Jumping was the name of the game this week. The children lined up on the tunnel and took turns jumping into the sand below. They jumped around on the hoppy balls. They jumped off the log and the balance beam.
The artist Yves Klein was introduced on Monday, who is known for developing his signature blue, which he used to make his monochrome paintings. The children helped to mix varied shades of several colors, then used them to create their own monochrome paintings. Monochrome painting was introduced to all students on Tuesday, and they created some unique works of art.As it was our first play date day, while younger children from the community visited with their families, the Monday students took their first trip of the year to the library with Tammy and Susan, and had fun with puppets, trains, the doll house, etc.
We celebrated our first fifth birthday of the year on Tuesday. The birthday boy passed out bags full of popcorn, dried fruit, and yogurt covered raisins. As we said the seasons and counted the five years since his birth, he held the earth and orbited the candle sun counterclockwise. When he reached the sixth fall, he blew out the candle sun. As the children ate their treats, we read the birthday book he donated, A Birthday for Bear. Happy fifth birthday!
We had a couple of observers in the classroom. A college student came to observe our social emotional strategies, and Ann Auger, the coordinator of the Coos County Director’s Network and owner of ECE Visions, came to do an ECERS assessment to give us feedback on areas where we can improve the quality of our environment and program.
Magnets were removed and rocks were added to the science shelf. The children enjoyed inspecting them and matching the small rocks to their pictures on a guide sheet and learning their different names.
We read the story When Sophie Gets Angry – Really, Really Angry by Molly Bang, then we discussed emotions – how your face looks and how your body shows emotion. When you are angry your face and body get tense and scrunched up. When sad, you may turn your head down, hunch your shoulders, and frown. When happy, you smile and your body is relaxed and open. The children shared some strategies for what to do when feeling strong negative emotions, such as taking a break in the quiet house, asking for a hug, or snuggling with a toy.
We introduced role playing, and did some role plays to help introduce perspective taking and using people’s facial and body expressions to give us information about how they are feeling. After each initial role play, we then did a second role play voicing our thoughts so that everyone could see that we don’t always know what one might be thinking. We role played a chasing game where all the children were having fun, but then the child being chased got boxed in and felt scared. We also did a role play where a student was playing with a bus and set it down, and another child took it. After each role play we discussed the children’s interpretations and understandings, and how individuals could react and respond to each situation. We had a wide range of understandings and interpretations, which led to discussions about how to respond.
On Thursday we watched some videos of buskers using a variety of items for drumming. First we watched Gordo using buckets, then we watched Darrio Rossi from Rome drumming on a variety of pots and pans and other items. We then took out a selection of items and handed out sticks for each child to drum with. We listened to high and low notes on the piano and determined which “drums” created high notes and low notes. We took turns playing metal, glass, plastic, and pottery drums. We followed a conductor and played quietly, then louder, then more quietly like a rainstorm coming through and a train passing by. The most fun, though, was when the children had a chance to take them out and play like Gordo and Darrio. The drums will stay under the piano for children to take and use on their own so they can make their own rhythms and explore the sounds of the various materials and items.
Friday students were introduced to rocks. We read several books about rocks, including If You Find a Rock by Peggy Christian, Rock, Rocks and Soil, and Everybody Needs a Rock by Byrd Baylor. We learned that there are three types of rock formed in three different ways. We focused on igneous rock, which is formed when magma or lava cools and solidifies, either above ground or below. One type of igneous rock is granite, which is found all around New Hampshire. We watched a video of a volcano exploding and a video of flowing magma. We then did an experiment. We melted sugar, then placed it on a cold pan. We boiled a water and sugar solution, then placed that in a glass with a stick. We inspected them when they had started to cool. We observed that the one that cooled quickly was smoother and rounded at the edges, while the other was much more clumpy and rough.