Thursday, March 14, 2013

Children's Literature as Curriculum

We read a fun book this week, below and enjoyed drawing our own hats.  We read books together, not only for fun, but for developing curriculum and going deeper into story.

We talked about different kinds of hats...

We recognized that the hat in the book was the shape of a triangle.  Below, Jane and Summer draw their own.

We played a game where we had to find the red hat all over the room, too.

We talked about how the Bear in the story felt, at first, not knowing where his hat was and then later, when he realized the Rabbit had not told him the truth.  We practiced showing emotions on our faces.  Below, Jane is "surprised" and Colins is, guess! "Mad!"

It was hard not to giggle when we tried to contrive a "sad" face . . .

They loved doing "happy" and Colin is showing, "I'm thinking."

Jane is showing us, "I know the answer!" in raising her hand confidently.

We also made green play dough and looked for green things in the room.

We had enough snow this week to attempt a snow person...

We painted his face on and added sticks for arms.

and then we painted the snow...

The kids are still really enjoying playing with the cars and track.  I added ping pong balls for going down the track.

They sure love Curious George.  Thursday, Noe suggested we read the one where he swallows the puzzle piece.

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Learning the Alphabet
Playing Games
This week we began making a class alphabet.

We also continued to look at our early readers. . .

I love it when the kids gather around a book on their own!

We are learning how to play simple games together and on our own.  Below, I created a game with shapes and colors, which requires the children to take turns and count.

We used the simple old favorite, Old Maid to do a matching game.

Summer took this to the next level and showed Jane how to play the game with all of the cards turned over.  Nice challenge!

The children loved reading this fun book, below.  The characters in the story learn to work together.  They had very fun magic wands, one being a Magic Pickle.  We made our own magic wands and talked about what we would do if we had magic powers...

The kids played another round of "going to the airport."  I wonder if Jane's family brings this much stuff to the airport in "real life"...?

We did a lot of play with the toy cars.  Jane and Anders lined ALL the cars up on the carpet, while Nabil enjoyed racing them on the track.


Later we decided to paint with the cars.  It was fun to see the tracks the wheels make.

And then, we had a car wash!

A very fun and productive week.  Welcome, Dublin to our Fridays!

Monday, March 4, 2013

Early Literacy
The last couple of weeks we have spent more intentional time working on early literacy.  Literacy is becoming literate;  knowing how language can be used for purpose and for story, the verbal and the written, that the alphabet is for putting together words that make a sentence, that tell us something...
Young children are bursting with enthusiasm for sharing about themselves verbally and also love to play act, whether it is a story they know or an imaginative scenario they make themselves.  Below, we took the story of The Three Billy Goats Gruff, to practice our story telling and play acting.  
Jane is a billy goat and Summer enjoyed playing the mean Troll...

We also enjoyed making all kinds of bridges this week, in relation to the story.  Below Colin constructed a great bridge with the cardboard blocks - he said the blue blocks were the water.  We talked about the fact that bridges can go over lots of things.


SO much playacting is occurring with the children's own initiation in the morning - they often end up in this corner, the big brown chair always a prop for something.  This day it was "the airport."

After Summer asked me to one day, I made a bunch of stapled books for the children to make their own stories. Below, Noe initiated making her own Billy Goats Gruff story - she made the goat and the bridge.  Here, beginning literacy is exhibited in her ability to use pictures as the symbolic representation of the what is going on in the story.

Jane is learning to follow the words with her finger - this is an important pre-reading skill, knowing how a book works.  We have been talking about the parts of books; what the cover is and what the words on the front mean:  Title, Author, Illustrator...It is empowering for the children to know that they can, also, be authors and illustrators of their own stories.

All the children drew a version of the bridge this week, and some drew a sort of "map" of what happens in the story.  I will sit with them and have them tell me about their picture and label some of the items.  Some of the children added great detail, like the horns on the billy goats.

Our sensory experience this week entailed a little science experiment.

We added salt to water one spoonful at a time and used the 1 minute timers to stir to see if the salt disappeared yet.  If not, we kept stirring before we added more salt, the goal was to dissolve the salt to make a "solution."

They were very patient with this process and then this later became, mix up your own play dough!  Although this was a fun, messy activity, the children exemplified more early literacy in their critical thinking and problem solving with this task.  They made a lot of observations, using expressive language, like "My salt is becoming invisible!", "What will happen if I put more in?" "My play dough is smooth, like soup!"  "Let's pour ours together and make cupcakes!"

We also had more fun in the snow and came back in to have some hot cocoa.