribble and splatter paintings in his old barn using house paint. We did Pollockesque painting outside, dripping and splattering paint on large pieces of paper.
The kindergarten students began work on graphing the recycling collected over the past 15 weeks of school. They will present their findings on the last day during the Performance/Kindergarten graduation. We are preparing for our field trip to the transfer station next Wednesday, when we will take all the recyclables to drop off.
The children continued to rehearse and prepare for our performance, singing the songs, painting the trains for the Little Engine That Could, and finalizing the scripts for the two plays.
We celebrated three birthdays this week, a fifth birthday and two fourth birthdays! Each birthday girl brought a special birthday treat to share. The five-year old brought white cupcakes with blue sprinkled frosting, one four-year old brought fruit cups, and the other brought pink frosted cupcakes. All the birthday girls orbited the sun with the globe while we counted out their years. Happy birthday friends!
We read The Man Who Didn’t Wash His Dishes, and recalled the story from last week, Keeping House, about cleaning up. We talked about spring cleaning, and what that entails, such as washing windows we were unable to wash all winter, and opening them up to air out the house. We learned that a long time ago, before vacuums, spring cleaning meant taking out the rugs that had only been swept all winter and beating out the dirt. The children were very excited to get busy cleaning. They removed items from the shelves and wiped them down, stacked up books from the book case and dusted it out, scrubbed the walls, chairs, floors, chalk boards, easel, and cubbies.
The children attached the front of their bird houses with Mr. Bond, working hard to screw in the four screws to hold it on.
We transplanted our bean plants into peat pots to take home. The children added some soil, then we gently placed their seedlings into the pots before patting more soil around them and giving them some water to drink.
We had a special visitor on Thursday. Nancy Gray came to read several stories to us. She began with Corduroy by Don Freeman, then Cat in the Hat, Caps for Sale, The Hat, and Cows in Paris. The children really enjoyed listening to her stories. Thank you, Nancy!
Friday students did some bird nest studies. First we read a couple of stories, Nest and Mama Built a Little Nest, then we watched two videos of birds building nests, first a weaver bird, who weaves stalks of grass together to form a pouch for his mate, then a robin, who collects grasses, mud, etc., pushing it out and smoothing it round with its’ feet. We then examined a robin’s nest with an egg in it that had fallen in Lyn’s barn and the egg got a crack. We observed that it was made with grasses, birch bark, string, small sticks, and mud, which helped to stick it to the wall to keep from falling. We then went out and collected sticks to build our own giant nest. Finally we played a bird call game. The children formed pairs or triads and came up with a bird call for their group. One or two birds were then blindfolded, and the other partner ran to hide on the playground. The bird that was hiding made their bird call, and the blindfolded partner(s) identified their bird call and slowly walked toward the sound until they located their partner. It was a bit tricky, but lots of fun!
10 May, 2019
The sunshine took turns with the clouds and rain again, but those glorious warm sunny days were put to good use, spending lots of time outdoors, including snack and lunch some days! We played chase, rode bikes, hopped on balls, dug in the sandbox, searched for worms and insects, played restaurant, and played pass. One of the favorite activities is exploring the environment to see what living things we can find and examine.
Monday students took their art project outside before heading to the library for their final visit of the year. They combined shaving cream, glue, and liquid water color to create a puffy paint for finger painting, then got to work glopping and smooshing it all over their papers to create puffy pictures.
The children made special envelops to wrap their mother’s day gifts at the art table. They asked when they could give their gifts to their moms, and decided that they could make the decision with their moms. Many of them were anxious to give their gifts so they could have a turn wearing them.
We kept a close eye on our beans throughout the week, and were thrilled to see them go from just split open to plants with roots, stems, and leaves!
We read some stories about doing hard things and working through challenges. We read I Can’t Said the Ant and the ever inspiring Emanuel’s Dream, about a boy born in Ghana with only one full leg. He hopped to school on his one good leg 2 miles each way, earned money to buy a soccer ball so his peers would include him, and taught himself to ride a bike. He left home to get a job in the city at the age of 13 to help care for his family when his mother fell ill. He became famous when he decided to ride around Ghana on a bike to raise awareness of disabilities and show that those with disabilities were capable of great things.
Wednesday woodworking took some muscle this week! The children worked with Mr. Bond to use the hand crank drill to cut the entrance hole in the front of the bird house. That required a lot of strength and coordination! The children were so proud of their hard work!
State Police Officer Lyon and Amos the police dog visited on Wednesday. Before they arrived, we read a book about police officers and the story Officer Buckle and Gloria, about a law enforcement team who worked together to deliver safety tips to local schools. Officer Lyon introduced Amos, who is a 2 ½ year old Black Mouth Cur. Officer Lyon went to school to learn how to train Amos, and has worked with him since he was only a few months old. Amos was trained to work for his food, and responds to Officer Lyons commands, which he speaks in Dutch to avoid confusing Amos. Amos’ job is to locate people. Officer Lyon explained that humans have a distinct scent, and Amos is trained to track them using his extraordinary scenting skills. Amos and Officer Lyon have worked together to find over 20 people in the past two years. It was fun to see Amos follow commands to jump up and touch Officer Lyon’s hand, jump over the table, run through the tunnel, dance between Officer Lyon’s legs, and twirl around. When it was time to greet and pat Amos, the children were quite excited and they all started playing chase together. Thank you so much Officer Lyon and Amos!
We read some stories about bicycles, being kind, and forgiveness. We read The Remarkable Riderless Runaway Tricycle and Desmond and the Very Mean Word, about Desmond Tutu when he was a young boy and how he learned to forgive.During Music with Susan the children practiced the train rhythm for our end of year performance, taking turns with the instruments to create the chugga, chugga, chugga, chugga and choo-choo sounds. First we practiced walking slowly, then gradually faster to “I think I can, I think I can, I think I can” then practiced with the instruments.
Friday students learned about sound and sound waves. We first read The Quiet Book and The Loud Book, then placed our hands on the ground to feel the vibrations created by the speaker when a song was played. We took off our socks and slippers and felt the vibrations with our feet, and placed our hands directly on the speaker to feel the vibrations. We also watched sand on top of a dish dance and move to the vibrations of the music before making our own vibrations with the big drum.
3 May, 2019
This week has been such a joyful week at Sunnybrook. We have observed and marveled as the children negotiate disagreements independently, help and assist each other, recognize and respond to others emotions, work through struggles and challenges, care for our classroom, share their observations and knowledge, listen attentively and engage in conversations, and happily work together. This has been one of those weeks where we see how their efforts and challenges helped them grow and develop so many new skills and understandings!
We are hoping all these May showers will bring June flowers, since May is looking quite soggy so far with no flowers in sight. Despite the clouds and rain, we have been spending as much time outside as possible expending some of that winter energy. The bikes, wheelbarrows, trucks, hoppy balls, shovels, rakes, and buckets have been put to good use this week. Scientists have been excitedly searching out and observing signs of spring, including worms and a variety of insects. The trees are beginning to bud and we are hoping the grass will soon grow green.
Monday students created geometric artwork by sticking lines of tape onto a piece of mat board, then using pastels or water colors to color in the spaces in between. When they were satisfied with their coverage, they removed the tape, leaving white lines to separate the spaces of bold colors.
At the art table the children made a small gift for Mother’s Day, then we took out sticky glitter foam sheets, which the children cut into shapes and made glitter collages.
The sensory table was once again filled with water and lots of pouring and scrubbing toys for water play. It was a very busy area, and everyone worked together to fill the table, clean up spills, take turns with tools, drain the water table, and clean up the tools.
Dramatic play was busy with chefs, bakers, servers, and diners enjoying their various roles in the Sunnybrook restaurant and bakery.
In preparation for our end of year performance, we reread the story of The Little Engine That Could and several versions of The Little Red Hen. Each child chose one of the two performances to participate in, and those in The Little Engine That Could met with Susan to choose roles and begin work on the script for the performance.On Wednesday morning we had a visit from some chicks that are 4 weeks old, twice as old as the chicks we hatched. It is amazing how big they are at 4 weeks! We got to meet a blue cochin, an americana, a buff orpington, and a brahma. Thank you Greneir family for sharing your chicken family with us!
The students worked with Mr. Bond to attach another section of the bird house – only a few more to go until they are finished!
We read the stories Zero by Kathryn Otashi and You’re Mean, Lilly Jean, and discussed some things that good friends do (and don’t do). We read about some strategies one can use to be a good friend, such as offering help, then listening and responding appropriately to a “yes, please” or “no, thank you,” inviting a friend to play, taking turns with materials by asking, “May I have a turn when you are done?,” noticing someone and commenting on a positive observation you have made about them, offering a hug for comfort when someone may seem to need one, or suggesting a play idea then letting everyone decide for themselves what role they want to take.
Zeanny did a combination Spanish and health lesson with us on Thursday morning. We sang several of our Spanish songs, then she reminded us about the super powers of fruits & vegetables to keep us healthy, dairy foods to make our bones grow strong and tall, and grains to give us energy. She then shared that there are some foods, such as meat and beans, that give us protein for strong muscles. She read El Frijole de Benito, about a cat who plants a bean plant and waits and waits for it to grow. We then each planted our own bean in a jar, which we will observe to see how/if they grow and will later transplant into pots to take home (If they grow!).
We took out the parachute for some fun games, and the children chose to fly Henrietta off the parachute five times, then play the Crocodile game, where the crocodile swims under the parachute and eats someone by grabbing their foot. That person then trades places to become the crocodile to go eat someone else. To end they chose to play the slipper game, where they place all their slippers under the parachute then a student calls two names, and those two children run under the parachute, locate and put on their slippers, then race back out.
For Friday science we read Because of an Acorn and Trees are Plants. We pulled down the plant cuttings we placed in water several months ago – the control with water, nutrients, air, and sunlight, one without air, one without water, one without nutrients, and one without sunlight. We observed that the plants without water and sunlight died. The plant that was supposed to be without air wasn’t truly without air, because we couldn’t make the jar air tight, so it was actually doing very well. We observed that the plant that had everything it needed was the biggest and greenest, and the one that had everything except nutrients was a bit smaller and lighter in color. We then examined a variety of parts of plants and decided which part(s) they were – branches, bark, trunk, leaves, fruit, seeds, roots, or stem. Some were more than one part of the tree, such as trunk and bark, or branch and leaves, and some were more parts – roots, stem, leaves and blossom. The children had fun observing the various tree and plant parts with their hands, eyes, and noses.