After a hot beginning to our week, the rapid transition from summer temperatures to fall temperatures was welcome. The students have been enjoying bouncing around on the hoppy balls, raking leaves into piles, digging out a pit for a “bonfire,” filling trucks up with sand, and playing lots of running games. They have continued to find insects and other small creatures, though they have been thoroughly disappointed with the lack of worms in our rather dry garden soil. Hopefully it will moisten up soon.For Monday art students were introduced to the Mexican artist Frida Kahlo, and her focus on self-portraits. We learned that self-portraits are pictures that we make of ourselves. We discussed making our self-portraits as accurate as possible. We talked about using a mirror to determine the shape of our face, our hair, eye, and lip color, and the placement of our features. We looked at a variety of skin color markers and selected the one that best matched our individual skin colors. The children created some wonderful portraits, which we have hung in our literacy area for all to examine. The remainder of the students were introduced to self-portraits on Tuesday, and each child took some time during the week to produce their most accurate rendition of themselves.Our study of insects progressed to reading and learning about the process of metamorphosis – the four stages that each insect goes through, from egg to larva, to pupa, to adult. We read Waiting for Wings, by Lois Ehlert, and A Beetle is Shy, by Dianna Hutts Aston. Life cycle models for a monarch butterfly, bee, and ladybug were introduced and set out for students to use.Afternoon students put on a puppet show and did a little ribbon dancing after rest.Henrietta and Wolfgang visited on Wednesday to share a problem that Henrietta is having. She very much wants to play with the other puppets, but she is not sure how to do that. Sometimes they get upset with her if she jumps in and starts doing things without asking, or if she takes something that someone else is using. Last week the children learned some ways to initiate an interaction, and they demonstrated their understanding of those strategies by sharing ideas with Henrietta, including asking to play, inviting someone to play, offering a toy, and sharing a play idea. (Thank you to our student photographer for the photo). Thursday was a very exciting day. We were anxious for our first visit of the year from Believe in Books, who brought Piglet for us to meet. Andrea greeted us all and introduced herself, Piglet, another friend, and A.O., who read us a story about piglet trying to play with his friends, but being left out, so he made up his own game to play by himself, and was then later joined by his friends. Everyone was gifted a book of their own to take home.Right before our morning students left for the day we were thrilled to find out that our monarch butterfly, who joined us as a caterpillar on the first day of school, had emerged from its’ chrysalis. We had been patiently watching and waiting through the stages of metamorphosis, and knew that it would be coming out soon, as the chrysalis had become clear and the black of the wings could clearly be seen. We were so fortunate to have a parent set up a video camera to record the process, which he later edited and has posted here – http://www.phlume.com/videos/Monarch.mp4 – for everyone to view. Thank you so much, Chad! It is quite enchanting to watch the process.For science Friday each student got a bin with 11 items to put in order from shortest to longest. They then traced around them. Some children also colored them in and labeled them (or had help labeling). With so many items of varying shapes, it was a bit of a challenge, and took some time and careful comparing to see where each item should go. For students just beginning to work with length, we took away all but three items, and ordered just those three.