Sunday, February 16, 2020

History and Science

The Whole Notes were busy right up until the end of the week when our vacation began.  Our focus was on the upcoming President's Day holiday, as you see in our photos (not necessarily in order).  We talked about George Washington: how  he was the first president but did not live in the White House, how he rode a white horse and fought for our country, how he wore a wig along with more facts that a preschooler could understand.  Even though the story of George chopping down the cherry tree with his new hatchet may or may not be true, we used it as an example of telling the truth, no matter what the consequences.
The children chuckled over the height of Abe Lincoln and his stove pipe hat, but respected how he walked for  miles to be able to read books.  Obviously the emancipation of slaves is beyond them, but in class we likened it to being respectful of each other , no matter what we look like.  Paper money and coins with presidents faces were shown.  Tracing, cutting and coloring (there are those fine motor skills again) created both a George Washington hat and Lincoln mask.  Pictures of log cabins were out for coloring along with Lincoln logs for building during free choice time.
A special treat was the visit from the "Mad Scientist" on Wednesday.  To everyone's delight she gave us an informative fun filled program of science experiments.  She turned water into a solid, magically changed the color of liquid solutions, made pretend snow and melted styrofoam cups with acetone.  For the big finish our scientist created rolling fog with dry ice.  The children were thrilled to say the least
Other pictures shown are Ariel presenting the letter box for "R".  He had to wait a long time for his turn since he was last.  There are not enough letters in the alphabet for everyone to have a second turn so for the rest of the time we will pick a name out of a bag each week.  No one will have more than two turns. 
David is shown as the leader of the day.  With that turn, the special helper puts the number on the calendar and and tells us the name of the day, date and year along with any hidden words appearing such as "on" in Monday or "we, wed or day" in Wednesday.  Daniel is shown picking out the letters of his name.  Both David and Daniel are using reading readiness skills.
Our week ended with a valentine party  including lots of cards and fun treats.  Thanks to all the families who sent in goodies per our request.  After vacation we will focus on our work for the upcoming art show.

Sunday, February 9, 2020

Valentine's Day

Children love Valentine's Day and of course the cards and possibility of candies and presents that could go along with the celebration.  On the blog are photos of the group working hard with their cutting and fine motor skills to create a surprise for their families.  The progression of writing abilities since September are also shown in this endeavor.  That is all we will say about what is happening here.  You will have to wait until the fourteenth.
As part of our valentine fun, the group has been talking about stamps, addresses on envelopes, mailboxes, postal services, etc.  Although this is a topic a bit advanced for some friends, a little exposure to this process is a good start for you to build upon at home.  We made mailboxes of our own to transport the valentines we will exchange on Friday.  The class has loved all the valentine books brought in by the teachers.  The biggest hits were " The Valentine Bears" and "Little Mouse's Big Valentine". 
Perhaps your preschooler could sing you the song "Won't you be my valentine...".  Different dot to dot papers were out at free choice time to challenge finding numbers a little past twenty.  Other  sheets helped with reading the names of colors on crayons.  More coloring papers with hearts were just out for fun.  Remember that a child will never learn spatial relationships or how to color in the lines if not given the opportunity with these types of activities.
One day all varying sizes of hearts were out for tracing and cutting.  Holding a heart pattern still with your hand while you trace around it with your other hand is not an easy task for children this age.
During this same free play time friends here are enjoying the challenge of matching valentine dominoes.  This same kind of a game can be made easily at  home using stickers.
Interspersed with our studies of "love" was the celebration of a fifth birthday for Idris.  He looked very handsome with his own crown brought from home and tie he wore for this festive occasion.  Idris even provided us with a birthday banner.
The teachers did not send the letter box home for "Q" as this is a tough letter to work with.  Instead the teachers asked many riddles to create a list of "Q" words such as question, quarterback and queen.  Next week we will go back to the regular routine.  Ariel will present the letter box for "R".  We will change the letter box from Wednesday to Tuesday in order to go along with his schedule.
You can see some wonderful cooperative building with our big wooden blocks.  These are great for gross motor development and a good way to pass a snowy/rainy day.  Other friends are involved in doing team work with our magnatiles.  All in all it was a great week.

Sunday, February 2, 2020

Different Ways of Learning

Our week began with the first artist we will learn about for the upcoming art show in April.  His name is Salvadore Dali.  At the level of four and five years of age, the group chuckled as they saw pictures of his extremely long mustache and the idea that he loved very fancy clothes.  His desire was to be noticed.  We closed our eyes to think of things to paint from our dreams and imagination just as he did.  To imitate the style of his painting about melting clocks, each youngster used model magic to shape his/her own unusual clock.  More work will follow on this project.  You will be amazed at our replicas when the show is held.
You will also see (remember that pictures are intermingled depending on the day they were taken) a lesson on symmetry.  First everyone was given a mitten cut from a wallpaper pattern.  At circle the group found their matches to make pairs.  A teacher demonstrated how to draw with symmetry, after which the class designed their own sets of mittens.  Take a look at what came home.  We also read a book about objects that come in pairs.
Avraj proudly presented the letter box for "P".  He had lots of ideas that he described in detail to us.  "P" was great for our classroom as far as our daily set up.  You will see friends building with pipe cleaners, stretching putty, serving pretend pizza, designing with pattern blocks and using cars with a PJ Mask racing set.  Obviously we added this letter to our letter books and drew pictures of many things beginning with the special letter.
The week ended with fun stories about a groundhog named Gregory.  Puppets were made to learn about the fable of the groundhog and whether we will have early spring or more winter.  These creations were also sent home.  Check the television with your preschooler so he can learn what happened when Punksatony Phil came out of his hole today.  We will talk about it at circle tomorrow morning.
Over the next two weeks we will focus on the holiday of love and the birthdays of Lincoln and Washington.