This week in science students began taking turns feeding the minnows. I often find students using their free time to watch the fish with our magnifying glasses- they’ve even begun to discuss how the fish are moving and in what ways they are the same and different!
We also have been experimenting with bubbles: talking about how we make the bubble soap (we’ll be making more next week!), what’s inside the bubbles, how wind carries them so they float, and what happens when they land on different surfaces. Hopefully we'll have more warm days where we can explore the science of bubbles and the three basic states of matter. If we have any days where the weather is below freezing, we'll get to blow bubbles outside and watch them freeze!
We celebrated Groundhog day by learning about our shadows and playing shadow-matching games. We created a graph with our predictions about whether Phil the groundhog will see his shadow, and made books for our book bins inspired by the holiday. Our technology time is being cut short because of MAP testing in the library (for grades k-5) but we managed to squeeze in between two classes and explore our "Let's Find Out!" online newspaper. It taught us more about shadows and about the history of groundhog day. We also watched a short video of Phil seeing his shadow. The kids were delighted that we'll be having six more weeks of winter. Ms. T, not so much!
In math we’ve been practicing sequencing with worksheets and games. This is something we are going to continue working on for the rest of the year. We have practiced putting four images in order (for example, a child stepping on a diving board, bouncing in the air, diving into the water, and then poking his head out the water). This is a bit difficult for many students, so we’re going to continue playing our sequencing games during math groups and also spend extra time sequencing as a class on the rug. Next we’ll work together as a class to make a sequencing and directional poster titled How to Make a Snowman. One way to practice sequencing at home is at dinner: if your child helps, ask him or her, “So we’re making Mac and Cheese. I’m just going to put the cheese on the macaroni.” Hopefully your child will say, “Wait mom( dad/grandma/uncle Tim)! We need to cook the macaroni first!” and you can mention words like first, second, third, next, then and talk about why we have to do things in order (“Why should we cook the macaroni first?” “Because it won’t come out right/will taste bad/that’s not how you make it”). This is an important foundation for student story writing in kindergarten.
We’ve been practicing sorting with various items in our classroom. Some items we've sorted are coins (by size, type, color, and amount), markers (by color) and crayons. The sorting project the students enjoyed the most was, as always, the easiest: crayons! We’ve talked about how there are many different ways to sort the same thing. They first separated the crayons by whether they still had paper wrapped around them. I swooped in and grabbed the bucket of “unwrapped” crayons, brought them home, and melted them into new rainbow crayons. They also sorted crayons by size and color. Sorting was a hit with a great reward!
We also continue to count, write numbers, and have been using pattern blocks and matching them to pictures. We'll continue finding shapes in our room (the clock is a circle; the board is rectangle; etc), counting forward (sometimes up to 100!) and backwards from 15. Many students are still learning how to count past 15- that's typical at this age- but we'll keep moving forward in our counting so that they are familiarized with numerical order and number names.
We created a class book inspired by The Snowy Day by Ezra Jack Keats. We used various layers of paper and paint to recreate our own snowy day pictures. The collages came out extra lovely, so they’re hung up on our bulletin board for a few weeks before we add them to our class book area. We also made a class book titled, "If I Had $100, I Would Buy..." with some great pictures and responses!
We read many winter stories, books about winter clothing, and some non-fiction stories. We also read some non-fiction underwater animal stories as the kids were asking to learn more about fish.
Since December we’ve been meeting with our reading buddies from Mrs. Rono’s second grade class. The entire school participates in this “Caring School Communities” program. The kids are assigned to a buddy who they meet with every other Friday afternoon in our room. The second graders read stories to the pre-k students and after they work together on a small project. At our last meet-up the kids created posters about their mutual favorite activities, animals, toys, even beaches! I’ve created a new link titled “buddies” where you can see the students in action!
Mrs. Garrow, our music teacher, has begun preparations for the spring concert (in May, I believe!). She’s sending me the songs the pre-k is working on during music class and we will add them in to morning song & poem routine. I’d send the songs home for parents that might want to practice with their children, but that would ruin the surprise!! ;)
Remembering scarves, snow pants, mittens, and hats can be difficult- for parents and students! If you’d like to send in a bag of all or any of these items for your child to keep at their cubby, we’d be glad to hang on to them, whether you’d like them to use them every day or just to have as a back up in case they forget something at home. Students without boots may not step on the snow, and students without snow pants may not sit, kneel, or lie down on the snow.
Next week we will be celebrating the 100th day of school (Friday, February 10th) with games and projects. I'll be sending home a notice on Monday requesting that parents send students to school with 100 of something for snack.
-new link: buddies
See you soon!