Thursday, February 18, 2016

We All Need Trees

Tapping our Maple Tree with Mr. Joe
Students are often surprised to learn how many different products we get from trees. I use this activity to help students learn just how much we depend on trees in our daily lives.


Background

Products are derived from all parts of a tree. Wood is one of the most obvious. It provides things such as lumber for houses, furniture, doors, picture frames, clocks, paintbrush handles, counters, cabinets, floors, pencils, spools for thread, etc. Cellulose is the major component of wood (and most other plant fiber). Paper is made from cellulose, and paper products include books, wrappers, cereal boxes, magazines, newspapers, food labels, etc. Besides being used to make paper, cellulose is an ingredient in many other products like carpeting, suntan lotion, and cosmetics.

Today we tapped a maple tree to use its sap. Of course, we're going to make maple syrup! Other trees may use the sap to make chewing gum, crayons, perfume and even soap. 

We even discussed other ways trees are used. A tree can be a home for a creature, food, a resting place, a climbing place and so much more. 



Animal Track Stencils

Indoor Activities

We do our best to stay outside with fresh air, creative play and natural learning, but some times it's just too cold and we bring our learning inside. Here are some activities and work the children participated in today.

Animal Track Stencils

Children use colored pencils and our animal stencils to make different animal tracks on paper. Most learners create a visual story about animals and their tracks. As they work I encourage children to tell their stories: What animal is in the story? Where is it coming from and where is it going? What is it doing? 

SIDE  NOTE
A great way to encourage children to tell more about their creations is to simply ask, "Tell me about your picture/creation/painting!" This is a more inviting way to show children your interest in their work rather than calling it something it's not or saying, "What is it?" This could be very discouraging to a child because everyone should be able to see they just drew a bear eating fish from a river!

Here is an excerpt from a website 10 Things to Stop Saying To Your Kids (And What To Say Instead) Click here to view the other 9 tips.

What not to say-“What a beautiful picture!”

When we put our evaluations and judgments onto a child’s artwork, it actually robs them of the opportunity to judge and evaluate their own work.
Instead try, “I see red, blue and yellow! Can you tell me about your picture?” By making an observation, rather than offering an evaluation, you’re allowing your child to decide if the picture is beautiful or not, maybe she intended it to be a scary picture. And by asking her to tell you about it, you’re inviting her to begin to evaluate her own work and share her intent, skills that will serve her creativity as she matures and grows into the artist she is.

Color Mixing

Today we introduce our Montessori-Inspired coloring mixing work. This work gives children direct experience using three primary colors to create secondary colors. 

The cups are filled with red, blue and yellow solutions made from food coloring and water. Then children use eye droppers to mix yellow & red-like magic, orange appears! Learners continue to experiment with blue and yellow (green) and red and blue (violet). When they are finished, they empty the ice cube tray into our water bucket, rinse it and clean up the area with a sponge so it is ready for the next friend.

Color Mixing Work

Dramatic Play

Yes, we still have our kitchen in our dramatic play area, but we needed a new theme. Welcome to our SHOP! We have a workbench and LOTS of tools. Today we had a bike and a car repair. Seems to be something happening to the tires! You will see some great pictures of our friends in hard hats and with tool belts. Our dramatic play area encourages children into parallel, associative and eventually cooperative play. Cooperative play allows children to interact with others, express their thoughts and try out new ideas. It also promotes social growth and sharing.
Here is an article from Early Childhood News about the 6 stages of play and how you can Encourage Cooperative Play



Track Puzzles

Below you can see two children exploring with our Track Puzzles. This is an example of cooperative play. The girls are working together to match an animal to its track. 

Color Mixing & Track Puzzles

Shaking our sillies out in Morning Meeting









Tuesday, February 16, 2016

School is Closed

There will be no school today 2/16/16 due to the icy road conditions. We will see you Thursday for tapping trees for Maple Syrup!

Saturday, February 13, 2016

Our Week


On Thursday we followed tracks in the mud, splashed in puddles and enjoyed the 50 degree weather. We even picked the leftover carrots from the garden! 

On Tuesday we played in a foot of snow!


When children arrive we begin our day outside. This gives children the chance to wake up with the fresh air and have time to greet each other, share stories and move their bodies. Depending on the temperature we typically stay outside for 20-30 minutes before going inside to hang up our winter gear and wash our hands before morning meeting. 

Waking up in the fresh air
So happy we have snow!




New water station where learners pour their own drinks

Family Style Snack
After Morning meeting we have our snack. This usually consists of 2 or 3 choices of fruits, vegetables, and sometimes nuts or crackers. Children are learning how to serve themselves and pass the food on to the next. We try to wait for everyone to have food on their plate before saying thanks for our snack and then eating. Children are welcome to take more food if there is some leftover. At any time they can pour their own water for a drink. As you can imagine this time is very popular and the children love this highly independent time of our day. When they are finished they empty their extras into the compost and wash their own dish before going onto Choice time.



You're never too young to paint!



Children find "tools" to do "work" 

As you may see when you come into our yard the deer are very active. Here we found 3 deer under the apple tree and eating our arborvites. The next morning we found A LOT of tracks and even deer hair shown below.

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Make New Friends



Our Tuesday/Thursday session is full! We have made all new friends this winter!