Weekly Lesson Plan for Ross' Class
Week of: April 7-11, 2014
Lead teaching this week: Ross
Overview: Spring was here, then winter came back, and now spring is back again! Let's hope it stays, this time. Even with the cold temps and the big April snowfall, the child are happy to be back with one another, and their play reflects the strong social community that we have been working on developing through the fall and winter - the children are initiating interactions, confidently inviting others to join them, negotiating play themes, working on resolving conflicts independently...it is truly amazing to step back and see how the children's "hard work" has really paid off! Along with this social growth really shining through, the children have also become increasingly curious about learning: asking many thought-provoking questions during large group as well as throughout focus groups and free play. We want to foster this growing curiosity and start diving into some rich investigations - starting with: seed/plant life cycles, tools/wood working/building, and supporting academic skills using games with rules. These interests are just beginning to sprout like the lilies in front of the Lab School, and it will be exciting to see what these interests grow into over the course of the spring session!
Expressive Arts (paint, collage, clay)
• Materials: at the art table: small wood scraps, assorted natural matures, caps, gems; at the clay table: clay, wire, plastic insects, wood knives
• Rationale: The art and clay tables have now merged as one, as many children used the wood scraps to create elaborate "homes, playgrounds, and towns" for Herman the Worm (made from clay) and his friends Sherman the Worm and Julia Feathers (also both worms...also both made from clay!). We will continue this explorative building and storytelling, however as the intention grows, we will eventually add glue to the mix and talk about making a more "permanent" town for Herman and friends (similar to the fall and winter collages made by the children previously).
• Skills: recognition of shape, patterning, artistic expression, symbolic representation, persistence, imagination/ creativity, connections/expressions of observed world, fine motor strength/endurance
Sensory (water table)
• Materials: water, PVC pipes and connecting joints, measuring cups, buckets, basters
• Rationale: The introduction of the PVC pipes sparked rich thought and planning as children connected and re-routed the pipes, resulting in some very elaborate (not to mention creative and fun) "water machines." However, we had one problem - all the pipes were the same length and just a bit too long to balance on the table. So we decided to cut some in half! Using a hacksaw, many children took turns and cut many of the pipes in two - showing great perseverance and determination! This has sparked an explosion in using real tools, and is discussed more in the "Special Interests" section. As for the water machines, we will continue playing with how to route water in the directions we want it to go, while figuring out how to use corks (or other methods) to stop the flow in other directions.
• Skills: scientific thinking and reasoning (cause & effect), higher level thinking skills (attending, attention span, problem solving, utilization), social interaction/communication skills, fine motor skills, creative thinking, conceptual knowledge (common objects)
• Materials: Spring- and plant-themed books, assorted seeds, magnifying glasses, children's notebooks
• Rationale: This week, Jessica will introduce the topic of seeds and planting, starting with some awareness building about seed planting as well as by taking a look outside around the school to see what plants in nature are currently doing (assuming the snow stays away!).
• Skills: learning about our insects: their anatomy and how to care for them, scientific/higher-level thinking skills, observing and interpreting information about the natural world, generalization skills (connections between insect homes and other animal/human homes).
Math and Manipulatives
• Materials: Snail's Pace Race board game, Busy-Town board game, Memory flip-card game, parquetry blocks (with pattern cards), multi-triangle shape puzzle, numbers and tools puzzles and shape puzzles
• Rationale: The children have really enjoyed the challenge of the larger wood puzzles, working hard (many times with a peer) to figure out which piece goes exactly where. However, they have also enjoyed the Snail's Pace and Busy-Town games. These games have helped many practice taking turns, listening to peers, and following rules!
• Skills: concepts related to geometry/shape, part-to-whole relationships, symmetry one-to-one correspondence, counting, opportunities for collaborative problem solving, executive function skills, rule-following/turn-taking
Language and Literacy
• Materials: Our Alphabet and Name Book, Who Am I book, paper, envelopes, pencils, markers, stamps and stamp pads
• Rationale: Leaving Photobooth open on the computer gave a few children an idea for something new to add to our Who Am I book: funny faces! Currently, the children are trying to either fit as many faces on the screen as possible or taking a picture of their funniest face to add to the book. The table also sees regular visitors drawing and writing their own pictures and small books. We plan to keep the supplies stock to support this independent motivation to create!
• Skills: pre-/early -literacy skills, letter recognition, phonemic awareness, fine-motor coordination/endurance
Dramatic Play (including the "Nook")
• Materials: in the class - doctor's office props (including cot, doctor's tools, x-rays and x-ray box, charts, books), baby dolls, play house furniture and supplies; in the Nook - Brio trains, train tracks, Dr. Drew blocks
• Rationale: The doctor's office continues to see new patients every day! Many of them are baby dolls in need of a shot or bandage, however there is never a shortage of doctors to see the patients. We are planning to add more pictures of our class "in action" to help the children recall previous stories. We will also add "check up charts" as well as "height chart" and scale, as many children have mentioned they remember getting measured during their doctor visits (after talking about how many shots they received, of course!).
• Skills: imaginative/creative play, connections to previous experiences/memory skills, promoting social interactions while foster new and old relationships, practicing various social skills, symbolic representation, connection to prior experiences
• Materials: large hollow blocks, small multi-shaped unit blocks, peg people, Dr. Drew blocks
• Rationale: Independent building of large structures continues to be a popular activity for many! Garbage trucks, fire trucks, house big enough for the whole class...the list of things being built is endless. What we hope to do now is encourage more connection to the writing table during their building - "What kind of sign does this _____ need? Let's head to the table and write one quick!" This is a fun and easy way to practice the pre-/early-literacy skills for all children, especially those that are more reluctant to write/drawing in general.
• Skills: large-/fine-motor skills, symbolic representation, concepts related to building/balance/engineering, supporting social relationships/interactions, opportunities for endless dramatic play
• In the gym: The gym will remain the same for one more week, however Betsy and Jessica will begin leading games at the start of gym.
• On the playground: The playground is waking up after its long winter slumber, and as it comes back, we will keep a close eye for additional signs of spring. Also, we explore the melting and thawing taking place...not to mention the return of many more animals! I think it's safe to say...we need to be outside after this past winter!
• Skills: upper-/lower-boy strength, static and dynamic balance, hopping (lower leg strength/coordination), jumping/landing skills, proprioceptive (body-in-motion) skills, spatial-/directional-awareness, propulsion skills
• As mentioned in the science section, using saws become a very popular activity last week! We want to build on this excitement/interest in using real tools to do real work! To do that, we have set up a "tools and woodworking" area in the hallway behind room 50 (Amy's class). With a teacher, the children can take turns exploring real tools and gain confidence in using them competently and safely! With this, if you have any scraps of lumber/wood lying in the basement/garage/storage space, we would happily help kick-off your spring-cleaning and take them here!
• It is going to be wet and muddy on the playground for sure this week. Please send appropriate outdoor clothing.
Monday - Cucumbers & crackers
Tuesday - Rice Chex & raisins
Wednesday - Pretzels & carrots
Thursday - Sushi
Friday - Popcorn
* All snacks served with milk and water, unless otherwise noted *