Snow blanketed our outdoor space while we were on Thanksgiving break, creating a perfect transition to the end of fall and arrival of winter. The sleds were outfitted with multiple ropes so sled dogs could pull mushers around the yard using the appropriate lingo; “hike” for go, “gee” for right, “haw” for left, “easy” for slow down, and “whoa” for stop. The dogs had to work on coordinating their strength, speed, and direction, which was a bit tricky for some teams.
We were sad to miss out on the story reading with Marty Kelly last week while we were all on quarantine, but we were excited to each pick two books donated by CLiF to keep for our very own. There was a wide variety of books, and the children took turns 1 or 2 at a time going into the small classroom/office with Makenna to make a selection. Makenna chose two books for all the students who were out and put them in their cubbies for them to have when they return.
During sign with Rose we had so much fun doing the “Turkey Pokey,” putting in our thighs, waddles, tail feathers, etc. In keeping with our study of reptiles she read A Color of His Own by Leo Lioni, about a chameleon who didn’t want to be different from all the other animals who had their own colors. We then worked as teams to put the alphabet signs in order to build a giant alphabet caterpillar. They ended sign with the firetruck song, “Hurry, Hurry, Drive the Firetruck.”
The children are creating a Gratefulness art installation. We read Tacky the Penguin by Helen Lester and discussed how all the pretty penguins were not very accepting of Tacky until he scared away the hunters and they realized that although he was loud and imperfect, they were grateful to have him. We read some stories about being grateful and the children shared some things and people that they are grateful to have. They began working on individual pictures of all the things they are grateful for, which we will display together in a quilt, as well as photocopy for everyone to have a Book of Gratitude.
Henrietta and Wolfgang and some of the students helped demonstrate how to get a friends attention. First, we look at them and say their name. If they don’t respond, we gently touch their shoulder and say their name again. If they still don’t respond, we keep trying until they look at us. This is the initial step in engaging with a friend, and we will use this to build other social skills over the next few weeks and months. After the demonstration, all of the children had an opportunity to try it out, and they had fun getting each others attention and responding when they were addressed.
We celebrated two birthdays this week. A birthday girl turned 6. She shared tasty chocolate chip and unicorn chip muffins after telling us she was born in the fall in the month of November 6 years ago and orbiting the sun 6 times with the globe.
The second birthday was celebrated with an Optimus Prime cupcake cake and gifts of playdough and books for all the students. The birthday boy showed us that he is 5 years old and we learned that he was born in the fall in the month of December. He slowly started to orbit the sun then sped up until he was racing so quickly we could barely keep up with listing the seasons. The children had so much fun hunting for treasure in their beautiful, sparkly, scented playdough, which made multiple appearances throughout the day. They also had fun trading treasures and everyone was very thoughtful, generous, and gracious while doing so.
Kindergarten students worked on their Gratefulness project, cut out, folded, and taped together miniature envelopes to hide tiny notes and secret codes, wrote about what they like about themselves, just like Elmer the elephant, practiced some reading, and did some winter writing work.
During Friday science we read a bit about reptiles and named the reptile toys we have. Some early morning students had helped measure out and place strips of tape showing the lengths of 10 different reptiles, from the 29 foot green anaconda, 23 foot salt water crocodile, down to the 5 inch green anole lizard and 7 inch painted turtle. We reviewed the story How Long is a Foot and talked about using a standard unit of measurement. Students who were interested chose items of the same length; markers, rhythm sticks, unifix cubes, etc. to measure out the length of the various reptiles and count and record how many of a particular item long they were.