The View from Discoverer Room 5
Last full week photos…
My final weekly update for the 2014-2015 school year! Very late, because of the week’s activities. It was wonderful to see some of you at the graduation and potluck yesterday – this was a good opportunity to learn from the graduates (6th graders going on to Jr. High) what they experienced during their time at Swan. They each gave insightful speeches, with lots of gratitude to teachers and friends. Our preschoolers were such great audience members! We also had lots of time to play, eat great food, and connect with each other. This was a good closing ceremony for the school year.
We made clay eggs to go in our paper nests. The kids wanted to do clay every day for about a week – I was more than happy to accommodate them! We delivered another batch of coffee grounds to the worm bin, and the kids gazed with great curiosity at the worm bin ecosystem – so many worms, centipedes, rolly pollys, fruit flies, and other creepy crawlies! We went into the community garden to explore…and talked about if birds are harmful or helpful to gardens.
If you couldn’t make the field trip, you should consider doing this walk on your own this summer! It was a great opportunity to view birds and other wildlife. We saw a great blue heron glide over us, three distinct times, with such grace and strength. We also had the pleasure of viewing a cedar waxwing mama bird in her nest (thanks to Mike’s keen eyes!). Each child had a chance to see her (she sat still as a statue!). We saw many more shore birds and crows. It was fun, and about the right length for this kind of adventure. I plan to spend more time on the Larry Scott Trail, now that I know about this enticing spot!
In closing, I want to offer my deep thanks to you all, for being part of this very unique and precious community we’ve built. This was an incredible year, and I am so grateful for the opportunity to get to know each of you, and to serve your children. I feel a tremendous sense of joy and love when I think of the year we’ve shared! I look forward to a summer of relaxation, creative work and travel, and I hope to keep in touch with all of you. Contact me any time.
Week 39 – July 6-10
Dear Discoverer Families,
These last days of school have been so wonderful to witness – the kids have formed a very cohesive group, and there are so many ways that they reveal their connection to each other. We are now in our last full week of school, and it is hard to believe the school year will soon end!
Next week, we will have two days at Swan School, then the last day of “school” is actually not on campus. We gather at H.J. Carol Park for a pot-luck and a graduation ceremony honoring the 6th graders. Typically, the children run and play for the first hour, then we have graduation (preschoolers are not expected to sit trough the whole thing – but it is very engaging for adults. There are 3 graduates this year, and they will each give a speech, describing their time at Swan School). Finally, we eat delicious food at the pot-luck and the clean up. It usually wraps up around 1pm. Hope you can make it!
Summary of the Week:
Monday: We spent our morning circle talking about how birds prepare their nests for eggs. I asked the kids what kind of materials birds might want to have in their nests before the eggs are laid, and the kids had very perceptive answers, including mud, leaves, grass, feathers, and wool. Fortunately, I had some real wool and leaves, along with some shredded paper and feathers that the kids could use to soften their paper and glue nests.
After recess, I brought out the first nest project that we started last Monday, June 29. These were frames for nests that the kids made with sticks and leaves gathered on the playground. Several children spent a lot of time placing sticks in position and tying (with some help) twine around the sticks to hold the frame together. We became aware of just how hard it is for people to make something as beautiful and functional as a nest!
Tuesday: The kids have been enjoying the bird stencils, and I’ve seen a lot of swans and woodpeckers appearing lately…At circle time, we talked about how to continue with our mural on the back wall, and many of the children decided to make more birds to add to the mural project.
After recess, we had our second sprinkler party, this time with just our group of kids. It was wet and wild, and the kids did not mind the cloudy, cool weather one bit!
After drying out and getting fresh clothes on, we celebrated the letter P. The kids are getting so skillful at identifying letter sounds and guessing words that begin with that letter. You can definitely keep up this work at home!
Wednesday: I decided to skip Morning Meeting (it was hosted by Karen this day), and just have a quieter morning in our home room. We needed to study two letters to keep on schedule (and finish our ABC study before the last day of school!). So, our first circle focused on the letter Q. We talked about how to identify this letter, how to write a capital Q, and the sound it makes when combined with U. There were some great suggestions for words that start with Q. I often give the kids clues to words that start with the particular letter sound we are studying, and this helps keep the sense of anticipation going! It also helps them to recognize letter sounds in familiar words.
After recess, we focused on the letter R. We have a wonderful volunteer who is with us on Tuesdays, whose name happens to start with R: Rinnah. She is such a natural teacher, even at age 19, that she led this activity! The kids are really enjoying her.
Thursday: We began making clay eggs this day, after looking at various egg types in the bird books. The kids were impressed with the book that shows an ostrich egg next to a hummingbird egg. We spent so much time working on this project – and taking it much farther than I expected! Andrew decided to put clay along the inside of his paper nest, to imitate the mud in a robin’s nest. He also made a clay bird. Such great ideas!
Friday: We continued with developing the paper nests – some students added leaves, wool, feathers and paper strips to their nests, and then all enjoyed working with clay again. Some kids have 20 + little eggs to pile into their nests! Two more students were inspired by Andrew’s clay bird, and they made their own clay birds.
After recess, we focused on letter T. This ABC study has been a good excuse to keep returning to our stack of ABC books, and reading through up to the letter of the day. On this day, I brought out a book that I bought at our PT Marine Science Center – it has paper cut illustrations that I love, and all of the pictures are from the Pacific Northwest environment. T was for “tide pool” in this book.
Stay tuned for announcement about a bird watching field trip – I’m going to do a little research on a spot recommended by Marcy, and let you know soon about the details!
Week 38 – June 29-July 2
Dear Discoverer Families,
What a warm and wonderful week we had! Here are the highlights…
Monday: We began the day with a discussion about bird’s nests. I asked everyone what they know about bird nests, how they are built, where they are found…and the answers were so interesting. We looked at a video of a ruby throated hummingbird making her nest – fascinating! We later collected things on the playground for building our own nests…twigs, leaves, grass, primarily. The letter we celebrated that day was L, and after making our list of L words, the kids went on a scavenger hunt for the L items in our classroom: toy llamas and sprigs of lavender!
Tuesday: We mixed things up a bit, and focused on our letter of the day at morning circle. M was the letter to celebrate, and we continued our listing of words that start with M. We also listened to a song called “Alphabet in Motion”, by Hap Palmer. It guides the kids in body movements that go with each letter, such as A for arch, B for bend, etc. This was fun and good for our physical coordination!
After recess, the sprinkler party was a blast! We had the towels spread out on “Swan Beach”. I tried to get photos of all the kiddos, but it was definitely a challenge; so much running and jumping!
Wednesday: We hosted morning meeting this day, and invited the other classes to participate in Buddy Building. We did this last fall, and I asked all of the older kids to notice how skillful the preschoolers now are with constructing things and manipulating materials. After recess, we celebrated the letter N. On Wednesdays, I provide a small treat to go with the letter of the day. N was tricky, because one naturally thinks of nuts, and I am so allergic that I shouldn’t handle most nuts, so I got Nut Thins! Crackers! They were a big hit.
Thursday: The videos of birds constructing nests are really intriguing. We watched a robin making its nest, and repeated the humming bird video. The kids then began a project with paper strips, making nests that simple, but hold together really well. We dipped the paper strips into a glue and water mixture, then molded the paper over glass bowls. They look really cool when dry! We will later add soft material to go in the nests, and clay eggs. After recess, we continued the alphabet study, focusing on letter O. This is such a fun letter – it has 3 different sounds!
We got a lot done this day…we delivered coffee grounds, collected from the school, to the community garden across the street. The kids were thrilled with seeing the worms in the worm bin, and I am thrilled that we are saving the coffee from the trash, and contributing to the community garden!
I hope you all had a splendid 4th of July – it was a joyful one for me! See you soon!
Week 37 – June 22-26
Dear Discoverer Families,
Today I found the box in the garage that holds my bird nest collection. I have hung onto these nests for many years; they are very intact and are each quite different. I often wonder if I really need to be saving such things, or if it is time to detach from some of my old “treasures”…but now that we are studying birds in our classroom, I am so excited to drag out the next collection and show all the kids! We will soon be doing some nest building of our own…
No school Friday, July 3rd. Maybe I will see you at the fireworks show at the Fort on the 4th!
Summary of the Week:
Monday: At morning circle, I introduced feather quill drawing. This was very intriguing to the kids, and they created some beautiful art, which required great patience on their part! After recess, we celebrated the letter “H”. We brainstormed words that begin with H, and then I invited the kids to look through a vast collection of dress up hats (one of Loida’s collections!). They were so adorable – and I managed to get photos!
Tuesday: It was months ago when I began making woodpecker stencils at Ansel’s request, and I realized that I could make a variety of stencils for the kids to trace, to help develop their fine motor skills, and giving them the tools to draw their own birds. I read from a science book about birds around the world, and then I invited everyone to look through the bird books and choose their favorite bird. We had requests for golden eagles, puffins, mourning doves, blue herons and the exotic sun bittern! A good challenge for me as an artist…
After recess, our Swan School neighbor, Libby Palmer, visited our class (she was a visitor last fall, when we studied South America, and she brought many musical instruments to share with the kids). This time, Libby came as an expert gardener. She brought with her some worms from the worm bin at the community garden, which she helps to care for. The kids were fascinated. She gave a great presentation on how the worms eat our food compost and turn it into rich soil. We walked over to the garden with her, and took coffee grounds to the worm bin. We are going to begin doing this weekly – saving the coffee grounds from our Swan School coffee pot, and gifting them to the garden.
Wednesday: This was our day for Morning Meeting, and Loida hosted the kids in her room. Each class took a turn to stand up and sing the songs that they had prepared for the concert. Our Discoverers did a beautiful job! We enjoyed hearing all the other children sing (and Karen’s kids recited a poem). After recess, our alphabet letter to celebrate was “I”. The kids are getting really good at thinking of words with the long I sound. I promised them a serving of ice cream to be enjoyed after lunch, so I think I will remain a popular letter!
Thursday: At morning circle, we talked about various kinds of habitats, and I taught the kids a habitat song. We focused on the forest floor habitat, and the grass, logs, mushrooms etc. that make up this home for insects, snails, and salamanders (to name a few). Then we worked with a variety of paint brushes to paint the forest floor of our mural, which is looking very grassy! After recess, we focused on the letter “J”. I had the kids look for the letter J in all of our ABC books, and they spent a lot of time enjoying the words and pictures in the collection of books I have (most are from the public library, and will have to go back eventually!).
Friday: I am sorry to have missed school on Friday. I believe the cold virus that was in my system last week came back with a vengeance after the severe allergic reaction I had last Friday…But Brynn provided them with a wonderful day of discovery, taking the group to the community garden. They observed flowers blooming, and then drew flowers from memory back in the classroom. They also studied the letter “K”. We have just enough days of school left to get to Z!
It’s looking stormy outside at the moment…I wonder what tomorrow will bring? I look forward to the adventuring!
Week 36 – June 15-19
Dear Discoverer Families,
There is an early release this Wednesday, so we will end school at 12:30pm that day.
Summary of the Week:
Monday: During our morning circle, I read the book “About Birds”, a good introductory concepts book that shows birds in many different habitats. I asked the kids if they knew what a “habitat” was. It was challenging to come up with a definition, so I brought out some props: a toy bird in a nest, a cup of water, a bowl of bird seed, and a “tree” (just my bamboo plant, pretending to be a tree). A habitat requires food, water, shelter and a place for animals to reproduce. Then I asked the kids what kind of habitat they wanted to make for our new classroom mural. Several kids wanted a forest habitat, for birds and fairies! And perhaps an ocean habitat, one person suggested, for mermaids!
After recess, we focused on the letter “D”. We brainstormed some words beginning with D, and I wrote them on the white board. I hid a number of small items in the room that start with D, so that the kids could do a scavenger hunt.
Tuesday: At morning circle, I read the book “The Best Nest”, by P.D. Eastman. This story has drama and suspense, and is a great choice for provoking student responses. I stopped reading about half way through, and asked the kids what they thought would happen. It was fun to hear their different ideas (although two kids knew the story and knew exactly how it would end!).
After recess, we celebrated the letter “E”. Some good brainstorming of E words, followed by a scavenger hunt for puzzle pieces that have the letter E on them (all of our puzzles have elephant as the image for E – a bit surprising!). I loved seeing the pretend writing happening on the white board after this activity.
Wednesday: We hosted morning meeting, and invited Loida’s class to stand with us at the front of the room, to practice singing for the concert. The rhythm and timing were a bit challenging, but they sang beautifully, and the crowd was very imprssed!
We had a late circle that day, and we began a discussion about our circle time expectations. This exercise is part of an approach to literacy that all of the staff at Swan are exploring, thanks to the influence of our literacy specialist, Ardith Cole (Satya’s grandma!). We talked about how to listen to each other, how to be respectful, and how to share ideas. I wrote down our circle time promises. All the kids put their handprints on a poster to be a reminder of these expectations.
During lunch, I read a book that details the life cycle of mallard ducks. This was in preparation for a very special treat – Gerry brought us duck shaped cookies! They were incredibly cute. And she taught us a song about a duckling spashing in a puddle.
Thursday: After looking at the book, “A Northwest Forest Scrapbook”, we discussed our understanding of habitats again. I wish I had recoreded the conversation – the kids offered such great thoughts! We then went to work painting evergreen trees for the mural.
After recess, we celebrated the letter “F”. We did our usual brainstorming of words, and then I gave each student a chance to hide a feather for the rest of the group to hunt for. This gave everyone in the group the chance to be in control of the game.
Friday: I was out with a raw sore throat, but Brynn worked with the kids on creating more bird puppets and paintings. She also continued our ABC routine, celebrating the letter “G”. We’ve also been learning the sign language alphabet, and have been practicing each day our hand signs for the ABC’s. I will put out copies of a chart that shows images of the sign language ABC’s, so you can practice at home.
A very full week, one of joy and discovery. I love these slower-paced, sunny days.
Week 35 – June 8-12
Dear Discoverer Families,
What a splendid, sunny weekend! I hope you all had some relaxing, outdoor time. I spent some time at the Ft. on Saturday, during their Open House event. Today I’ve been on an urban adventure in Seattle, exploring the Greenlake area. I like these urban getaways, but I love returning to our quiet home in Port Townsend 🙂
Swan School Concert this Friday, at 6:30pm. We will be at the high school auditorium again. We’ve been singing Zip-ah-dee-do-dah and The Garden Song with great heart and soul all week! I have song lyrics to hand out, if you don’t have them already.
Summary of the Week:
Monday: After an intercession, I always love to hear the children’s responses to the question – what did you do during your time away from school? I wrote down their diverse responses (and collected more stories on Tuesday and Wednesday). We had stories of swimming and camping, visiting family, going to museums, and…eating oatmeal! These stories are posted on the bulletin board when you enter the class – take a look!
After recess that day, we focused on a new theme that I saw building earlier in the spring…we are looking at birds and bird habitats. The children love the soft toy birds we have in the classroom, and they were using these props for such great storytelling before the break. I thought we could take this interest into a curriculum theme that crosses science, art, and literacy domains…so we began by asking the question -“What do we know about birds?” The ideas offered were fantastic. I recorded our first conversation, and we will add onto this list of ideas as we explore this theme. After the discussion, we went outside to look for evidence of bird life. The kids were so great about staying focused on this activity out on the playground. We looked high and low, and thought about different places birds could live. We all caught sight of a robin, and watched it ascend from the ground to a tree.
Tuesday: I decided to get out some animal puppets and open up the puppet theater for the dramatic play area. During our morning circle time, I did a demo of using the puppets and telling a story – I used the Eric Carle book, “Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See?” as an example, but substituted all of our puppets for the animals in the story. The kids enjoyed collaborating with partners to tell their own puppet stories, while all the other children formed the audience. We even served imaginary popcorn!
Wednesday: Loida’s class hosted us all for Morning Meeting, and the kids had the opportunity to do partner reading with an older student. We chose books from our collection to take over for this activity, and it was fun to see the older kids work so kindly with our little ones! After recess, we began a new literacy project…celebrating the alphabet, one letter at a time. We looked at a few familiar objects and people, such as an apple, an acorn, and three kids with A names, and we talked about the “voice” of letter A. I wrote down all of these words on the white board. This is a fun way to help the kids practice beginning letter sounds. I also sent them on a scavenger hunt…I had hidden around the room 10 photo copies of the A page from our various alphabet books. Each child found one note, and then matched it to the original book. The kids are showing a lot of curiosity about printed and spoken language!
Thursday: Our morning circle centered around the Lois Ehlert book, “Feathers for Lunch”. This story follows the unsuccessful efforts of a house cat who attempts to catch back yard birds. It is so beautifully illustrated, that it inspired me to draw some simple bird shapes (and a cat outline) so that we could paint them and make paper puppets. The kids were so careful with their watercolors…the results were beautiful! And the paper puppets have been very active in the puppet theater 🙂 After recess, we celebrated letter B, with a similar discussion and scavenger hunt.
Friday: After more bird and cat puppet making, we spent some time celebrating letter C. During circle time, I gave the kids some verbal clues so that they would name objects that began with letter C – all things in the classroom, such as cars, carrots, and cats. I wrote down all these words, and more that we came up with. We talked about the voice of letter C, and how it can say “sssss”, as in celery, or “ch”, as in chard. The scavenger hunt this day was a bit different – the kids hunted for various objects I had hidden around the room. Novelty is important at this age!
We also had a chance to visit the school garden, which is a project led by the Navigator’s class (2nd and 3rd grades). They had a fabulous selection of greens, and we harvested enough to make salads for everyone to try at lunch time!
It was a lovely week! We have been lingering a bit longer on the playground at recess, and
find more reasons to do activities outside. All of the classes have felt this same need, to enjoy our outdoor environment, and learn through the process of wonder and exploration!
Week 32 – May 18-22
Reminders: We still have a lot of volunteer opportunities, in our classroom and around the school. If this intercession is a good time for you to do a project, let me know. I will be in PT most of the break, and can give you projects to take home or meet you at school for a quick intro to work projects there.
Monday: The VERY LARGE drawings you’ve seen hanging up around the classroom came down on Monday and Tuesday, so that the kids could have an opportunity to enhance them with color. We used sidewalk chalk for this, because it can cover large areas and is soft enough to not overwhelm the pen lines of the drawings. The kids created these drawings by first drawing onto transparencies, then projecting them onto the paper pad with the light projector. A fun, creative way to play with light, art and magnification. The sun came out later that day, and we had great fun making shadows outside on the basketball court. I’ve included a few in-action photos here…we also played Shadow Tag, which gave everyone a great workout! I was impressed with the ability of the kids to understand the concept of the game and to act with great sportsmanship!
Tuesday: We repeated the light and reflection experiment from last Friday, so that everyone would have the opportunity to see how glass can be both transparent and reflective. Let me know if you would like to replicate this experiment at home. We also spent more time coloring the large projector drawings. I’ve included some spontaneous projects and creative work in the photos…the small, square art table has been a busy place, with dragon coloring, independent drawing, cutting and collage, and many watercolor paintings, all student-led projects.
Wednesday: We hosted morning meeting this day, and had all of the Swan students as guests in our class. We paired up each preschool or Kindergarten student with an older child, and gave them time to read together. Many of the older kids brought books to share with us. After recess, we read the Robert Lewis Stevenson poem, “My Shadow”. I borrowed a picture book from Karen that illustrates the poem beautifully. We talked about where shadows come from, and how they are created. I showed them photos from Monday’s shadow pictures, and asked if they could identify the person making the shadow. We then went out side for more “shadow portraits”!
Thursday: We’ve done two trips to the community garden this year, and I decided it was time for another. Before going to the garden, we read the book “To Be Like the Sun”, in which a child plants a sunflower seed and wonders at the capacity it has to grow into a giant flower. When we arrived at the garden, we noticed many flowers in full bloom – Iris, columbine, and others (how wonderful that this community garden is beautiful as well as practical!). We found strawberries, raspberries, broccoli, artichoke, carrots and many other veggies growing. The kids were very respectful of the plant life. Later that day, I gave everyone a list of simple shadow drawings, and they proceeded to search for these particular shadow shapes on the playground. Another game of shadow tag was requested, and they chased shadows with glee, until everyone was tired and it was time to go eat lunch.
Friday: I offered a sweet treat to the kids on this last day before the intercession…but it was really a math activity in disguise! Before offering the treat, we reviewed what a repeating pattern looks like, and the kids suggested several different color patterns (I had a few skittles on my plate to demonstrate). At the big tables, I had skittles separated by color into different bowls. The kids were asked to pick 10 pieces, and then make a pattern on their plate before eating the candy. They did a great job with this. We also worked to take down the “color mosaic” project that was displayed on the back wall of the room. I included a photo of the whole piece, so you and your child can look back at it and get a sense of how the parts contributed to the whole.
I hope you all are enjoying this long weekend…I went on a “field trip” to the Tacoma Art Museum, and was thrilled to see the collection of Georgia O’Keeffe paintings they now have on display! As always, let me know if you have any questions, and I look forward to the stories from the kids after our break from school.
Week 30 – May 4 – 8
Week 29 – April 27 – May 1
identifying the coins, and then we worked on sorting them into quarters, nickels, dimes and pennies. This took a lot of attention to detail. We will ask some older kids to count the change! We had an early release this day, so that staff and teachers at Swan could receive a training on emergency procedures and use of a fire extinguisher. Now, we are prepared for anything!
Week 28 – April 20-24
Dear Discoverer Families,
I noticed the rapidly changing weather last Friday, and as I left the co-op, I thought, “there must be a rainbow somewhere”…over the weekend, I saw a friend of a friend post some amazing rainbow photos on Facebook. I will be showing these to our class and inviting rainbow-chasing stories on Monday!
This Wednesday, April 29, is the last day for our Coin Challenge at Swan School. I have a small cauldron of coins I am going to bring to class (we will sort them and talk about value, then dump them in the jar). Bring your loose change this week to help contribute to scholarship money for our many students who apply.
May 2nd and 3rd are the dates of the Plant-a-palooza. This is always a festive event, and inspires gardening of all kinds (I am a balcony gardener, and I always get a few succulents at this plant sale).
If you are looking for volunteer opportunities, let me know! I have jobs for you!
Summary of the Week:
Monday: We worked on creating red and organge color mosaics last week – this week, it is yellow and green. I read the “What is Yellow” poem from the book, _Hailstones and Halibut Bones_. The kids laid down and closed their eyes for this “color meditation”, and then we talked about what yellow feels like. The mosaic art is hanging on the back wall of the classroom – a new kind of rainbow. We also had a spontaneous art project happen after recess: Audrianna brought a dandilion puff to school, and we all blew the seeds away at recess. Then, Max and Ansel wanted to collect lots of dandilions. We took them inside, and used them (the yellow blooms and the seedless heads) to make prints. They are so cool! I loved seeing the color, texture and patterns created with this artwork.
Tuesday: The green color mosaic was our morning project. The kids have also been doing some amazing block construction, almost every day. I have a couple of photos…this is almost always a collaborative project, with many children contributing to a city, castle or farm. The structures are getting more complex, and the communication between the children has been a joy to observe. Good planning, problem solving, and imaginative play. After recess, we poured out the change we’ve collected in the giant jar, and sorted out all the different coins. I talked with the kids, briefly, about the worth of pennies, nickels, dimes and quaterers, but the math that they understood was counting each type of coin and noticing the physical differences in the coins.
Wednesday: We attended a very special morning meeting this day – the Navigators (2nd and 3rd grades) were performing a dress rehearsal for their play, “Lulu and the Brontosaurus”. Everyone thoroughly enjoyed the performance! Later that day, I read a poetic book about color, titled _Red Sings from Treetops_. I then gave everyone a clip board and sheet of paper with the color words written along the left margin (rainbow colors, plus brown and black). We all went outside to go on a color scavenger hunt. The children enjoyed identifying colors in the garden beds and trees in front of the school. Several kids took a lot of time to draw the flowers and trees they were observing. At our closing circle, we’ve been working on singing a rainbow tune, and practicing sign language with each color, thanks to our expert sign language teacher, Talitha!
Week 27 – April 13 – 17
Dear Discoverer Families,
We began our mosaic project on Monday. Last week, we sorted a big collection of art supplies (from my endless stash). Monday was the celebration of Red. We also set up a new playhouse, completed puzzles, worked on keeping a steady beat with rhythm sticks. We also made patterns with bingo chips on the light projector…each pair used dot markers to make a pattern on paper, and then each partner worked to make the pattern with bingo chips on the projector. We had picnics and spontaneous scarf dancing and all in all had such a fun week!
Thanks to all of you for making it so.
Week 26 – April 6 – 10
Dear Discoverer Families,
The abundance of spring blooms has begun to make its way into our classroom…as the children arrive each morning, I am often gifted with a flower, a leaf, sometimes a writhing worm or baby slug! On the playground, the children have been collecting petals, dandelions, daisies, pebbles, and many other fascinating objects that spark interest in the collector. To expand upon this impulse of gathering up the precious things in our lives, I would like to invite all students and families to begin making a collection at home. The children will bring home a brown bag and a collector’s poem to help inspire this process.
As you help your child find items for collecting, feel free to engage in a discussion about the contents of the collection. What kinds of objects does your child gravitate towards? How does he or she describe these objects? Are they “trash” or “treasure”? Do these things have interesting textures, shapes and colors, or do they tell a story?
These collections can be quite diverse and open to interpretation! Encourage your child to collect items that he or she will be willing to share with the class. We intend to use these materials for discussions, for sorting projects, and for art projects. Here are a few examples of good items to collect:
* feathers, shells, small stones, leaves
* fabric scraps, paper scraps, ribbons, beads, buttons
* bottle caps, plastic caps, old jewelry, old keys
A Poem for Collections
I look. I search. I hope to see
Something that appeals to me.
Something unique – or maybe not.
Buttons, milk caps, straws – the lot.
A blue-green shape just caught my eye;
I don’t think I can pass it by.
Whatever it is, it makes me glad.
And so, I’ll put it in my bag!
By Rita Harris
Some of the photos show the kids exploring the materials from the “Rainbow Station” that I put together in the back of the room…I’ve seen some wonderful experiments, artistic designs and joyful play come out of that area. We have new materials to put on the light projector, and the kids are learning about transparent and opaque objects. They are working with prisms and mirrors, looking through the prisms and shining light on the mirrors to experience refraction and reflection. We are really enjoying this theme!
I hope you all are having a good weekend. I had the good fortune to see a vivid rainbow on Friday evening, about 7pm, when I was downtown. Maybe some of you caught it too? Happy collecting, and happy rainbow hunting!
Week 25, March 16-18
Dear Discoverer Families,
Week 24, March 9 – 13
Dear Discoverer Families,
Week 23 – Mar. 2 – 6Dear Discoverer Families,Thank you for supporting our Young Scientists during last week’s Learner’s Exhibition! This experience was very stimulating for all, and I enjoyed observing the many ways the children interacted with the materials and communicated about their projects. I loved sharing our “Peace Like a River” song and acting out the water cycle for the audience! We definitely explored a lot of ideas and processes during this curriculum theme – I look forward to integrating more science into our school year. Be sure to share photos or videos if you have them – I would like to add them to our class album.RemindersConferences next week, March 19 and 20. If your schedule does not allow you to come to conferences during those days and times, let me know and we will schedule a conference another time that works for you.Summary of the WeekMonday: To continue our investigation into the different forms of water, I read a science book called “It Could Still Be Water”. The text is simple, but the photos in the book are intriguing, and it is a good preschool-level discussion of water as a solid, liquid and gas in our world. We then talked about how we might make our own model of the water cycle (inspired by the plastic model we’ve been observing). The kids worked to make clay mountains as the first step. Later that day, I offered a bead collage and literacy project – I brought in some beads in shades of blue, and had prepared their names on card stock.
The kids glued beads along the letters of their names (with various levels of independence), strengthening those fine motor muscles, recognizing letters, and enjoying the beauty of beads. We also began practicing, in small groups, our project presentations for the Learner’s Exhibition.Tuesday: At morning circle, I read the story “Little Cloud”, by Eric Carle (a favorite of mine). I then brought out my white oil pastels, along with gray and blue water color. The kids have done wax resist art before, but we used this project to connect with our weather theme. I drew cloudy shapes with the oil pastel, and demonstrated the resistance of the watercolor to the drawing. The kids were invited to explore this process, and you can now see this artwork on display. We later constructed more mountains for the water cycle model. The air dry clay is smooth and malleable – they love sculpting it, and the mountains all have a unique feel!Wednesday: We hosted morning meeting on Wednesday, and used the opportunity to share our music and movement with the older kids. Our students did a fabulous job in front of this peer audience – they sang “Peace Like a River” with gusto, and then acted out the water cycle. Teacher Marcy and others led the older kids in a water cycle song – we will be learning this song to enhance our knowledge of evaporation, condensation and precipitation. Also, the kids have been really enjoying acting out the role of the vetrinarian, and taking their sick animals to the hospital.Thursday: We have been documenting the weather since Feb 17, noticing each day what the weather looks like and we take turns then drawing a sun, cloud, rain drops or combo, on our weather calendar. This morning, we counted up the number of days for each type of weather. The kids volunteered to draw symbols for each category, and we charted the results. A good math activity, as well as giving the kids some factual information about our environment. Later that day, we looked at photos of the Olympic Mountains and paid attention to the colors of the landscapes. Then we worked on painting our clay mountains. This project wasn’t ready for the Learner’s Exhibition, but we’ll keep working on it!Friday: I borrowed an oversize copy of the book “It Looked Like Spilt Milk”, a classic preschool picture book that fits perfectly with our weather theme, but adds a creative perspective to the idea of noticing cloud shapes. I invited the kids to make their own spilt milk images, using folded blue paper and white paint. They painted designs on one side of the paper and then made a mirror pint by pressing it onto the other half. I wrote down all the interpretations the kids had of their cloud shapes. After recess, we got caught up in another messy art project – bubble prints! We experimented with capturing bubble shapes on paper – the kids mixed powdered tempra (everyone wanted red this time!), dish soap and a bit of water into paper cups. They each had a straw and blew the mixture into dramatic bubble structures. The prints look really cool – we will continue this next week, with multiple colors.I hope you had a relaxing weekend, maybe a nap to help with the daylight savings, and lots of outdoor time…I’m looking forward to new adventures tomorrow!Dana
Photos from the previous week…had to share these! Below are brief notes to give some context to the photos.
Thursday: Absorption experiment with soil, sand and stones.
Week 20 – Feb. 9-13
Dear Discoverer Families,
Summary of the Week:
Week 19 – Feb. 2-6
Dear Discoverer Families,
Week 18 – Jan. 26-30
Dear Discoverer families,