Saturday, March 4, 2017

Mrs. C. and Mrs. Walsh Seager 4's March 3rd

March has definitely come in like a lion, we hope it goes out like a lamb.   We were able to enjoy some hiking, climbing and playing field games the first week and the next week we had rain, snow and temperatures in the 30’s. We went from the children complaining they were hot and wanted to take sweatshirts off, to needing winter coats, hats and mittens.  
During the last week of February, we talked about hibernation and animal skin structures.  Even though the temperature was in the upper 50’s, we pretended we were hibernating.  Hibernating animals get their nest or dens ready, fatten themselves up and put on an extra layer of fur.  Our class put up a tent, wore their pajamas, brought a stuffed pet from home and mixed up a batch of pancakes to enjoy at snack time.  During our first circle, they introduced their stuffed pet to their classmates and at the end of the day we did some dancing with them. 

                                                            Pj's, pets and pancakes

At the science center, there were animal pelts, snake skins, a tortoise shell and bird nests.   The children compared and measured the pelts and observed the delicate design of the snake skins.  They used tweezers to count and place tiny eggs in bird nests.

The second week, we expanded on the children’s love for building. A variety of different building materials were stationed around the room, not just in the block area. Large and small wood blocks, cardboard blocks, magnetic tiles and playstixs were out..   We offered the children, pictures of famous structures, such as The White House, Willis Tower, The Golden Gate Bridge, an old train tunnel and The Pyramids. We added clipboards, rulers, flat carpenter pencils, measuring tapes and levels. .  We showed them how to use a level to see if their structures were balanced.  They really liked using the “flat” pencils to draw straight lines.  Those flat pencils fit nice behind their ears and in their pants pockets!We talked about the job of an architect.  First, they think up a design and then put their designs on paper

Mine looks like The Willis Tower

                                                      Checking to see if our structure is level

Symmetry building with Playstix and a friend!
We read the book “21 Elephants And Still Standing.This book is about the building of the Brooklyn Bridge.   The bridge took 14 years to build and many people wondered how much weight the new bridge could hold.  P.T. Barnum decided to march 21 of his circus elephants across the bridge to prove that it was safe.  We challenged the children to build bridges out of small wood  blocks and popsicle sticks.  They counted out 21 plastic frogs, caterpillars and rocks to test their bridges. The last day of building we rotated in the Pyramid blocks and little legos.

Play dough, cups and pipe cleaners look like a suspension bridge

Animals crossing the bridges

Designing with pyramid blocks
                                Block activities meet a variety of preschool standards.

So many things can be explored during block play. While building with blocks the children work a variety of math standards; learning about shapes, balance measurement and spatial relationships. They experience the engineering principals of gravity and stability. The children work on their language and literacy by building their vocabulary, communicating their ideas, and using writing supplies to document their ideas. Art also comes into play. They use their imaginations to draw designs and build three dimensional structures.   Social skills are really put to the test, working on cooperation, perseverance, logical reasoning, and problem solving. Children learn by making mistakes and learning what to try differently next time.

Next week, with nicer weather, we will get out and explore the
man-made bridges at Seager and locate our favorite “tree bridges” created by Mother Nature.
We celebrated Dr. Seuss week by reading a couple of the children’s favorites. After reading The Cat in the Hat, the children published a class book titled, “What would I do If Thing 1 and Thing 2 Came To My  House?”  They painted red stripes on a hat and left space to write 2 rhyming words.  Dr. Seuss bingo was a big draw when they realized they could eat their cheerio markers after they were finished. They used yellow tape to make the letter Y in their letter books, and enjoyed getting messy with oobleck. .  Corn starch and water is all it takes to make a substance that resembles quick sand.  It has the properties of a solid and a liquid at the same time. You can slowly dip your hand into it like a liquid, but you can also squeeze it into a solid ball.  The name oobleck comes from the Dr. Seuss book, “Bartholomew And  The Oobleck.”  
Writing rhyming words on our hats
 The children continue to write sight words, weather words and enjoy picking out words they know from books.  Their awareness of words and their emerging ability to put letters together to make words seems to have really taken off this last month and you can see the pride in their faces when they read their words.
Dates to remember:

No school March 17

Spring tea March 24.

Spring break starts March 27 and school resumes April 3

                                              Read an extra book or two this weekend!!
                                                        Mrs. C. and Mrs. Walsh