Saturday, December 15, 2007

"December's Children"

(a note about this website: you can click on any photo to see a larger version)

As usual, we have been very busy in the classroom! Lots to tell:

We have had a healthy dose of special guest readers. We love when parents or family members come in to read stories! Please don't hesitate to mention if you would like to come in to ready a story, or if you have an activity you would like to do (such as pretzel-dipping, below) with the children, as we can easily accommodate your ideas.

Despite the cold weather, some of the children opened up an ice cream shop in the classroom. They used 'insta-snow' from the water table, and offered frozen treats to anyone who came by. Delicious!

We get quite bundled up when we go outside to enjoy the playground. Of course, we only go outside if it's safe for the children. We may not go out for the
whole period, or at all, if the weather is inclement. Assume that we will go outside everyday, so your child is prepared!

By special request from the children, Adelaide taught us how to do the limbo, and it was a blast!
We also learned about Parranda, the Puerto Rican holiday tradition that involves waking up your neighbors during the night with l
ots of festive music! We pretended to be fast asleep, and once our neighbors came by, we partied!

The pyramid, which has begun its 'crumbling' phase, has been enjoyed by every member of the class. The children love playing inside it, and did an incredible job during construction.

We have also been making many winter decorations for the classroom, including some lovely pine cones and snowflakes, both on display on the windows.

Curriculum-wise, we are moving into a unit on either 'The Body,' or 'Space.' The children have been responsive and interested in both, so stay tuned..!

Saturday, December 1, 2007

A Day At The Museum

As you all know, we took our very first field trip on Tuesday. For most of the children, this was not only their first time visiting the Met, but also their first time riding a big yellow school bus. (Note to parents: If you're ever in need of a cheap, exciting activity for your children, just drive through the Park on 86th Street. Simply going through the tunnels was a wonderfully good time for them).

We spent an hour exploring the Egyptian Art wing, which really feels like a museum within a museum. Hieroglyphics, mummies, sarcophagi, crocodiles, pyramids (just one, actually), the Temple of Dendur, and the Tomb of Perneb- it was as if we all stepped into a time machine. (Thanks again to the parents who came along, we couldn't have done it without you). Given our 2:1 child-to-adult ratio, we were able to freely explore the museum, without the stress of moving a large group of children around a 'hands-off' space.

Above: Carrie asks "What's going on with this mummy? It has a hole in the wrapping!" and Rohan demonstrates how he believes the Ancient Egyptians lifted the huge stone blocks, such as the ones in the background, to construct the pyramids.
(Other photos from the museum will be available on Snapfish).

Our Fall Feast last week was also a hit. Again, thanks to everyone who contributed delicious edibles; we were all STUFFED. It was a great opportunity for our class to mix and mingle with Shannon's.

During freeplay, many of us have been enjoying our new 'marble run,' which requires problem-solving skills and fine motor development, and exposes the children to basic physics concepts such as gravity, acceleration, as well as size and shape considerations, in order to build a successful 'path' for the marble. It also requires the ability to share with others, because it has been such a popular activity.

The children have also been baking up a storm in the kitchen. It doesn't matter if it's actually you
r birthday or not, because our chefs will bake you a birthday cake anyway. Everyone works together during the baking process, and the results are always delicious! I don't care what they say, you can never have too many cooks.

We've been playing some fun games in class as well. During extended day, we had a dress-up relay race (without emphasis on winning or losing), and with the whole class, we played pin-the-nose-on-the-sphinx:

Adelaide has been teaching us some fantastic dances, and on Thursday we practiced the waltz and the mambo. Let's go to the videotape!

And not only do we have some amazing dancers in our class, but also some highly skilled surgeons! During extended day, we started playing the classic surgical game 'Operation,' which is fantastic for helping develop fine motor skills, especially a steady hand.

After everyone had a chance to remove an item from 'Cavity Sam,' the children suddenly wanted to have a real 'operation!' Aiden was the patient, who was complaining of aches and pains all throughout his body. After some routine examinations, it was decided that we had to open up his head, and that's when our doctors became more like mad scientists. For some reason, the surgeons placed spaghetti in Aiden's skull, and after we stitched him up, we realized that he had turned into a LION! No amount of medicine would sedate this rambunctious feline, and he soon began to run rampantly around the classroom! The surgeons suggested many ways in which to return the lion back to Aiden (air-lifting the patient to another planet to continue the operation, speaking a few magic words, getting the lion to laugh) and eventually, we realized that if we fed the lion "every letter and every number," we would have our friend Aiden back, good as new. Sure enough, after taking a break for snack, the operation concluded successfully. Phew!