We love outside where we spend our time moving our bodies, working together, and building our imaginations. The children have been working in teams lending a hand and caring for each other, pulling friends in sleds, holding sleds at the top of the sledding hill, playing group games, inviting others to participate, and working together to accomplish a goal.
Monday students practiced the art of suminagashi, also known as paper marbling. They selected the colors of ink they preferred, then carefully dripped drops of the ink onto a small paper circle floating in a dish of water. They then took pencils to carefully swirl and move the inks into patterns, pulling the various colors between each other. When they had adequately swirled, they gently laid their papers over the top to absorb the inks, creating lovely marbled papers.
Our study of the planets in our solar system moved on to planet Earth this week. The children made another planet Earth, similar to those they made in the fall, so they will have them for their solar system mobiles. They used green pastels on paper, then used a blue watercolor wash to fill in the oceans, and some white pastels for a wispy cloud cover.
We read about the major features of Earth, including land and water, the atmosphere, and the water cycle. We learned that Earth is the only planet we know of that sustains life, where the temperature, atmosphere, and presence of water make that possible. We examined photographs of craters on earth, and discussed how they compare to craters on Mercury and the Moon. Craters on Earth change due to wind, weather, water, plants, and animals, while craters on Mercury and the Moon remain as they are, unchanging, as they have no atmosphere to create weather and change them.
Susan shared the Greek Myth about Gaea/Terra/Mother Earth. Terra was a kind and loving mother who wanted her children to live in peace and work together. Sadly, her children did not want to share power. Finally Jupiter, who had been hidden and raised in a cave, overpowered Saturn, who had been eating all Terra’s children. He freed the children Saturn had eaten and they all ruled together equally. We talked about how this is a myth – a story that didn’t really happen – but that sometimes people do like to be the bigger one in power telling others what to do, but the children shared that that is unkind and they do not feel that they want to be told what to do all the time by someone else.
During sign language with Rose we learned more animal signs. Last week we learned signs for common pets and this week we learned signs for some local wildlife. We learned snake, bird, deer, moose, and bear. They are pretty easy to read, as they look a lot like the animals! Deer is signed by making antlers with your fingers on your head, moose is bigger antlers using the arms and fingers. Bird is two fingers opening and closing by your nose, like a beak. Snake is two fingers as fangs and wiggling the hand & arm like a snake. And bear is made by crossing the arms and scratching at opposite shoulders.
We watched some short videos about children that are deaf or hard of hearing and discussed how being deaf changes how people communicate and sense the world. We talked about recognizing that being deaf is different, but does not mean that they are broken. We talked about ways that doctors may be able to help some people who are hearing impaired or deaf to be able to gain some hearing, such as with a cochlear implant or hearing aid, but many people prefer to remain part of the deaf community and choose to not use technological assistance to hear. We recognized that sign language is another language like French, English, Spanish, Italian, Cantonese, or German, and we can communicate with others who speak the same language.
We began to revisit friendships, being kind, being inclusive, and how Sunnybrook is a community where we respect and care for each other. We read the books You Pick Me Up, I Am Enough, and Rulers of the Playground. We talked about the metaphor to pick someone up, and that it does not mean to physically pick someone up, but to support them, care for them, comfort them, and help them feel good about themselves. Rulers of the Playground prompted discussions about how we feel when others tell us what to do all the time and when we are treated unkindly with words and actions.
We celebrated a fourth birthday with unicorn horn fruit kebabs. The birthday girl informed us that she was born in the season of winter and the month of January four years ago. She carefully orbited the candle while we counted and named the seasons as she walked. Happy birthday newest four year old!
During music we were introduced to the terms piano, which means quietly/softly, and forte, which means strongly/loudly. Susan demonstrated playing piano and forte on the drums, as well as slowly (lento) and quickly (presto), which we learned last week. After Susan demonstrated, the children took turns playing the big bass drum piano & lento, piano & presto, forte & lento, and forte & presto. They had fun listening, watching, and following.
We studied the sense of smell during science on Friday. We watched a video about how our noses work and how we smell, examined a model of the nasal cavity, and then smelled some stuff. We tried to identify all the things we smelled, and we were successful with several, but some were unfamiliar or just a little too tricky. We smelled cinnamon, ginger, peppermint, orange, grapefruit, lime, lemon, tangerine, lavender, and eucalyptus. Some of the smells we really liked, but some were yucky!