Week of April 2nd
Overview: The first week of the spring session was full of excitement and exploration. This week we will continue to support the growing interest in living things, including the eagles and rats, by supporting the ongoing building of animal homes in the clay area. We will also begin discussing another kind of living things: plants. We will begin to germinate some seeds indoors and discuss our plans for what we would like to grow on our playground garden. Additionally, the children's ongoing interest in building and constructing will be supported both in the classroom and on the playground. A woodworking station has been added to the playground which will enable the children work on sawing, hammering, and drilling in a supervised manner. Nest building will also be continued on a larger scale using blocks and sticks in our classroom nook. Finally, our investigation of patterns last session has led into interest in geometrical shapes. This week, much of our large group time will be building awareness of the properties of different shapes and how you can make and identify them.
•Materials: sand, pvc pipes, shovels, spoons, seashells, wooden beams.
•Rationale: To investigate the properties of sand while acting out a familiar experience: Building, laying pipes, etc. Seashells are added to facilitate burying and finding activities and provide children with the opportunity to discuss their own experiences with seashells (i.e. recent trips to the beach) while using descriptive vocabulary (bumpy, spotted, shiney, etc). We will continue to support recent symbolic play related to train track building using a variety of loose parts.
•Skills: large and fine motor development, hand-eye coordination, scientific exploration, cooperative play, social relationships building, sharing materials, expressive language, comparing and contrasting.
Math and Manipulatives
•Materials: puzzles, tanagrams, geometric puzzles, alphabet puzzles, shape magnets and magnet board.
•Rationale: To encourage children to begin exploring with different shapes. To facilitate discussion of the properties of different shapes (including angles and sides) as well as introduce the idea that certain shapes can be combined to create other shapes. To emphasize part-whole relationships while offering letter-recognition opportunities.
•Skills: letter recognition, shape identification, part-whole relationships, one-to-one correspondence, counting, fine motor development, problem solving, geometry vocabulary (sides, angles).
•Materials: Large hollow blocks, small multi-shaped unit blocks, furniture, peg people, construction materials (construction vehicles), paper and pencils, laminated pictures of different house features (windows, address numbers, etc), notch blocks, sticks, fabric, ribbons
•Rationale: To support children's creativity and problem solving skills. The unit blocks will be displayed to highlight concepts of geometrical properties. To allow for opportunities for social interaction as children collaborate and build together. To support children as they expand their interest in creating realistic houses with blocks and other open-ended building materials by including images of different house features. In the nook area, notch blocks, sticks, ribbons, and fabric are provided to support further nest building activities on a lareger scale.
•Skills: Large motor development, expressive creation, symbolic representation, cooperative play, creative problem-solving, reflecting on and interpreting previous experiences, social problem-solving, and fine motor development
•Materials: Housekeeping materials (furniture, dishes, food), dress-up fabric and shoes; the caves are set as bedrooms with "beds," baby dolls, and baby-care items such as diapers and baby powder, baby books, stuffed "baby" animals and care items, Mailbox, Plastic animals, logs (in the cave).
•Rationale: To allow for the expression of family life and to encourage social interaction while playing with familiar props. To support the extended, cooperative play as children work together to sustain a pretend play session. To extend animal play into discussion of Zoo animals, their habitats, and their relationships. To support deeper reflection on care-giving activities and animal care stimulated by the birth of baby rats and the video of the eagle's nest. Books about babies and families have been added to the baby cave in order to emphasize what different families look like and how people care for babies.
•Skills: Gross- and fine-motor skills, creative role-play, peer interaction, imagination, social problem solving, and symbolic representation, emergent literacy.
•Materials: primary colors (red, blue, and yellow) mixing at the easel, natural materials for collage, clay, markers, crayons, colored pencils, scissors, bottle caps, glue, and tape, yarn, pipecleaners, and beads, flower pots.
•Rationale: to explore with hands and tools to promote sensory awareness, increase fine motor skills, foster social relationships as children observe and work together with their peers, engage in an in-depth investigation of a basic elements of art. To encourage open-ended exploration and problem solving as children engage with novel natural materials and discover new ways to create works of art. Flower pots are included as painting projects that will jumpstart our classroom planting activities.
•Skills: fine motor development (strength, coordination), creativity, symbolic representation, sensory input, color recognition, identification of texture, creative problem solving.
•Materials: cockroaches, beetles, mealworms, salamander, Rats, computer, nests, magnifying glasses, planting materials (dirt, egg cartons, seeds)
•Rationale: to support children's curiosity of the natural world around us and to encourage the investigation of nature. To continue to observe familiar natural experiences (classroom pets, birds' nests) while extending ideas about these phenomena. Begin to think about the different materials used to create nests, to hypothesize about animal homes. To enxtend our exploration of living things by planting seedlings that we can care for, observe, and eventually transfer outdoors.
•Skills: observation, scientific investigation and inquiry, outdoor/indoor connection, making comparisons, recording change over time, using technology as a source of information, making predictions.
Language and Literacy
•Materials: the writing center has a variety of writing utensils, paper, envelopes, staplers, tape, pictures of children in our classroom, alphabet chart, dictionary, and samples of written words, mailbox, and a book of the children's names and pictures. Magnetic upper- and lower-case letters and magnet boards.
•Rationale: To continue to support children as they engage in letter and note writing. To provide opportunities to become familiar with combining letters in different and novel ways. To encourage peer collaboration and communication through creating words together and writing the names of peers.
•Skills: fine motor, pre-writing, and letter recognition, phonological awareness, using texts in a variety of ways.
•Materials: The library continues to offer fiction and nonfiction texts, including those that highlight the new season, Spring.
•Rationale: to encourage reading time with friends and teachers, encourage exploration of fiction and nonfiction texts. To encourage the use of books as a source of information. To become familiar with a variety of stories and genres.
•Skills: receptive language, early literacy, predicting, listening, phonological awareness, and community building.
• Materials: Gym: Materials: Jump-the-gap, basketball, rolling slide, hopscotch, pitch-back, ladders, and monkey bars.
Rationale: After focusing on balance during the last gym set-up, we decided to arrange the equipment to provide new challenges emphasizing jumping and dynamic movement, throwing and catching, and target practice.
Skills: Depth-perception, static and dynamic jumping, throwing/catching, hand-eye coordination, visual-perception, hopping on one foot, upper-arm strength, climbing, coordination, and core-strength.
*Check out volunteer sign-up for in-classroom participation opportunities
*Monday: Slice cucumber and chex
*Wednesday: Class cooking project- Whole Wheat Soft Pretzels
*Thursday: Cantaloupe and graham crackers