As of yesterday, the season of fall is officially here! Welcome Fall! I know some of you are rolling your eyes because this means we are one step closer to our Chicago winter which seems to always last a decade. Turn that frown upside down because we have three full months of beautiful fall. My goal this season, is not only to keep all of our wonderful families up to date about your child’s classroom but to also share some fun ways to enjoy fall at home and with your family.
Today, we began our classroom “Fall” banner.
A few leaves and personal artistic touches were added to the large banner today. Every day, the banner will be available after morning snack for children to add fall colors and their fall drawings. When we decide as a class that the banner is complete, together we will find a perfect spot in the classroom to display our “team artwork” for all to see during fall.
If you have the daily joy of living near a forest or enjoy taking family hiking trips, give this fun “senses” game a try.
Have you ever taken a moment to stand completely still and silent in the middle of a forest during the fall season? Have you ever asked your children to try? I know, another eye roll! Children silent? Remember, you are and always will be your children’s number one role model. If you show excitement over “listening” they will want to join you in the excitement.
After listening for a moment, begin to ask questions about the sounds that they are hearing. Ask them first what they think the sound is. Then, explain that the sound is leaves falling, a squirrel climbing up a tree, a bird chirping, water flowing or footsteps in dry leaves. It is important to always give children the opportunity to be the problem solver. A quick answer means a quick game and that means the silence is quickly over. Give them “think time” and hints only when asked for them. Let them explore their sense of hearing and then encourage them to use the rest of their senses. What do you see? Close your eyes and smell the air. What do you think the smell is? Look at the leaf, do you think that it is wet or dry? Now feel the leaf with your fingers.
Collect fall treasures on your adventure into the woods and create a family art project or simply keep them for observation and discussion.
Mother nature provides one of the most beautiful classrooms for all to use. Don’t let fall fly by. Take some time to really enjoy the season by relaxing with your children and just listen.
Our classroom show and tell went great today! The focus was things that start with the letter “K” or “L”. There were lions, lambs, a kitty and LEGOs of course. As I paced around my house last night in search of an item (yes, we teachers love show and tell too) I eventually took a “thinking break” in the middle of my kitchen. Aha! There it was, a brightly colored lime. We used all of our senses today to explore the lime. The children really enjoyed the taste test of the “sour” lime!
After, an exciting holiday season we began the new year by exploring light and then we traveled through the Arctic. For the past two weeks the children have been exploring the different animals that call the Arctic home. We have daily discussions about how the animals survive such cold temperatures and how we keep ourselves warm during the winter. The landscape of the Arctic has been explored as well and the word “tundra” has been added to our vocabulary. The classroom has been filled with the roars of polar bears and the barks of seals. We found the Arctic on the map and today we painted the Arctic Ocean.
A new addition to our reading table has been a huge hit! The students have been working on color and shape recognition with the new shapes that were added with contact paper.
Making cheeseburgers has also been a popular role playing game recently. We now have everything you need to create a yummy burger in the form of felt. Miss Ashley and I have eaten enough burgers to feed a football team today!
Next week, we will begin to explore animals that are sleeping right now. Hibernation will be the new word added to our vocabulary throughout the next two weeks. If there is a moment at home where you can refer to “hibernation” in anyway, please do! Connecting home with the children’s classroom is so important and something that we work very hard to do here at Little Hands.
I truly enjoy hearing all of the fun stories about your family “Elf” from both you and your child. I can’t help but to think of all of you as I come across some hilarious ideas for “Elf on the Shelf.” Here is one of many sites that I have come across that has made me laugh and look forward to the day I will be introducing an Elf to some little ones
I hope you laugh and find some fun inspiration:
Meet Kelvin the Elf!
Little Hand’s Post Office is officially up and running today! A huge thank you goes to Miss Ashely for stopping at the local post office to collect boxes of all sizes and shipping labels. The children have had a blast sending and receiving packages all morning. We even had some postal packages turn into pizza boxes, “make sure to share your pizza with your friends!”
Our educational goal of this unit is to learn the “ins and outs” of the postal system. The entire process of sending a letter will be explored. Once a letter is put into the mailbox where does it go? What does the red flag on the side of the box mean? This is also a great unit to focus on name recognition as the students send and receive letters and packages to one another.
Please take some time at home to invite your child to walk with you to the mailbox as you collect your mail. As always, a link between a child’s classroom and home is so very important. We will also gladly take any old stamps and envelopes to be recycled in the classroom.
I hope that everyone is enjoying our new electronic reporting system. I am so excited to be able to share so much more with all of you on a daily basis. My goal is to continue fulfilling by “blogging hobby” even though I am able to share much more daily with my readers through the reports. Please take the time to add your email in order to receive updates of when blogs are posted!
Little Hands spent the week exploring the food pyramid. We mainly focused on fruits and vegetables and why they are essential in order to grow big and tall. On election Tuesday we lined up for a mock vote of our favorite fruits and veggies. Each child first identified themselves by pointing to their name on the class list. Next they carefully chose their favorite fruit and veggie out of four possible choices in each selection. After they were done voting they each received a sticker of course. There was a tie in the fruit category, oranges and strawberries. The winner of the veggie category was surprisingly, peas.
Next week we will be focusing on our families in preparation for the family filled holidays soon to come. We will compare and contrast our families along with sharing fun stories and memories. Our vocab word of the week will be “diversity”
Have a wonderful weekend Little Hand’s families!
Today, we followed the life of a pumpkin in a great story called “Pumpkin Jack” by Will Hubbell. The children enjoyed the story so much that they requested we reread it three more times!
The word that grabbed their attention the most was “rotten.” I did my best to explain that when something is rotten it may become mushy or smelly. The word “mold” was also included in the story and I explained how it grows on “rotten” things where there is “moisture” or water. I of course referenced the example of the pumpkin by stating that the pumpkin had been carved and is not as fresh anymore like when it was first picked off the vine. Sometimes things get old and become “rotten.”
“Like old people Miss April?”
That’s when I knew we needed a real life example to help the children understand the REAL meaning of “rotten.” We then took a short nature walk to the garden where we looked at all of the multicolored and shriveled tomatoes and peppers that were hanging on leafless branches. A lonely tomato laid in the middle of the grass covered in mold and we all went “ewwww” and then talked about why this tomato had mold and the others did not.
We are all very excited for our field trip to the pumpkin patch tomorrow to see some “fresh” pumpkins!
Thank you everyone for participating in “Chicago Bears” day. It was a very fun way of wrapping up, “Bears, oh my!” week. Have a wonderful weekend and go Bears on Sunday!
One of my favorite things to have on hand at all times, in the classroom, is a roll of blue painters tape. It works perfect for hanging artwork from walls and the ceiling without damaging the paint. It also works as a great tool for shape recognition. I transformed the white board this week into a large pumpkin for the children to color and erase as much as they wish.
The temptation of peeling the tape is always there but I think our pumpkin should survive another week. I did make note a few weeks ago that tape on the carpet is just way too tempting for the younger children. The large letter “A” in the middle of the classroom carpet survived a whole hour before transforming into a flying ball of tape. I will patiently wait a few months before trying to create hopscotch on the carpet again. It was a big hit last year and our recent hopscotch tournaments outside has brought on the excitement of bringing it inside. Sooner than later, I hope.
We have been exploring the BIG machines that help build roads, homes and buildings. Our recent construction of the play ground, with the addition of a fabulous walking path, has brought a great amount of interest to the machines that help build.
Today’s art project was to paint with tires from a broken tractor. I was amazed when a few children decided to use the side of the tire to creat prints rather then roll the tire in the paint and across the paper.
Yesterday’s project was a colorful one as we dipped plastic nails into paint to discover what shapes they would create.