Rocky Hill Cooperative Nursery School
Jan 21

Thursday, January 20, 2011

“Just Fours” Our “four-year-old class” actually now contains two five-year-olds!
On Tuesdays and Thursdays, I get to challenge the small group a little more. Part of our morning routine is the Mystery Box. One person opens the Mystery Box to see what’s inside, then the group brainstorms why they think I put it in there, or what it could be. On Thursday, there were two little cards, one with “is” on it, and the other with “IS.” As I’d expected, the word “is” was quickly identified because we use it everyday when we do the weather! Today’s weather is…and is is the smallest word and easiest to find! “Is” was a bit more difficult! Why? The capital I made it look different! (Again, as I’m always saying, reading is a DEVELOPMENTAL skill! Just as you wouldn’t expect all babies to crawl or walk at the exact same time, you can’t expect all children to read at the same time!)
We brainstormed words that start with the short I sound. We looked at pictures of igloos in Jan Brett’s book, The Three Snow Bears.
Later, the children built igloos with sugar cubes and frosting! It was fascinating to watch how each child went about building their structures. Amazingly, they waited and licked their fingers AFTER they were done!!!!
We then play “Gawaine’s Word” (my adaptation of a bit from Between the Lions.) Two children face one another, each on a stick horse. I announce, “Ladies and Gentlemen, on our jousting field today, we have “Lady /i/ and Sir /t./ Let’s cheer for them. As I point to the girl holding the I, everyone says the short I sound. As I point to the boy holding the t, everyone says the sound of t. As I continue to point, each child takes one step closer to the middle, until the I and T are close together, and we’re saying, I,T, I, T, it! The children then enjoy creating sentence with the new word. “IT is my school!’ “You’re IT!” We did the same with in and is. We discovered that the s doesn’t make the same sound you hear at the beginning of sit!
We played games with the words, “Is it in?” “It is in.” We hid lid animals and asked each other the questions!
We sang some songs, and played a round of “Hickey Pickey Bumblebee” (which is really a way to practice syllabication!)
I almost forgot! At the beginning of the day during children’s choice, someone asked if they could make something for their Mom that day, since it was her birthday! We brought out supplies, and some very beautiful cards were made! Some children helped me organize our new tool set! Of course, we ended the day in our favorite place: the snow!

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Jan 21

It’s time for Jan Brett in January! Having students two years in a row is such an amazing gift! I get to see them grow from shy, quiet little ones to confident, talkative almost kindergartners! Once or twice I’ve been asked, for example, why I’m “doing gingerbread” again, since we did it last year. I’m careful to change activities enough to keep it interesting. AND after all, we do themes such as Thanksgiving and the Post Office every year, too! 😉
Knowledge of learning styles and abilities is key. When I read a story, some of the little ones are successful if they can sit and attend to the whole story. Can they tell me what happened first? Next? I love seeing the older ones consider the story more carefully. WHY did the character act that way? What do you think it should do differently?
THE most important part of introducing this unit is determining a very important fact. What is the Gingerbread Boy? A COOKIE! What do we do with cookies? We EAT them!!!! This is very important to prevent trauma with some of the versions of the story! On Wednesday, each child was given a gingerbread cookie and was told to place it on the napkin in front of them. First, they had to LOOK at it and describe it (“Can we EAT it?”) Then they could touch it and describe it.. (“Can we eat it NOW?”) Then, they had to pick it up and SNIFF! (“MMMMMm….. can we eat it at snack time?”) The final instruction: “Look at your cookie and decide what you’re going to bite first, the head, an arm, or a leg.! Now, take ONE bite!”)
We found out that 12 people bit the head first, three people an arm and ONE person a leg. We made a bar graph to illustrate our results. (Look for it in our classroom!)
Afterwards, the children each decorated a paper gingerbread house and described it to me.
Getting our snow clothes on everyday still takes some time, but the children are becoming more independent each day and are willing to help each other. Going outside is SNOW much fun!!!

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Jan 14

Today as the children came in, they were introduced to “ramps” and given a marble. The were asked to figure out how move the marble without touching it. Children explored and discovered with lots of laughter and cheering.
“How can you stop the marble from rolling across the floor?”
“With a DINOSAUR!” Sure enough, a dinosaur at the end of the ramp stopped the marble! A panda worked also!
Some raised one end of their ramp with blocks, others with their hands. Some added another ramp. It was a great beginning exploration of physical science!
After circle time, we reviewed Jan Brett’s “The Mitten.” * Then we read Jim Aylesworth’s “The Mitten.” How were they the same? How were they different? We made a venn diagram on the rug with jumpropes, and had pictures of the characters and events of the stories.
“Was the mouse in Jan Brett’s version, today’s version, or both?”
A very high level concept for 3’s but they did very well for the first time!
After snack, and a half-birthday celebration, I promised the children ooey gluey fun! We mixed shaving cream and glue and beat it with a mixer! They LOVED spreading on paper, their hands… “OOEY GLUEY! OOEY GLUEY!”
After they were (mostly) cleaned up, we matched some mittens: “These are green mittens with red spots.” Then we read “The Jacket I Wear in the Snow.” Finally the children got on THEIR snowclothes, and went outside for some snowy fun!

*Please note: I know grammatically titles of books should be underlined, but technically, I’m not sure how to underline for this post!

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Jan 14

Yesterday the four day class visited with our Grandfriends at Stonebridge Assisted Living. I was thrilled when one child immediately chatted with a “friend” about the new doll she got for Christmas! Another child brought pictures of her new dogs to share!

The children acted out the story of the “The Mitten.” Then all of the generations listened to the story, “The Mitten Tree.” After the story, we all traced our hands, making and decorating foam “mittens.” We left one mitten there, and took one mitten with us. We’ll have mitten trees at both school and Stonebridge!
A golden moment: While everyone was decorating their mitten, one little girl quietly started singing, “Doe, a deer, a female deer,” another voice joined…”Ray, a drop of golden sun….” more joined until everyone in the room, all generations were singing togther.

After a previous visit, one little boy bounced up and down saying, “Thank you for taking us to see our Grandfriends, Mrs Winden! I wuv it there!”

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