Friday, November 14, 2008

Live Ladybugs, Anyone?

On Friday, as I was leaving school, to hurry home and pack for a weekend away, I was handed a FedEx box from the front desk, and I knew what was inside. Ladybugs. Thousands of live ladybugs. I had ordered them because a previous, separate order was never delivered to me from California, and were instead at Super Soccer Stars. I couldn't leave them in the FedEx box all weekend, so I decided that I should quickly add them to the small tank that previously contained two ladybugs. As you can see, things got a little out of hand, and I spent about an hour trying to control, collect, and congregate the insects inside the tank. They quickly found a hole to escape through, so I ran to get a large tank, and I placed it upside down on top of the smaller tank, threw some wet sponges in there for them to drink, as well as some raisins, and I left for the weekend, trying to fend off visions of returning on Monday to see the classroom swarming with ladybugs. Come take a look on Monday, and if you have any advice on how to move forward from the strange situation I created for myself, please, let me know.

Puppets, puppets, the children love puppets! This week, we made our own little finger puppets, using fingers from gloves, and the children turned them into a variety of puppets, from princesses to automobiles to insects. They worked really hard on them, and they love to play with them at school. On Thursday, the children gathered around the theater to see a performance of "A Very Scary Peter Pan Puppet Show" (don't worry, the title was accurate only insofar as Peter Pan was a character... not scary!) There is a movie below of the performance...just press play!

Did the two-year campaign for U.S. President make you tired of graphs, projections, and the like? While Obama and McCain were going head-to-head for what felt like an eternity, we at Columbus Preschool were voting on more important issues, such as "Which do you prefer: AM Playground or PM Playground?" and "What is your favorite snack at school?" (PM Playground is overwhelmingly preferred, and snack preferences are evenly split). The children loved participating in our graphing experiments, where we talked about the different ways of displaying votes: tally marks, bar graph, pie chart, etc.

We have been having a lot of fun (and learning!) with our Handwriting Without Tears set. As you can see, the children are encouraged to experiment with several different ways of making letters, as they become more and more familiar with the simple shapes involved in each letter. For example, the children can use clay to press an 'A' onto the board, or use wooden shapes to figure out how to make an 'N.' We discuss how each letter can be made from a few simple shapes: short lines, long lines, short curves, or long curves. We are so please that the children respond so enthusiastically to our letter activities, which also includes our studies of 'Letter Buddies,' our term for blends, such as sh/cr/tr/br/gr/sc/th.

Enjoy these pictures from our week. See you Monday!

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