We have been busy working around the room and talking about all the different ways we can show love to our friends and family! The Valentine card center has been very busy and I hope you have been the recipients of some sweet mail. I am so proud of the girls for working extra hard to sign their name on each card and even copy some words such as "To", "From"", "Happy Valentine's Day", "mom" and "dad". This morning we took a little time to celebrate together. Thank you so much to the moms who helped make this morning so special!!
Problem solving and critical thinking refer to the ability to use knowledge, facts, and information to effectively sold problems. This does not mean you need to have an immediate answer; it means you have to be able to think on your feet, assess problems and find solutions. It is PROCESS, and this process has been present and active in our classroom. It is a amazing to watch the girls solve puzzles, construct the most amazing things out of blocks and turn ordinary objects out of whatever their imagination can dream up. They are creative and amazing problem solvers and critical thinkers, and we want them to see themselves as such! It is our goal to create a classroom environment in which the girls learn to take risks in their thinking and work beyond what they things hey are capable of.
As the girls work to build and solve puzzles together around the room they are...
-learning to communicate with each other to reach the same goal
-practicing decision making skills
-expressing their ideas
-examining and evaluating their decisions
-exploring cause and effect
The list could go on and on!!!
As they explore, they are celebrating their accomplishments.
"We did it!"
"Wow, it is bigger than us!"
"Our brains are growing, we did something new."
"We can't give up...we have to finish it."
"Can I get my save the place card. I am tired and need to try again later."
"I wonder if I can do it?"
"We are having good luck today with this puzzle."
"It's your turn to do the last piece."
They are problem-solving in their friendships and in their explorations around the room. They are learning to take turns, try new things, overcome their frustrations, and be persistent. Life-long skills that will continue to help them succeed!!
be intrigued by mistakes,
enjoy effort and keep on learning."
The girls were SO excited to get back to school and see their friends. It amazing how that short time off from school seems to return a group that feels just a little bit older and more grown up than they were before we sent them off for the holiday! They have come back stronger than ever and more curious about letters and numbers.
I love their curiosity, and I know that there is going to be a lot of growth in letter recognition as we move into this second semester.
One thing that the girls have been talking about non-stop is Frozen 2, and as the old expression goes… “If you can’t beat’em; join’em”. So we have embraced our inner Anna and Elsa and created a winter wonderland within our little Pre-K classroom. We started with a little "Let it Go" painting aka collaborative artwork.
We then used this artwork to create a back drop for building castles and homes for snowmen...oftentimes referred to as "Olaf and his family".
Skills: visual discrimination of geometric shapes
Creativity and exploration
"Come on Olaf come into your home."
"You won't melt in here Olaf."
"Snowflake-your dinner is ready. Don't worry we won't eat your carrot."
Writing names in the "snow"
Skills: Skills: Recalling information
Visual discrimination of letters
Recognizing numbers 1-13
Sequencing numbers 1-13
Stamping our names
Skills: letter recognition
visual discrimination of letters
Winter Story Telling
Skills: building classroom community
creativity and exploration
recalling information and making connections with the world
"Fairy Elsa is flying around and making snow."
"Her magic snow number is 32."
"Flutter Coldness is making presents for her family to go under the tree."
"Come and skate with me Anna!"
"My snow dog cannot come he is hibernate."
Their little imaginations are incredible and it is so fun to see them taking the stories and the information that we have shared at the carpet and incorporate it into their play. We had just talked about how the magic number for snow was 32 degrees and they made the connection hours later!
Sensory experience and exploration
Getting to feel ice in their hands was such a fun experience. We talked about ice being frozen water, the magic temperature of 32 degrees, and we got to see what happened first hand as the water slowly melted over the course of the morning.. The girls decided that our painting table needed it's own cloud like Olaf had that would allow it to stay frozen all the time despite the room temperatures.
"This is crazy awesome!"
"I didn't know ice was like magic."
"It is real magic like from the tooth fairy or Santa!"
Over the past 2 few weeks, we have had the opportunity to read several different versions of the classic "The Gingerbread Man" and really stretch our literacy skills. With each version we have...
-discussed the role of the author and illustrator
-compared and contrasted the characters in each book
-recognized repeated text across each story
-predicted the ending of each book
The girls have been so excited to see how each of the stories is the same and how they are different. We know that they each begin with the little old lady and the little old man, but they take very different paths from there! We then voted on our favorite and...The Gingerbread Girl won! Make sure to ask your daughter how she was able to outsmart that sneaky old fox!
To celebrate all that we have learned we made a gingerbread house so that the gingerbread man, boy, girl or cowboy didn’t need to run away! They could just stay at home😊 Thank you so much for all of your help in making this project possible!
We have also been busy...
Exploring around the room
-Creating and extending patterns
-Cutting and sorting-small, medium and large
-Recognizing numbers 1-10
-Building classroom community (gingerbread kitchen)
-Supporting language development
-Recognizing our names and the names of our friends in print (Christmas cards)
-Increasing fine motor skills and pencil control
And that's not all...
We wanted to emphasis that although it is so fun to RECEIVE gifts, Christmas is about GIVING gifts to others.
We put our great patterning skills to work and made candy cane ornaments for out JK friends; we strung cranberries and put them outside our classroom window as a gift for the birds and squirrels and even practiced our wrapping skills!
Since the first day I walked into Mrs. Erickson and Mrs. Rainer’s classroom, I knew that this was a very special group of girls that were being raised by a very special group of parents. The words of encouragement that rolled right off the tips of their tongues without any prompting was unbelievable.
I love your new shoes!
You are so good at that!
I wish I could do that like you!
You did it!
The way they met their friends at the door with hugs and smiles was precious.
They genuinely love to celebrate one another! So as a teacher I want to say “Hip, Hip Hooray to you, mom and dad!”! You have set the bar high, and I want it not just to continue but to GROW!!!!
In chapel at the beginning of the year we read the book “How Full is Your Bucket?-for Kids” by Tom Rath and Mary Reckmeyer. This book explains that we all have an invisible “bucket” and that it can be filled up or dipped into by the words and actions that we encounter each day. In return, you can be a “bucket filler” or a “bucket dipper” to others with your words and actions. We have taken this language and incorporated it into our everyday at school by frequently asking “are you being a bucket filler or a bucket dipper?” We love to catch the girls using kind words with a friend, being a great first-time listener, having patience, including others, taking turns…the list could go on and on. Our hope is that we are teaching them to self-reflect, to have empathy, and to think before they say or do something! We spend time talking about how we feel when we are bucket fillers to others, and they are getting it!! Teaching them to put words to their feelings is a crucial part of becoming self-aware. It is so fun to hear the girls using their words to express themselves as they go throughout their day.
My heart feels happy when I am a good friend!
That makes my heart sing…does it make your heart sing?
I am sorry that I dipped into your bucket.
You just filled my bucket!
My bucket is feeling low-she knocked over my castle.
She spilled my bucket.
I did it all by myself and now my bucket is full!
My bucket is so drip...I need help!
Along with teaching empathy, we also want to partner with you in teaching our girls to be thankful! Here is a sneak peek at some of the things that they are thankful for!
We are thankful to get to spend each week with your girls, and watch them grow socially, emotionally and academically!
Over the past 2 weeks, we have had so much fun taking in all there is to see, know, and do about Halloween. The girls have been so excited about their costumes and wanted to talk about them every single day at the carpet so...we embraced it! Here are just a few of the things that we have been doing.
Developing skills at the sensory table:
-counting, organizing and sorting objects
-general motor skills
-social interaction and team work
-creativity through working with different materials
-expand vocabulary by sparking curiosity
Developing skills when identifying and creating patterns:
-learning to make predictions
-recognize the relationships between objects
Working with loose parts to create a jack-o'lantern
-creativity and imagination
-making observations and connections about the world around them
-exploring non-fiction text
Celebrating with our friends!
The farm is an amazing place, not simply to be outside and enjoy the scenery, but it is the perfect place to make learning come to life! Mary Riddle, our school horticulturist is the BEST! She is passionate about teaching the girls about agriculture and helping them take this knowledge and apply it in the classroom. As you well know by now, the farm underwent a major transformation over the summer and the opportunities are endless and each planting bed a blank slate. We were invited to come and plant and boy was it fun! We got to put on our boots for the first time! They had so much fun showing off their boots, and we loved hearing them describe them to their friends.
My boots are so big!
My boots are purple!
Do you see my rainbow boots?
These are dinosaurs on my boots.
My boots are hot pink and they are good for splashing!
Once we were on the farm, we were able to make observations about the size and color of the carrot seeds, discuss what the seeds needed to grow, and make predictions about what the carrots would look like once they were harvested…pink, purple, and rainbow of course!!!
Here is what some of the girls said when we asked them to share about our first visit...
"I had purple boots. I love my purple boots. Mrs. Riddle gave us three small seeds. It was kinda small. And you put it in the front. And then we put a seed in the middle of the beds. We put our knee on the bed. We had to put dirt, and water, and rain, and sunshine and THEN they grow into a carrot! Seeds are the best! Because they grow into the carrot."
"Mrs. Riddle gave me some seeds when I put out my hand. I planted the seeds. Carrot seeds. Outside at the farm. We had to wear our boots. I digged a little hole with my finger, and then I did two more seeds. My friends digged a hole, everybody. The seeds grow with water, sunshine… AND they need DIRT! If they don’t grow we won’t be able to eat them."
"We were planting seeds at the farm. We got to touch the seeds, and plant little ones that were white. The seeds have to get dirt and water and sunshine and they will turn into carrots!"
We have been keeping track of the progress of our seeds and are happy to report that they are spouting right up and growing like crazy. They don’t quite look like the carrots we know and love just yet, but with a little bit more sun, water, and patience they will be ready to harvest, wash, and eat in no time! Below are some of the observations that the girls have made in their planting journal we are creating.
Through these observational journals the girls are learning to…
-use descriptive language
-represent their thoughts in drawings
-make connections with the world around them
One of our visits to the farm to check on our carrots happened to be documented by the Daily Memphian. If you happened to miss the article please see the link below!
We had soooooo much fun celebrating International Dot Day! We wore dots, painted dots, and even ATE dots! Your girls sure know that a dot is the shape of a circle and they can point them out ANYWHERE and EVERYWHERE!
Peter Reynolds book, The Dot, tells the story of Vashti, a little girl who doesn't think she can draw. Ends up, she's really good at dots...thanks to the encouragement of her teacher! And then Vashti passes on that encouragement to a friend.
We asked the girls how they could be like Vashti...a few of their thoughts...
Teach them to draw!
Be good to a friend...share!
Help them learn to make a people!
Help them paint!
Like when I had two, and I gaved her one!
Sweet, huh? Your girls are getting it!
They are learning to think and to be creative!
Check out the things they created with just a few dots!
The girls LOVE to share their work with each other! It gives them a chance to practice speaking in front of others and to explain what they were thinking! They are also learning to listen to their friends and be respectful, so when it's their turn to talk, their friends will listen to them. The girls are learning to create and use their smart brains to think outside the box, too!
In pre-kindergarten we are getting your girls ready to write! The girls are learning to hold a crayon and a pencil correctly and to color and draw. They are learning how to use scissors and to use their little fingers to glue things on paper. They are figuring out which hand they like to use. They are beginning to understand simple size and shape concepts for big lines/little lines and big curves/little curves. The activities that we provide require attention, cognitive skills, and cooperation. The beginning of all the writing they will do in their lives begins with a simple line. They will eventually learn how to imitate a vertical line, horizontal line, circle, and cross. This week we were making lines, finding lines in the environment, and sorting short and long lines.