Overview: As we head into our final weeks of school, the topic of human bodies continues to inspire the children. Stethoscopes are made available this week for exploration of heart beats as well as doctor-related dramatic play. Other equipment is also offered to create a doctor's office to allow the children to use their previous experiences with trips to the doctor's. The children continue using the portable microscope to look closely at different parts of our bodies as well as the mealworms and beetles in our classroom. Our small groups have also taken off with great success. The children are actively engaging in the project group activities as well as building relationships with the other peers in their group. The children are using these different activities to expand on their knowledge of their project topics by experimenting, collaborating, and communicating with classmates and teachers. Since the post office in the dramatic play area is going well, we are going to be writing letters during large group this week and hopefully the weather stays nice so next week we can walk to the mailbox to mail them!
Expressive Arts (paint, water colors crayons, play dough)
•Materials: Blue, Red, White and Black paint at the easel with extra cups for paint mixing, watercolor crayons and paper. Play dough and various cooking tools (pastry cutter, french fry press, wire, spatulas, apple corers and sticks)
•Rationale: to provide an opportunity for children to reflect on a concrete experience in an abstract and personal manner. The exploration of watercolors continues with the children using crayons to explore different aspects of drawing and mixing colors. Play dough is added for the children to be able to explore and investigate a new tactile experience. The children can roll, squash, squeeze, cut and poke holes in this softer substance.
•Skills: fine motor development (strength, coordination), hand-eye coordination, hand strength, creativity, symbolic representation, sensory input, color recognition, expressive and descriptive vocabulary, generalizing and making connections, using new tools and appreciating art of others.
Sensory (water table)
•Materials: Colored water, empty soap bottles, turkey basters, buckets and shovels.
•Rationale: The children have still been engaged at the water table using squirt bottles and colored water. They have started experimenting with empty soap containers, buckets, and turkey basters exploring different ways these items can be used. The children are busy working together to see how they can get all the water to disappear. They fill all the containers counting how many turkey basters-, buckets-, or scoops-full of water it takes to fill and empty their container.
•Skills: sensory awareness, cooperative play, social relationship building, comparing and contrasting, scientific observation, sharing materials, hand-eye coordination, cause and effect relationships, upper body strength and fine motor, color identification, descriptive language, one-to-one correspondence, counting.
•Materials: Full-Body Mirrors, human body charts and books, clipboards and paper, human body puzzle, microscope with computer attachment, magnifying glasses, books on sight and an eye chart.
•Rationale: to continue the investigation of self and others and identify personal characteristics related to appearance and to build awareness of specific aspects and components of the human body. To use a scientific tool to identify different details of the human body such as the eyes. To practice using tools for observation and record keeping.
•Skills: observation, scientific investigation and inquiry, body-part identification, developing curiosity, number skills and identity, use of tools.
•Materials: housekeeping materials (furniture, dishes, food) and dress-up fabric and shoes, pretend phones and a real number phone list; one cave with babies and baby clothes/bottles. (NOOK) x-rays added to the translucent light table along with syringes, stethoscopes, clipboards and paper.
•Rationale: to allow for the expression of family life and to encourage social interaction and creative role-play while playing with familiar props, to foster care-taking role-play and to focus on wants and needs of self and others. To offer expanded communication experiences highlighted by phones and using real phone numbers to incorporate real life experiences. The doctor's office is added to support the children as they explore and reflect on real life experiences by looking at X rays, giving shots and playing the role of the doctor or the patient.
•Skills: creative role-play, peer interaction, social problem solving, symbolic representation, imaginative transformation, use of expressive and receptive language, back and forth communication, number recognition.
Math and Manipulatives
•Materials: puzzles, number sort game, numeral puzzles, patterning match game, pegs and peg board, small Lego sets, dominoes and calculators.
•Rationale: to build awareness related to numerals and counting. To connect numerals with concepts of quantity. To foster interests in creating repeating patterns based upon several attributes and to be able to match numbers and colors. To connect counting experiences to measurement and record keeping. Calculators were added this week to foster the children's exploration of numbers.
•Skills: color recognition, shape recognition, one-to-one correspondence, counting, numeral recognition, sorting, fine motor development, turn-taking, persistence and patterning, representation of numbers and number relationships.
Language and Literacy
•Materials: variety of writing utensils, laminated paper to practice writing numbers, paper, envelopes, staplers, tape, scissors, Montessori base-ten number boards, examples of letters, addresses, mailbox, mail carrier bags and postal carrier uniforms.
•Rationale: To build awareness of both numbers and letters. To foster alpha-numeric exploration, and to give children the opportunity to create their own stories, writings, and correspondence. To encourage familiarity with the shape and appearance of letters and numbers. To encourage writing as a means of communication.
•Skills: fine motor, pre-writing, letter recognition, symbolic reasoning, expressive language, numeracy, eye-hand coordination, communication with peers.
•Materials: The library contains books related to winter, counting, transportation, and a variety of other topics of interest to the class, felt story boards and felt for the children to cut out their own clothing for the dolls.
•Rationale: to develop strong appreciation for interactions with the written word. To provide time to build relationships between children and teachers. To encourage children to seek out a variety of fiction and non-fiction books on an ongoing basis and to allow the children to use their imagination and create their own story using books and felt boards. Extra felt was added for the children to cut out their own clothing for their character they are building in their own story. This will allow for more creativity and imagination in creating and carrying out original ideas.
•Skills: receptive language, phonological awareness, early literacy, listening, community building, expressive language, story re-telling, sequencing, communication, cooperation and fine-motor skills.
•Materials: large hollow blocks, small multi-shaped unit blocks, peg people, traffic signs, paper, clip boards and drafting board.
•Rationale: to support children's creativity, independent problem solving, social negotiation, and coordination as they plan and create block structures. The traffic signs, clip boards and light table continue to extend transportation-themed play.
•Skills: large motor development, expressive creation, symbolic representation, cooperative play, problem solving, role playing, mathematical reasoning (part-whole relationships, geometry, symmetry), reflection in everyday experiences, analysis and synthesis, imagination, emergent writing skills, letter and word recognition.
Materials: Gym-Climbing wall, jumping pit, monkey bars, stairs and slide, basketball hoop, hop scotch, pitch back. Outdoors- playground equipment, shovels, buckets, molding materials, sledding hill.
Rationale: The gym set up is designed primarily to foster the growth of the children's propulsion and reception skills.
Skills: Gross motor, balance, endurance, upper body strength, fine motor-grasping, hand-eye coordination, risk-taking, hoping on one and two feet, throwing, catching, turn-taking and special awareness.