Saturday, November 17, 2007

Ancient Aegypt !

Technically, I can continue my 'double-A-streak' here, because 'Egypt' is derived from the Latin word 'Aegytpus,' which I believe means 'below the Aegean (sea).' Okay, I am a total nerd for even mentioning this, but it's interesting..... isn't it???

Anyway, we have been quite busy lately, especially with all things pyramid. From the magna-tiles to clay to cardboard to blocks, there have been pyramids popping up all over the classroom! This is surely great practice for building a bigger pyramid out of boxes (we have a great assortment so far).

In addition to become skilled in the laborious field of pyramid-building, we have been examining hieroglyphics in many forms. The children have noticed some of these symbols placed around the classroom; some are clear references to an idea/object, such as an image of a bird or scarab, while others are much more abstract, and can be interpreted as many things.
We have been also been examining them on the fronts of sarcophagi (plural of sarcophagus, or the outermost container for an Egyptian mummy- New vocabulary word!) in the form of a cartouche (another vocabulary word), which displayed the name of the mummy inside.
We also play a fun game with hieroglyphics, sort of like Pictionary, and we see who can guess what the symbol represents. Sometimes it can be more than one thing.

Soon, we will be making paper from the papyrus that the children will pick from the banks of the Nile, which has been steadily flowing through our classroom. We will do this very much like Ancient Egyptians, using a weaving, criss-cross pattern. Fun!

Elsewhere in the classroom, many of the children have been enjoying one of our new materials: pipes. Yep, just like the ones under your sink. They are excellent tools for assisting in the development of fine motor skills, and the children have become very imaginative with them. More are on their way, due to popular demand.

The children have also been paying a LOT of attention to our new friend, Matt.
Matt is about seven inches long, likes eating bananas and strawberries, and taking baths. Oh yeah, Matt is an Asian Box Turtle, and Aiden has been generous enough to bring his pet in to spend some time with us! During extended day, we did some preliminary observational drawings:

I am also pleased to announce the Grand Opening of the Columbus Preschool Restaurant! Open Monday to Friday from 10AM to 11AM (during freeplay), the menu features delicious options such as sandwiches, pie, and pancakes. During my visit, the staff was incredibly attentive and welcoming, and I was sure to leave a nice tip on my way out.

And finally, our Pajama Party was SO MUCH FUN. Thanks to all who attended!

Don't forget: Feast on Tuesday, trip to the Met the following Tuesday. Have a great weekend!

Saturday, November 3, 2007

Annelids Abound!!

What's an Annelid, you might ask? As we learned this week, the organisms in the Annelid phylum are segmented worms, like earthworms (and leeches). We were fortunate to have Lucas' pet earthworms spend some time in our classroom, for a worm-tastic experience! They had visited our classroom previously, but we had so much fun with them, we just had to ask them to come back!

Most of the children were excited to handle the worms, with comments such as, "It feels cold," "It tickles!," and "The worm kissed me!" Who knew worms could be so affectionate? Perhaps it's because they have FIVE hearts, one of the very cool worm facts we learned from "Earthworms," by Sue Barraclough.
We also learned that earthworms do not have any eyes, but instead use eyespots to detect light. We were able to experience this (roughly) by closing our eyes, and putting our hands over them, and then removing our hands (eyes still closed) and noticing how we could sense the light but not really see it.
Other worm information: they can regenerate broken segments (like sea stars), enjoy eating fruits and animal remains, help make gardens grow with their waste, and are tasty snacks for frogs and snakes. Not all of this information came from the book; many children were raising their hands during our discussion with these facts already in mind. (PS: we were sure to wash our hands after handling the worms).

Our cooperative math workshops have been going very well. All the children look forw
ard to working with our friends next door. It's great to get to know some new people while becoming more familiar with many of our math manipulatives.

During Extended Day last week, we came upon a large empty cardboard box. When I was younger, I was able to entertain myself for hours large empty boxes. Rocketship, boat, house, cave; it can truly become anything.
Fortunately, some things never go out of style. We aske
d the children what they would like to do with the box, and they enthusiastically voted to turn it into a jack-o-lantern. They worked very hard on the transformation, and were in complete creative control from beginning to end; teachers assisted only with cutting out the holes.
Afterwards, on Halloween, we used the box to play "Pumpkin, pumpkin, what do you see?" ("I see ____ looking at me!") Everyone got a turn to crawl inside the pumpkin and tell the class what they could see.

Additional Halloween festivities included
making pumpkin bread (with whipped cream!), enjoying some delicious pumpkin seeds courtesy of Eliza and her family, and reading a few holiday-related stories. There was such a 'buzz' throughout the room for that entire day- I think everyone was really looking forward to going trick-or-treating!

On Tuesday, we had a sample tasting of three different apple varieties, to determine which color is our favorite. The results, which you may want to consider during your next trip to the grocery, are below:

And, thanks to the blustery weather, some children were able to fly their homemade kites on the playground outside:

Don't forget about parent-teacher conferences this week!
October photos are now on Snapfish!
And with holiday seasons coming up, please feel free to come in during class to teach us about how your family celebrates certain holidays. This is a great way to introduce children to new cultures and traditions, and also helps us get to know each other better! This can include a cooking workshop, reading a story, or showing photos. Let me know!

And one more thing: please feel free to leave 'comments' on this website. At the bottom of each post is an option to leave a comment, if you desire, which can be read by everyone.