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So much gratitude

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Thanksgiving and all our great conversations about what it means to be thankful ignited a true exploration of appreciation and gratitude. We began drawing pictures of all these things that mean so much to us and it really never stopped. The children drew and painted their hearts out right onto paper and we saved them all.



When Melissa and I started brainstorming about what our holiday gifts would be this year it actually turned into a kind of no brainer. We just had to figure out how to execute our plan and involve the children every step of the way. So these pictures depict our journey. Weeks of work went into this endeavor from the pictures themselves to the front and back covers, to the titles and the final product. The children were so very proud!





No matter what you believe this time of year I think we can all agree ( no matter what metaphors we use ) that love, birth, returning of light, and holding on to the things we find dear are the reasons for the season. Whether we look upon …

Measuring

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It started with my friend wanting to know what the “middle” of something was. This is the kind of opportunity that as an educator I live for.  We talked about it and we “eyeballed” it but something wasn’t quite satisfying him. I brought out a tape measure to help. The tape measure allowed us to explore a number of basic concepts. This measuring for “half” allowed for some simple addition to be introduced. 

This initial interest by one child sparked the interest in many children and soon they were all negotiating taking turns using the tape measure to measure everything they could find on our playground. The initial idea of finding the middle was lost by the group but all this measuring allowed for great opportunities to count and to introduce measurement vocabulary words. We also talked a lot about what was “longest and what was “shortest”. 


For the younger children in our class I provoked a size activity using leaves on our playground. Some of our friends really got into the idea of pu…

Amazing bones

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Once Halloween was over, talk of monsters and witches slowly dwindled. We weren't focusing on things that frightened us anymore but we found we still were very curious about skeletons and bones. Do we all have bones? How many bones do we have our body? Do all animals have bones? We began to wonder. We were lucky enough to have several real bones to examine and began to figure out which bone went where. Our anatomy book helped us piece together which bones go where inside our bodies. We also examined how certain bones fit together.


Figuring out how bones were assembled in the body inspired us to make some of our own. Using clay and our own plastic skeleton as a reference, we chose our favorite bones and began to sculpt. Some of the children held up their clay bones next to the mannequin to figure out if it was the right size or shape. There were even some kids that made bones that connected to other bones, like the foot bones connecting to the leg bone and the skull connecting to th…

Halloween 2018

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It’s just pretend

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Halloween is the best time to talk about real vs pretend. Halloween has its origins but for small children it’s about dressing up and pretending to be something you are not. There are images during this holiday season that might be confusing and scary for our littles. That’s why around this time we always find ourselves provoking similar conversations.  We asked the childrenwhat do you think is spooky? The children had a very long list from monsters to ghosts, zombies to goblins. They pretty much covered them all. It’s hard to protect our children from these images during this season they are literally everywhere. So it’s important to reassure them that all this spooky stuff is pretend...and as kids know best, pretending is fun! 


We asked the children to draw the things they find scary and it was interesting to watch and listen to them as their artwork developed into stories and expressed some real fears. These are a few of some of the things our friends said, “I drew the dark. I’m afr…

Circles

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Exploring lines and shapes has led us to the circle. One of our friends pointed out that a circle is a line that curves. We also realized that when two ends of a curved line meet it makes a circle. Lines that are straight that connect  make the letter A or any of the straight line letters. Lines that curve help us make the rest. This is the foundation we lay .  We explored this through different mediums to help develop all the skills needed for future writing and reading. 

We traced  circles using our overhead projector and used brightly colored pastels to fill “inside” the circle. The next day we colored “outside” of the circles.


Some of our friends traced circles of different sizes on the back of some of our previously painted artwork to create a wall of circles. Our dot wall keeps growing! 




Paint and paint brushes were used to free hand all these beautiful circles. When it was dry the children used a different color to go around each circle providing more opportunity to develop those …