Sunday, May 18, 2008

Little Seedlings

What a week! As usual, we have been incredibly busy in school. The children have taken the curriculum to many new places lately, and we have been involved in a myriad of activities involving seeds, gardening, science experiments, art, and drumming. It has been a cornucopia of fun, and interesting to compare to previous curriculum units, which had more specific themes to focus on. I anticipate that the seed/gardening theme will become more front-and-center.

I've discovered a huge bag of seeds that we can plant in the garden outside on the playground, during after-school we conducted the classic toothpick-in-the-avocado-pit growth experiment (on view by the window), and I even brought in some 'crunchy sprouts' from Whole Foods that the children enjoy munching on (healthy food alert, parents!!), and will further enjoy once they plant them outside.

The Art Show was a smashing success, and, in the understatement of the year, I am very proud of all the children's hard work and creative energy that they bring to school every day. Below are some photos of them working on some of the pieces on display, as well as the homemade invitations that were sent home.

We conducted two science experiments last week. One fit in with our chicken unit, and is based on a thirty-year-old book I found in Marcia's office, called 'Ducks Don't Get Wet.' We learned that many birds have an oil gland near their backside, and they spread the oil over their feathers (preening). To see how this prevents them from getting wet, we used some of our craft feathers, eye droppers, and water, and observed how the water beads up and rolls right off the feather... FASCINATING!!!

Another experiment, taken from another book from the same series, 'Air Is All Around Us,' yielded awestruck expressions from the children, as in "That was SO COOL!." It was a simple experiment where you stuff crumpled paper towels in a plastic cup and insert it straight down into a tank of water. The air inside the cup keeps the towel dry, and if you tilt the cup while it is under water, you can see the air literally escaping in the form of air bubbles (that was the part that blew the children's minds). We did this three more times, and the following day, I set up the experiment again for the children to conduct on their own. Way cool!

And finally, Part One of a VERY special treat: James brought in several of his drum & percussion instruments for a drum workshop with the children. On Friday, everyone got a chance to sit behind his AWESOME electronic drum kit and have their own solo. We also looked at a congo drum, and a small African drum. James will be back on Monday, when we will explore movement and dance with drumming, and will surely be as fun as Friday. The look in the children's eyes while drumming is incredible... their eyes get real wide, with this sense of discovery and wonderment. Below are two movies and many photos....ROCK ON, PRESCHOOL!!!.......STAIRWAYYY!!

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