Recently in Amy's Weekly Plans F12 Category

Overview
This week we will continue to enjoy our spring weather by exploring our topics of spring, insects and caring for our environment. The soybean plants are growing faster than ever and the students have kept watering them and watching their progress. We have added worms to our insect table and we are interested in seeing what sort of composting they can do. We will also start looking into how to repurpose our scrap paper into new, usable paper.

Expressive Arts
-Materials: construction paper, markers, crayons, glue, paper, scissors, collage materials, cardboard squares, oil pastels, watercolor paint, magazines.
-Rationale: We have decided to change up the art table and introduce a new medium. The table will include oil pastels for a few days and as the week progresses the teachers will add watercolor paint for the children to experiment with the effects of combining the two. At the collage table, we will be expanding the children's interest in gluing different collage materials to cardboard bases. The children will have access to magazines and will be able to cut different pictures out of them to make their own collage.
-Skills: Creative exploration, imagination, symbolic representation, self-expression, fine motor control, color recognition, creative risk-taking, and hand/finger strength, manual dexterity.

Sensory
-Materials: water table, water, funnels, measuring cups, strainers, and buckets.
-Rationale: The teachers are replacing the sand table with the water table in the sensory area. This will lead into using water to explore the paper making process. The children have been talking about recycling, and that led to having a paper scrap basket in the class to reuse paper. Now we will take reusing paper a step further and actually make our own paper out of the paper we have collected. This will happen at the end of the week and potentially will lead into the week after.
-Skills: Imaginative and cooperative play, scientific thinking, problem solving, fine motor skills, sensory exploration and stimulation, creative expression, and social interaction.

Light Table
-Materials: Light table, plastic cut out shapes, white board, dry erase markers, and an eraser.
-Rationale: The teachers have changed the light table to include plastic cut out shapes that stick to the white board. The children have been encouraged to create different drawings using a combination of the cut outs and the dry erase markers. The teachers want the children to explore what they can make out of the different shapes and make up stories to go along with their creations.
Skills: Exploration, inquiry, observation, comparing, informative language, descriptive language, fine motor skills, and social interaction, and fine motor skills.

Science
-Materials: Labeled visual pictures of planting a seed, soybean seeds, squirt bottles (with water), clipboards, writing utensils, charts depicting the life cycle of a soybean plant, prompting questions, mealworm beetles, worms, magnifying glasses, and a bug game.
-Rationale: To continue to support the children's interest of growing plants, the teachers have continued the planting station at one of the science tables. The children will continue to watch their soybean plant grow and water it to take care of it. This will continue to foster their interest in how the plant life cycle works. The mealworm beetles have been joined by worms, found on the playground by the children. The children have continued to explore the insect's different roles in our habitat, including the composting jobs of worms to fertilize our soil.
-Skills: Sensory exploration, observation skills, critical thinking, mathematical and logical thinking, pre/early literacy, informative language, and descriptive language, scientific inquiry, drawing conclusions, reasoning, knowledge of the natural world, asking questions, hypothesizing, use of magnifying glasses

Math and Manipulatives
-Materials: Bug-oids, unit cubes, 3-D puzzles, animals and flower puzzles.
-Rationale: This week we will continue to use the math manipulative unit cubes and the bug-oids in the cave. The children have had continued interest in counting the unit cubes and making different number of cubes stacked together. The children have also still been very interested in creating their own bug out of the different parts. They name their own bugs and create detailed descriptions of their bug's behavior based on the type of physical attributes it has.
Skills: Problem solving, cause and effect relationship, early math concepts, number recognition, counting, number operations, symbolic representation, peer negotiation, hand-eye coordination, fine motor control, imagination, creative exploration.

Language and Literacy
-Materials: Paper, various writing utensils (markers, colored pencils), scissors, tape, a variety of books, envelopes, stamps (animals and alphabet letters), and ink pads of various colors.
-Rationale: The literacy table has materials available to encourage the children to write letters to classmates, writing down stories, etc. The children have been busy exploring the new stamps on the table, both making pictures and spelling out words on paper.
-Skills: letter recognition, fine motor control, pre-/early literacy skills, alphabetic principle, phonemic awareness, artistic expression, cause and effect, problem solving, executive function skills (inhibitory control)

Dramatic Play
-Materials:
Loft Area: stove, refrigerator, sink and other assorted wooden kitchen furniture, dishes, different types of food, ponchos, scarves, raincoats, boots, hats, and sunglasses.
School Area: Black board, chalk, notebooks, folders, pencils, and other assorted school supplies.
Dramatic play cave: stuffed animals from different habitats including the jungle, Arctic Ocean and the African Savannah, open-ended fabrics, globe, materials to create habitats (vines, leaves, wood).
-Rationale: Since our year at the lab school is coming to a close, the teachers have decided to change the dramatic play area to a "kindergarten/school" area. It is an area to familiarize the students who are going to kindergarten to some of the things they may see. It is also a place for the younger students to experience what they may see in a year or two. They will be able to practice doing worksheets, draw on the chalkboard, and do other school related activities. In the dramatic play cave, the animals have changed according to the children's interest in different habitats. The cave includes animals found in the African Savannah, Amazon jungle, and the Arctic Ocean. The children will have the opportunity to use the open ended and materials to create habitats for the animals.
-Skills: Role-play, symbolic representation, social interactions, social problem solving, discussions and conversations related to the spring season, self-help, listening, communication, negotiation, and indoor-outdoor connection.

Blocks
-Materials: hollow blocks, unit blocks, ramps, wood boards, big fabric pieces, steering wheels, PCV pipe, maps, plastic building sticks.
-Rationale: The children will continue to have access to the block materials to encourage their ongoing interest in building. They have been building houses for different animals (jaguars, cheetahs, sea otters, etc.). The large plastic builders have provided opportunities for the children to pursue their passion for creating new structures they can fit inside.
-Skills: construction skills, dramatic play, symbolic representation, problem- solving, mathematical concepts such as symmetry and geometry

Large Motor
Materials: monkey bars with connected A-frame ladder and triangle slide, climber with donut slide and regular slide connected, river jump made with mats and bean bags, bean bag toss, and the climbing wall
Rationale: The gym has changed once again! The children will get the opportunity to practice their broad jumping and leaping skills over "the river (bean bags)", increase the "body-in-motion" (proprioceptive) skills as they slide down the donut slide and try to land on two feet, as well as foster their targeting skills as they throw beanbags into smaller cardboard targets. ·
Skills: jumping/landing skills (dynamic balance), upper/lower body muscular strength and endurance, cardiovascular endurance, hopping, propulsion skills, static balance (with bending, stretching, and throwing)

Snack
Monday - No School
Tuesday - Crackers & apples
Wednesday - Rice cakes & raisins
Thursday - Pretzels & applesauce
Friday - Popcorn & milk

Overview
We have had some wonderful weather lately that has allowed us to dig into our topics of spring, insects, and taking care of our habitat. One way that the children are representing their learning and ideas about these topics is by creating a classroom mural. It incorporates a vast array of insects, flowers, and even a trashcan! We look forward to future explorations outside as spring continues to come alive.

Expressive Arts
-Materials: clay, wire, wooden tools, construction paper, markers, crayons, glue, paper, scissors, found objects, natural materials (twigs, leaves, rocks, flowers, greenery), and cardboard squares.
-Rationale: This week we will continue to use clay as a sculpting medium. To support and enhance the children's interest in the creation of three-dimensional sculptures wooden tools are added to the clay table. At the collage table we will add various natural materials such as twigs, leaves, rocks, and flowers for the children to experiment with and explore. These natural materials will encourage children to use them in a variety of ways and explore their creativity. Also available for expressive arts this week is a mural that we are working on as a whole class. The children have been incorporating their knowledge of insects, flowers, fairies, and taking care of our habitat.
- Skills: Creative exploration, imagination, symbolic representation, self-expression, fine motor control, color recognition, creative risk-taking, and hand/finger strength.

Sensory
-Materials: sand table, sand, water, gems, sifter, various insects (plastic), scoops, shovels, molds, foliage, sticks, and plant stems.
-Rationale: Building on the children's experiences with wet sand and creating homes for the plastic insects in the table; we have added more natural materials to the table. The children were making homes out of flower stems, so we have added sticks and foliage in order for them to add more detail to their homes.
-Skills: Imaginative and cooperative play, scientific thinking, problem solving, construction skills, fine motor skills, sensory exploration and stimulation, creative expression, and social interaction.

Light Table
-Materials: A variety of shapes along with photographs of familiar objects
-Rationale: In order for the children to practice their cognitive flexibility, we added an activity that encourages them to arrange simple shapes to recreate images from photographs.
-Skills: Cognitive flexibility, matching, comparing, symbolic representation

Science
-Materials: Labeled pictures of the sequence of planting a seed, soybean seeds, clipboards, a marker, charts depicting the life cycle of a soybean plant, prompting questions, soil, planted seeds, worms, magnifying glasses, rulers, and plant growth charts.
-Rationale: To continue fostering children's interest in how the plant life cycle works we continue planting and observing the soy beans planted in cups. This will allow children to hypothesize what their plants will look like and how tall they will grow, observe the physical changes in their plants by measuring them and documenting the growth in their charts. In addition to the mealworms that are rapidly changing into beetles, earthworms that the children collected from the playground are also on the science table for observation.
-Skills: Sensory exploration, observation skills, sequencing, critical thinking, mathematical and logical thinking, pre/early literacy, informative language, and descriptive language, scientific inquiry, drawing conclusions, reasoning, knowledge of the natural world, asking questions, hypothesizing, use of magnifying glasses

Math and Manipulatives
-Materials: Insect builders, marble runs, unifix cubes, manipulative puzzles, lacing cards
-Rationale: The children continue to enjoy the insect builders that can be put together to create unique and exciting bugs. The unifix cubes will allow the children to continue building, practice counting, using one to one correspondence, and do simple number operations using a new material. The lacing cards have been a highly enjoyed item that will still be available to enhance fine motor skills.
-Skills: Problem solving, cause and effect relationship, early math concepts, number recognition, counting, number operations, symbolic representation, peer negotiation, hand-eye coordination, fine motor control, imagination, creative exploration.

Language and Literacy
-Materials: Name cards, paper, various writing utensils (markers, colored pencils), scissors, tape, a variety of books, envelopes, pre-made booklets, vocabulary words, story writing prompts, simple mazes, spring bingo, labels and stickers from the post office area, example of money, stamps.
-Rationale: The literacy table has materials available to encourage the children to write letters to classmates, writing down stories, etc. The children have also been very interested in making money for their flower shop. We have provided some examples of what bills look like in order for the children to have something to reference as they make money to add to the classroom flower shop.
-Skills: letter recognition, fine motor control, pre-/early literacy skills, alphabetic principle, phonemic awareness, artistic expression, cause and effect, problem solving, executive function skills (inhibitory control)

Dramatic Play
-Materials:
Loft Area: stove, refrigerator, sink and other assorted wooden kitchen furniture, dishes, different types of food, ponchos, scarves, raincoats, boots, hats, and sunglasses.
Flower Shop: flowers, cash register, order forms, baskets, ribbons, vases, aprons, wallet, and purses.
Dramatic play cave: stuffed animals, open-ended fabrics, picnic basket, picnic blanket, food, flowers, flower box, watering cans, bees, seeds, hoes/rakes, and gloves.
-Rationale: Our flower shop is going to continue to be present in the classroom. The children will continue to have opportunities to buy, sell, and arrange flowers and bouquets. They will also be able to use the money they have made at the literacy table to buy the flowers that they order. In the dramatic play cave we will continue to have the flower box, picnic materials, and animal friends. The children will be able to continue to have picnics and gather flowers to use in the flower shop.
-Skills: Role-play, symbolic representation, social interactions, social problem solving, discussions and conversations related to the spring season, self-help, listening, communication, negotiation, and indoor-outdoor connection.

Blocks
-Materials: hollow blocks, unit blocks, ramps, wood boards, big fabric pieces, steering wheels, pvc pipe, maps, large scale manipulative builder.
-Rationale: The children will continue to have access to the block materials to encourage their ongoing interest in building. They have been building houses for different animals (jaguars, cheetahs, sea otters, etc.). To further their building interest and encourage the children to expand the possibilities of what can be created with the hollow blocks, a large manipulative builder will be added to the block area.
-Skills: construction skills, dramatic play, symbolic representation, problem- solving, mathematical concepts such as symmetry and geometry

Large Motor
-Materials: Climbing wall, monkey bars to slide through the donut (the elephant), ladder bridge, mountain climber

-Rationale: In the gym we have created a set-up to challenge the children's body awareness and spatial skills. The ladder bridge is a series of metal rungs leading up to a heightened area over a set of mats and then descends again. The mountain climber is a set of stairs going up and down, as well as an area to climb over a bar and down to the mats below. The monkey bars to slide through the donut (aka elephant) challenges the children to be aware of their body as they go through without bumping their bodies on the donut. The climbing wall has two sets of ladders for the children to climb up. The mat below allows them to jump down safely.
-Skills: grasping strength, risk-taking, climbing up and down, arm and leg strength, jumping, stepping up/down, balance, spatial awareness, body awareness, coordinating movements, propulsive skills (swinging bar to bar).

Snack
Monday - Cucumbers & crackers
Tuesday - Pretzels & dried apples
Wednesday - Rice chex & carrot sticks
Thursday - Rice cakes & orange juice
Friday - Oven fries

Overview
As the spring weather is now cooperating we will dive into observation and exploration of the natural world outside of our classroom. To support children's interest and curiosity of our natural world, we will be collecting worms from the playground for our science table. This will provide children with an opportunity to investigate, compare and contrast them to the mealworms. To foster children's curiosity of the natural world, we will also be exploring our outdoor environment by going on a "Spring Scavenger Hunt". Inside our classroom, seeds have started sprouting and this week we will be transferring them into cups/pots. We will be hypothesizing what our plants will look like and how tall they will grow. We will also be observing the physical changes in our plants by measuring them and documenting their growth in charts. Lastly, we will be adding natural materials from the outdoors to our collage table which will give children opportunities to explore their creativity by using them in imaginative ways.

Expressive Arts
-Materials: clay, wire, wooden tools, construction paper, markers, crayons, glue, paper, scissors, natural materials (twigs, leaves, rocks, flowers), and cardboard squares.
-Rationale: This week we will continue to use clay as a sculpting medium. To support and enhance the children's interest in the creation of three-dimensional sculptures wooden tools are added to the clay table. At the collage table we will add various natural materials such as twigs, leaves, rocks, and flowers for the children to experiment with and explore. These natural materials will encourage children to use them in a variety of ways and explore their creativity. -Skills: Creative exploration, imagination, symbolic representation, self-expression, fine motor control, color recognition, creative risk-taking, and hand/finger strength.

Sensory
-Materials: sand table, sand, water, gems, sifter, various insects (plastic), scoops, shovels, molds, foliage, sticks, and plant stems.
-Rationale: Building on the children's experiences with wet sand and creating homes for the plastic insects in the table; we have added more natural materials to the table. The children were making homes out of flower stems, so we have added sticks and foliage in order for them to add more detail to their homes.
-Skills: Imaginative and cooperative play, scientific thinking, problem solving, construction skills, fine motor skills, sensory exploration and stimulation, creative expression, and social interaction.

Light Table
-Materials: Real flowers, labeled pictures of flower parts, magnifying glasses, tweezers, and clipboards.
-Rationale: The flowers have been moved from the science table over to the light table. The children have been interested in dissecting the flowers and examining the different parts that the flower is composed of. On the light table the children will be able to see through the petals and leaves and have a closer look at the structure of a flower.
-Skills: Sensory stimulation, exploration, inquiry, observation, asking questions, hypothesizing, comparing, informative language, descriptive language, fine motor skills, and social interaction.

Science
-Materials: Labeled pictures of the sequence of planting a seed, soybean seeds, cotton balls, plastic bags, clipboards, a marker, charts depicting the life cycle of a soybean plant, prompting questions, soil, pots, worms, magnifying glasses, ruler, and plant growth charts.
-Rationale: To continue fostering children's interest in how the plant life cycle works we will be transferring the sprouted beans into cups/pots. This will allow children to hypothesize what their plants will look like and how tall they will grow, observe the physical changes in their plants by measuring them and documenting the growth in their charts. To facilitate children's growing interest in the lifecycle of a beetle at the science table we have also added worms that children collected from the playground.
-Skills: Sensory exploration, observation skills, sequencing, critical thinking, mathematical and logical thinking, pre/early literacy, informative language, and descriptive language, scientific inquiry, drawing conclusions, reasoning, knowledge of the natural world, asking questions, hypothesizing, use of magnifying glasses

Math and Manipulatives
-Materials: Insect builders, marble runs, unifix cubes, manipulative puzzles, sewing needles, embroidery hoops, yarn, fabric, torn clothing items, lacing cards
-Rationale: This week we will continue to use the sewing materials to keep fostering the children's fine motor skills and problem solving skills. We have changed out the math cave with new materials. The children now have insect builders that when put together resemble bugs. The children will be able to connect the pieces and create their own bug. The unifix cubes will allow the children to continue practice counting using one to one correspondence and to practice number operations using a new material.
-Skills: Problem solving, cause and effect relationship, early math concepts, number recognition, counting, number operations, symbolic representation, peer negotiation, hand-eye coordination, fine motor control, imagination, creative exploration.

Language and Literacy
-Materials: Name cards, paper, various writing utensils (markers, colored pencils), scissors, tape, a variety of books, envelopes, pre-made booklets, vocabulary words, story writing prompts, simple mazes, spring bingo, labels and stickers from the post office area, example of money.
-Rationale: The literacy table has materials available to encourage the children to write letters to classmates, writing down stories, etc. The children have also been very interested in making money for their flower shop. We have provided some examples of what bills look like in order for the children to have something to reference as they make money to add to the classroom flower shop.
-Skills: letter recognition, fine motor control, pre-/early literacy skills, alphabetic principle, phonemic awareness, artistic expression, cause and effect, problem solving, executive function skills (inhibitory control)

Dramatic Play
-Materials:
Loft Area: stove, refrigerator, sink and other assorted wooden kitchen furniture, dishes, different types of food, ponchos, scarves, raincoats, boots, hats, and sunglasses.
Flower Shop: flowers, cash register, order forms, baskets, ribbons, vases, aprons, wallet, and purses.
Dramatic play cave: stuffed animals, open-ended fabrics, picnic basket, picnic blanket, food, flowers, flower box, watering cans, bees, seeds, hoes/rakes, and gloves.
-Rationale: Our flower shop is going to continue to be present in the classroom. The children will continue to have opportunities to buy, sell, and arrange flowers and bouquets. They will also be able to use the money they have made at the literacy table to buy the flowers that they order. In the dramatic play cave we will continue to have the flower box, picnic materials, and animal friends. The children will be able to continue to have picnics and gather flowers to use in the flower shop.
-Skills: Role-play, symbolic representation, social interactions, social problem solving, discussions and conversations related to the spring season, self-help, listening, communication, negotiation, and indoor-outdoor connection.

Blocks
-Materials: hollow blocks, unit blocks, ramps, wood boards, big fabric pieces, steering wheels, pvc pipe, maps
-Rationale: The children will continue to have access to the block materials to encourage their ongoing interest in building. They have been building houses for different animals (jaguars, cheetahs, sea otters, etc.). The children have also continued their interest in creating plays and performing them with various props found around the room.
-Skills: construction skills, dramatic play, symbolic representation, problem- solving, mathematical concepts such as symmetry and geometry

Large Motor
-Materials: Climbing wall, monkey bars to slide through the donut (the elephant), ladder bridge, mountain climber

-Rationale: In the gym we have created a set-up to challenge the children's body awareness and spatial skills. The ladder bridge is a series of metal rungs leading up to a heightened area over a set of mats and then descends again. The mountain climber is a set of stairs going up and down, as well as an area to climb over a bar and down to the mats below. The monkey bars to slide through the donut (aka elephant) challenges the children to be aware of their body as they go through without bumping their bodies on the donut. The climbing wall has two sets of ladders for the children to climb up. The mat below allows them to jump down safely.
-Skills: grasping strength, risk-taking, climbing up and down, arm and leg strength, jumping, stepping up/down, balance, spatial awareness, body awareness, coordinating movements, propulsive skills (swinging bar to bar).

Snack
Monday - Toast & orange juice
Tuesday - Carrots & rice cakes
Wednesday - Celery & sunbutter
Thursday - Popcorn
Friday - Applesauce & crackers

Overview
It's been hard to transition to thinking about spring with all of this up and down weather. The good news is that we are still thinking spring in our classroom, even though it may not be reflected outside. As the week progresses we will be turning our attention to not just looking at plants, but doing some seed sprouting of our own at the science table. We will continue to provide hands-on experiences and discussions related to mealworm lifecycles, seasonal change in our habitat, flower dissections, and flower shop dramatic play. The children are also invested in helping care for our habitat, specifically by reducing waste and picking up litter. Some have begun using the scrap basket in the classroom and others have found litter on the playground and brought it to the garbage can. To foster their consideration and care for our habitat, the class will take a walk around the school grounds to pick up litter and make sure it gets put in the trash.

Expressive Arts
-Materials: clay, wire, construction paper, markers, crayons, glue, paper, scissors, loose parts, cardboard squares
-Rationale: We have been using paint for a few weeks now and wanted to introduce a new material to the expressive arts area. We chose clay as a sculpting medium after noticing the children's interest in three-dimensional design using the loose parts. Along with the clay we will provide stiff wire that can be incorporated into their creations.
-Skills: Creative exploration, imagination, symbolic representation, self-expression, fine motor control, color recognition, creative risk-taking, and hand/finger strength.

Sensory
-Materials: sand table, sand, water, various insects (plastic), scoops, shovels, molds, foliage, sticks, and plant stems.
-Rationale: Building on the children's experiences with wet sand and creating homes for the plastic insects in the table, we have added more natural materials to the table. The children were making homes out of flower stems, so we have added sticks and foliage in order for them to add more detail to their homes.
-Skills: Imaginative and cooperative play, scientific thinking, problem solving, construction skills, fine motor skills, sensory exploration and stimulation, creative expression, and social interaction.

Light Table
-Materials: Real flowers, labeled pictures of flower parts, magnifying glasses, tweezers, and clipboards.
-Rationale: The flowers have been moved from the science table over to the light table. The children have been interested in dissecting the flowers and examining the different parts that the flower is composed of. On the light table the children will be able to see through the petals and leaves and have a closer look at the structure of a flower.
-Skills: Sensory stimulation, exploration, inquiry, observation, asking questions, hypothesizing, comparing, informative language, descriptive language, fine motor skills, and social interaction.

Science
-Materials: Labeled pictures of the sequence of planting a seed, soybean seeds, cotton balls, plastic bags, clipboards, writing utensils, charts depicting the life cycle of a soybean plant, prompting questions, mealworms, magnifying glasses, and a bug game.
-Rationale: To continue to support the children's interest of flowers and plants, the teachers have started a planting station at one of the science tables. The children will be able to have their own soybean seed, plant it in a plastic bag and attach it to the window to wait for the bean to sprout. This will foster their interest in how the plant life cycle works and how it could potentially relate to the life cycle of the mealworms. The mealworms have progressed from the pupa stage and we have seen our first beetles. We will continue to watch their progress and explore their lives.
-Skills: Sensory exploration, observation skills, sequencing, critical thinking, mathematical and logical thinking, pre/early literacy, informative language, and descriptive language, scientific inquiry, drawing conclusions, reasoning, knowledge of the natural world, asking questions, hypothesizing, use of magnifying glasses

Math and Manipulatives
-Materials: Insect builders, marble runs, unifix cubes, manipulative puzzles, sewing needles, embroidery hoops, yarn, fabric, torn clothing items, lacing cards
-Rationale: This week we will continue to use the sewing materials to keep fostering the children's fine motor skills and problem solving skills. We have changed out the math cave with new materials. The children now have insect builders that when put together resemble bugs. The children will be able to connect the pieces and create their own bug. The unifix cubes will allow the children to continue practice counting using one to one correspondence and to practice number operations using a new material.
-Skills: Problem solving, cause and effect relationship, early math concepts, number recognition, counting, number operations, symbolic representation, peer negotiation, hand-eye coordination, fine motor control, imagination, creative exploration.

Language and Literacy
-Materials: Name cards, paper, various writing utensils (markers, colored pencils), scissors, tape, a variety of books, envelopes, pre-made booklets, vocabulary words, story writing prompts, simple mazes, spring bingo, labels and stickers from the post office area, example of money.
-Rationale: The literacy table has materials available to encourage the children to write letters to classmates, writing down stories, etc. The children have also been very interested in making money for their flower shop. We have provided some examples of what bills look like in order for the children to have something to reference as they make money to add to the classroom flower shop.
-Skills: letter recognition, fine motor control, pre-/early literacy skills, alphabetic principle, phonemic awareness, artistic expression, cause and effect, problem solving, executive function skills (inhibitory control)

Dramatic Play
-Materials:
Loft Area: stove, refrigerator, sink and other assorted wooden kitchen furniture, dishes, different types of food, ponchos, scarves, raincoats, boots, hats, and sunglasses.
Flower Shop: flowers, cash register, order forms, baskets, ribbons, vases, aprons, cash register
Dramatic play cave: stuffed animals, open-ended fabrics, picnic basket, picnic blanket, food, flowers, flower box, watering cans, bees, seeds, hoes/rakes, gloves
-Rationale: Our flower shop is going to continue to be present in the classroom. The children will continue to have opportunities to buy, sell, and arrange flowers and bouquets. They will also be able to use the money they have made at the literacy table to buy the flowers that they order. In the dramatic play cave we will continue to have the flower box, picnic materials, and animal friends. The children will be able to continue to have picnics and gather flowers to use in the flower shop.
-Skills: Role-play, symbolic representation, social interactions, social problem solving, discussions and conversations related to the spring season, self-help, listening, communication, negotiation, and indoor-outdoor connection.

Blocks
-Materials: hollow blocks, unit blocks, ramps, wood boards, big fabric pieces, steering wheels, pvc pipe, maps
-Rationale: The children will continue to have access to the block materials to encourage their ongoing interest in building. They have been building houses for different animals (jaguars, cheetahs, sea otters, etc.). The children have also continued their interest in creating plays and performing them with various props found around the room.
-Skills: construction skills, dramatic play, symbolic representation, problem- solving, mathematical concepts such as symmetry and geometry

Large Motor
-Materials: Climbing wall, monkey bars to slide through the donut (the elephant), ladder bridge, mountain climber

-Rationale: In the gym we have created a set-up to challenge the children's body awareness and spatial skills. The ladder bridge is a series of metal rungs leading up to a heightened area over a set of mats and then descends again. The mountain climber is a set of stairs going up and down, as well as an area to climb over a bar and down to the mats below. The monkey bars to slide through the donut (aka elephant) challenges the children to be aware of their body as they go through without bumping their bodies on the donut. The climbing wall has two sets of ladders for the children to climb up. The mat below allows them to jump down safely.


-Skills: grasping strength, risk-taking, climbing up and down, arm and leg strength, jumping, stepping up/down, balance, spatial awareness, body awareness, coordinating movements, propulsive skills (swinging bar to bar).

Snack
Monday - Cucumber slices & crackers
Tuesday - Frozen peas & pretzels
Wednesday - Rice cakes & craisins
Thursday - Pasta & red sauce
Friday - Granola bars


Overview
We are finally expecting some spring weather this week. The warmer weather will bring with it the children's enthusiasm and excitement for the outdoors. Plants and flowers are a very exciting part of spring that we will be exploring inside and outside of our classroom. With the addition of a flower shop in our dramatic play area, the children will have the opportunity to further their ideas about where flowers come from, what they need to grow, and how the creatures (bees and worms) in our habitat assist in their growth.

Expressive Arts
-Materials: construction paper, paint, paint trays, paintbrushes, easels, various gauges of wire, markers, crayons, glue, paper, scissors, loose parts, CD Player, Music (classical, spring- birds chirping, rain drops, etc.)
-Rationale: We will continue to have vibrant paint colors available and we will continue with listening to music while at the art table. Music inspired art activity will encourage children to explore and experiment with the process of painting and elements of arts. This will also promote their understanding of the elements of music (rhythm, tempo, dynamic, etc.). We will continue to work at the collage table focusing on sculpting using loose parts.
-Skills: Creative exploration, imagination, symbolic representation, self-expression, fine motor control, color recognition, creative risk-taking, and music appreciation.

Sensory
-Materials: sand table, sand, water, various insects (plastic), scoops, shovels, molds, etc.
-Rationale: To promote imaginative, cooperative play and bring children's awareness to the difference between wet and dry sand. This hands-on sensory experience will foster children's problem solving and critical thinking skills. The inclusion of plastic insects has allowed for imaginative play involving the creation of insect homes and animal islands.
-Skills: Imaginative and cooperative play, scientific thinking, problem solving, construction skills, fine motor skills, sensory exploration and stimulation, creative expression, and social interaction.

Light Table
-Materials: Different types of seeds, sorting trays, tweezers, and magnifying glasses.
-Rationale: We will be focusing our attention on the characteristics of seeds. Children will explore different types of seeds (size, color, comparison, rational count, patterns, seriation, etc.) using their senses. Prompting questions such as: What is a seed for? How do they travel? What sort of plant do they grow into? Does the biggest plant have the biggest seed? will foster children's ability for critical thinking, making connections, and will encourage them towards scientific inquiry.
-Skills: Sensory stimulation, exploration, inquiry, observation, sequencing, grouping, sorting, asking questions, hypothesizing, comparing, informative language, descriptive language, fine motor skills, and social interaction.

Science
-Materials: Labeled visual pictures of parts of a flower, real flowers, mealworms, magnifying glasses, clipboards, writing utensils, charts depicting the life cycle of a mealworm, prompting questions, bug game.
-Rationale: To support children's curiosity of the natural world and to encourage investigation of nature we will be focusing on flowers and insects. Children will explore parts of a flower using their senses. Labeled visual pictures of the parts of flower will strengthen children's thinking ability by allowing them to progress along a thread of investigation and will also enrich their vocabulary. The mealworms will remain at the science table to continue teaching care and respect for fragile insect life. Our mealworms are beginning to change into pupas taking the next observable step in their lifecycle.
-Skills: Sensory exploration, observation skills, critical thinking, mathematical and logical thinking, pre/early literacy, informative language, and descriptive language, scientific inquiry, drawing conclusions, reasoning, knowledge of the natural world, asking questions, hypothesizing, use of magnifying glasses

Math and Manipulatives
-Materials: Marble runs, Legos, manipulative mazes, puzzles, sewing needles, embroidery hoops, yarn, fabric, torn clothing items, lacing cards
-Rationale: This week we will continue fostering children's problem solving skills and interest in mazes. In addition to the marble runs and manipulative mazes we will begin to facilitate the use of the Legos to create our own mazes. Manipulative puzzles (parts of trees, butterfly, birds, spring clothes, etc.) will also be available for further exploration and manipulation. A number of the children have developed an interest in the basic mechanics of sewing. This week we will encourage this interest by providing a larger variety or fabrics for them to sew on. To connect this idea to our work with problem solving we will also provide items that need to be repaired with a needle and thread.
Skills: Problem solving, cause and effect relationship, early math concepts, number recognition, counting, number operations, symbolic representation, peer negotiation, hand-eye coordination, fine motor control, imagination, creative exploration.

Language and Literacy
-Materials: Name cards, paper, various writing utensils (markers, colored pencils), scissors, tape, a variety of books, envelopes, pre-made booklets, vocabulary words, story writing prompts, simple mazes, spring bingo, labels and stickers from the post office area
-Rationale: The children continue to have a deep interest in creating new stories that they want to dictate and illustrate. To facilitate this, common words that the children use in their stories will be placed at the writing table to encourage the older children to work on writing their stories down independently and to bring awareness of the words to the younger children. With the addition of paper mazes to the writing center children's interest in mazes has grown in leaps and bounds in the classroom. They have been observed creating their unique mazes using two and three dimensional materials. We have also added spring bingo to the area which promotes vocabulary and word recognition related to our theme of spring.
-Skills: letter recognition, fine motor control, pre-/early literacy skills, alphabetic principle, phonemic awareness, artistic expression, cause and effect, problem solving, executive function skills (inhibitory control)

Dramatic Play
-Materials:
Loft Area: stove, refrigerator, sink and other assorted wooden kitchen furniture, dishes, different types of food, ponchos, scarves, raincoats, boots, hats, and sunglasses.
Flower Shop: flowers, cash register, order forms, baskets, ribbons, vases, aprons
Dramatic play cave: stuffed animals, open-ended fabrics, picnic basket, picnic blanket, food, flowers, flower box, watering cans, bees, seeds, hoes/rakes, gloves
-Rationale: Our post office is being turned into a flower shop this week. The children will have an opportunity to buy, sell, and arrange flowers and bouquets. In the dramatic play cave we will add props that assist in the planting and picking of flowers with the help of their animal friends. The rain gear in the loft will continue allowing the children to incorporate springtime clothing to their dramatic play scenarios.
-Skills: Role-play, symbolic representation, social interactions, social problem solving, discussions and conversations related to the spring season, self-help, listening, communication, negotiation, and indoor-outdoor connection.

Blocks
-Materials: hollow blocks, unit blocks, ramps, wood boards, big fabric pieces, steering wheels, pvc pipe, maps
-Rationale: Children will continue to have plenty of free play time to use the blocks in a way that supports their dramatic play. Last week the incorporation of mazes in the block area during the focus groups sparked children's interest in building challenging mazes for the insects. We will continue building on the interest by fostering them in making mazes that they themselves can crawl through.
-Skills: construction skills, dramatic play, symbolic representation, problem- solving, mathematical concepts such as symmetry and geometry

Large Motor
-Materials: Rolling slide and stairs, mini-trampoline, rope ladder, mini-peddallo, Bean Bag/Ring Toss, Beach-Ball Toss/Lava pit

-Rationale: To emphasize a variety of upper body strength challenges, including hand-eye coordination, catching, throwing, climbing and endurance. Lower body strength is also highlighted, including balance, pedaling, and jumping. All activities continue to focus on the important social skills of turn-taking, cooperation, and peer negotiation.


-Skills: Cardiovascular endurance, directional awareness, spatial awareness, catching/trapping, reaching, grasping, batting, static & dynamic balance, throwing, jumping, muscular strength and endurance, pedaling.

Snack
Monday - Pretzels & milk
Tuesday - Rice chex & milk
Wednesday - Celery & Sunbutter
Thursday - Trail mix & milk
Friday - Biscuits & maple butter


Overview
It seems like our unseasonably cold temperatures are going to stay with us for the early part of the spring. We we will continue to engage our class's awareness of the spring season by bringing spring into our classroom habitat. Supporting children's interest and curiosity of the natural world we will foster their investigation of nature by stepping into exploration of spring using our senses. We will explore different types of seeds by paying attention to their size, color, comparing, rational counting, making patterns, seriating, hypothesizing. Another topic that we will be exploring is flowers: parts of a flower, how they are different from one another, (colors, sizes, and shapes) why some flowers have a fragrance and others do not. Lastly, to our sensory area we will be adding the sand table which will give children opportunities to use their senses to discover the natural world.

Expressive Arts
-Materials: construction paper, paint, paint trays, paintbrushes, fresh flowers, easels, various gauges of wire, markers, crayons, glue, paper, scissors, loose parts, CD Player, Music (classical, spring- birds chirping, rain drops, etc.)
-Rationale: We will continue to have vibrant paint colors available, along with fresh flowers as inspiration. This week we will also add music to the art table. Music inspired art activity will encourage children to explore and experiment with the process of painting and elements of arts. This will also promote their understanding of the elements of music (rhythm, tempo, dynamic, etc.). We will continue to work at the wire table focusing on sculpting using loose parts.
-Skills: Creative exploration, imagination, symbolic representation, self-expression, fine motor control, color recognition, creative risk-taking, and music appreciation.

Sensory
-Materials: sand table, sand, water, various insects (plastic), scoops, shovels, moulds, etc.
-Rationale: To promote imaginative, cooperative play and bring children's awareness to the difference between wet and dry sand. This hands-on sensory experience will foster children's problem solving and critical thinking skills.
-Skills: Imaginative and cooperative play, scientific thinking, problem solving, construction skills, fine motor skills, sensory exploration and stimulation, creative expression, and social interaction.

Light Table
-Materials: Different types of seeds, sorting trays, tweezers, and magnifying glasses.
-Rationale: We will be focusing our attention on the characteristics of seeds. Children will explore different types of seeds (size, color, comparison, rational count, patterns, seriation, etc.) using their senses. Prompting questions such as: What is a seed for? How do they travel? What sort of plant do they grow into? Does the biggest plant have the biggest seed? will foster children's ability for critical thinking, making connections, and will encourage them towards scientific inquiry.
-Skills: Sensory stimulation, exploration, inquiry, observation, sequencing, grouping, sorting, asking questions, hypothesizing, comparing, informative language, descriptive language, fine motor skills, and social interaction.

Science
-Materials: Labeled visual pictures of parts of a flower, real and fake flowers, magnifying glass, clipboard, papers, pencils, and markers.
-Rationale: To support children's curiosity of the natural world and to encourage investigation of nature we will be focusing on flowers. Children will explore parts of a flower using their senses. Teacher's thought provoking questions such as How are flowers different from one another? Why do some flowers have colors and others don't? Why do some flowers have fragrance while others don't? will foster children's scientific thinking (observing, questioning, and investigating). Labeled visual pictures of the parts of flower will strengthen children's thinking ability by allowing them to progress along a thread of investigation and will also enrich their vocabulary.
-Skills: Sensory exploration, observation skills, scientific investigating, critical thinking, self concept, social competence, mathematical and logical thinking, pre/early literacy, informative language, and descriptive language.

Math and Manipulatives
-Materials: Marble runs, legos, numbered duplos and puzzles.
-Rationale: This week we will continue fostering children's problem solving skills using marble runs. This will also bring cause and effect relationship to their awareness. Building on their interest in problem solving, manipulative mazes will be added to the area to provide them with opportunities to expand on their interest. Manipulative puzzles (parts of trees, butterfly, birds, spring clothes, etc.) will also be added to bring spring awareness through visual and touch sense. -Skills: Problem solving, cause and effect relationship, early math concepts, number recognition, counting, number operations, symbolic representation, peer negotiation, hand-eye coordination, fine motor control.

Language and Literacy

-Materials: Name cards, paper, various writing utensils (markers, colored pencils), scissors, tape, a variety of books, envelopes, pre-made booklets, vocabulary words, story writing prompts, simple mazes, and spring bingo.
-Rationale: Last week children voted for the title of their classroom story and the title "Unicorn vs. Ghost vs. Kitty vs. Wolf" was chosen. Their typed and printed book has been added to our classroom library for children to read and add illustrations to. With the addition of paper mazes to the writing center children's interest in mazes has grown in leaps and bounds in the classroom. They have been observed creating their unique mazes using two and three dimensional materials. We have also added spring bingo to the area which promotes vocabulary and word recognition related to our theme of spring. -Skills: letter recognition, fine motor control, pre-/early literacy skills, alphabetic principle, phonemic awareness, artistic expression, cause and effect, problem solving, executive function skills (inhibitory control)

Dramatic Play
-Materials:
Loft Area: stove, refrigerator, sink and other assorted wooden kitchen furniture, dishes, different types of food, ponchos, scarves, raincoats, boots, hats, and sunglasses.
Dramatic play cave: stuffed animals, open-ended fabrics, picnic basket, picnic blanket, food, flowers
-Rationale: Addition of the rain gear to the loft will continue allowing the children to incorporate springtime clothing to their dramatic play scenarios. The animals in the cave have now been observed waking up for spring and having spring feast with children. -Skills: Role-play, symbolic representation, social interactions, social problem solving, discussions and conversations related to the spring season, self-help, listening, communication, negotiation, and indoor-outdoor connection.

Blocks
-Materials: hollow blocks, unit blocks, ramps, wood boards, big fabric pieces, steering wheels, pvc pipe, maps.
-Rationale: Children will continue to have plenty of free play time to use the blocks in a way that supports their dramatic play. Last week the incorporation of mazes in the block area during the focus groups sparked children's interest in building challenging mazes for the insects. We will continue building on the interest by fostering them in making mazes that they themselves can crawl through.
-Skills: construction skills, dramatic play, symbolic representation, problem- solving, mathematical concepts such as symmetry and geometry

Large Motor
-Materials: Rolling slide and stairs, mini-trampoline, rope ladder, mini-peddallo, Bean Bag/Ring Toss, Beach-Ball Toss/Lava pit

-Rationale: To emphasize a variety of upper body strength challenges, including hand-eye coordination, catching, throwing, climbing and endurance. Lower body strength is also highlighted, including balance, pedaling, and jumping. All activities continue to focus on the important social skills of turn-taking, cooperation, and peer negotiation.


-Skills: Cardiovascular endurance, directional awareness, spatial awareness, catching/trapping, reaching, grasping, batting, static & dynamic balance, throwing, jumping, muscular strength and endurance, pedaling.

Snack
Monday - Tropical chex mix & orange juice
Tuesday - Rice cakes & cucumbers
Wednesday - Bagels & bananas
Thursday - Crackers & craisins
Friday - Yogurt smoothies


Overview
This week we will begin paying closer attention to the outdoor environment, making observations and having conversations about springtime changes in our habitat. We will be drawing and photographing what we notice about our habitat now, and comparing those to future observations once the snow melts and temperatures rise. Another topic that we will begin building awareness of is insects. While we haven't yet noticed insects outside, we will be bringing mealworms into the science center to learn about care, respect and treatment of living things as preparation for future examination of insect life and behavior that we observe outside. Lastly we will introduce the idea of "caring for our habitat." We will begin discussing ways we can contribute to the beauty, cleanliness, and health of our indoor and outdoor environments.

Expressive Arts
-Materials: construction paper, paint, paint trays, paintbrushes, fresh flowers, easels, various gauges of wire, markers, crayons, glue, paper, scissors, loose parts
-Rationale: We will continue to have paint out on the table and encourage children to mix their own colors. We will also add flowers to the paint table to prompt the children to make some new spring colors or match the colors of the flowers to some of the 100 hues that they have already created. We are also continuing to work at the wire table but have decided to remove the beads and focus on sculpting. Later in the week we will be introducing new materials, like loose parts, to the table to add to the sculptures.
-Skills: fine motor strength and coordination, color recognition, creative exploration, problem solving, self-expression, creative risk-taking, emerging math skills (patterning)

Sensory
-Materials: flax seed, tubes, plastic insects
-Rationale: As the snow melts and the playground thaws one of the first signs of life that the children get excited about is insects. To begin conversations, and assess what the children already know about insects, we added a variety of plastic insects to the sensory table. This will allow the children to discuss and identify insects they may recognize as they use the tubes and flax to make pathways and habitats for them.
-Skills: sensory exploration, scientific thinking and reasoning, problem solving, cooperative play, knowledge of the natural world, symbolic representation

Light Table
-Materials: ziplock bags sealed with colored gel inside
-Rationale: To provide the children with a new sensory experience and to encourage creative design we have added these new novel substances for exploration. The children can squeeze or flatten the gel in the bags in order to learn about its properties. When the gel is flattened they can drag their finger across it to create designs.
-Skills: fine motor skills, knowledge of physical properties, risk-taking, creative design, sensory experience, color recognition

Science
-Materials: Mealworms, magnifying glasses, clipboards, writing utensils, charts depicting the life cycle of a mealworm, prompting questions, spring vs. winter sorting game
-Rationale: Searching for insects is an exciting springtime activity for children. To begin the process of teaching the children observation techniques and also care and respect for fragile insect life, we are introducing mealworms to the science table. In addition to the live mealworms, we will have clipboards and magnifying glasses to use for observation and recording. While the mealworms are in the classroom the children will have the opportunity to observe their life cycle as they change from mealworms to beetles. The spring vs. winter sorting game will provide children opportunities to exercise their logical thinking. The sorting and grouping activity will enhance their classification vocabulary. The visuals that are available will allow the children become aware of, and compare/contrast, distinct differences between spring and winter.
-Skills: Scientific inquiry, observation, drawing conclusions, reasoning, descriptive language, informative language, knowledge of the natural world, asking questions, hypothesizing, use of magnifying glasses, classification, logical thinking, compare and contrast

Math and Manipulatives
-Materials: magnet blocks, marble runs, legos, numbered duplos
-Rationale: The children's interest in problem solving has grown tremendously over the past two weeks. To continue to provide them with materials to work with, we have added pieces of a marble run that need to be connected in specific ways in order for the marbles to pass through.
-Skills: problem solving, fine motor strength, early math concepts, number recognition, counting, simple number operations, peer negotiation, symbolic representation, hand-eye coordination

Language and Literacy
-Materials: name cards, paper, various writing utensils (markers, colored pencils), scissors, tape, a variety of books, envelopes, pre-made booklets, vocabulary words, story writing prompts, post-office with air-mail, express mail, and priority mail stickers, mazes
-Rationale: Last week the children wrote a story as a class during morning meeting. We will introduce them to Microsoft Word as a program they can use for typing and printing their stories. The classroom story (title to be announced) will be typed and printed so the children can illustrate it and add it to our library. In addition, we noticed many of the children enjoyed the challenge of the magnet maze at the science center last week so we added paper mazes to the writing center as a way for children to problem solve their way through as they refine their control and dexterity using writing implements.
-Skills: letter recognition, fine motor control, pre-/early literacy skills, alphabetic principle, phonemic awareness, artistic expression

Dramatic Play
-Materials:
Loft Area: stove, refrigerator, sink and other assorted wooden kitchen furniture, dishes, different types of food, ponchos, scarves, raincoats, boots, hats, and sunglasses.
Dramatic play cave: stuffed animals, open-ended fabrics, picnic basket, picnic blanket, food, flowers
-Rationale: This week the addition of the rain gear to the loft will allow the children to incorporate some of the springtime clothing they use in the spring into their dramatic play scenarios. The animals in the cave will now be making the change from hibernation to waking up for spring. We will incorporate an idea from a familiar favorite book Bear Wants More by: Karma Wilson, and provide picnic blankets and food for the children to use with the animals to have a springtime feast.
-Skills: Role-play, symbolic representation, social interactions, social problem solving, discussions and conversations related to the spring season, self-help, listening, communication, negotiation, and indoor-outdoor connection.

Blocks
-Materials: hollow blocks, unit blocks, ramps, wood boards, big fabric pieces, steering wheels, pvc pipe, maps

-Rationale: The children will continue to have plenty of free play time to use the blocks in a way that supports their dramatic play. In addition, we will create focus groups that will incorporate their budding interest in mazes as a way to challenge them to use the blocks to make mazes they themselves can crawl through.
-Skills: construction skills, dramatic play, symbolic representation, problem- solving, mathematical concepts such as symmetry and geometry

Large Motor



-Materials: Gym-rope-swing, "Balance Bridge," donut slide, triangle slide, scooter boards, mini-trampoline. Playground-shovels, buckets
-Rationale: The children have been fully engaged in the big body movements promoted by the gym set-up. Group games such as "mat push" have also been incorporated as a way for children to engage in big body movements together. On the playground the icy hill allowed for many penguin slides. The sand has loosened up and the children are enjoying digging once again. There was quite a bit of mud on the playground last week and will likely be around a while longer. Some children have been exploring its properties by walking through it, poking it with sticks, and using it as mortar in between bricks. As the mud changes from day to day depending on how wet it is, we will encourage the children to make observations and comparisons.
-Skills: upper-body strength/endurance, grasping, pushing/pumping with feet (propulsion skills), spatial-/directional-/body-awareness (proprioceptive skills), jumping and landing, eye-to-foot coordination, static and dynamic balance, flexibility, agility, cardio-vascular endurance, cooperation/negotiation, "big-body" play

Snack
Monday - Rice cakes & orange slices
Tuesday - Carrot muffins
Wednesday - Yogurt/fruit & Crackers
Thursday - Pretzels & carrots
Friday - Zucchini chocolate muffins & milk

Overview
The children were delighted to be back at school exploring the new materials and reconnecting with classmates. Our new focus on problem solving in the science area has been a popular area of the room as many children have been motivated to "fix" the broken or disassembled items. The student teachers and I have been very impressed by the children's ability to identify the problem, offer suggestions for solving it, then carry out their plan. They have been feeling proud of their successes and some have taken it upon themselves to search for other potential "problems" around the classroom and on the playground. The paint mixing is another area that has been very busy. The children have created and named many new colors, which we have been adding to a numbered chart. We are all excited to see if we can make at least 100 new colors! At the flax table, the ingenuity shown by connecting tubes and funnels has been impressive. We will add new support structures for the children to incorporate into their designs as they try to help the flax seed flow from one point to another.

Expressive Arts
-Materials: construction paper, paint, paint trays, squeeze bottles of paint, paintbrushes, wooden beads, plastic beads, various gauges of wire, markers, crayons, glue

-Rationale: We will continue to provide paint in squeeze bottles so children can create many new colors. We will encourage the children to name them as they add them to our numbered chart. The new colors will also be added to the easel so the children can incorporate them into new pieces of artwork. At the wire/beading table we will introduce new wire in a variety of gauges so they can sculpt and design new forms. We will provide photographs of wire sculpture for inspiration.

-Skills: fine motor strength and coordination, color recognition, creative exploration, problem solving, emerging math skills (patterning), self-expression, creative risk-taking

Sensory
-Materials: support structures, blocks, flax seed, scoops, funnels, tubes, cups for scooping and pouring

-Rationale: After noticing that the children enjoyed designing flow systems by connecting tubes and funnels, we decided to add some materials that can be used as supports for the flexible tubing. This will allow the children to incorporate more pieces into their designs and practice problem solving skills as they figure out how to arrange and support the tubes to keep the flax moving from one point to another.

-Skills: sensory exploration, scientific thinking and reasoning, measuring, problem solving, cooperative play

Light Table
-Materials: transparencies depicting various familiar fairy tales as well as open- ended pictures

-Rationale: We will continue to provide familiar and open-ended transparencies for children to use for storytelling. The castle, horses, and prince/princess characters have been favorites for incorporating into new storylines.

-Skills: fine motor skills, oral language, pre-literacy skills, symbolic representation, creative expression, self-confidence, peer negotiation and social interactions

Science
-Materials: magnetic maze, charts depicting objects around the room that may/may not be magnetic, magnets, broken binoculars, broken marble run, broken box with hinge, tools

-Rationale: The children have discovered that most metal objects in the array on the science table react to magnets. Now they will search the room using the charts provided to search for more items that are attracted to the magnets. We have also added a maze that requires them to move a small metal ball through to the end. They will have to use their problem solving skills to figure out how to use the magnets to move the ball. Additionally, new broken items have been added to the problem solving station. Now that the children see how helpful tape can be in fixing many items, we wanted to add new challenges and tools that would expand their thinking about other possible ways to fix broken objects.

-Skills: Scientific inquiry, observation, drawing conclusions, reasoning, grouping, descriptive language, informative language, comparing and contrasting, knowledge of physical properties, knowledge of the natural world, problem solving, team work

Math and Manipulatives
-Materials: magnet blocks, beads, string, legos, numbered duplos

-Rationale: The children's interest in counting has grown since the introduction of creating 100 colors in the art area. To support counting in number order and to support their ability to count and recognize numerals, we added duplos with numbers printed on them. Some duplos also have addition, subtraction, and equal signs on them to promote using number operations.

-Skills: fine motor strength, early math concepts, number recognition, counting, simple number operations, peer negotiation, symbolic representation, hand-eye coordination

Language and Literacy
-Materials: name cards, paper, various writing utensils (markers, colored pencils), scissors, tape, a variety of books, envelopes, pre-made booklets, vocabulary words, story writing prompts, post-office with air-mail, express mail, and priority mail stickers

-Rationale: The writing center in the middle of the classroom is a hub of story writing activity each morning. Many children have taped paper together to create illustrated books. Others have dictated stories that are later acted out with peers in the back of the room. In the post office the children have begun to use the stickers to identify important mail or mail that needs to travel by plane.

-Skills: letter recognition, fine motor control, pre-/early literacy skills, alphabetic principle, phonemic awareness, artistic expression

Dramatic Play
-Materials:
Loft Area: stove, refrigerator, sink and other assorted wooden kitchen furniture, dishes, different types of food, open-ended fabrics, paper, markers, clipboards, calculator, mailbox, stamps, envelopes, paper, pencils, postal worker bags, hats and shirts

Dramatic play cave: sticks, open-ended fabrics, stuffed woodland animals

-Rationale: The children have been using the dramatic play food and clothing to support the plays that they have been acting out over the past few days. The animals in the cave have been frolicking and full of playful energy. We have noticed some children referencing springtime changes and that the animals are happy to be coming out of hibernation.

-Skills: symbolic representation, role-playing, social problem solving, oral language, small group interaction, communication

Blocks
-Materials: hollow blocks, unit blocks, ramps, wood boards, big fabric pieces, steering wheels, pvc pipe, maps


-Rationale: Late last week the children revisited the familiar activity of acting out their play plots on a hollow block stage. Blocks are also used to build parts of the sets such as trees or houses. The potential of the blocks seems limitless to the children and they continue to discover new ways to use them to support their play. In addition to stage and set design, the blocks are also being used to build mail delivery vehicles and airmail planes.

-Skills: construction skills, dramatic play, symbolic representation, problem- solving, mathematical concepts such as symmetry and geometry

Large Motor



-Materials: Gym-rope-swing, "Balance Bridge," donut slide, triangle slide, scooter boards, mini-trampoline. Playground-shovels, buckets

-Rationale: The children have been fully engaged in the big body movements promoted by the gym set-up. Group games such as "mat push" have also been incorporated as a way for children to engage in big body movements together. On the playground the icy hill allowed for many penguin slides. The sand has loosened up and the children are enjoying digging once again. There was quite a bit of mud on the playground last week and will likely be around a while longer. Some children have been exploring its properties by walking through it, poking it with sticks, and using it as mortar in between bricks. As the mud changes from day to day depending on how wet it is, we will encourage the children to make observations and comparisons.

-Skills: upper-body strength/endurance, grasping, pushing/pumping with feet (propulsion skills), spatial-/directional-/body-awareness (proprioceptive skills), jumping and landing, eye-to-foot coordination, static and dynamic balance, flexibility, agility, cardio-vascular endurance, cooperation/negotiation, "big-body" play

Snack
Monday - Black bean & sweet potato quesadillas (dairy and gluten free)
Tuesday - Carrots & crackers
Wednesday - Rice chex & raisins
Thursday - Grapefruit & pretzels
Friday - Popcorn & milk

Overview
The children were delighted to be back at school exploring the new materials and reconnecting with classmates. Our new focus on problem solving in the science area has been a popular area of the room as many children have been motivated to "fix" the broken or disassembled items. The student teachers and I have been very impressed by the children's ability to identify the problem, offer suggestions for solving it, then carry out their plan. They have been feeling proud of their successes and some have taken it upon themselves to search for other potential "problems" around the classroom and on the playground. The paint mixing is another area that has been very busy. The children have created and named many new colors, which we have been adding to a numbered chart. We are all excited to see if we can make at least 100 new colors! At the flax table, the ingenuity shown by connecting tubes and funnels has been impressive. We will add new support structures for the children to incorporate into their designs as they try to help the flax seed flow from one point to another.

Expressive Arts
-Materials: construction paper, paint, paint trays, squeeze bottles of paint, paintbrushes, wooden beads, plastic beads, various gauges of wire, markers, crayons, glue

-Rationale: We will continue to provide paint in squeeze bottles so children can create many new colors. We will encourage the children to name them as they add them to our numbered chart. The new colors will also be added to the easel so the children can incorporate them into new pieces of artwork. At the wire/beading table we will introduce new wire in a variety of gauges so they can sculpt and design new forms. We will provide photographs of wire sculpture for inspiration.

-Skills: fine motor strength and coordination, color recognition, creative exploration, problem solving, emerging math skills (patterning), self-expression, creative risk-taking

Sensory
-Materials: support structures, blocks, flax seed, scoops, funnels, tubes, cups for scooping and pouring

-Rationale: After noticing that the children enjoyed designing flow systems by connecting tubes and funnels, we decided to add some materials that can be used as supports for the flexible tubing. This will allow the children to incorporate more pieces into their designs and practice problem solving skills as they figure out how to arrange and support the tubes to keep the flax moving from one point to another.

-Skills: sensory exploration, scientific thinking and reasoning, measuring, problem solving, cooperative play

Light Table
-Materials: transparencies depicting various familiar fairy tales as well as open- ended pictures

-Rationale: We will continue to provide familiar and open-ended transparencies for children to use for storytelling. The castle, horses, and prince/princess characters have been favorites for incorporating into new storylines.

-Skills: fine motor skills, oral language, pre-literacy skills, symbolic representation, creative expression, self-confidence, peer negotiation and social interactions

Science
-Materials: magnetic maze, charts depicting objects around the room that may/may not be magnetic, magnets, broken binoculars, broken marble run, broken box with hinge, tools

-Rationale: The children have discovered that most metal objects in the array on the science table react to magnets. Now they will search the room using the charts provided to search for more items that are attracted to the magnets. We have also added a maze that requires them to move a small metal ball through to the end. They will have to use their problem solving skills to figure out how to use the magnets to move the ball. Additionally, new broken items have been added to the problem solving station. Now that the children see how helpful tape can be in fixing many items, we wanted to add new challenges and tools that would expand their thinking about other possible ways to fix broken objects.

-Skills: Scientific inquiry, observation, drawing conclusions, reasoning, grouping, descriptive language, informative language, comparing and contrasting, knowledge of physical properties, knowledge of the natural world, problem solving, team work

Math and Manipulatives
-Materials: magnet blocks, beads, string, legos, numbered duplos

-Rationale: The children's interest in counting has grown since the introduction of creating 100 colors in the art area. To support counting in number order and to support their ability to count and recognize numerals, we added duplos with numbers printed on them. Some duplos also have addition, subtraction, and equal signs on them to promote using number operations.

-Skills: fine motor strength, early math concepts, number recognition, counting, simple number operations, peer negotiation, symbolic representation, hand-eye coordination

Language and Literacy
-Materials: name cards, paper, various writing utensils (markers, colored pencils), scissors, tape, a variety of books, envelopes, pre-made booklets, vocabulary words, story writing prompts, post-office with air-mail, express mail, and priority mail stickers

-Rationale: The writing center in the middle of the classroom is a hub of story writing activity each morning. Many children have taped paper together to create illustrated books. Others have dictated stories that are later acted out with peers in the back of the room. In the post office the children have begun to use the stickers to identify important mail or mail that needs to travel by plane.

-Skills: letter recognition, fine motor control, pre-/early literacy skills, alphabetic principle, phonemic awareness, artistic expression

Dramatic Play
-Materials:
Loft Area: stove, refrigerator, sink and other assorted wooden kitchen furniture, dishes, different types of food, open-ended fabrics, paper, markers, clipboards, calculator, mailbox, stamps, envelopes, paper, pencils, postal worker bags, hats and shirts

Dramatic play cave: sticks, open-ended fabrics, stuffed woodland animals

-Rationale: The children have been using the dramatic play food and clothing to support the plays that they have been acting out over the past few days. The animals in the cave have been frolicking and full of playful energy. We have noticed some children referencing springtime changes and that the animals are happy to be coming out of hibernation.

-Skills: symbolic representation, role-playing, social problem solving, oral language, small group interaction, communication

Blocks
-Materials: hollow blocks, unit blocks, ramps, wood boards, big fabric pieces, steering wheels, pvc pipe, maps


-Rationale: Late last week the children revisited the familiar activity of acting out their play plots on a hollow block stage. Blocks are also used to build parts of the sets such as trees or houses. The potential of the blocks seems limitless to the children and they continue to discover new ways to use them to support their play. In addition to stage and set design, the blocks are also being used to build mail delivery vehicles and airmail planes.

-Skills: construction skills, dramatic play, symbolic representation, problem- solving, mathematical concepts such as symmetry and geometry

Large Motor



-Materials: Gym-rope-swing, "Balance Bridge," donut slide, triangle slide, scooter boards, mini-trampoline. Playground-shovels, buckets

-Rationale: The children have been fully engaged in the big body movements promoted by the gym set-up. Group games such as "mat push" have also been incorporated as a way for children to engage in big body movements together. On the playground the icy hill allowed for many penguin slides. The sand has loosened up and the children are enjoying digging once again. There was quite a bit of mud on the playground last week and will likely be around a while longer. Some children have been exploring its properties by walking through it, poking it with sticks, and using it as mortar in between bricks. As the mud changes from day to day depending on how wet it is, we will encourage the children to make observations and comparisons.

-Skills: upper-body strength/endurance, grasping, pushing/pumping with feet (propulsion skills), spatial-/directional-/body-awareness (proprioceptive skills), jumping and landing, eye-to-foot coordination, static and dynamic balance, flexibility, agility, cardio-vascular endurance, cooperation/negotiation, "big-body" play

Snack
Monday - Black bean & sweet potato quesadillas (dairy and gluten free)
Tuesday - Carrots & crackers
Wednesday - Rice chex & raisins
Thursday - Grapefruit & pretzels
Friday - Popcorn & milk

Overview
This first week back our main priorities will be on re-establishing classroom routines and getting to know the new student teachers Natalie, Allie, and Almas. Each of them has spent some time with the children before break and they are looking forward to getting to know everyone better. The materials in the classroom have been chosen intentionally to provide a combination of familiar items as well as new and novel activities. Now that the weather is finally warming up we will be paying close attention to changes in the outdoor environment. We will make comparisons between observations of the frozen dormant state of our habitat versus the first subtle signs of spring.

Expressive Arts
-Materials: construction paper, paint, paint trays, squeeze bottles of paint, paintbrushes, wooden beads, plastic beads, wire, markers, crayons, glue
-Rationale: Many of the children in the class have enjoyed mixing paint to create new colors at the easel. To support this interest, and to allow the children to practice intentionality when mixing color, we will provide colorful objects that the children can reference as they mix paint to match the color they see. Bead lacing in the manipulative cave was popular before break so we will add beading with wire to the art area. This will support creative expression with beading and also allow the children to take home the creations they have made.
-Skills: fine motor strength and coordination, color recognition, creative exploration, problem solving, emerging math skills (patterning), self-expression, creative risk-taking

Sensory
-Materials: flax seed, scoops, funnels, tubes, cups for scooping and pouring
-Rationale: Before the break the children used many of the same tools to explore the properties of the water and ice that we had in our sensory table. By switching the raw material to flax seed, teachers hope to renew the children's interest in the area and foster comparisons between the properties of the two materials. Additionally, the open-ended tubes, scoops and funnels present an opportunity for the children to practice their problem solving skills as they try to connect the materials to create a flow system for the flax seed.
-Skills: sensory exploration, scientific thinking and reasoning, measuring, problem solving, cooperative play

Light Table
-Materials: transparencies depicting various familiar fairy tales (Goldilocks and the Three Bears, The Three Billy Goats Gruff, etc.)
-Rationale: To provide yet another way for the children to retell familiar stories as well as invent new ones, we have added characters and sets in transparency form. We will continue to dictate the children's stories to support literacy and give them a sense of ownership and to take pride in their storytelling.
-Skills: fine motor skills, pre-literacy skills, symbolic representation, creative expression, self-confidence, peer negotiation and social interactions

Science
-Materials: magnets, prompting questions, a variety of objects that react to magnets and a variety of those that do not, flash light, broken drum, puzzle with missing pieces
-Rationale: We have added a new focus to one area of our science center this week; we have created a "Problem Solving Station" to provide children with the chance to dig deeply into the problem solving process and hone their inquiry and reasoning skills. Throughout the week different materials will be placed at the table along with the prompting questions "Can you fix it?" "What tools do you need?" and "What are you going to do first?" The teachers will use these questions to guide the children through the process of identifying and solving problems with hands-on materials. Our first order of business will be to fix the torn drum in our classroom. Can we fix it? What tools will we need? What do we need to do first? We will encourage the children to work together and share ideas throughout the process.
-Skills: Scientific inquiry, observation, drawing conclusions, reasoning, grouping, descriptive language, informative language, comparing and contrasting, knowledge of physical properties, knowledge of the natural world, problem solving, team work

Math and Manipulatives
-Materials: magnet blocks, beads, string, legos
-Rationale: In order to expand on the children's exploration of magnets, we are introducing a new builder, "magnet blocks" this week. The teachers hope that introducing this new type of magnet will spark the children 's interest regarding the various uses of magnets.
-Skills: fine motor strength, early math concepts, peer negotiation, symbolic representation, hand-eye coordination

Language and Literacy
-Materials: name cards, paper, various writing utensils (markers, colored pencils), scissors, tape, a variety of books, envelopes, pre-made booklets, vocabulary words, story writing prompts
-Rationale: Before break the writing area was a popular choice for many of the children in our classroom. As the children explore the new "post office" in the dramatic play area, teachers anticipate that the popularity of the center will continue to grow! While we have writing materials spread throughout the room, having a central location dedicated to writing and other pre-literacy skills serves as a familiar and secure spot for the children to practice their burgeoning skills independently or with a group of peers.
-Skills: letter recognition, fine motor control, pre-/early literacy skills, alphabetic principle, phonemic awareness, artistic expression

Dramatic Play
-Materials: Loft Area- stove, refrigerator, sink and other assorted wooden kitchen furniture, dishes, different types of food, open-ended fabrics, paper, markers, clipboards, calculator, mailbox, stamps, envelopes, paper, pencils, postal worker bags, hats and shirts. Dramatic play cave- sticks, open-ended fabrics, stuffed woodland animals

-Rationale: As a result of our focus on literacy and a small-group field trip to the post office, many of the children have been interested in writing letters and delivering them to classmates. In order to facilitate this interest and allow it to grow we have moved the "post office" dramatic play materials to the back of the classroom. There children will have the opportunity to explore ideas about community helpers, literacy, communication, and the use and purpose of print as they "play post office."
-Skills: symbolic representation, role-playing, problem solving, writing, alphabetic principal, pre-/early literacy skills, decision making.

Blocks
-Materials: hollow blocks, unit blocks, ramps, wood boards, big fabric pieces, steering wheels, pvc pipe, maps

-Rationale: The children consistently use every block in the hollow block area to build structures that support their dramatic play themes. Houses that hold several children were the structure of choice before break. To encourage cooperation and to maximize the number of children able to live in each home, we will support problem solving and teamwork to create homes that accommodate many.
-Skills: construction skills, dramatic play, symbolic representation, problem- solving, mathematical concepts such as symmetry, dimensions and fractions

Large Motor



-Materials: rope-swing, "Balance Bridge," donut slide, triangle slide, scooter boards, mini-trampoline
-Rationale: The theme for this gym set-up is big-body movements and is supported by equipment that engages the children's whole bodies in dynamic movement. We added the smaller triangle slide of the edge of the climber, as well as the large donut slide to the side of the climber - challenging children to slide off the side of the jumping donut and land on their feet! We also added an inclined balance-beam bridge - adding a new level of challenge for those that enjoyed the bridge from the previous set-up. We put the scooter boards in the back of the gym, and we anticipate many new and fun games to be created over the next two weeks! Last, but certainly not least, we added the rope swing! A favorite of many, the large rope-swing challenges children to use many skills simultaneously in order to successfully swing back and forth!
-Skills: upper-body strength/endurance, grasping, pushing/pumping with feet (propulsion skills), spatial-/directional-/body-awareness (proprioceptive skills), jumping and landing, eye-to-foot coordination, static and dynamic balance, flexibility, agility, cardio-vascular endurance, cooperation/negotiation, "big-body" play

Snack
Monday - Crackers & milk
Tuesday - Pretzels & raisins
Wednesday - Pineapple chunks & rice crackers
Thursday - Bananas & rice cakes
Friday - Rice chex & milk


Overview:
With two weeks left of the winter session, small groups have started to wrap up. Ally's and Emily's small groups presented their culminating events during Morning Meeting last week. Taya's small group will present their culminating event this week. The open-ended materials in the classroom have encouraged children to explore their interests. Children's interests guided teachers in choosing this week's materials. Play dough has been a very popular activity for the past few weeks. Children continue to shape and mold the play dough into food and animals. This week children will have the opportunity to save their sculptures and paint them once the play dough has dried. Children continue to enjoy the water at the sensory table. This week funnels and tubes will be added so that children can transfer water between three different bins. The Post Office has been a very popular area in the classroom. Children have been busy writing letters to one another and using the mailboxes. This week children will be encouraged to use the dramatic play clothing (hats, shirts, and mail carrier bags) and deliver mail to children's cubbies.

Expressive Arts:
- Materials: Play dough, rolling pins, popsicle sticks, dull knives, garlic press, potato masher, pizza cutters, tempura paint. Easel, brushes, tempera paint, paper. Overhead projector, popsicle sticks, tape, construction paper.
- Rationale: Play dough continues to be a popular activity in the classroom. Children have taken pride in the animals and food that they have sculpted. Plain colored play dough will be available so that children can save their sculptures. Once the play dough sculptures have dried, children will be able to paint them and use them for future experiences with play dough. Children will explore shadows using the overhead projector. Materials will be available for children to create shadow puppets. The children will be able to use their puppets to act out stories.
- Skills: self-expression, fine motor skills, symbolic representation, creative expression, cause-and-effect relationships, experimentation, heuristic language, descriptive language, sensory stimulation, social interactions.

Sensory:
- Materials: Sensory table, blue water, measuring cups, transparent tubes, funnels, small penguins.
- Rationale: The children have been busy using cups and animals to transfer water from one bin to the other bin. Following the children's interests, funnels and tubes will be introduced this week. Children will be able to use the funnels and tubes to move water between the different bins. Blue water will be used so that children can better see the water being transferred through the tubes. Children will be able to use the measuring cups to pour water into the funnels. The measuring cups also allow for the measurement of volume.
- Skills: problem-solving, negotiating, self-regulation, sensory stimulation, fine motor skills, cause-and-effect relationships, generalizing, awareness of numerals, social interactions, receptive language, heuristic language, descriptive language.

Science:
- Materials: Bird beak pictures, bird seed, rubber insects, strainer, tweezers, pliers. Scale, objects that float, objects that sink, two buckets of water.
- Rationale: Last week the children identified different tools that mimic the shape and function of various bird beaks. This week the tools will be available so that children can explore and inquire about how birds catch their food. Each day a new tool will be featured at the science table. The other science table will feature new concepts about sinking and floating. Various objects will be available for children to place into bins of water. Children can predict which objects will sink or float, observe what happens when the items are placed in the water, and inquire about why they sink or float. Children can use the scale to weigh different objects and generate predictions relating to the weight of the objects, such as lightweight objects will float but heavyweight objects will sink.
- Skills: scientific inquiry, observation, prediction, hypothesizing, concept knowledge, descriptive language, heuristic language, informative language, symbolic representation, comparing and contrasting, drawing conclusions, generalizing, reasoning, knowledge of physical properties, cause-and-effect relationships, fine motor skills.

Math and Manipulatives:
- Materials: Legos, string, large beads, magnet board, magnetic shapes. Translucent colored tangrams.
- Rationale: The children have been busy using the legos to construct and design buildings and roadways. This week we will remind children of their creations and encourage continued construction. String and large beads will be added to the math cave so that children can revisit patterning. The magnet board will have a line down the middle in order for children to create symmetry with the magnetic shapes. Translucent colored tangrams will be added to the light table. Children can piece together the different shapes to form a variety of creations.
Skills: problem solving, geometry, concept knowledge, one-to-one correspondence, whole/part relationships, pre-academic concepts of shapes and colors, symmetry, fine motor skills, patterning.

Language and Literacy:
- Materials: Paper, envelopes, square stickers ("stamps"). A variety of writing implements, scissors, stencils, name cards. A posting of the upper and lower case alphabet. A well stocked library with books about the alphabet, animals, habitats, and winter. Puzzles with upper and lower case alphabet letters.
- Rationale: The Post Office has been very busy! Children have been excited to see letters in their mailboxes. This week we will encourage children to write more letters so that everyone has an opportunity to receive mail. Dramatic play clothes (hats, shirts, and letter carrier bags) were added to the post office last week. Children pretended to be mail carriers and delivered mail to children's cubbies. Last week children used the upper loft to draw fairies. Since children have expressed a great interest in fairies, a step-by-step drawing of a fairy will be added to upper loft.
- Skills: letter recognition, letter sound recognition, awareness of the alphabetic principle, phonemic awareness, familiarity with symbol systems, symbolic representation, fine motor control, descriptive and creative writing, listening and receptive abilities, hand-eye coordination, concept knowledge (sending mail), social interaction, dramatic play.

Dramatic Play:
- Materials: Kitchen, dishes, plastic food (ice cream and ice cream cones), aprons, chef hats, calculator, phone, menus, paper, pencils.
- Rationale: Children have continued to enjoy the Ice Cream Shop. The children have taken pride in running and operating the business. The children have developed a system for ordering and delivering the food. Paper and pencils have been used to write down orders and phone numbers, and the children work together to deliver food to their customers.
- Skills: conceptual knowledge (homes, restaurants), descriptive language, heuristic language, informative language, concept knowledge (writing orders), familiarity with symbol systems, symbolic representation, role-play, social interactions, problem-solving, sharing, home-school connection, community connection.

Blocks:
- Materials: Hollow blocks, unit blocks, ramps, wood boards. Markers, paper, tape.
- Rationale: Alligators continue to be a popular interest among some of the children. Hollow blocks have been used to create large homes for the alligators. With the new interest of fairies, children have started using the hollow blocks to build fairy homes. This week we will remind children of their structures and encourage them to delve deeper into building their habitats.
- Skills: Dramatic play, symbolic representation, problem solving, negotiation, compromise, collaboration. Mathematical concepts such as symmetry, dimensions and geometry. Fine and gross motor skills.

Large Motor:
- Materials: Crawling tube, bumpy slide, A-Frame with balance beam, hopscotch, scaling block wall, basketball hoop, balls.
- Rationale: The children have seemed to enjoy the new gym set up! The gym helps children to enhance their core strength, encourages socialization and cooperation, and supports the children's exploration of what they can do with their bodies.
- Skills: Climbing (bumpy slide, scaling wall, A-frame, climbing wall), turn taking (Crawling tube, hopscotch, bumpy slide, scaling block wall, A-frame with balance beam, climbing wall), motor planning (bumpy slide, wall climber), static balance (balance beam, hopscotch), muscular strength and endurance (scaling wall) propulsion skills (basketball & basketball hoop), hand-eye coordination (basket balls and basketball hoop), and directional awareness (all)

Outdoors:
Last week we spent a lot of time outdoors! Children used shovels to build mounds of snow and create tunnels through some of the mounds. Children continued to use shovels to remove snow from certain areas of the playground. Some of the snow removal has revealed patches of ice. The ice has encouraged children to skate and develop their ability to balance. This week we hope for pleasant weather so that we can spend more time outdoors enjoying the snow and ice!

Snack
Monday - Pretzels & raisins
Tuesday - Oven fries
Wednesday - Rice chex & carrots
Thursday - Fruit smoothies & graham crackers
Friday - Popcorn


Overview:
There are a few big changes to the room this week to help enhance what we have been learning in small groups and in the class as a whole. One of the caves has been turned into a post office for the children to use for writing and sending letters while also participating in role play with mail carrier bags, shirts and hats. Emily's small group has also created a classroom mailbox that will allow the children to write and distribute letters into each other's mailboxes. In the science area one table will focus on measurement of the children's hands and feet as well as other miscellaneous objects for comparison. The other table will begin with measurement and comparison of bird beaks. Later in the week we will introduce the children to materials that mimic the shape and function of different beak types such as tweezers, pliers, straws and strainers. We have also moved the light projector to the table at the front of the room to allow the children to trace pictures they have made on the overhead projector transparencies onto large white paper. After tracing they will also be encouraged to take their art to the easel to paint. Looking forward to a week of fun and learning!

Expressive Arts:
- Materials: Play dough, rolling pins, popsicle sticks, dull knives, garlic press, potato masher, pizza cutters. Easel, brushes, tempera paint, paper. Overhead projector, children's artwork, large paper.
- Rationale: This week we will be moving the overhead projector from the cave to the front table to give the children the opportunity to trace the drawings they have made on overhead projector transparencies to large white paper. The children will also be encouraged to take this activity one step further by painting their traced drawing as well. Play dough is still an ongoing popular activity. There has been a lot of dramatic play and pizza, pie, cupcake, and other types of food being made.
- Skills: self-expression, fine motor skills, symbolic representation, creative expression, cause-and-effect relationships, experimentation, heuristic language, descriptive language, sensory stimulation, social interactions.

Sensory:
- Materials: Sensory table, blue water, water animals (whales, dolphins, seals, sea lions, penguins), mermaids, cups.
- Rationale: The sensory table ocean habitat is continuing to be a popular place for the children to play. There has been talk about what animals live in shallow waters and which ones live in deeper waters. Because of this talk the children have been using cups and the animals to transfer water from one of the tubs to the other to make one deep and one more shallow for their dramatic play with the animals.
- Skills: problem-solving, negotiating, self-regulation, sensory stimulation, knowledge of physical properties (of ice), symbolic representation, discussions and conversations related to animals and their habitats, fine motor skills, cause-and-effect relationships, generalizing, social interactions, heuristic language, descriptive language, dramatic play.

Science:
- Materials: Rulers, clipboards with paper, markers, bird beak pictures, bird seed, strainer, tweezers, pliers and a basket of miscellaneous objects.
- Rationale: This week at one of the tables we will have rulers and paper for children to trace their own hands and feet and measure them. We also put out a basket of miscellaneous objects for the children to measure and compare. On the other science table we put out pictures of different bird beaks for the children to measure, compare, and discuss their purpose. We will also have out trays with bird seed and different tools for children to explore what it would be like to have the different bird beaks and how they work to get food.
- Skills: scientific inquiry, observation, prediction, hypothesizing, concept knowledge (knowledge of the natural world), descriptive language, heuristic language, informative language, symbolic representation, comparing and contrasting, drawing conclusions, generalizing, reasoning, knowledge of physical properties, awareness of numbers and measurement, cause-and-effect relationships, fine motor skills.

Math and Manipulatives:
- Materials: Montessori color tiles, folded paper, markers, scissors, Button mosaics, cardstock, and legos.
- Rationale: This week we have added Legos to the math cave to provide a new opportunity for the children to practice their construction and design skills. We added cardstock with holes that can be added to Lego creations in new and inventive ways. The button Mosaics have provided an opportunity for the children to practice making symmetrical designs so we will continue to provide this material. The concept of symmetry is also being addressed through folded paper cutting as the children continue to enjoy cutting hearts and other symmetrical shapes.
Skills: seriation, problem solving, geometry, concept knowledge, one-to-one correspondence, whole/part relationships, symmetry, fine motor skills, patterning.

Language and Literacy:
- Materials: Paper, envelopes, square stickers ("stamps"). A variety of writing implements, scissors, stencils, name cards. A posting of the upper and lower case alphabet. A well stocked library with books about the alphabet, animals, habitats, and winter. Puzzles with upper and lower case alphabet letters.
- Rationale: This week we have turned one of the caves into a Post Office. Emily's small group has been focusing on writing letters and communication by mail. We will have paper, envelopes, "stamps", markers, dramatic play clothes (letter carrier bags, hats, and shirts), and a classroom mailbox for the children to write and send each other letters.
- Skills: letter recognition, letter sound recognition, awareness of the alphabetic principle, phonemic awareness, familiarity with symbol systems, symbolic representation, fine motor control, descriptive and creative writing, listening and receptive abilities, hand-eye coordination, concept knowledge (sending mail), social interaction, dramatic play.

Dramatic Play:
- Materials: Kitchen, dishes, plastic food (ice cream and ice cream cones), aprons, chef hats, calculator, phone, and menus.
- Rationale: The Ice Cream shop in the dramatic play area of the room remains a hit in our classroom. The children are working well to make it their own little business. They are taking orders, serving, answering phone calls, using the calculator to add prices, and working as a team to deliver the product.
- Skills: conceptual knowledge (homes, restaurants), descriptive language, heuristic language, informative language, symbolic representation, creative building, role-play, social interactions, problem-solving, sharing, home-school connection, community connection.

Blocks:
- Materials: Hollow blocks, unit blocks, ramps, wood boards. Markers, paper, tape.
- Rationale: Last week the children used the blocks for puppy homes, alligator homes, polar bear homes, and stages for performances. This week we will remind them of their structures from last week and help grow new ideas they may have for things to build.
- Skills: Dramatic play, symbolic representation, problem solving, negotiation, compromise, collaboration. Mathematical concepts such as symmetry, dimensions and geometry. Fine and gross motor skills.

Large Motor:
- Materials: Crawling tube, bumpy slide, A-Frame with balance beam, hopscotch, scaling block wall, basketball hoop, balls.
- Rationale: The children have seemed to enjoy the new gym set up! The gym helps children to enhance their core strength, encourages socialization and cooperation, and supports the children's exploration of what they can do with their bodies.
- Skills: Climbing (bumpy slide, scaling wall, A-frame, climbing wall), turn taking (Crawling tube, hopscotch, bumpy slide, scaling block wall, A-frame with balance beam, climbing wall), motor planning (bumpy slide, wall climber), static balance (balance beam, hopscotch), muscular strength and endurance (scaling wall) propulsion skills (basketball & basketball hoop), hand-eye coordination (basket balls and basketball hoop), and directional awareness (all)

Outdoors:
Last week we did not get to go outside everyday as we had hoped. When we did have the opportunity to this week however one of the big activities going on was building a snow mound. The children took the mound building one step further and dug a tunnel through the mound. The children have been having fun crawling over and through the mound. This week we will build more snow mounds with the children and dig them out to create snow forts/homes. With the snow we got Friday along with the warmer temperatures we are hoping to get lots of playground time this week!

Snacks
Monday - Clementines & pretzels
Tuesday - Rice cakes & raisins
Wednesday - Corn chex & milk
Thursday - Carrots & triscuit
Friday - Applesauce & whole wheat bagels


Overview:
Some exciting changes are in store that will enhance and add depth to the activities the children enjoy. For example, to build on the children's passion for drawing, we will add a light projector to the classroom. The children will be able to see their drawings enlarged on the wall and can trace them to make a larger version! Additionally, though Minnesota winters can seem so long, we have some interesting and new experiences planned for the children, including making prints with their very own boots! The children have also developed an interest in writing notes and letters to one another. By adding envelopes and "stamps" to the writing center, we will support this interest. Dramatic play has continued to evolve and now has included many community connections (restaurants and homes). We will add more materials to ensure the children are able to follow their interest in buying and selling ice cream and operating a restaurant. Symmetry is a new addition to the children's repertoire of mathematical awareness, so we will be introducing activities and materials that build on that interest. Looking forward to a great week!

Expressive Arts:
- Materials: Play dough, alphabet cookie cutters, rolling pins, popsicle sticks, dull knives, other cookie cutters, molds, dull pizza cutters. Warming trays, crayons, paper. Easel, brushes, tempera paint, paper. Overhead projector, children's artwork, large paper.
- Rationale: The play dough remains a popular activity! The children have been making silly words with the letter cookie cutters as well as "cooking" pizzas, soups, and desserts. To ensure that this activity remains stimulating, we will add more tools for the children to experiment with, such as molds, pizza cutters, and other shaped cookie cutters. Crayon melting has also been a well-liked activity. We will keep the warming trays and crayons. We will also add crayon shavings for the children to compare and contrast with the regular crayons. Additionally, color seriation was introduced last week during Emily's morning meeting. We will provide a single color as well as white for the easel. This will allow the children to explore the different hues that a particular color can have. Lastly, thanks to a wonderful idea of Frances', we will add an overhead projector to the classroom! We will project the children's own artwork onto the wall and they will have the opportunity to trace and color their own drawings on a larger scale! This activity is intended to foster the children's sense of pride in their work and to encourage them to appreciate others' artwork as well.
- Skills: self-expression, fine motor skills, symbolic representation, creative expression, cause-and-effect relationships, experimentation, heuristic language, descriptive language, sensory stimulation, social interactions

Sensory:
- Materials: sensory table, blue water, blocks if ice, water animals (whales, dolphins, seals, sea lions, penguins), mermaids, cups.
- Rationale: The children continue to seem interested in the ocean habitat, so we will continue with it. We did not end up adding the ice chunks last week as the children seemed to be engaged with the plain water and other materials. The children have now begun to use one of the basins of water as a cold habitat and one as a warm habitat. We will introduce the ice in one of the basins this week to support their play.
- Skills: problem-solving, negotiating, self-regulation, sensory stimulation, knowledge of physical properties (of ice), symbolic representation, discussions and conversations related to animals and their habitats, fine motor skills, cause-and-effect relationships, generalizing, social interactions, heuristic language, descriptive language, dramatic play

Science:
- Materials: Animal tracks, footprints, rulers, paper and markers. Melting tray, snow, ice (with interesting items frozen inside). Bin of snow, construction paper, children's boots.
- Rationale: In order to sustain the children's interest in melting, we will add interesting items to the ice we put on the warming trays. The children seemed to enjoy freeing objects from ice when they were in the sensory table, so this will follow up on that interest and foster their understanding of the relationship between ice, heat, and water. On the other science table, we will continue to explore animal tracks! Some of the children noticed animal tracks outside in the snow! We will keep the animal track molds that we have because children have been having interesting discussions about them. We will be adding rulers to the science table for children to use to compare and contrast their hands and feet to those of animals. This will help to foster early numeracy skills. Finally, we will engage the children in making their own tracks! We will have a bin of snow for children to step in with their own boots. They will be able to step on a piece of construction paper afterwards to see their print in more detail with the water it momentarily leaves behind. If they seem particularly interested, we can offer them markers to trace their print so it won't dry up!
- Skills: scientific inquiry, observation, prediction, hypothesizing, concept knowledge (knowledge of the natural world), classification, descriptive language, heuristic language, informative language, symbolic representation, comparing and contrasting, drawing conclusions, generalizing, reasoning, knowledge of physical properties, awareness of numbers and measurement, cause-and-effect relationships, fine motor skills

Math and Manipulatives:
- Materials: Montessori color tiles, interlockers, magnet board and shape magnets. Folded paper, markers, scissors. Button mosaics.
- Rationale: To stimulate the children's interest in manipulatives, we will be bringing in new building materials: interlockers. Our intention is to provide the children with building materials that allow them to add more detail to their constructions, which the interlockers provide. Color seriation continues to be a topic of interest, so we will keep the Montessori tiles for the children to arrange. Many of the children's Valentine traditions include making cards and cutting out hearts. During Ally's morning meeting, the children learned how to make a heart by drawing half of it on a folded sheet if paper and cutting along the line. This introduced a discussion about symmetry and the line of symmetry along the fold. The same materials will be provided for the children in the loft so that they can continue to explore shapes and symmetry. Shape and symmetry will also be incorporated in the math cave with the magnet board and shape magnets. Finally, the children continue to utilize the button mosaics. Their interest in patterning has been revived through this activity, so we will continue to have the button mosaics on the light table.
Skills: seriation, problem solving, geometry, concept knowledge, one-to-one correspondence, whole/part relationships, symmetry, fine motor skills, patterning

Language and Literacy:
- Materials: Paper, envelopes, square stickers ("stamps"). A variety of writing implements, scissors, stencils, name cards. A posting of the upper and lower case alphabet. A well stocked library with books about the alphabet, animals, habitats, and winter. Puzzles with upper and lower case alphabet letters.
- Rationale: Emily's small group has been exploring writing and mailing letters and their excitement about it is flowing over into the classroom! We will add plenty of envelopes as well as small square stickers so that the children can "mail" each other letters.
- Skills: letter recognition, letter sound recognition, awareness of the alphabetic principle, phonemic awareness, familiarity with symbol systems, symbolic representation, fine motor control, descriptive and creative writing, listening and receptive abilities, hand-eye coordination, concept knowledge (sending mail), social interaction

Dramatic Play:
- Materials: Kitchen, dishes, plastic food (ice cream and ice cream cones), aprons, chef hats, open-ended scarves.
- Rationale: The introduction of an "ice cream" shop to the classroom has been well-received! Many of the children buy and sell the ice cream or bring it into the homes they build with the hollow blocks. We will add more plastic food so that the children have plenty to use in their restaurants and houses. Additionally, we will expand the theme to under the loft, providing more space for the children to engage in this play.
- Skills: conceptual knowledge (homes, restaurants), descriptive language, heuristic language, informative language, symbolic representation, creative building, role-play, social interactions, problem-solving, sharing, home-school connection, community connection

Blocks:
- Materials: Hollow blocks, unit blocks, ramps, wood boards. Markers, paper, tape.
- Rationale: The children have been using the hollow blocks in their dramatic play, particularly for building homes and restaurants. Groups of children have worked together to build large homes where many can live. The children build doggie homes, Superman homes, and wolf homes. We will continue to have paper and markers nearby for them to create signs, adding components of early literacy to their play.
- Skills: Dramatic play, symbolic representation, problem solving, negotiation, compromise, collaboration. Mathematical concepts such as symmetry, dimensions and geometry. Fine and gross motor skills.

Large Motor:
- Materials: Crawling tube, bumpy slide, A-Frame with balance beam, hopscotch, scaling block wall, basketball hoop, balls.
- Rationale: The children have seemed to enjoy the new gym set up! The gym helps children to enhance their core strength, encourages socialization and cooperation, and supports the children's exploration of what they can do with their bodies.
- Skills: Climbing (bumpy slide, scaling wall, A-frame, climbing wall), turn taking (Crawling tube, hopscotch, bumpy slide, scaling block wall, A-frame with balance beam, climbing wall), motor planning (bumpy slide, wall climber), static balance (balance beam, hopscotch), muscular strength and endurance (scaling wall) propulsion skills (basketball & basketball hoop), hand-eye coordination (basket balls and basketball hoop), and directional awareness (all)

Outdoors:
Fortunately, the weather has been quite mild, so we have been able to go outside daily. The sledding hill continues to be a major attraction on the playground. Children have also been using shovels to dig down to the dirt and to build mountains of snow. Some children have been using the sleds to move large amounts of snow around the playground. They have also been enthusiastic about using our new snow shoes! It has been a stimulating sensory experience! The children have been having interesting discussions about whether the snow shoes help them walk more easily on the snow. We hope for more nice weather that permits us to continue to utilize all of these outdoor materials and activities.

Snack
Monday - Frozen peas & pretzels
Tuesday - Cheerios & raisins
Wednesday - Granola bars
Thursday - Carrots & crackers
Friday - Whole wheat bagels & honey butter

Overview:
Some exciting changes are in store that will enhance and add depth to the activities the children enjoy. For example, to build on the children's passion for drawing, we will add a light projector to the classroom. The children will be able to see their drawings enlarged on the wall and can trace them to make a larger version! Additionally, though Minnesota winters can seem so long, we have some interesting and new experiences planned for the children, including making prints with their very own boots! The children have also developed an interest in writing notes and letters to one another. By adding envelopes and "stamps" to the writing center, we will support this interest. Dramatic play has continued to evolve and now has included many community connections (restaurants and homes). We will add more materials to ensure the children are able to follow their interest in buying and selling ice cream and operating a restaurant. Symmetry is a new addition to the children's repertoire of mathematical awareness, so we will be introducing activities and materials that build on that interest. Looking forward to a great week!

Expressive Arts:
- Materials: Play dough, alphabet cookie cutters, rolling pins, popsicle sticks, dull knives, other cookie cutters, molds, dull pizza cutters. Warming trays, crayons, paper. Easel, brushes, tempera paint, paper. Overhead projector, children's artwork, large paper.
- Rationale: The play dough remains a popular activity! The children have been making silly words with the letter cookie cutters as well as "cooking" pizzas, soups, and desserts. To ensure that this activity remains stimulating, we will add more tools for the children to experiment with, such as molds, pizza cutters, and other shaped cookie cutters. Crayon melting has also been a well-liked activity. We will keep the warming trays and crayons. We will also add crayon shavings for the children to compare and contrast with the regular crayons. Additionally, color seriation was introduced last week during Emily's morning meeting. We will provide a single color as well as white for the easel. This will allow the children to explore the different hues that a particular color can have. Lastly, thanks to a wonderful idea of Frances', we will add an overhead projector to the classroom! We will project the children's own artwork onto the wall and they will have the opportunity to trace and color their own drawings on a larger scale! This activity is intended to foster the children's sense of pride in their work and to encourage them to appreciate others' artwork as well.
- Skills: self-expression, fine motor skills, symbolic representation, creative expression, cause-and-effect relationships, experimentation, heuristic language, descriptive language, sensory stimulation, social interactions

Sensory:
- Materials: sensory table, blue water, blocks if ice, water animals (whales, dolphins, seals, sea lions, penguins), mermaids, cups.
- Rationale: The children continue to seem interested in the ocean habitat, so we will continue with it. We did not end up adding the ice chunks last week as the children seemed to be engaged with the plain water and other materials. The children have now begun to use one of the basins of water as a cold habitat and one as a warm habitat. We will introduce the ice in one of the basins this week to support their play.
- Skills: problem-solving, negotiating, self-regulation, sensory stimulation, knowledge of physical properties (of ice), symbolic representation, discussions and conversations related to animals and their habitats, fine motor skills, cause-and-effect relationships, generalizing, social interactions, heuristic language, descriptive language, dramatic play

Science:
- Materials: Animal tracks, footprints, rulers, paper and markers. Melting tray, snow, ice (with interesting items frozen inside). Bin of snow, construction paper, children's boots.
- Rationale: In order to sustain the children's interest in melting, we will add interesting items to the ice we put on the warming trays. The children seemed to enjoy freeing objects from ice when they were in the sensory table, so this will follow up on that interest and foster their understanding of the relationship between ice, heat, and water. On the other science table, we will continue to explore animal tracks! Some of the children noticed animal tracks outside in the snow! We will keep the animal track molds that we have because children have been having interesting discussions about them. We will be adding rulers to the science table for children to use to compare and contrast their hands and feet to those of animals. This will help to foster early numeracy skills. Finally, we will engage the children in making their own tracks! We will have a bin of snow for children to step in with their own boots. They will be able to step on a piece of construction paper afterwards to see their print in more detail with the water it momentarily leaves behind. If they seem particularly interested, we can offer them markers to trace their print so it won't dry up!
- Skills: scientific inquiry, observation, prediction, hypothesizing, concept knowledge (knowledge of the natural world), classification, descriptive language, heuristic language, informative language, symbolic representation, comparing and contrasting, drawing conclusions, generalizing, reasoning, knowledge of physical properties, awareness of numbers and measurement, cause-and-effect relationships, fine motor skills

Math and Manipulatives:
- Materials: Montessori color tiles, interlockers, magnet board and shape magnets. Folded paper, markers, scissors. Button mosaics.
- Rationale: To stimulate the children's interest in manipulatives, we will be bringing in new building materials: interlockers. Our intention is to provide the children with building materials that allow them to add more detail to their constructions, which the interlockers provide. Color seriation continues to be a topic of interest, so we will keep the Montessori tiles for the children to arrange. Many of the children's Valentine traditions include making cards and cutting out hearts. During Ally's morning meeting, the children learned how to make a heart by drawing half of it on a folded sheet if paper and cutting along the line. This introduced a discussion about symmetry and the line of symmetry along the fold. The same materials will be provided for the children in the loft so that they can continue to explore shapes and symmetry. Shape and symmetry will also be incorporated in the math cave with the magnet board and shape magnets. Finally, the children continue to utilize the button mosaics. Their interest in patterning has been revived through this activity, so we will continue to have the button mosaics on the light table.
Skills: seriation, problem solving, geometry, concept knowledge, one-to-one correspondence, whole/part relationships, symmetry, fine motor skills, patterning

Language and Literacy:
- Materials: Paper, envelopes, square stickers ("stamps"). A variety of writing implements, scissors, stencils, name cards. A posting of the upper and lower case alphabet. A well stocked library with books about the alphabet, animals, habitats, and winter. Puzzles with upper and lower case alphabet letters.
- Rationale: Emily's small group has been exploring writing and mailing letters and their excitement about it is flowing over into the classroom! We will add plenty of envelopes as well as small square stickers so that the children can "mail" each other letters.
- Skills: letter recognition, letter sound recognition, awareness of the alphabetic principle, phonemic awareness, familiarity with symbol systems, symbolic representation, fine motor control, descriptive and creative writing, listening and receptive abilities, hand-eye coordination, concept knowledge (sending mail), social interaction

Dramatic Play:
- Materials: Kitchen, dishes, plastic food (ice cream and ice cream cones), aprons, chef hats, open-ended scarves.
- Rationale: The introduction of an "ice cream" shop to the classroom has been well-received! Many of the children buy and sell the ice cream or bring it into the homes they build with the hollow blocks. We will add more plastic food so that the children have plenty to use in their restaurants and houses. Additionally, we will expand the theme to under the loft, providing more space for the children to engage in this play.
- Skills: conceptual knowledge (homes, restaurants), descriptive language, heuristic language, informative language, symbolic representation, creative building, role-play, social interactions, problem-solving, sharing, home-school connection, community connection

Blocks:
- Materials: Hollow blocks, unit blocks, ramps, wood boards. Markers, paper, tape.
- Rationale: The children have been using the hollow blocks in their dramatic play, particularly for building homes and restaurants. Groups of children have worked together to build large homes where many can live. The children build doggie homes, Superman homes, and wolf homes. We will continue to have paper and markers nearby for them to create signs, adding components of early literacy to their play.
- Skills: Dramatic play, symbolic representation, problem solving, negotiation, compromise, collaboration. Mathematical concepts such as symmetry, dimensions and geometry. Fine and gross motor skills.

Large Motor:
- Materials: Crawling tube, bumpy slide, A-Frame with balance beam, hopscotch, scaling block wall, basketball hoop, balls.
- Rationale: The children have seemed to enjoy the new gym set up! The gym helps children to enhance their core strength, encourages socialization and cooperation, and supports the children's exploration of what they can do with their bodies.
- Skills: Climbing (bumpy slide, scaling wall, A-frame, climbing wall), turn taking (Crawling tube, hopscotch, bumpy slide, scaling block wall, A-frame with balance beam, climbing wall), motor planning (bumpy slide, wall climber), static balance (balance beam, hopscotch), muscular strength and endurance (scaling wall) propulsion skills (basketball & basketball hoop), hand-eye coordination (basket balls and basketball hoop), and directional awareness (all)

Outdoors:
Fortunately, the weather has been quite mild, so we have been able to go outside daily. The sledding hill continues to be a major attraction on the playground. Children have also been using shovels to dig down to the dirt and to build mountains of snow. Some children have been using the sleds to move large amounts of snow around the playground. They have also been enthusiastic about using our new snow shoes! It has been a stimulating sensory experience! The children have been having interesting discussions about whether the snow shoes help them walk more easily on the snow. We hope for more nice weather that permits us to continue to utilize all of these outdoor materials and activities.

Snack
Monday - Frozen peas & pretzels
Tuesday - Cheerios & raisins
Wednesday - Granola bars
Thursday - Carrots & crackers
Friday - Whole wheat bagels & honey butter

Overview
Last week the children were busy exploring substances that may, or may not, make snow and ice melt. This week, warming trays will be added to the classroom so that children can conduct additional experiments in melting ice and snow. The art table will also have warming trays so that children can make comparisons between what they observe at the science center and what happens when the crayons are warmed. They will also have the opportunity to create unique artwork throughout the process. Throughout the session, children have been learning about habitats. The teachers have been arranging the cave and loft areas so that children can explore particular habitats such as woodland and arctic environments. This week the teachers have arranged the cave and loft areas so that children can use what they have learned to create different habitats.

Expressive Arts

-Materials: Play dough, alphabet cookie cutters, rolling pins, popsicle sticks, dull knives. Warming trays, crayons, paper. Easel, brushes, tempera paint, paper.
-Rationale: The children really enjoyed the play dough last week! Children recognized the alphabet letters and used the cookie cutters to spell words. Since the children have become familiar with the play dough and letters, more materials will be added to the play dough table. Children can use the new materials to write letters and words and to create a variety of shapes and models. Warming trays will be available so that children can melt crayons on paper and create unique artwork.
-Skills: self-expression, fine motor skills, symbolic representation, creative expression, cause-and-effect relationships, experimentation, heuristic language, descriptive language, sensory stimulation.

Sensory Materials

- Materials: Sensory table, blue water, blocks/chunks of ice, seals, whales, dolphins, mermaids, cups.
- Rationale: This week the sensory table will be transformed into an ocean. Blue water, "icebergs," and ocean creatures will be added to the table so that children can explore a new habitat.
- Skills: problem-solving, negotiating, self-regulation, sensory stimulation, knowledge of physical properties (of ice), symbolic representation, discussions and conversations related to animals and their habitats, fine motor skills, cause-and-effect relationships, generalizing, social interactions, heuristic language, descriptive language, dramatic play

Science
- Materials: Melting trays, ice, snow. Animal tracks and footprints.
- Rationale: The children have been exploring a variety of materials that melt snow and ice. This week, warming trays will be added to the science area so that children can watch snow and ice melt at a faster rate. Children can hypothesize and predict whether snow or ice will melt faster. While outdoors, children have noticed different tracks and footprints in the snow. The science table will have pictures and molds of various animal footprints. After exploring these materials, children can search for animal footprints outdoors and begin to name which animals they belong to.
- Skills: scientific inquiry, observation, prediction, hypothesize, conceptual knowledge-knowledge of the natural world, classification, descriptive language, heuristic language, informative language, symbolic representation, comparing and contrasting, drawing conclusions, generalizing, reasoning, knowledge of physical properties.

Math and Manipulatives
-Materials: Star connectors, Montessori seriation cylinders, Montessori color tiles.
-Rationale: The star connectors were used frequently last week. Children problem solved and formed a variety of angles as they pieced together the materials. Seriation cylinders will be added to develop children's ability to order by size. The Montessori color tiles will be added to incorporate a different type of seriation: ordering shades of colors from dark to light.
-Skills: seriation, problem solving, geometry, concept knowledge, one-to-one correspondence and whole/part relationships.


Language and Literacy
-Materials: A variety of writing implements, scissors, stencils, paper, name cards, and a posting of the upper and lower case alphabet, a well stocked library with books about the alphabet, animals, habitats, and winter. Puzzles with upper and lower case alphabet letters and a magnet board with alphabet letters. We have also added laminated upper and lower case letters to the light table for the children to use, and button mosaics.
-Rationale: Alphabet stencils will be added to the Literacy Loft to encourage letter and letter sound recognition. Children will be able to trace letters and form words using the stencils. Button mosaics and laminated upper and lower case letters will be added to the light table to form letters in a novel way.
-Skills: letter recognition, letter sound recognition, awareness of the alphabetic principle, phonemic awareness, familiarity with symbol systems, symbolic representation, fine motor control, descriptive and creative writing, listening and receptive abilities, hand eye coordination.

Dramatic Play
- Materials: Assorted hibernating animals, open-ended fabric, sticks, blocks. Stuffed woodland animals, natural materials (logs, bark, and pinecones), fabric. Kitchen with dishes, food, scarves.
- Rationale: The children have had a lot of experience with habitats and apply what they know through play. The cave and loft areas will have a variety of materials available for children to construct a variety of habitats. In addition, we will continue to read and act out the children's stories from home as this has been a great community building activity.
- Skills: conceptual knowledge-knowledge of the natural world, descriptive language, heuristic language, informative language, symbolic representation, creative building, indoor-outdoor connection, role-play, social interactions, discussions and conversations related to animals and their habitats, problem-solving, sharing, home-school connection.

Blocks

-Materials: Hollow blocks, unit blocks, ramps, wood boards, markers, paper, and tape.
-Rationale: Airplane and helicopter building have been popular activities using the hollow blocks. Ally's small group has been exploring how people fly. This topic has encouraged other children to participate in the building of these structures. The children have grown in their careful planning and attention to detail in choosing the sizes and shapes blocks.
-Skills: Construction skills, dramatic play, symbolic representation, problem solving, negotiation, compromise, collaboration. Mathematical concepts such as symmetry, dimensions and geometry.

Large Motor


-Materials: Crawling tube, bumpy slide, A-Frame with balance beam, hopscotch, scaling block wall, basketball hoop, basketballs and climbing wall

-Rationale: In order to foster new skills and keep the children engaged in the large motor activities, new equipment has been added to the large motor room! While many new pieces of equipment have been added, we have kept the rolling bumpy slide as many children continue to enjoy experimenting with going down the slide in different ways. All of these activities build the children's core strength, encourage socialization and cooperation, and support the children's exploration of what they can do with their bodies.
-Skills: Climbing (bumpy slide, scaling wall, A-frame, climbing wall), turn taking (Crawling tube, hopscotch, bumpy slide, scaling block wall, A-frame with balance beam, climbing wall), motor planning (bumpy slide, wall climber), static balance (balance beam, hopscotch), muscular strength and endurance (scaling wall) propulsion skills (basketball & basketball hoop), hand-eye coordination (basket balls and basketball hoop), and directional awareness (all)

-Outside: The children enjoyed all of the new snow last week! Sledding was a popular activity that many children enjoyed! Animal tracks were found last week in the freshly fallen snow. This week we are hoping for more snow so that children can search for more tracks, classify the animal that made the tracks, and follow the tracks to see where they lead. Last week, Taya's small group was busy exploring snow removal. While outdoors, children shoveled pathways and removed snow from benches. Children can continue to explore snow removal and find areas on the playground that may need to be shoveled.

Snack
Monday - Applesauce & triscuit
Tuesday - Sunbutter on plain rice cakes
Wednesday - Cheerios & raisins
Thursday - Classmade popsicles
Friday - Whole wheat cinnamon toast


Overview
There has been increased interest in the plastic animals and dramatic play in the caves has been focused mainly on animals and animal homes the past week. We have added paint and animals to the art area for the children to explore the different foot prints animals make. The children have also continued their curiosity about what makes ice melt. This week we have added more substances for the children to use in their experiments melting ice. We have incorporated a recording system so they can chart their observations and results of these experiments. The children have shown increased interest in storytelling after bringing in the stories they wrote at home. At the same time, they have been creating new stories and acting them out in the back of the room. This week we hope to bring the two together and will encourage the children to act out the stories written by themselves and their peers. This will give them an opportunity to feel ownership of their classroom experience and build social interactions.

Expressive Arts

-Materials: Easel, brushes, tempera paint, paper. Plastic animals play dough, alphabet cookie cutters.
-Rationale: This week we have added play dough and letter shaped cookie cutters. One of our overarching themes is language and literacy and the children have been showing a lot of interest in letters and words. Emily's small group has also been doing scavenger hunts looking for letters which has sparked even more interest in working with letters. The children are still very interested in animals and their different habitats. We want to expand on this interest by talking about the tracks different animals make as they walk from place to place in their habitats. To help with this we have added paint and plastic animals that the children can use to draw habitats and make tracks showing the places animals may go. The children continue to use the easel on a regular basis, so it will remain in its same location to provide children with a comfortable and familiar experience.
-Skills: self-expression, fine motor skills, symbolic representation, creative expression, cause-and-effect relationships, experimentation, heuristic language, descriptive language, sensory stimulation.

Sensory Materials

- Materials: Sensory table, plastic polar bears, seals, whales, turtles, blocks/chunks of ice, mittens/gloves, small forks, small shovels/rakes.
- Rationale: We are very thankful for the snow fall we received last weekend because we can once again have snow at our sensory table. Along with the snow we will continue to have the ice blocks with objects in them at the sensory table. In the previous weeks the children enjoyed using tools to get the plastic animals out so this week we changed it up by freezing beads, bottle caps, metal circles, tinsel, and small wooden blocks to the ice blocks. Last week there was a lot of talk about how the children could get the objects in the ice out faster and hot water came up as an answer so they have also been adding that to the ice and snow at the sensory table.
- Skills: hypothesizing, problem-solving, negotiating, self-regulation, sensory stimulation, knowledge of physical properties (of ice), symbolic representation, fine motor skills, cause-and-effect relationships, experimentation, inquiry, generalizing, social interactions, heuristic language, descriptive language, dramatic play

Science
- Materials: ice, snow, and water bins, rock salt, stuffed pheasant and crow, bird feathers, seriation prompt, functions of feathers
- Rationale: In the feather and bird area we have added another prompt about different types of feathers a bird has such as flight, contour, and down feathers. In the bird small group there was a discussion about the different feathers and their functions so the children have become interested in learning more. We will continue to have the prompt on seriation and ordering the feathers from tallest to shortest. We will continue to have the ice, snow, and water bins out for exploration. Last week we put out salt for the children to use in their experimentation with melting. This week we will be adding sugar, flour, pepper, and salt to experiment with along with a chart for the children to mark whether each substance melts the snow and ice or not.
- Skills: sorting, classification, seriation, scientific inquiry, sensory stimulation, observation, conceptual knowledge-knowledge of the natural world, descriptive language, heuristic language, informative language, symbolic representation, comparing and contrasting, drawing conclusions, generalizing, reasoning, knowledge of physical properties.

Math and Manipulatives
-Materials: This week we will be putting out unifix cubes and trays and star connectors along with the nesting cups, backyard bird patterns, and puzzles emphasizing seriation by sizes that were out in previous weeks.
-Rationale: Last week we introduced seriation into the classroom with feathers, natural materials, plastic animals, and manipulatives. This week we will be putting the unifix cubes and trays into the caves to continue this topic of seriation in the classroom.
-Skills: seriation, patterning, matching, concept knowledge, one-to-one correspondence and whole/part relationships.


Language and Literacy
-Materials: A variety of writing implements, paper, name cards, and a posting of the upper and lower case alphabet, a well stocked library with books about the alphabet, animals, habitats, and winter. Puzzles with upper and lower case alphabet letters and a magnet board with alphabet letters. We have also added laminated upper and lower case letters to the light table for the children to use, and colored stones.
-Rationale: We have added the laminated letters, paper, and colored stones to the light table for the children to practice making various upper and lower case letters in a novel way that will also enhance their letter recognition and provide opportunities to talk about letter sounds. We will keep out the alphabet puzzles, clipboards and markers in the loft, and name cards for the children to continue fostering literacy development.
-Skills: letter recognition, awareness of the alphabetic principle, phonemic awareness, familiarity with symbol systems, symbolic representation, fine motor control, descriptive and creative writing, listening and receptive abilities, hand eye coordination.

Dramatic Play
- Materials: We have added bird costumes with the growing interest in flight and acting like birds, assorted stuffed animals from the arctic, assorted hibernating animals, cardboard tubes, blocks. Stuffed woodland animals, natural materials (logs, bark, and pinecones). Kitchen with dishes, food, open-ended scarves.
- Rationale: Last week there was a large focus on water animals such as whales, seals, turtles, walruses, sharks, etc. Large blue pieces of material to be used as water helped the children go deeper in their play. We will continue to help guide their play with these animals and step in when needed to help them go deeper in their thinking and play. By adding labels to the wall, we hope to keep enhancing the children's awareness of print as it relates to their play. We will also be adding blue water to the sensory table to add another aspect of the children's play. We will also continue to have the forest animals out under the loft for play.
- Skills: conceptual knowledge-knowledge of the natural world, descriptive language, heuristic language, informative language, symbolic representation, creative building, indoor-outdoor connection, role-play, social interactions, discussions and conversations related to animals and their habitats, problem-solving, sharing, home-school connection

Blocks

-Materials: hollow blocks, unit blocks, ramps, wood boards, markers, paper, and tape
-Rationale: This week we have decided to start using the stories the children have written at home to support creative dramatics. The children have already been putting on plays after building large stages using the hollow blocks. This will be a way to work on literacy and give each child a chance to be in charge of acting out their own productions. We will continue to bring literacy into the block area by writing down scripts along with having clipboards with markers for the children to write their own scripts. The children have also been making signs for their various structures so we will continue that too. -Skills: Construction skills, dramatic play, symbolic representation, problem solving, negotiation, compromise, collaboration. Mathematical concepts such as symmetry, dimensions and geometry. Awareness of print.

Large Motor

- Materials: Pedalo, bumpy slide, rolling hill, rope swings, climbing wall, beanbag toss
- Rationale: The children by this time all have a good sense of the new gym set up. They have taken full advantage of using all of the structures and materials that are set up. They will continue to build motor and physical strength development along with cardiovascular endurance. This will be the last week with the set up we have in the gym. Friday we will be setting up a new gym arrangement!
- Skills: Target practice and throwing (beanbag toss), pushing with feet/propulsion (Pedalo), pedaling (Pedalo), standing/balancing (Pedalo), grasping (Pedalo, climbing wall, rope swing), climbing (bumpy slide, rolling hill, climbing wall), turn-taking (Pedalo, bumpy slide, rolling hill, climbing wall), motor planning (bumpy slide, rope swing, wall climber), directional awareness (all), core muscle strength (bumpy slide, rope swing, climbing wall), body awareness (bumpy slide), rolling (rolling hill), pumping/swinging (rope swings), reaching (wall climber), jumping (wall climber), turning (wall climber), spatial awareness (climbing wall, rolling hill), landing (climbing wall)
-Outside: Last week was full of negative temperatures again so we were unable to get out to the playground as much as we had hoped. It looks like the weather is supposed to warm up again this week so we will be able to head back out to the playground! As before, our time in the playground is dedicated to both unstructured and structured large motor activities as well as scientific explorations and experiments. With the snow fall last week the children were once again able to sled and with the new sticky snow there was a lot of snowman making and snow ball throwing at trees. In morning meeting last week we voted on the children's favorite activities including sledding, snowman building, and snow angels so we are hoping they will have a chance to do these things this week on the playground!

Snack
Monday - Apples & rice cakes
Tuesday - Carrots & triscuit
Wednesday - Birthday snack
Thursday - Pretzels & celery
Friday - Cranberry apple muffins


Overview
The children seem particularly interested in each of the centers and the small adjustments we have made to the materials will encourage the children to think critically about what they have discovered during the past week. The children's interest in birds is growing as they become more aware of the birds outside our school as well as others types of birds such as raptors. We have added and will continue to have nest making materials and will also add feathers to be used for collage. Furthermore, to follow up on the children's interest in ice and melting, we will continue introducing them to the different causes of melting. Last week we explored heat (the children experimented with different temperatures of water) and this week we will add salt to the science table. Finally, literacy continues to be integrated throughout the classroom, particularly with the introduction of letters on the light table. We will continue to add interesting materials to stimulate children's alphabetic awareness, such as ABC puzzles and putting labels on the wall to help children identify animals in print. Looking forward to a great week!

Expressive Arts

-Materials: Easel, brushes, tempera paint, paper. Colored ice cubes, paper. Nest-making materials: Clay, raffia, twigs, leaves, wool, pine needles. Collage materials: feathers, tape.
-Rationale: The children continue to use the easel on a regular basis, so it will remain in its same location to provide children with a comfortable and familiar experience. Additionally, the ice cube paints have been quite popular! The children appear fascinated by the ice's ability to leave marks on their paper. These paints correspond well with the discussions of melting at the sensory table and during focus groups. We will continue to have various colored ice cubes available daily. Additionally, after the children showed a lot interest in nest-making during a focus group, we have added nest-making materials to what is available during discovery time. The children have visited this center frequently and we will continue to set out the materials each day. Finally, to build on the children's interest in the feathers at the science center, we will add feathers to the collage materials and encourage the children to use the feathers to create both two- and/or three-dimensional art.
-Skills: self-expression, fine motor skills, symbolic representation, creative expression, cause-and-effect relationships, knowledge of physical properties (of ice), experimentation, heuristic language, descriptive language, sensory stimulation

Sensory Materials

- Materials: Sensory table, plastic polar bears and seals, blocks/chunks of ice, mittens/gloves
, small forks, small shovels/rakes
- Rationale: Due to the continued lack of snow, ice has been the medium of choice in the sensory table. Last week, the teachers froze plastic animals in large blocks of ice. The children worked together to brainstorm how to "save" the animals, resulting in many discussions about melting ice. We explored their interests during both discovery time and focus groups. To allow for plenty of opportunities for children to continue to make hypotheses and experiment, we will continue to put new ice blocks in the sensory table daily. Depending on the children's interests, we will freeze animals or other interesting objects in the ice.
- Skills: hypothesizing, problem-solving, negotiating, self-regulation, sensory stimulation, knowledge of physical properties (of ice), symbolic representation, fine motor skills, cause-and-effect relationships, experimentation, inquiry, generalizing, social interactions, heuristic language, descriptive language, dramatic play

Science
- Materials: ice, snow, and water bins, rock salt, stuffed pheasant and crow, bird feathers, seriation prompt
- Rationale: The children continue to frequent the science tables, so not much will change. We have added a display prompting the children to order the feathers by size, reflecting our discussions of seriation at morning meetings and the nesting cups and circle stackers in the manipulatives cave. Many children have utilized this tool and the teachers have been able to talk with many children about the comparison of sizes. Additionally, to follow up on the children's interests in melting, we will add rock salt to the science table along with the bins of water, snow, and ice. The children will have the opportunity to test the salt on various forms of water.
- Skills: seriation, scientific inquiry, sensory stimulation, observation, conceptual knowledge-knowledge of the natural world, descriptive language, heuristic language, informative language, symbolic representation, comparing and contrasting, drawing conclusions, generalizing, reasoning, knowledge of physical properties.

Math and Manipulatives
-Materials: Circle stackers, nesting cups, snowflake builders, backyard bird patterning game, puzzles emphasizing seriation by size.
-Rationale: The children continue to seem interested in these particular manipulative materials, so we will keep them available. After a demonstration during morning meeting, the children have begun to use the circle stackers to represent the different sized animals in a food chain, representing two forms of seriation (size order and order that the animals are eaten). We will continue to support the children's discussions in this area.
-Skills: seriation, patterning, matching, concept knowledge, one-to-one correspondence and whole/part relationships.


Language and Literacy
-Materials: A variety of writing implements, paper, notebooks, name cards, and a posting of the upper and lower case alphabet. A well stocked library with books about the alphabet, animals, habitats, and winter. Puzzles with upper and lower case alphabet letters and a magnet board with alphabet letters.
-Rationale: The children have seemed to enjoy the variety of alphabet puzzles we have in the classroom, including small table puzzles to large floor puzzles. We will continue to incorporate literacy throughout the classroom. We have found children utilize the loft more often when writing materials are already up there for them, so we will bring clipboards and markers back up. We will continue to encourage them to create signs and labels for their play as well as other things they find or create in the classroom. Furthermore, we will add more print to the classroom by adding labels to show the names of the various animals and habitats in our room.
-Skills: letter recognition, awareness of the alphabetic principle, phonemic awareness, familiarity with symbol systems, symbolic representation, fine motor control, descriptive and creative writing, listening and receptive abilities

Dramatic Play
- Materials: assorted stuffed animals from the arctic, assorted hibernating animals, cardboard tubes, blocks. Stuffed woodland animals, natural materials (logs, bark, and pinecones), animal costumes. Kitchen with dishes, food, open-ended scarves.
- Rationale: The children continue to involve the stuffed and plastic animals in their play. Moving the hibernation animals to the cave near the arctic has prompted discussions comparing and contrasting the homes and habitats of the various animals. By adding labels to the wall, we hope to enhance the children's awareness of print as it relates to their play. Additionally, some of the children have shown interest in alligators and other swamp animals. To support their play and discussion of habitats, we will post pictures of swamps to inspire their habitat building and assist the children in researching about swamps if they have any questions.
- Skills: conceptual knowledge-knowledge of the natural world, descriptive language, heuristic language, informative language, symbolic representation, creative building, indoor-outdoor connection, role-play, social interactions, discussions and conversations related to animals and their habitats, problem-solving, sharing, home-school connection

Blocks

-Materials: hollow blocks, unit blocks, ramps, wood boards, markers, paper, and tape.

-Rationale: The children have continued their airplane theme, but have also created some new and interesting themes that we will follow up on this week. In addition to the swamp play, the children have built puppy and kitty homes and have built a stage and put on theatrical productions. To bring literacy to the block area, the teachers will offer to write down the children's scripts and model how to refer to the scripts when putting on the play.
-Skills: Construction skills, dramatic play, symbolic representation, problem solving, negotiation, compromise, collaboration. Mathematical concepts such as symmetry, dimensions and geometry. Awareness of print

Large Motor
- Materials: Pedalo, bumpy slide, rolling hill, rope swing, climbing wall, beanbag toss
- Rationale: The children are using the gym to it's fullest by using all the equipment not only to enhance their physical development but also to incorporate into their animal themed dramatic play scenarios. They will have the added challenge of practicing their throwing skills and aim by using the beanbag toss.
- Skills: Target practice and throwing (beanbag toss), pushing with feet/propulsion (Pedalo), pedaling (Pedalo), standing/balancing (Pedalo), grasping (Pedalo, climbing wall, rope swing), climbing (bumpy slide, rolling hill, climbing wall), turn-taking (Pedalo, bumpy slide, rolling hill, climbing wall), motor planning (bumpy slide, rope swing, wall climber), directional awareness (all), core muscle strength (bumpy slide, rope swing, climbing wall), body awareness (bumpy slide), rolling (rolling hill), pumping/swinging (rope swings), reaching (wall climber), jumping (wall climber), turning (wall climber), spatial awareness (climbing wall, rolling hill), landing (climbing wall)

- Outside: Unfortunately, the cold weather has limited our time outside. We look forward to warmer weather so that the children can explore the changes happening to our playground throughout the winter! We will not be able to use the sledding until enough snow falls, but the children will continue to be able to pull each other around on the sleds. Last week the children worked together to create dirt paths for the sleds by removing the layer of ice on top. This week we will see what, if anything, happened to their paths. We will also be able to see if the wood the children removed from the stump has decomposed, an interesting investigation into the life cycle of plants!

Snack
Monday - Corn chex & milk
Tuesday - Granola bars
Wednesday - Pretzels & carrots
Thursday - Sunbutter sandwiches
Friday - Apples & rice cakes

Overview
The children have been very engaged with the new materials that were introduced last week. They have become very invested in feeding the birds and making signs to protect the food from the squirrels. This week we will encourage the children to use the observation recording sheets more systematically so we can see which birds frequent our feeder. They have also noticed that many of the birds fly over from the nearby pine tree, a place we will investigate by looking for nests. The changing states of ice and water will be investigated through a variety of experiments and activities. Not only is it incorporated at the art table, it will also be at the sensory and science tables. We will build on the children's invention of an "ice factory" to help them understand the components and factors necessary for changing water to ice then back to water again. Literacy is infused throughout the classroom and we are encouraging the children to use writing and drawing to convey messages to one another, and also to record their observations.

Expressive Arts

-Materials: Easel, brushes, tempera paint, paper. Colored ice cubes, paper.
-Rationale: The children continue to use the easel consistently, so we have changed the colors to give new inspiration to their work as well as to provide new opportunities for color mixing. Additionally, we will add paint-colored ice cubes to the table as a way to use the children's interest and experience using watercolor paint to promote discussions about melting. This activity will not only allow them to express their ideas through art, but will also stimulate their awareness of the physical properties of ice/water.
-Skills: self-expression, fine motor skills, symbolic representation, creative expression, cause-and-effect relationships, knowledge of physical properties (of ice), experimentation, heuristic language, descriptive language, sensory stimulation-

Sensory Materials

- Materials: Sensory table, plastic polar bears and seals, blocks/chunks of ice, mittens/gloves

- Rationale: The snow in the sensory table has continued to be popular. Unfortunately, with the lack of snow this winter, our supply is running out. To keep the children's interest in winter-related concepts, we will put ice chunks of various sizes and shapes in the sensory table throughout the week. The teachers will encourage the children to explore building with the ice. We will put polar bears and seals in the table to inspire the children to build homes and structures for these animals. This connects with our recent discussions about animal behaviors in the winter and relates to this year's theme: homes and habitats. Furthermore, the children will inevitably notice and comment on the ice melting throughout the day. This is a great opportunity for discussions about the physical properties of ice as well as a precursor for future experiments with melting. To sustain the children's interest in this exploration of ice, we will ask children to help us bring buckets of water outside to sit overnight, soliciting their ideas for what will happen to the water.
- Skills: creative building, self-regulation, sensory stimulation, knowledge of physical properties (of ice), symbolic representation, fine motor skills, geometry and stacking skills, cause-and-effect relationships, experimentation, inquiry, generalizing, social interactions, heuristic language, descriptive language, dramatic play

Science
-Materials: We added ice, snow, and water to one of the science tables to get the children thinking about how the three substances are similar and different. We will continue to have the bird feathers out for exploration and we will introduce the idea of organizing them by size and color.
- Rationale: The materials at the science center are designed to create community awareness of hibernation and birds and the different ways animals stay warm and survive during the winter. With the different feathers added into the science area the children will continue to compare and contrast how different birds feathers look and feel, wonder about how birds stay warm, and begin using seriation to sort them.
- Skills: Seriation, scientific inquiry, sensory stimulation, observation, conceptual knowledge-knowledge of the natural world, descriptive language, heuristic language, informative language, symbolic representation, comparing and contrasting, drawing conclusions, generalizing, reasoning, knowledge of physical properties.

Math and Manipulatives
-Materials: Circle stackers, nesting cups, snowflake builders, backyard bird patterning game, puzzles emphasizing seriation by size.
-Rationale: We are adding in another math concept, seriation to foster the children's ability to think critically and develop strategies that will help them order objects by size. The snowflake builders are a new building material that will promote problem solving as they figure out how to fit them together and work with angles in their designs.
-Skills: Seriation, Patterning, matching, concept knowledge, one-to-one correspondence and whole/part relationships. 


Language and Literacy
-Materials: A variety of writing implements, paper, notebooks, name cards, and a posting of the upper and lower case alphabet. A well stocked library with books about the alphabet, animals, habitats, and winter. Puzzles with upper and lower case alphabet letters and a magnet board with alphabet letters.
-Rationale: The children have been enjoying the variety of alphabet puzzles, from small table puzzles to large floor puzzles. This week language and literacy will be incorporated during a variety of activities. Morning Meeting songs will incorporate letter and letter sound recognition, words that rhyme, and new vocabulary relating to other classroom topics. Interactive games that incorporate letter and letter sound recognition will also be incorporated into the curriculum. Children have been very interested in writing signs for their block structures. This week children can continue to create signs for their block structures and dramatic play themes.
-Skills: Letter recognition, awareness of the alphabetic principle, phonemic awareness, familiarity with symbol systems, symbolic representation, fine motor control, descriptive and creative writing, listening and receptive abilities

Dramatic Play
- Materials: assorted stuffed animals from the arctic, assorted hibernating animals, cardboard tubes, blocks. Stuffed woodland animals, natural materials (logs, bark, and pinecones), animal costumes. Kitchen with dishes, food, open-ended scarves.
- Rationale: Building homes and caves for the various animals has been a popular activity. The hibernation animals will be moved from the science table to the cave area. This new location will encourage children to use the blocks and cardboard tubes to build homes and caves for the various hibernating animals. The children have also been interested in creating homes under the loft. Children have been using the natural materials to build nests and homes for the stuffed woodland animals.
- Skills: conceptual knowledge-knowledge of the natural world, descriptive language, heuristic language, informative language, symbolic representation, creative building, indoor-outdoor connection, role-play, social interactions, discussions and conversations related to animals and their habitats, problem-solving, sharing, home-school connection

Blocks
-Materials: Hollow blocks, unit blocks, ramps, wood boards, markers, paper, and tape. 

-Rationale: The block area has been busy with airplanes this week! Children have been excited to build airplanes and fly passengers to far away places. Numerous planes have flown to California so that passengers can find warmer weather, similar to when birds migrate to warmer areas. Children have also been using the markers, paper, and tape to write signs and tickets for the airplanes.
-Skills: Construction skills, dramatic play, symbolic representation, problem solving, negotiation, compromise, collaboration. Mathematical concepts such as symmetry, dimensions and geometry.

Large Motor

- Materials: Pedalo, bumpy slide, rolling hill, rope swing, climbing wall, beanbag toss
- Rationale: The children are using the gym to it's fullest by using all the equipment not only to enhance their physical development but also to incorporate into their animal themed dramatic play scenarios. They will have the added challenge of practicing their throwing skills and aim by using the beanbag toss.
- Skills: Target practice and throwing (beanbag toss) pushing with feet/propulsion (Pedalo), pedaling (Pedalo), standing/balancing (Pedalo), grasping (Pedalo, climbing wall, rope swing), climbing (bumpy slide, rolling hill, climbing wall), turn-taking (Pedalo, bumpy slide, rolling hill, climbing wall), motor planning (bumpy slide, rope swing, wall climber), directional awareness (all), core muscle strength (bumpy slide, rope swing, climbing wall), body awareness (bumpy slide), rolling (rolling hill), pumping/swinging (rope swings), reaching (wall climber), jumping (wall climber), turning (wall climber), spatial awareness (climbing wall, rolling hill), landing (climbing wall)

- Outside: Although there wasn't enough snow to sled last week, the children found new excitement in the large spans of ice. Some chipped away at it with shovels, others tried boot skating. Sleds were used to pull classmates around the playground and to haul ice chunks from place to place. Some children have decided that it is time to compost some of the large stumps so they began breaking them into smaller pieces so they will decompose faster. We will continue to support these child initiated play themes on the playgroud.

Snacks
Monday - No School
Tuesday - Cucumber slices & pretzels
Wednesday - Oatmeal & raisins
Thursday - Birthday Snack
Friday - Snow cones & whole wheat crackers

Overview
This week we are bringing in new materials that will highlight the curriculum topics that the student teachers will be developing over the course of this session: winter, birds, and literacy. The properties of snow are being explored both indoors and out and the children continue to develop theories about what makes snow stick together, what makes it melt, and what it can be used for. Last week the children made signs to scare squirrels away from our bird feeder so we will have an opportunity to see more birds. They will begin watching and recording the birds that frequent our feeder. The birds at the science center will allow the children to take a closer look at the physical characteristics birds that make them unique compared to the mammals that have been central to their play and investigations so far. We transformed the loft into a Literacy Loft after noticing that the children often use it for writing and drawing. The materials there are novel and interesting and will promote letter and letter sound recognition in a child-centered way.

Expressive Arts

-Materials: Easel, brushes, tempera paint, paper. Watercolor paints and paper, small brushes. Paper scraps and glue for collage.
-Rationale: Painting with the watercolor paints was very popular last week. This week we will add the pheasant to the table to inspire them to represent some of the colors and shapes they see in it. Unclaimed paintings that are dry are being used as collage material and we will engage the children in conversations about repurposing materials and reducing waste.
-Skills: Self-expression, fine motor, symbolic representation, creative expression, cause and effect relationships.

Light Table
-Materials: Pipettes, color-mixing trays, snow and color mixing bottles
-Rationale: The light table has been busy with experimentation and discovery. When snow is available we will add small amounts of it to the color mixing materials. The children will explore how the colored water and light changes the appearance and properties of the snow.
-Skills: Cause and effect relationships, experimentation, creative expression, inquiry and observation.

Sensory Materials

- Materials: Snow table, snow, small shovels, and small molding containers, spray bottles with colored water. 

- Rationale: The sensory table filled with snow has been a busy center since the children have returned to school! Last week, the children requested to paint the snow, which led to dramatic play themes related to making snow cones as well as to discussions of colors and color mixing (to "flavor" the snow cones). To connect what the children have been doing with color-mixing at the light table, we will provide colored water for the children to spray onto the snow. We will encourage the children to consider which colors mix to make other colors.
- Skills: creative building, self-regulation, sensory stimulation, knowledge of physical properties, symbolic representation, fine motor skills, cause-and-effect relationships, experimentation, inquiry, generalizing, social interactions, heuristic language, descriptive language, dramatic play

Science
- Materials: Feathers from different birds for matching with bird photographs, stuffed pheasant and crow, animal fur, and various articles of warm (human) clothing. Boxy the turtle! "Blubber Gloves" activity using snow table, snow, icy water, gloves, petroleum jelly, plastic bags
- Rationale: The materials at the science center are designed to create community awareness of hibernation and birds and the different ways animals stay warm and survive during the winter. We have just added different feathers to the science area which will allow the children to compare and contrast how different birds feathers look and feel, wonder about how birds stay warm, as well as look for patterns in the feathers. They have also questioned and discussed how such animals as whales and penguins keep warm, introducing the topic of blubber. To give children a hands-on understanding of how blubber works, we will set up the "Blubber Gloves" activity. Each child who is interested in participating will put one hand in the cold water or snow while wearing a glove covered in petroleum jelly (used to simulate the blubber) and the other hand in the cold water or snow with no covering. The teachers will engage the children in a discussion comparing and contrasting the two sensations that they feel.
- Skills: scientific inquiry, sensory stimulation, observation, conceptual knowledge-knowledge of the natural world, descriptive language, heuristic language, informative language, symbolic representation, discussions and conversations related to blubber, comparing and contrasting, drawing conclusions, generalizing, reasoning, knowledge of physical properties

Math and Manipulatives
-Materials: Backyard Bird Pattern cards, Mosaic pattern grids, flexi blocks (moveable legos), classmate bingo, puzzles featuring winter and animals, in both inset and interlocking varieties. 

-Rationale: During the previous session, we exposed the children to concepts such as sorting, matching, and categorizing. Knowledge of these concepts is necessary for creating patterns, a concept we introduced the children to and will now explore more deeply. We have added in picture patterns of "backyard birds" or birds they are most likely to see out our windows for children to copy and also to make their own patterns with different birds. The children will continue exploring the mosaic pattern grids, flexi blocks, as well as winter and animal puzzles.
-Skills: Patterning, matching, concept knowledge, one-to-one correspondence and whole/part relationships. 


Language and Literacy
-Materials: A variety of writing implements, paper, notebooks, name cards, and a posting of the upper and lower case alphabet. A well stocked library with books about the alphabet, animals, habitats, and winter. Puzzles with upper and lower case alphabet letters and a magnet board with alphabet letters.
-Rationale: The children have been enjoying the winter and animal books in the library area. Books about birds will be added to the library to support the theme of "birds" in the science area. The writing center is placed near the bird watching area to record observations. The writing center will also have laminated name cards for children to spell and write their names as well as other children's names. The upper section of the loft is now a "literacy loft" and has materials that support letter and letter sound recognition.
-Skills: Letter recognition, awareness of the alphabetic principle, phonemic awareness, familiarity with symbol systems, symbolic representation, fine motor control, descriptive and creative writing, listening and receptive abilities


Dramatic Play
- Materials: natural materials gathered from around the playground and sidewalks of the school (twigs, pine branches, rocks, dirt, etc.), stuffed birds, blocks, tape, paper. Kitchen with dishes, foods, and open-ended scarves.
- Rationale: The children have been creating homes for the stuffed bears and beavers. To extend their play and to create awareness of the birds around our homes and schools, the class will walk around the playground and sidewalks to gather natural materials, particularly those that could be used to build nests. By taking the children to gather the materials, they will be more invested in them and are more likely to use them in their play. The lower level of the loft will be organized to provide the children with an opportunity to use these natural materials along with blocks and/or art materials to build nests and act out dramatic play themes related to birds. The kitchen will also remain in the classroom for children to engage in home-related play.
- Skills: observation, conceptual knowledge-knowledge of the natural world, descriptive language, heuristic language, informative language, symbolic representation, creative building, indoor-outdoor connection, role-play, social interactions, discussions and conversations related to birds, problem-solving, sharing, home-school connection

Blocks

-Materials: Hollow blocks, unit blocks, ramps, wood boards, markers, paper, and tape. 

-Rationale: Road building has been a popular activity using the unit blocks. The paper, markers and tape are provided to create signs and traffic signals. Home/habitat construction using the hollow blocks continues to be a daily activity. The children have grown in their ability to build safe sturdy structures by paying attention to block shape and size as they carefully stack them with attention to balance.
-Skills: Construction skills, dramatic play, symbolic representation, problem solving. Mathematical concepts such as symmetry, dimensions and geometry.

Large Motor

- Materials: Pedalo, bumpy slide, rolling hill, rope swing, climbing wall
- Rationale: The children have done well easing back into the routines of school and have seemed to enjoy the familiar equipment we had set up in the gym. In order to sustain their interest in large muscle activities and to foster new skills, we have changed out some the structures and activities. The children will still have the opportunity to use old favorites: the bumpy slide and the climbing wall. In addition, we have brought out the Pedalo, created rope swings, and built a rolling hill with the gym mats. These activities build the children's core strength, encourage socialization and cooperation, support exploration of what they can do with their bodies, and makes up for some of the things that we can't do outside during the winter time (such as rolling down a grassy hill).
- Skills: pushing with feet/propulsion (Pedalo), pedaling (Pedalo), standing/balancing (Pedalo), grasping (Pedalo, climbing wall, rope swing), climbing (bumpy slide, rolling hill, climbing wall), turn-taking (Pedalo, bumpy slide, rolling hill, climbing wall), motor planning (bumpy slide, rope swing, wall climber), directional awareness (all), core muscle strength (bumpy slide, rope swing, climbing wall), body awareness (bumpy slide), rolling (rolling hill), pumping/swinging (rope swings), reaching (wall climber), jumping (wall climber), turning (wall climber), spatial awareness (climbing wall, rolling hill), landing (climbing wall)

- Outside: We opened our sledding hill last week and hope for more snow so that the children can continue to use the sleds! We will monitor the weather and ice conditions daily to ensure the safety of the children on the sledding hill. As before, our time in the playground is dedicated to both unstructured and structured large motor activities as well as scientific explorations and experiments. Many of the children have been shoveling and building with the snow, asking questions about and exploring ice and melting, and discovering how the winter weather affects the structures on the playground. We have been happy to see that they are making fascinating connections between the snow in the classroom and the snow on the playground!

Snacks
Monday - Clementines & crackers
Tuesday - Carrots & hummus
Wednesday - Black bean quesadillas
Thursday - Popcorn
Friday - Classmade Pizza

Overview and Goals

Welcome back to school! I hope everyone had a wonderful holiday season. This first week back will be a period of readjustment. It won't take too long however, for all of us to settle back into our routines. The children may express some concern about having new student teachers, Ally, Emily and Taya. If your child is having reservations about the changes please let me know and I will provide extra support. Our focus for the week will be on establishing relationships with the new teachers and getting reacquainted with friends. The new materials that we have around the classroom are designed to reconnect the children to some of the topics we began exploring this fall; opportunities for bird watching, snow sculpting, and habitat building are embedded throughout the room. The science area features some hands on activities that are designed to encourage the children to explore the idea of hibernation and the changes that animals and their habitats undergo in preparation for the cold!

Expressive Arts

-Materials: Easel, brushes, paint, paper, clay, clay tools, wire. Watercolor paints and paper, small brushes.
-Rationale: We will start this session by getting reacquainted with the properties of clay as we explore the endless possibilities that it offers for creative expression and symbolic representation. 
The watercolors will give the children an opportunity to explore color mixing in a unique and creative way.
-Skills: Self-expression, fine motor, symbolic representation, creative expression, cause and effect relationships.

Light Table
-Materials: Pipettes, color-mixing trays, and color mixing bottles
~Rationale: The light table provides the children with a unique way to explore the concept of color mixing. Children will be able to experiment with the properties of different colors and explore cause and effect relationships as they mix different colors together to create new colors!
~ Skills: Cause and effect relationships, experimentation, creative expression, inquiry and observation.

Sensory Materials

~Materials: Snow table, snow, small shovels, and small molding containers. 

-Rationale: To connect to the outdoors by providing opportunities for the children to learn about the properties of snow through play. We will encourage the children to build with the snow and these ideas will also be extended to the playground.
-Skills: creative building, self-regulation, sensory stimulation, knowledge of physical properties, enhancing symbolic representation, connection between human life and animal life, connection between indoors and outdoors.

Science

We will continue to focus our attention on animal habitats, focusing on the concept of hibernation and the changes that animals and their habitats undergo to prepare for winter. We will discuss winter survival "tactics" and adaptations animals may have during this season.
~Materials: Assorted stuffed animals for sorting (into "True hibernator" / "Light Sleeper" / "Doesn't hibernate" groups). Open-ended prompting questions designed to foster an interest in hibernation and winter survival techniques. Different textures of animal fur, and various articles of warm (human) clothing. Boxy the turtle!
~Rationale: The materials at the science center are designed to create community awareness of hibernation and the different ways animals stay warm and survive during the winter. The inclusion of the warm winter clothes will provide children with the opportunity to compare and contrast the clothing they use to keep warm with the different things animals do to produce the same effect.
~Skills: Scientific inquiry, observation, generalizing, reasoning, grouping, conceptual knowledge-knowledge of the natural world, descriptive language, heuristic language, informative language, symbolic representation.

Math and Manipulatives
~Materials: Mosaic pattern grids, flexi blocks (moveable legos), classmate bingo, puzzles featuring winter and animals, in both inset and interlocking varieties. 

~Rationale: During the previous session, we exposed the children to concepts such as sorting, matching, and categorizing. Knowledge of these concepts is necessary for creating patterns, a concept we introduced the children to and will now explore more deeply. Patterning is an important pre-academic concept and patterns can be found all around us. Daily schedules, calendars, repeating floor tiles ... these are all examples of patterns. These "simple" concepts lay the groundwork for mathematical thinking and more advanced mathematical concepts. By offering open-ended materials (where children can create their own patterns freely) and structured activities (during large group or when playing structured games) we will strengthen children's understanding of what patterning means in everyday life and we will be giving them a solid foundation for years to come. The classmate bingo game will be offered as a fun and engaging way to reconnect the children with their peers after the long break.
~Skills: Patterning, concept knowledge, one-to-one correspondence and whole/part relationships. 


Language and Literacy
We have made sure to incorporate opportunities for language and literacy in all areas of the classroom. We have book selections scattered in strategic places in the classroom such as the dramatic and symbolic play areas, science and writing area. 

~Materials: A variety of writing implements, paper, notebooks, and a posting of the upper and lower case alphabet. A well stocked library with books about winter, animals, and habitats.
~Rationale: The library is placed near the couch for cozy reading time with new friends and teachers. Throughout the room there will be many opportunities to enjoy the spoken and written word.
~Skills: Letter recognition, listening and receptive abilities, fine motor control, descriptive and creative writing, dictation. 


Dramatic Play 

~Materials: Cardboard tubes, pencils, thin markers, clipboards. Open-ended fabric, stuffed woodland animals, animals costumes. Kitchen with dishes, fruits and veggies, and dress-up clothes.
~Rationale: We will explore hibernation and winter survival as an extension of our exploration of animals and their habitats. The lower section of the loft has been turned into a "cave" and the upper section contains materials designed to build the children's awareness of bird watching and observation. The dramatic and symbolic play areas are designed to support children's discussions and to offer opportunities to enhance their understanding of this topic. The materials provided present opportunities for self-expression, creative expression, imagination and creativity. 

~Skills: Role-play, symbolic representation, social interactions, discussions and conversations related to animals and their habitats as well as yearly cycles, problem solving, and sharing. 


Blocks

~Materials: Hollow blocks, unit blocks, ramps, wood boards, and big fabric pieces. 

~Rationale: Children use creativity and problem solving while developing their awareness of geometry through building. Communal building with hollow blocks encourages cooperation.
~Skills: Construction skills, dramatic play, symbolic representation, problem solving. Mathematical concepts such as symmetry, dimensions and fractions.

Large Motor

The gym set up features familiar, basic equipment for the first few weeks that we are back. The climbing wall supports coordination, jumping, depth perception and turn taking. The monkey bars offer opportunities for upper and lower body strength and coordination as well as depth perception when crossed on the top. The Rolling slide to support coordination and core strength.
~Our time in the playground will be dedicated to unstructured and structured large motor activities as well as scientific explorations and experiments. We will open the sledding hill late next week.

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