Gray days invited busy bodies. There were running games of chase and race to the top (of the hill). There was lots of shoveling, plowing, scooping, snowblowing (the toy lawnmower does double duty in the winter), snowball collecting, pail filling, and snowpile building. The new favorite cozy spot is behind the kitchen where plotting, planning, and spying can take place.
Our Monday art started with DOTS. We read the story Lots of Dots, then donned our T-shirt smocks so we could use permanent black marker to make dots all over our mat boards. We used the marked to connect the dots to create geometric shapes, swirls, and patterns. The artists then used watercolor paints to make their artwork pop. Some artists turned their boards over to make pictures depicting items that are circular, then painted or colored those with permanent markers.
Watercolors remained out for the week, which resulted in some lovely works of art.
The fourth planet from the sun is Mars, also known as the RED PLANET. We viewed a short National Geographic video about the planet Mars, and learned that the reason Mars is red is because the iron dust on the surface interacts with the oxygen in the atmosphere, creating a layer of rusty dust. We made our own rusty dusty Mars models by mixing red and orange sand to a color of our liking, painted our Mars circles with glue, then gently poured our sand mixture over the surface.
Susan shared the story of Mars, who is the god of war. Mars loved to fight and he was very impulsive. He would act out of anger without thinking about the consequences, which was harmful to others, though he himself did not like to be hurt. Minerva, Mars’ sister, is the goddess of war. She, unlike Mars, was full of wisdom. This means she was very thoughtful and would stop, think about the impact of her actions, make a plan, then act. We discussed how these different approaches have different outcomes, and which method is a safer, kinder, more respectful method. The children decided that stopping, thinking, and then acting was a better choice.
We also introduced the planet Jupiter, which is the largest planet and the first of the four giant gas planets. It is so large that all the planets together would fit inside Jupiter, and it would hold 1000 planet Earths! We learned that Jupiter is a planet of storms, including the great red spot, which is a hurricane type storm that has been blowing for hundreds of years and is about the size of 2-3 Earths. The children pretended to be space probes blowing around Jupiter, taking pictures and samples and trying not to be blown away. They created planet Jupiters by pasting long strips of pink, red, orange, yellow, and white tissue paper onto large circles they traced and cut out, then adding a giant red spot on the lower left side.
Susan shared the Greek Myth about the god Jupiter (also known as Zeus) who is the god of thunder and lightning. Jupiter is the son of Saturn, and he worked with his siblings to drive Saturn away because he was a cruel and selfish ruler. Strong Jupiter and his siblings ruled together in harmony. Another story Susan shared about Jupiter was when his wife, Metis, turned into a fly and flew into his head. She was very wise and would give him good advice. Juno, another wife, would give him poor advice, and Jupiter had to decide which advice to follow. We discussed how this is the same for us. We have different thoughts, feelings, and ideas, and we have to decide which we should follow. We are responsible for listening to ourselves and making wise choices, as well as when we listen to others.
Susan laid out the five planets we have studied so far and the sun, then we played “When the solar winds blow.” Susan would say, “when the solar winds blow they will take you to . . . ” and then name a planet. The children would then swirl around until they found the named planet, landing there until they were blown elsewhere.
During Spanish with Zeanny we reviewed colors and numbers, this time counting all the way to vente (twenty) using all our deditos (fingers & toes). Zeanny introduced the family through songs, the story Mortimer, and a fun hide and go seek game. El papa and el bebe were hidden, and then students tried to find them with some help from the class.
We have been focusing on friendship, kindness, respect, perspective taking, and making kind/wise choices. Susan and Lyn role played a scenario where Susan began playing with Lyn’s work and we discussed what some of the options were Lyn’s response. Lyn shared her thoughts in her head, about how she was feeling frustrated and angry and her initial thoughts were not kind. We discussed how important it is to stop and think before speaking or acting to make sure that the words we say are kind. The children shared some other scenarios and we worked together to brainstorm kind words and actions rather than instantly reacting with unkind words and actions.
We celebrated a fifth birthday on Thursday. The birthday boy brought mini chocolate & vanilla cupcakes to share. He excitedly told us that he was born in the winter, in the month of February, then quickly raced around the sun five times before blowing out the candle. Happy birthday to our newest five year old!