Warmer temperatures and rain have helped create a wonderful water system of rivers and streams running through the play yard. We experimented with dropping things in the water to see which made bigger splashes. We discussed and tried various ways of crossing the waterways, such as jumping over, wading through, traversing stepping stones, and building bridges. We helped create pathways for the water to flow through and watched it flow to lower ground and even create a waterfall in the mud at the back corner. Although it is a messy season, it is a lot of fun!
Rainy day indoor recess . . .
When we arrived on Monday we discovered that the floor was finished. We were so excited to finally be back to our full classroom after 11 weeks!
We did some pour painting on Monday in the style of Holton Rower. Each student selected a small cube, then selected a variety of colors of acrylic paint and poured them over the block, creating layers. This is one of my very favorite art projects, and the children really enjoyed squeezing the bottles and watching the paints flow and push each other out to create the patterns.
After completing their pour paintings and eating snack, they went on their monthly library visit with Tammy. They spent time with the puppets, driving the vehicles, playing with the doll house, and running the trains along the tracks.
At the art table we continued to paint coffee filters with water colors to make flowers for the breakfast. They ended up making beautiful center pieces. Susan also brought in some printouts of Pysanky egg patterns, which we colored with red, orange, yellow & green crayons, then covered them with black water color, as is traditional.
The light table made a reappearance, and the children had fun creating their own picture stories by layering pictures together.
Tuesday was a big birthday celebration with our oldest student turning six and our oldest three-year old turning four. We had a lot of fun frosting gingerbread cookies and eating their parts, and enjoyed a tasty fruit treat. We counted for the birthday boys as they each took a turn holding the globe and orbiting the sun then blowing the flame after their happy birthday serenades. Happy birthday to our six-year old and newest four-year old!
The continent of Africa was introduced this week and we had some fun doing some Africa related activities. We compared and determined that Africa has the most countries of all the continents we have studied so far, with 54 countries. We looked through the Africa continent box and saw some large and small wooden masks, a wooden carved crocodile, a small bicycle made of wire, some ancient Egyptian symbols, a small stone hippo, a carved wooden spoon, and a photo of children in Ethiopia from more than 50 years ago.
We read several stories based in Africa, including Handa’s Surprise, about a girl who carries a basket of fruit on her head from her village to her friend’s village, and along the way the animals pluck the fruit out and eat it. We looked at many pictures of women and children in Africa carrying all sorts of things, from bundles of sticks to buckets of water, on their heads. We then tried balancing things on our heads. We started with balancing bean bags, then wrapped pillowcases around our heads to help support baskets and buckets and bags of things. The children tried throughout the week to see what they could balance.
Thursday was a day for music. We watched half of a fantastic 10-minute video on rhythm in Africa (click here to view), and nodded and tapped to the rhythm. Then everyone selected a pot, bowl, bucket, or drum and got down to making music. It was a lot of fun to listen to all the different sounds the various items made.
As we have agreed and demonstrated that we can be respectful to the animals, we were excited to have them back. We have both the farm and all the African animals, including the okapi, African wild dog, warthogs, giraffes, African elephants, gorillas, hippos, rhinoceroses, antelope, and lions.
Our old friend, Sue Rouillard, came for a visit as a representative of the Lions Club with her special chirping camera. The children watched the colored lights and listened to the birds while Sue took a picture of each child’s eyes. Everyone sat very still and straight until Sue got a picture.
Friday students had a fun day with Tammy while Lyn was in conferences. Tammy cut out large egg shapes, and the children used the shape punches to punch out and decorate with birds, flowers, leaves, shapes, etc. The rain came down just as we were getting ready to head out for recess, so the rainy day activities came out. It was a fun change to have a Tammy only day!