Ni hao! It's been two weeks full of our cultural study of China, topping it off with making and eating delicious Chinese Pork Dumplings! The children participated in all of it, from the mixing of ingredients, to the folding of the dumplings, and finally enjoying the feast. After two weeks of practicing with chopsticks, there are many experts in the class. I hope your child continues to enjoy using them at home! I have linked the recipe, as many were asking for it. (*We used square wonton wrappers, available in local grocery stores, and simply dipped in plain soy sauce). Your child can teach you how to fold the dumplings, "envelope" style. Enjoy!! www.allrecipes.com/recipe/228052/chinese-pork-dumplings/
The class continued to have fun using the Chinese dress-ups, games, and relaxing with books in the foot spa. Everyone has become quite proficient at counting up to 10 in mandarin - impressive! Your child will really enjoy the counting video clip below. Check it out! www.youtube.com/watch?v=WoKI-FUQRGw For crafts we made paper plate noise makers and dragon puppets, and paraded around the school with them before dismissal on Friday.
Gong xi ni, to you all! Happy Chinese New Year!
All the best, Sarah
Feb. 8, 2019
Dear Parents, Ni hao. Zao shan hao! (Hello. Good morning!)
We have jumped into Chinese New Year, and are learning much about China, the language, culture and traditions. Students have been exploring all of the following: Spinning the scarf and the diabolo Relaxing in the "spa" (foot soaking and books with silk blankets) Practicing Chinese characters Decorating fans and making lanters with red and gold glitter glue Exploring many books, (fiction, non-fiction, folklore) about China (*Note the photos above!) Next week we will continue our study by learning how to use chopsticks, reading more books, making paper dragons and paper plate noise makers, and wrapping up the study with some Chinese food on Friday. Stay tuned for more details about that!
It was the 100th day of school on Friday, and we put together our trail mix. Thank you all for the donations of 100 items to add to the mix - everyone enjoyed this tasty snack. We also put together a long "train" of Unifix cubes, 100 pieces long. Everyone put together a two-part pattern of 10, then we added all those 10's together to make the 100's train - impressive!
All the best, Zai jian, Sarah
Feb. 1, 2019
Dear Parents, Ni hao! ("hello", in Chinese) It was so nice to get back to a regular school week. It certainly has been a roller coaster of a winter!
We made our own play dough this week, using the following recipe: 2 tbs cooking oil 4 tbs cream of tartar 2 cups flour (we used more as it was sticky) 1 cup salt food coloring (a few drops of desired color) 2 cups hot water Mix ingredients, then stir in the HOT water. Knead onto a floured surface until smooth and non-sticky. Store in plastic bag. The students enjoyed simply using the play dough, and some tried rolling "snakes" into big and little lines, and then shaped their names. Fun!
One focus this week was patterns, and everyone is gaining an understanding of what makes a pattern; anything that repeats in a predictable way. We stacked unifix cubes, made little pattern walls out of pattern blocks, and dyed noodles different colors to make pattern necklaces. We did action patterns with our bodies, arranged ourselves in a pattern, read books that are written in a pattern (repeating phrases), and noticed patterns in our environment. Talk to your child about patterns you notice. Our world is full of patterns!
The other focus this week was preparing for Chinese New Year. The first thing we did was to start cleaning the classroom, using little wipes (photo on right) and sweeping. It is tradition to "sweep out" the bad luck from the past year, and start fresh and clean with the new year. We also started decorating our room, keeping in mind the color red, which symbolizes good luck to the Chinese people. The first official day of Chinese New Year this year is Feb. 5th, Year of the Pig. We will be doing lots more around this holiday over the next two weeks. If you are interested in learning more, check out the two links below!
Dear Parents, We rolled through the school week with force and motion, in classic preschool fashion! The students were true scientists and engineers, using trial and error, construction and design, and decision-making at every turn. Cardboard ramps and tubes, pipe insulation tubing, shelves/chairs/blocks for propping, containers for catching, and marbles for rolling, kept us thinking about cause and effect all week. Children needed to communicate and cooperate as they worked together. Ask your child what he/she discovered and created using the balls and ramps this week. The "roller coaster on a wall" in the hallway is still a work in progress. At circle time we had fun singing and using different kinds of balls for "Roll that Round Ball Down to Town". Note the photo to the left as an illustration.
Our big book this week was "The Three Little Kittens". We have a few versions of this in the classroom, so it was fun to compare them. An art follow-up was tracing around our hands and then cutting out and designing matching mittens. Our mittens were then hung to dry on a clothes line to make a bulletin board (along with three little kittens, of course:).
In math we talked about checkerboards and the pattern it makes. Everyone used colorful squares to create their own checkerboard - challenging! Snowflakes have been added to our nature stick, and the farm scene is now complete with the addition of a big apple tree. Come and check out the creative, colorful classroom!
All the best, Sarah
Jan. 11, 2019
Dear Parents, This week we continued learning about farms, reading lots of books about farms, and being creative with crafts. We designed a huge bulletin board in which everyone contributed to, starting with a big red barn and silo, then adding various farm animals, people and scenery... it looks terrific! Come and check it out!
Some activities we did were making wooly sheep with yarn, and cutting out farm animals from magazines to make collages, or gluing them onto rocks (Modge Podge was used to seal and protect it). Students from the 5th/6th grade classroom came in and read farm books with us. We put together farm puzzles, and had fun creating farm scenes with our mini farm animal collection. We sang "Farmer in the Dell" while acting it out, and read different versions of "Old MacDonald Had a Farm".
Over the next few weeks, we'll be exploring force and motion while using balls and ramps. We have a collection of cardboard tubes already, but could always use more if you happen to have any headed for recycling. Thanks!
All the best, Sarah
Jan. 3 & 4, 2019
Dear Parents, We were all ready to be back in the classroom after the vacation, reunite with friends, and start the new year. No time was wasted, as the children got right to it... building, creating, problem solving, and simply having fun! The marble maze was something new, and it certainly was a big hit as well as a challenge. It's not easy getting that marble to go from top to bottom! An upcoming science unit will be focusing on motion, using balls and ramps, so this is a good start to get the wheels turning. We also had fun stacking the architecture blocks and creating with modeling clay.
Our new big book is called "Old MacDonald". We'll be reading that book as well as many other farm books that we have in the classroom, using our farm animals for dramatic play, and that will be the start of some farm fun. The children will naturally take that "theme" and run with it on their own. Stay tuned!
Just a reminder that this Thursday, Jan. 10th, is an early release due to teacher inservice. The day will end at 11:45.
All the best, Sarah
Happy New Year!
Dec. 14, 2018
Dear Parents, Little pig, little pig, let me come in. Not by the hair of my chinny, chin, chin. Then I'll huff, and I'll puff, and I'll blow your house in! It certainly wasn't easy to blow down that house made of bricks! The straw and sticks however...no problem! We've been reading several versions of "The Three Little Pigs", and have been having lots of fun retelling the story using the puppets as props.
Our big book this week was called "Under the Big Tent", a story about going to the circus, and big and little things that you see. A circus made us think about having a little talent show, so we did! The talents ranged from scarf juggling to jumping jacks, dancing, singing, drawing, and talking. Ask your child what she/he performed!
For math this week we talked about shapes, did the shapes hokey pokey, and then went on a walk around the school with clipboards, looking for and drawing shapes that we saw. Of course we couldn't help but notice lots of letters and numbers too, so our papers got quite full! For a tactile experience, we used finger paint, salt trays, and paint bags to makes shapes, letters and numbers.
And lastly, a miracle from nature... out of one of the cocoons that's been sitting in our terrarium, emerged a wooly bear! Who knew?!
All the best, Sarah
Dec. 7, 2018
Dear Parents, Another busy week has come and gone in the preschool classroom!
We had fun playing two different math games, both which can be easily done at home. The first game we played was "roll, count, compare". To play, simply roll a die, count that number of small blocks (or other objects), place on one side of an egg carton, then roll again and compare. Questions such as, "Which number is bigger?" "Which number is smaller?" "How many more?" "How many altogether?" etc. can then be asked. The other game we played was called "finding cookies". Paper chocolate chip cookies with different numbers of chocolate chips drawn on them, were hidden around the room. The children had to find them, then put them on the corresponding number plate. I have a feeling we'll be playing this particular game again! Note the photos above which give an illustration to both games.
Our week ended with a parade (prompted by the big book, "The Parade is Coming"), up and down the hallway, showing off our creative parade hats and instruments. Students and teachers emerged from their classrooms, cheering us on by clapping and waving. Who doesn't love a parade?!!
All the best, Sarah
Nov. 30, 2018
Dear Parents, It's been a very busy week! The big snow storm came on Tuesday, and the children have been having a terrific time - sledding, building snowmen and snow forts, crawling through the snow, watching the birds hop around the snow at the feeders and more. We brought some snow into the classroom to make mini snowmen and then had fun painting them. All of our winter/snow books are out, and we're enjoying reading about animals in winter, facts about snow, and our favorite so far, "Sadie and the Snowman".
The big book we read this week was called, "Fairs Around the World". It talked about different fairs/traditions in China, Africa, India, Korea, the Philippines and the United States. The fairs looked like such fun, that we decided to make our own: the Preschool Fun Fair. This turned into quite an event, that the whole school (fifty students!) ended up attending on Friday. We created a ticket booth out of the jumbo Legos, made tickets (we all practiced writing the word "TICKET" on small green ticket sized papers), created three games for everyone to play - ring toss, ball in cup, hit the cup - had a snack station of "baby goldfish in a baby cup", and also had a table for bracelet making. All of these events required one ticket. Every person attending the fair received four tickets at the ticket booth upon entry. The preschool students rotated among those stations, having a chance to be in charge of everything over the course of the fair. Please note the photos below to get a glimpse of the fair, and a great job to the preschool!!
All the best, Sarah
Nov. 20, 2018
"John", a happy pilgrim, ready for the journey
staying warm around the hearth
Land ho! Traveling on the Mayflower.
"Giles" helping himself to water, hard tac, beef jerky, corn bread and cranberries
keeping our settlement organized
"Priscilla" - using a sit-upon and wool blankets for warmth
"Isaac" - another happy pilgrim!
Nov. 16, 2018
Dear Parents, What a week of snow! We embraced it all.. some of us went tracking in the afternoon, others found "caves" and "forts" under snow laden branches, snowballs were rolled, and in the mud kitchen, mud pies turned into snow cakes. It looks like winter is here to stay for a while. We will go out every day, as long as the temperature (combined with wind chill factor), is acceptable. I appreciate the children's names on the various winter clothing, as it helps us out very much. My apologies to any mix-ups that might occur!
We have some jumbo Legos on loan, (they are being rotated around the preschool classes in the district), and it's been loads of fun! The children have created towers, little chairs to sit in, houses, a bus (note photo), and more. Climb aboard! A few other activities we did this week were making snowmen out of seashells and using puffy paint as snow, stacking small block towers and counting them, and making a class book based on the sentence pattern from the big book, The Little Monster.
On Tuesday this coming week, we will bring history to life - a little bit!- by having a Colonial Day. We've been reading some books and stories about the pilgrims and what life was like during that time. Please have your child prepared to spend most of the day outside on Tuesday. We'll be eating traditional food, tracking, gathering fire wood for the fire, making butter, and more. Check out the link below from Plimoth Plantation as to traditional clothing, and other interesting information. www.plimoth.org/learn/just-kids/homework-help/what-wear Monday night is the Thanks for Giving concert, 6:00. See you there!
Fare thee well, Sarah
Nov. 9, 2018
Dear Parents, Three cheers, and thank you all, for another successful bird feeder building day! Our adult helpers this year (note above group photo, left to right), were Tim, William, Howard, Jeff and Geoff. Thanks SO much to all of you, as this project simply could not be done without you! As you can see, each bird feeder has its own individual charm, designed from each child's "blueprint". The birds clearly like them too, as we have had the following visit this week: chickadee, junco, goldfinch, nuthatch, downy woodpecker and blue jay. Not bad! We also made pinecone feeders with peanut butter rolled in millet seed. Thanks for joining us Mrs. Ryan:)
It was really nice seeing so many of you at the Celebration of Learning night. If you were unable to make it, please feel free to spend a bit of time with your child in the classroom. First thing in the morning, or at the end of the day are always good times.
The children enjoyed reading with pals this week from Ms. Tinkham's class, doing their own retelling of stories by using story board pieces ("Silly Sally" is a favorite right now), painting miniature bird houses, exploring the nature trail, and a variety of other activities. Ask your child what he/she enjoyed doing this week at school.
Monday, Nov. 19th, 6:00, is the Thanks for Giving music concert. Hope to see you there!
All the best, Sarah
ps. It looks like the cold weather is here to stay! Please make sure that your child has snow pants, winter boots, hat and warm mitten/gloves, and warm socks.. Keeping extras in the locker is also a good idea, as well as labeling your child's clothes. The clothing items can often be identical. Thanks!!
Nov. 2, 2018
Dear Parents, It's been a very fun and busy week in the preschool classroom! One project we did was to make an alphabet to put on the hallway bulletin board. We were inspired after reading "Albert's Alphabet" and "ABC Fun", to create our own. We used little objects such as popsicle sticks, dried noodles, beads, pipe cleaners, pompoms etc, and glued them onto cardboard to shape the letters. Now anyone can use a pointer to point and sing the alphabet song. Fun! A math activity we did was "spill the beans". Ten lima beans are in a cup (one side plain, one side colored orange), then spill the beans out, sort, and count as you push them to the outside of the circle. This is a fun and easy activity to try at home! Children also enjoyed bobbing for apples this week, creating stories with our story board and story house, acting out "Going on a Bear Hunt", using the train, light table, writing center, kinetic sand and more.
Reminders: -We all look forward to making bird feeders on Monday, Nov. 5th, from 10:00 - 11:30. Volunteers are needed to help with the construction, and materials are also needed (scrap pieces of soft wood, small hammers, nails, and any other supplies that might come in handy for a bird feeder). Please let me know if you can join - thanks! -Nov. 6, Early Release, 11:45. (teacher inservice) -Nov. 7, Celebration of Learning, 5:30 - 6:30. Everyone welcome to explore and enjoy the classroom with your child! -Nov. 19, Thanks for Giving music concert, 6:00.
All the best, Sarah
Oct. 26, 2018
Dear Parents, This week we did indeed have "Fun With Socks"! After reading the book about children making their own sock puppets, we had fun sewing and gluing buttons, beads, yarn and felt onto socks. The children loved this project and were very creative and inventive. This inspired impromptu puppet shows as the children used their own puppets and puppets from the classroom. Another book we read was Tomie dePaola's, "Pancakes For Breakfast". This is a wordless book that the class really enjoys. As a follow-up to this, (along with a few poems about pancakes), we all thought it would be fun to make pancakes... and it was!
Please note the following dates: 11/5 - Bird Feeder Building, 10:00 - 11:30. Volunteers needed to help with construction, and materials (scrap pieces of soft wood, small hammers, nails, and any other supplies that might come in handy for a bird feeder). Please let me know if you can join! 11/7 - Celebration of Learning, 5:30. 11/19 - Thanks for Giving music concert, 6:00.
All the best, Sarah
Oct. 18, 2018
Dear Parents, It was great seeing all of you for conferences this week. Thanks for taking the time, and I hope that you felt it was enough! Please always know that you can contact me any time, if something is on your mind.
We really enjoyed being outside this week, playing in the mud kitchen, going on the swings, using the sand box, painting with water on the side of the building, and raking the leaves and jumping in the piles. On Thursday, a few of our reading buddies did a "reader's theater" of the story, "The Ugly Duckling". The preschool loved this performance. Great job, buddies! After that, we all enjoyed time reading together.
With the turning of the seasons, the winter birds will soon start to be looking for food. We have been building bird feeders for many, many years, and it's that time of year again to think of our feathered friends! Two weeks from tomorrow, Nov. 5th, from 10:00 - 11:30, will be bird feeder building day. All we need is lots of soft wood scraps, tools, and some adult volunteers. This project has always taken on a life of its own, as the children gather materials and create. The end results always amaze me! Please let me know if you are able to help out on Nov. 5th (rain, snow or shine:)
All the best, Sarah
ps. It is also that time of year to swap out the extra clothes in your child's locker, from summer to fall/winter. Thanks!
Oct. 12, 2018
Dear Parents, It was a picture perfect day at the corn maze on Tuesday! Thanks to all of the volunteers/chaperones: Dawn, Jacqueline, Jane, mimi, Jeff, Nate, Tim and Hanna. We enjoyed it all... the mini-scenic maze, the Hide-and-Seek forest, the mini-pretendin' village, the barn with the purple slide and gopher tunnels, and our friends the goats. The children did fabulous and the adults had fun - a winner for everyone involved! We have started a new weekly event on Thursdays, which is reading buddies with older students, from 11:10 - 11:25. This is a great opportunity for older students to be able to practice reading with expression, fluency, and asking questions/having discussion with the preschoolers about the books, as well as one-to-one reading time for preschoolers. Note the photos in the slideshow to get a glimpse of what this looks like. The leaves have been falling and we have enjoyed raking and tossing them up in the air. We've also spent time in our forest classroom, and created little gnomes out of clay to hide and seek. It's been a fun and busy week on all fronts!
Please note the dates below, which also can be found in the Friday Notes: 10/17, 18 - Conferences 10/18 - early release, 11:45 10/19 - no school
All the best, Sarah
Oct. 5, 2018
Dear Parents, Thank you all for making the salsa project a huge success! We could not have done it without all of the tomato, pepper, onion and cilantro donations, or without the help from Erin, mimi and Jackie (see the photos above). The children took turns selling the salsa during Fall Foliage, and we made a total of $82, which we'll use in the spring for our end of the year trip. The class loved sampling the salsa, and we made up a song to the tune of "Bingo", to learn the letters in Salsa. Ask your child to sing you the song!
The preschool class was in charge of leading the community meeting this week. The whole school passed the rain stick (one of our favorite greetings), and then we broke into 6 small groups playing the game, "Doggie, Doggie, Where's Your Bone" (one of our favorite games). Nice job, preschool! We also enjoyed time with our big pals this week, having lunch together, coloring placemats for Fall Foliage, and sharing books.
The weather is looking favorable for our field trip to the corn maze on Tuesday - yeah! We'll leave school at 9:00, arrive at the corn maze at 9:30, eat our snack, then head out into the scenic mini maze. After working our way through the maze, we'll have time to enjoy the activities in the barn and mini town, as well as time with the farm animals. For those parents riding the bus, please be at school at about 8:50, and for those meeting us there, we'll see you at about 9:30.
All the best, Sarah
Sept. 28, 2018
Dear Parents, On Friday, we had a visit from science teacher, Tom Forster, and his 8th grade students from the Stevens School. Tom and his students worked with most of the classes on outdoor science projects and investigation throughout the course of the day, and our turn came right after lunch. The 8th graders hid animal track drawings on the nature trail. Then the preschoolers, along with an 8th grade buddy, went out to find them and talk about what kind of animal tracks they were. They also looked at the trees, feeling the bark, discussing the texture, and then identifying it. We all had fun with this exploration, and hope that our new friends will pay us another visit soon!
The kindergarten students will be joining the preschool class on several days during the week, from about 11:00 - 11:30. This will be a time of enjoying choice together, both inside the classroom or outside in our forest classroom and nature trail. Our first time together was Tuesday, and we partnered up to decorate more boundary banners for the forest classroom, and then shared books. On Wednesday, one of the choices was to set up a mini forest in our terrarium (which is now empty since the monarchs have headed south). We layered the bottom of the terrarium with small rocks, charcoal, and soil, then found plants, moss, rocks and sticks. We'll see what happens! Hopefully our little "forest" will continue to grow throughout the winter months.
Mark your calendars! -Early release, Oct. 1. Lunch is at 11:10, dismissal is at 11:45. -Salsa Making. Oct. 3, 10:00 - 11:30. Come and join in the slicing and dicing! We will be making and selling our homemade salsa on Wednesday, and selling it on Thursday at Fall Foliage. We will need donations of tomatoes, green peppers, onions and cilantro to make this happen. -Our annual excursion to the Corn Maze is scheduled for Tuesday, Oct. 9th (10th is the rain date). We travel by bus, leaving school at 9:00 and returning by lunch. Everyone is invited! The admission is free for children 4 and younger, and $5 for everyone else. More details and permission slip will be sent out this week.
All the best, Sarah
Sept. 19, 2018
Dear Parents, It was a short but fun week in preschool! As a connection to the book, "Teddy Bear, Teddy Bear", we did the following activities: -searched for hidden bears to collect and put in our bear "den". -used counting bears to make designs and patterns -read lots of different bear books (both fiction and nonfiction) -created our own bears using construction paper, buttons, scissors and glue (come and check them out on the bulletin board in the hallway) -enjoyed watching and listening to Anne Murray's, "Teddy Bear Picnic" song, while we sat on our class picnic blanket with our own teddy bears! The children loved this song, (and spotted Pooh and Paddington, part way through the song:) . Click on the link below to enjoy it with your child. www.youtube.com/watch?v=uxFIGWm9M6w
Mark your calendars! - Salsa Making. Oct. 3, 10:00 - 11:30. Come and join in the slicing and dicing! We will be making and selling our homemade salsa on Wednesday, and selling it on Thursday at Fall Foliage. We will need donations of tomatoes, green peppers, onions and cilantro to make this happen. - Our annual excursion to the Corn Maze is scheduled for Tuesday, Oct. 9th (10th is the rain date). We travel by bus, leaving school at 9:00 and returning by lunch. Everyone is invited! The admission is free for children 4 and younger, and $5 for everyone else. More details and permission slip will be sent out soon.
All the best, Sarah
Sept. 14, 2018
Dear Parents, It was nice to see so many of you at the Parent Information Night, last Wednesday. For those unable to attend, information was put in your child's Friday folder. Please let me know if you have any questions!
Our dear friend, Omri Parsons, contacted me last week, saying he had lots of little pumpkins that were just the right size for preschool. Omri arrived on Thursday, with the pumpkins loaded in the back of his vintage, green truck. We unloaded all of the pumpkins, noticing their similarities and differences, counted them, and then every student chose one to paint. Thank you, Omri, for this very special delivery!
Two more Monarch butterflies emerged this week - fabulous! We have now released one male and two females. Ask your child to tell you how to tell the difference between the male and female Monarch. Some choice activities that happened this past week were making age collages, using kinetic sand, yoga mats on the rug, writing center, floor puzzles and painting on the easel. We were in our forest classroom several times, continuing to explore the many possibilities that nature provides. In addition to the mud kitchen, we also now have lots of 3 foot long sapling sticks, and 1 foot long sticks. I am amazed at the inventiveness and creativity from the students. Come and check it all out if you haven't been able to do so already.
Please note the important reminders below: -No preschool Sept. 20th and 21st, due to teacher inservice. -Please continue to label clothes, rest items, snack containers, water bottles, etc. Thanks! -Mark your calendars! Our annual excursion to the Corn Maze is scheduled for Tuesday, Oct. 9th (10th is the rain date). We travel by bus, leaving school at 9:00 and returning by lunch. Everyone is invited! The admission is free for children 4 and younger, and $5 for everyone else. More details and permission slip will be sent out soon.
All the best, Sarah
September 7, 2018
Dear Parents, We've had a terrific start to the school year! Routines are being established as we move through the school day, and the class is falling into step already. The focus of these first few weeks is all about getting to know each other, and for the students to be comfortable with a predictable, safe and consistent routine. Knowing what to expect is important, as well as getting to understand all of the parts of school, both inside and outside. The classroom centers we explored this week were the light table, indoor kitchen area, listening center, baby dolls and writing center. Outside, the students loved using the mud kitchen - (thanks again...a huge success!) - and being introduced to the forest classroom. We made boundary banners to hang along parts of the perimeter, and also enjoyed walking the entire nature trail with the K/1 class.
We are anxiously now waiting for the 8 monarch chrysalises that we have in the terrarium to emerge into butterflies. Stay tuned, as I'm sure your child will tell you all about it! If you happen to come across any other caterpillars, we would be interested to take a look. Thanks!
Please take note of the following reminders: -Each child needs an extra set of clothing: shirt, pants, underwear and socks. These may be kept in your child's locker. -Please label your child's clothing and rest items. Rest items include a small sheet and blanket or sleeping bag, and pillow. Rest items will be sent home each Friday to be washed. Thank you! -Parent Information Night is Wednesday, Sept. 12th, 6:00-7:30. Hope to see you then! -No preschool Sept. 20th and 21st, due to teacher inservice. All the best, Sarah
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