The last week of summer was preparing to put on its’ fall coat for the arrival of cooler temperatures and colorful leaves. Hunters were on the lookout for caterpillars. Work crews were hauling huge loads of rocks for crushing.
Monday students learned about the Mexican artist Frida Kahlo, who is known for her many interesting self portraits. We examined several of her self portraits, which included many pets and animals, including her parrots, some monkeys, butterflies, and even a large black cat. We learned that a portrait is a picture of a person, and a self portrait is a picture one makes of oneself. We looked at several other self portraits and discussed how the artists drew or painted to look like themselves, including face shape, facial features, and skin, hair, and eye color. We then selected the medium we wanted to work with and created our own self portraits, using a mirror to examine our faces to be as accurate as possible when creating them. Throughout the week, most students worked with a teacher to study themselves and create their own self portraits, which are hanging in the literacy area. Students who did not have a chance to create a self portrait this week will do so next week.
We are beginning to learn about our planet, Earth, and how we each fit into the Universe. The cosmic nesting boxes were demonstrated. We imagined we were floating around in the blackness of the universe, then began to travel toward a cluster of bright stars. The nesting boxes were stacked on top of each other as each smaller unit of space was introduced, from the Milky Way Galaxy, to the Solar System, the Earth, North America, The United States, New Hampshire (and Vermont), Lancaster, Sunnybrook Montessori School, the Child, and the Atom & each child's energy. This is a big, abstract concept, so this was just a broad introduction. Our focus will be more age appropriately concrete as we progress.
Susan is teaching us some Earth songs, including one about the oceans and water. We played a game where we passed the globe and shared our names, and another where we tossed the ball and caught it, then observed whether our hands were touching land, water, or both. We discovered that there is a lot of water on the Earth! We were introduced to Land, Air, and Water and the land, air, water mat. Each child took a turn placing an animal either on the land, in the water, or in the air, depending on where it lives or spends most of its time.
We released our first butterfly Monday morning. It was busy and ready to go when we carefully carried the butterfly house outside. It took a little bit of maneuvering before we were able to get it out of the net to fly away, but as soon as it was free, it quickly flew the roof. Two more butterflies emerged Thursday morning, and we were able to release them at the end of the morning. Susan coaxed them onto a twig which they used to launch themselves on their first flight.
We read some stories about rules and rulers: My Rules for School Book, Officer Buckle and Gloria, and Yertle the Turtle. We began to talk about kindness and how we all like to be treated by others. Next week we will discuss and create our classroom expectations, keeping in mind how to be safe and kind and respectful to others and our classroom so everyone feels safe, accepted, and respected at school.
We introduced the parachute, and had fun bouncing the globe and trying to keep it on. After it fell off three times, we took off all our slippers and mixed them up under the parachute, then when our names were called, we ran under, found our slippers, and put them on as quickly as we could then ran back out while everyone cheered for us. Our final game was Mr. Crocodile. Each child took a turn crawling under the waving parachute and "eating" someone by pulling on their foot. That child would then become the next Mr. Crocodile.
Friday students continued to learn about living things. We read Plants are Living Things and learned that plants are the only living things that make their own food. We learned about the different parts of a plant and their jobs, including leaves, the stem, the fruit, and the roots. We tried tugging a plant from a pot, but found it was stuck very firmly in the soil. We wondered why it would not easily come out. Lyn wiggled it out and we saw that the roots were keeping it steady so it did not tip over or come out of the soil. We learned that the roots hold the plant in place and drink up water and nutrients from the soil. The stem carries the water and nutrients to the leaves, where sunlight, carbon dioxide, and water are combined to make food in a process called photosynthesis. We then looked at several different food items that come from plants and determined whether we eat the leaves, stem, root, bulb, seeds, or fruit.