Winter is officially here. We had fun slipping and sliding on sheets of ice that dotted the yard. We ran and slid across the ice like baseball players sliding into home plate. Many of our toys were trapped in ice due to the melting and freezing over break, so we had to be resourceful and work on our negotiating, compromising, and turn taking.We celebrated two fifth birthdays this week. The birthday girl let us choose either a confetti cupcake with chocolate frosting and pink sprinkles or a chocolate cupcake with white frosting and star sprinkles. She very happily and slowly orbited the sun with the globe as we named the seasons and counted the years since her birth.The birthday boy brought containers of blueberries or strawberries and raspberries to choose from. After distributing the tasty treats he held the globe as he walked around the candle five times while we counted his birthdays. After the Happy Birthday song he blew out the candle and everyone munched up their berries.Happy Birthday newest 5 year olds!
We read the story Winter Dance about a fox that is trying to figure out what he does in the winter. He encounters several animals who encourage him to do what they do, including a woolly bear caterpillar who creates a cocoon, a turtle who dives down to burrow in the mud, a bat who hangs from its’ feet in a cave and goes to sleep, geese who fly south, a snowshoe hare who turns white to blend in with the snow, and a bear who snuggles into a den in the ground and sleeps. As the children recalled what the different animals did, we learned the terms hibernation, migration, and adaption. We pretended to be migrating geese flying south, hibernating turtles burrowing down, and adapting hares losing our brown hair and growing in thicker white hair. We discussed how animals stay warm in the winter and read a story about a bear and his fox friend, who misses him while he goes to sleep. Before finding a den to cuddle up in, the bear got fat by eating and storing up lots of food. We talked about how this creates an extra layer of fat, which provides insulation. The children took turns holding ice cubes on their bare skin, with a wool mitten, and with a blubber mitten and compared how much cold was felt with each.Mr. Bond started a new project this week. Each child will get to build their own tool carry box. They started out by drilling a hole with the hand drill for the handle to go into. Each child rotated the handle around and around while Mr. Bond held the top until they had gone down 1/4 inch.We read the story Where Does Our Garbage Go? and learned about where all our waste ends up when we throw it away. We introduced the idea of recycling glass, plastic, aluminum, and paper into something new. We also talked about composting our food, which becomes soil for new plants to grow and be healthy. We introduced the recycling triangle and the numbers we might see in them, then we took turns sorting waste into the appropriate containers. We put food waste in the compost, paper in the paper trash, which is burned in Lyn’s furnace, recyclable plastic, metal, and glass in the recycling bin, and waste in the trash can. Next week we will start to save, wash, sort, and document the waste we produce at school.We watched three videos of street drummers who use buckets, pots and pans, and other materials instead of just drums to make music – Gordo, Dario Rossi, and the London Eye Drummer. The children couldn’t help but move their bodies – heads were nodding, toes were tapping, and torsos were wiggling. Finally they got up to dance to the three different styles of drumming before we attempted our own drumming. We discovered that everyone drumming with just one drum at the same time was just too loud and lacking rhythm, so one student demonstrated how to play our buckets, pots, and pans in a rhythmic (and quieter) way. The bucket drums were taken out again by individuals to practice their own rhythms and music making independently.For Friday science we were introduced to the five senses. First we used our eyes to observe a photograph of a fox in a snowy field. We tried to use descriptive words to discuss what we saw, such as colors, shapes, sizes, and structures. We closed our eyes to do some listening, touching, tasting, and smelling. We tried to find descriptive words and to identify the different items that we heard, felt, tasted, and smelled. We listened to an Andean Chac-cha and identified that it was like a maraca and was made of wood. We listened to scissors opening and closing and tried to figure out what they were. We touched some silly putty and said it was hard but soft, smooth, and stretchy. Some children said slimy, but we discussed that slimy is wet and gooey, while this was dry and smooth. We tasted some cherries – some were sweet and some were tart. We smelled grapefruit, and there were lots of close guesses – limes, oranges, and lemons. We also smelled the herb sage, which was new to almost everyone. Everyone then once again closed their eyes while we listened to, smelled, touched, then saw and tasted clementines, trying to describe and guess what we were each holding in our hands. Over the next five weeks we will focus more in depth on each sense, more fully isolating and exploring each.