Classroom updates

Bugs for Lunch, with room 4!

In the spirit of Spring and Earth Day room 4 decided to get their little hands dirty learning about different types of insects. We read an informative book entitled Bugs for Lunch by Margery Facklam. Room four learned all about different plants, animals and insects that feed on bugs. We then decided eat bugs for lunch. Not real ones of course, bugs made of some favorite fruits, veggies and even hot dogs. Finally for the special desert, the students made a fun treat using crushed Oreo cookies, chocolate pudding and gummy worms. The dirty worm cups were a hit. The children truly enjoyed the bugs for lunch. All of the fun bug treats can be found on Pinterest.com 

Room 4 Update: Cat in the Hat Treat!

By: Towanda Simms-Yoakum

In honor of Dr Seuss birthday we celebrated Read Across America. During the week of March 10th we read classic Dr. Seuss's books to the children every day. Their favorite was the classic " The Cat in The Hat."  Expanding on their love for this tale we decided to make a tasty cat in the hat treat. ( we love treats). Try making this cat in the hat treat at home with your children. It will promote active dialogue, math, and even science. Here is what you need to get started at home,

  • cherry or strawberry jello
  • clear cups
  • 1 part cold water
  • 1 part hot water
  • whipped cream

note* if your child is allergic to milk products you can substitute marshmallows

Check out some pictures of the fun

Room 3: Preschoolers enjoying the Spring!

The children are very excited that spring is finally here. They get to go outside each day weather permitting, and use gross motor activities to learn spatial awareness, body awareness, taking turns, and socialization by; running, jumping, riding bikes, hula hoops, playing ball, writing with chalk, going up and down stairs, making friends, and playing in water and sand. All of these activities help the child to grow and learn how to accomplish areas in gross motor such as; alternating feet, jumping or standing on one foot for a period of time, skipping, and being social.  

The children use their fine motor skills each day in the classroom to strengthen the muscles in their hands so they can learn to hold writing objects, use scissors and put things together and take them apart the correct way. They use various tools each day such as; play dough, writing implements, small toys, puzzles, art materials, scissors, reading books, and sand and water. Each of these areas of play is very important to the child’s fine motor skills. The more practice the better the outcome for each child.

The children were patiently waiting for the arrival of our Larva. We received them and are looking forward to investigating them as they grow. The children learned new and exciting words that go along with the study of a butterfly. They now know the words, larva, caterpillar, chrysalis, metamorphosis, pupa, cocoon, and butterfly. The children learned the four stages of a butterfly and can’t wait to see our larva go through the stages. 

Room 2: Transforming the Block Area

By: Neva Lattanzio-Temple

The snow is gone and the end of the school year is fast approaching. Miss Gina and I often survey and evaluate how the children are learning and try to find ways we can tweek or modify an activity or section of the room. This past month we were concerned about the block area and we had many conversations about it. In Room 2, we take time to observe the children throughout the day, but especially at work time. We monitor where the children go during work time and watch to see if the different areas of the room are being utilized correctly.

For instance, we observed that during work time, they were only using the large hollow blocks and not building with the smaller unit blocks at all. Because of this we removed the large hollow blocks. Then we brought in pictures of structures, some temples, other buildings in cities and some pictures of unit block structures, laminated and put them in the block area. The next day we had a small group activity where we broke the class into groups of 3 or 4, gave them a picture of a unit block structure and some blocks.  We assisted them as they copied the structure on the paper, using the unit blocks.

This was a big success! We took pictures of the children at small group time and work time while they were engaged with the blocks. They were enthusiastic about using the pictures to give them ideas on structure building.

You may think that this is no big deal, but it is!

The block area (to me, as a teacher) is the most important area in the room. It encourages so much skill building and it is an area that is very flexible. This area scaffolds skill building in the following areas: social cooperation, spatial awareness, geometry, fine motor skills, eye hand coordination, problem solving, creative thinking, exploration, imagination and make believe play. They will eventually investigate balance, patterns, symmetry, sorting, comparing and contrasting. These are just some of the skills the children get practice in when they are engaged here. 

Room 1 Update: Reading & Measurements

By: Angela Luca Fischer, Teacher

This month we had many exiting events. We started the month celebrating Dr. Seuss’s birthday by reading each day a different story, by having fun with his silly rhymes, by acting out his characters (e.g. we pretended to be The Cat in the Hat, or Sam, or Thing One, or Thing Two), by acting out the stories we read, by making our own original famous hats, or by cooking green eggs and ham in the classroom. We started each day reminding our students Dr. Seuss’s famous quotation:” Today you are you! That is truer than true! There is no one alive who is you-er than you!Dr. Seuss.

  Then the annual reading motivation and awareness program Read Across America Day was very successful as we had a lot of guests who came into our classroom and brought reading excitement to our students. The community people who participated were: the parents, police officers, bus drivers, teachers from other classes, and our school employees.

   This month we started to explore measurement. We started this topic by using blocks to build towers that are smaller than their body, larger than their body, and the same size as their body. They also built two towers of the same size. Then, we used the measuring tape to find out how tall high they were. Then, we measured each child’s height that was recorded in a graph and then we compared who was the tallest child in the class, the medium height one, and who was the shortest in the class. Then we explored the volume concept and we used different sizes containers to compare which container holds more water. We also estimated how many cups of water it would take us to fill up a 1 gallon container, then we counted the actual cups and compared them our initial estimation. We talked about weight and using a balance scale, we compare which objects are light and which ones are heavy. In continuation to the weight concept we measured how many pounds we our students had and we compared the results making up a graph from the lightest to the heaviest in the classroom. Then, using the nonstandard measurement, we counted how many steps long was the tunnel, we measured how many unit blocks long were our block construction, how many steps it took us to get from the block center to the door, etc. We are looking forward to explore more measurement concepts next month like: distance, temperature, money, time.

Room 1 Update: Collaborative Play

One of the omnipresence themes throughout the activities was guiding children to work together. We grouped them and asked them about the plans they had and what they could accomplish together. We noticed how our students moved away from their parallel play to cooperative play. They created games in the housekeeping area; they had fun playing and interacting with their peers. 

The science projects were very successful (especially the games of our science kit) and the measurement activities (weight, distance, and height) solicited active participation and was well liked by our students.

We hope to get back to normal so that we get into our routine continuing with measurements and shopping experiences in various locations.

Room 4 update: Snow for Sensory

After reading Mouse Paint by Ellen Stohl Walsh, the students became intrigued by mixing colors. Ms. Towanda and Ms. Ruby decided to use an easily accessible natural resource....SNOW! That's right; the cold weather couldn't keep Room 4 from getting in on the action. The children enjoyed mixing primary colors to make, green, purple, and orange in the fresh snow. Using the snow instead of water provided the students with more than one science experiment. They were also able to predict what would happen to the snow once it sat in the bowl over a period of time. We suggest doing experiments with snow at home when your child is having cabin fever. We simply placed a bucket outside of our door. Once the snow had fallen, we collected the bucket and let the children explore with food coloring.  It made for a great sensory experiment.

Room 5 Update: Playdough & Preschoolers

Originally posted on the Imagination Tree

We all know that playdough is fun and popular with young children, but apart from making a mess what is really good for? Here are the fabulous benefits of allowing kids to play with playdough and the many learning opportunities that happen along the way! Here are the various ways using playdough is beneficial to preschoolers:

  • Fine motor development: building up strength in all hand muscles and tendons

  • Imagination & creativity: They can represent so many things in a child’s eyes

  • Math and literacy development: It can be use as a fantastic way to practice letter and number works. Children can form letters of the alphabet, make numbers and 3D shapes.

  • Science & discovery: Making playdough with children they can learn about solid materials such as: flour and salt and some liquids such as: oil and water.

What an incredible substance is playdough! Our room enjoyed making playdough to using as part of our daily and learning time.

Room Two Update: Developing Fine Motor Skills

By: Neva Lattanzio-Temple, Teacher

Hello everyone! The last few weeks have been very difficult for all of us.It is difficult for the children because they are in and out of school with such a haphazard schedule and we have not been able to go out as much as would have liked. The children really enjoy playing in the snow.Miss Gina and I have tried to stay on task as much as possible. For the last few weeks we have been doing a lot of work with letters. The children are tracing large foam letters and cutting them out, then applying corresponding word picture stickers that match that letter. We are going to make a complete set of upper case and lower case letters and then use them to make a class book. All the students need to practice their fine motor skills and get more proficient at cutting as they build up the strength in their hands.

    Another project we are completing now is making bodies.All the boys and girls have traced out their bodies( which they all found very interesting!)and are cutting them out( strengthening fine motor skills). After cutting they will apply pieces of material for clothing,then comes hair,and other facial features. Some girls have even painted the nails on their paper bodies. They work on this independently at work time.

Room Three Update: Magnificent Hats & Growth

By Annalee Stanislawczyk

By Annalee Stanislawczyk

In February we started the story of “The Hat” by Jan Brett. The children took part in acting out the story and the animals. We drew pictures and talked about many different animals and where they live. The children learned a small lesson on inference in our story. The animals were laughing at Hedgie for wearing a hat he got stuck on his head. While they laughed they were also thinking how good a hat would be. Lisa got her stocking off of Hedgie just in time to find out the animals had taken all her clothes and made hats out of them. When she asked animals what they were doing they said,” Now we’re wearing a Magnificent Hat.” Throughout the day children will put various items on their head and say,” My magnificent hat.”

In the last week we are touching on some measuring, and rhyming. We compared our heights and everyone grew since the beginning of the year. We also compared time from when they were babies till now, and the things that they accomplished in a few years. We are using the book “Inch By Inch” which teaches measurement and about many birds. Rhyming comes through many times in the day and we try to focus on a lesson in large group time.

Room Two Update: Pizza & Penguins

Our winter highlights thus far, were our trip to Jenkinson's Aquarium at Point Pleasant Beach and making fresh pizza from dough . The children were excited for the bus ride and to see penguins and sharks. We talked about what we would see before hand. This trip has connected into our Project Approach segment that is required by the district.In December, one of the children saw a beautiful picture of a sea dragon on a Ranger Rick Magazine cover and from this they decided they would like to  learn and study seahorses at more length. The aquarium trip tied right into this.We had some wonderful mother's who came and gave their time in order to chaperone us.

     The pizza activity began as a way to get the children to share things more amongst themselves. Whenever they shared a toy or helped a classmate they received a plastic coin and it got marked on a chart. When Miss Gina & I felt they had acquired  enough marks on the chart and  were exhibiting the desired behavior sufficiently we said we would have a pizza party. We  made the pizza from dough, and prepared it for lunch. Our special guest was Miss Betsey, the music teacher. Everyone enjoyed the process and have asked to do it again!

By: Neva Lattanzio Temple, Teacher 

Room Five Update: Hibernation

By: Arelys Menedez, Teacher

We are in winter and this is the perfect season to learn about Hibernation. To begin study this theme we read the book Bear Snores On by: Karma Wilson. This book was perfect to teach this theme to the children. After reading the book we started to make the bears using brown constructions paper and we stapled the outer edges of each bear leaving just to top of their head to stuff them with cotton balls, also we used markers to make their faces. Then we started to create the warm caves where the bears can rest during the winter. For making their caves we used the foam tray, brown construction paper, glue, cotton balls and glitter to pretend they are the snow and brown tissue paper to give to the caves some texture. When the children were finished with their caves, they were ready to tuck their bears in to sleep and then put it in the Hibernating Area. We also created our own calendar to mark off the days until spring. Now we can see our children how every time they pass around the area they say “Shhhhh…….in silent voices because the bears are sleeping……”.In addition our children draw the pictures about their favorite part of the story.

 

Room Three update: Animals and habitats

In room 3 we’re transitioning from Families to Animal families. The children are learning about animal habitats, two legged and four legged animals, who flies, and who hibernates. During this time we’ve read, Good Night Baby Bear, The Mitten, Animal Homes and now The Snowy Day. The children have acted out The Mitten by using a sheet as the mitten. We created bear caves and put black bears in them to hibernate for the winter. The children learn songs and finger plays that correspond to our curriculum. We also took a trip to the Library and to Jenkinson’s Aquarium. At the library the children were read to and learned some finger plays. The Aquarium put the children at a close proximity to the, seals, penguins, turtles, and fish. The winter cold has kept us inside so on one of the coldest day we froze various items outside and when the children wake they find their water was frozen because it was so cold. During the cold we stay inside and partake using obstacle courses, tunnels, balls, balance beams, parachutes, games, and act out stories. There is so much more we do each day to keep the children feeling happy and loved.

By: Ms. AnnaLee, Teacher &  Ms. Ivonne, Teacher's Assistant 

Room One Update: Science & Literacy

Hi, everyone! Since our students had a great time learning about the aquatic life, we have planned this weeks’ activities around their interests. We will read the story “One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish” by Dr. Seuss and have fun with it. We will learn about solids, liquids, and gases and we will have fun with their transformations. We will have addition activities with fish, and we will imagine life under the water.

By Angela Fischer,Teacher Classroom 1