This morning, your children remembered their routines: from putting their jackets, lunches, and materials away, as well the outdoor safety rules. Eitan brought in many play dough tools to share with his friends. One was even a new fine motor material—a mini pasta maker (which if you have ever used, you would realize the complexity of this cooking tool)! One child took down the puzzles, but unfortunately they all overturned. This became an opportunity to help, which your children did! Your children noticed a new weather chart in their classroom. This chart has their first names, as well as a dot next to their names signifying the number of times they have announced the weather. Your children are learning to read a bar chart as well as a pictorial one. The easel had photos of clouds taped to it, blue and white paint, and cotton balls. Lastly, they noticed a new pictorial chart of children expressing different emotions. We will be having many circle discussions in the following weeks about a wide range of feelings: happy, sad, mad/angry, silly, tired, proud, frustrated, etc.
The moment we stepped outside, your children noticed a small bush that had no leaves. They said “good morning and shalom” to the gentleman at the garage and peeked (and listened) for the work crew at the construction site. We took chalk to the park, and used that also to talk about feelings. I drew circles on the ground (to begin this type of imaginative play), and your children added eyes, noses, mouths, etc. They also reached out for each others’ hands, rode together on the helicopter vehicle, and found someone to play soccer or catch with. Many are truly socializing. Without the confines of their classroom and the materials, they (if they choose) need to talk and connect with a peer to enhance the play. Some also will play alone, watch their peers, or dream.
During Meeting Time, we used a large, colorful, soft rubber band to play a cooperation game. We all needed to hold on to the band, lean all the way back, and then have the rubber band pull us forward! I began the book, "The Way I Feel" to begin our discussion on emotions.
Jules used a drum and shakers to have your children, when they heard the drum, to move and sound like a giant. When they heard the shakers, they would move and sound like babies. They also worked together to make one big pizza (their feet were all touching).
Merav’s Hebrew lesson was about the color yellow (tzahov). She read a story and had your children begin to learn how to spin a yellow dreidel (sevivon). Mushka introduced the letter bet to your children.
This morning during Work Time, your children explored with the Montessori materials (the knobbed cylinders and the brown stairs) as well as using letters and ink stamps for the first time. Some children noticed the way the letters m and w were similar. They also watched their hands turn green from the ink. Using letter stamps helps to strengthen their fine motor skills and coordination. Others explored the letter “T” and would remove the baggie with pictures, book, and a sand textured letter “T” to work independently. I observed your children work with water colors. This task helps your children to concentrate working with a project that requires a multi-step approach to obtain a finished piece of work.
I observed at the playground the girls team up, hold hands, sit on the ground to talk about whose house they would go to, and then run back and forth from one side to the other. The boys were on the bikes, making believe they were on a train, periodically stopping to chat or crash into each other, and then speed away.
Awaking from their naps has been another time that your children have been bonding with each other. Whoever is up first, normally Emma or Sunny, will begin to wake their peers. This is all done in a serious manner as well as a gentle one. I have not witnessed your children other than being soft and kind when trying to awaken their friends (I can only surmise that this is how they are woken in the mornings). They help each other as well. I frequently tell them (when they ask for my help) to ask a friend. I have your children help each other at lunch opening their bags, boxes, containers, or taking off the cellophane wrappers of the juice box straws.
Mushka used three different kinds of beans to use as an activity to link with the Parasha of Toldot (Yaakov and Esav are born). Your children sorted the beans in this sensory activity.
During Work Time this morning, we created a challenge for some of the children. Two knobbed cylinders were placed next to each other. The children removed the pieces (of course, they then were mixed up) and needed to find the corresponding blocks to place them in. We did this as well with two of the wooden puzzles that are similar in design. The children continued their exploration with magnetism as well as beginning pattern work. Merav had your children color in a Happy Thanksgiving crown (in Hebrew) which some of your children wore throughout the morning. Lastly, your children were inspired by looking at a pumpkin and trying to re-create the image on paper (their first still life art experience at Luria).
The children learned a new playground game: Hide and Go Seek (thank you Ellie)! Your children would hide behind other children or just get their bodies into small compact shapes, but the seeker always found them. Your children took turns to be the seeker without much teacher intervention. They also held hands to make one long line; or a snake as they called it. At the end of our playground time, the vehicles were parked, a quarter was put into the muni meter, and all the chalk that we brought was collected. These routines and expectations have become a part of their school experience as well as learning how to work within a large group. Each child brings their personal experiences as well, as we have seen today from the playground game of Hide and Go Seek.
At Meeting Time today, we had fun with the letter T. Inside our “T” bag, your children saw pictures of Teddy, Thomas the Tank, toes, a turkey, and a train. Your children used their index finger to trace the letter “T” kinesthetically.
Yoga with Sarah: Your children moved like snakes and bears as well as learning the eagle pose. They needed to slither like a snake going under Sarah (she created a bridge using her body) and had to walk like a bear (again going under Sarah). Your children also cooperated to pass the yoga block to each other and then used the block on their heads to balance on one foot!
During our morning Work Time, your children used tempera paint and sponge stampers to create their Thanksgiving Day cards. The sponge stampers have shapes either of people or items that children could be thankful for: mommy, daddy, a house or apartment building, trees, leaves, apples, and a star. Eitan brought in a bag of dreidels to show his friends. This turned into a sharing lesson as well as using our fine motor skills to try to spin a dreidel. Thank you Eitan! There was also a table with magnets. Your children felt the force between two magnets and learned firsthand the rules of electromagnetism.
At the park this morning your children ran, played soccer, used chalk, and rode on various vehicles. We also brought the scarves today. I observed (because of the lack of wind) your children using the scarves differently today from last Friday. One child decorated her vehicle (she put them on her handlebars) with them. Other children used them to cover the fronts of their vehicles and some liked holding them. I also observed that your children like to “help” each other. A child will get behind another child (who is on a vehicle) and help to push him/her. Each finds a joy or a purpose in this social activity. On the walk back to school, your children noticed a red truck parked and said it was a fire truck (though it wasn’t). I asked why they thought this; they pointed and said that there was a ladder on top of the truck. They are looking closely at their world, making connections, and lastly coming up with a conclusion (though this time they were not correct!). Your children enjoy looking for their reflections in the windows of stores and in cars. They like to say hello and shalom to their reflections and their friends and teachers. Our tree outside Luria is completely brown now. We wondered when the leaves would fall off.
Music with Jules: your children moved their bodies like lizards and bears and went on a “bear hunt.” The lizards/children would slither on the rug, first coming together closely then moving apart. The bears/children would have to walk like a bear with their hands and feet on the ground (moving in shape like downward dog). Mushka reviewed the letter aleph with your children. Each child had an aleph letter that they used to move, trace, and dance with.
During Work Time today, your children chose to continue working with the letter aleph. It was wonderful to observe Eitan and Mika helping each other find the letter among all the Hebrew letters on the magnetic tray. We also continued our art exploration using cranberries and paint. With this project, each child’s work varied depending upon their choice of color, amount of cranberries, and the way they rolled, shook, or tilted the tray. Your children practiced their Shabbat prayers as well as “cutting” the challah and drinking grape juice with our wooden Shabbat set.
Thank you Emma for bringing in your special item from home! During snack time, Emma had an impromptu Show and Tell with her duck. She showed us how she played with it and how she cuddles and hugs it (it even came in its own special bag). This prompted a discussion on our own beloved stuffed animals!
On our walk this morning, your children were very happy to see the construction site gate wide open with a large vehicle at work. We then enjoyed the leaves beneath our feet and went to the playground. We took a bag of chiffon scarves to the park. Your children used their imaginations, their bodies, and the wind to play with the scarves. The colors were bright against the blue sky; your children running and moving their arms made the playground special today. The vehicle that is large enough for two children (though three tried to fit) was shared again! I also observed Sophie helping to push Mika on her vehicle, going both forwards and backwards. All of this activity and movement today is excellent work for gross motor building, social skill enhancement, enriching language skills, turn taking, patience, and health. We even witness empathy when a child falls and the children gather to give occasional hugs and to watch their teachers give hugs and tissues as well.
At the end of the day, we were able to have a short Work Time; we used a new fine motor material that involves straw like shaped rods with connector pieces. These were small and took refined motor skill work and patience to build a structure. We also had a sensory table with shaving cream. We paired children to share a tray of cream. They shared laughter as well.
During Work Time this morning, some of your children had the opportunity to create art by using cranberries and tempera paint. They first decided how many cranberries they wanted to roll, then what color or colors to use, and lastly they needed to use both hands to roll or shake the tray these items were placed in. The children watched the cranberries create lateral designs as well as the colors mixing together. We also worked together on the carpet to revisit making triangles. Each child selected three straight connectors and then needed to snap them together to make a triangle. The children then compared their shapes. They noticed that some were “larger” and some were “stretched.” We also commented that “all triangles have three sides.” Your children also worked with buttons and string to strengthen their fine motor skill muscles (that table had comparisons as well, ie: “my string is longer”).
On the way to the park, your children enjoyed using their feet to walk, crunch, and shuffle through the leaves. They used the vehicles, chalk, as well as played with stationary barns and silos that were left there by previous children. It was wonderful to see your children stopping on their bikes and talking to each other. I also observed (though there is only one of these vehicles) two children riding together—Eitan and Emma. They did more than share a vehicle; they shared each other’s personal space and took great joy in this moment. Our tree outside is no longer green (finally). Your children noticed that it is entirely yellow and brown now. Soon we will notice when the leaves start to fall down.
Merav reviewed the color green (yarok) as well as discussed the weather (of course in Hebrew)! Your children learned the word for sun (shemesh) and rain (geshem). Merav also used a puppet to make believe that it was sleeping. The children needed to “wake” the puppet up and say boker tov (good morning). They then took turns to make believe that they were sleeping, while the other children said, "boker tov!"
Mushka reviewed the letter aleph. They needed to do an “aleph search” using a magnet board with lots of letters in Hebrew. They had no trouble finding all the alephs. Your children also used their bodies to form the letter and at the end of the day, colored in their own aleph letters.
Before the rain came down, your children used their backyard place space. There was a new see-saw, a soccer ball, three tricycles, and a boat. The see-saw was a lesson for your children in balancing as well as being kind to make room for each others’ hands (if three children chose to go on). They played soccer, though remembering not to use their hands was challenging. The boat was wonderful for the reason that there was room in the back for children to sit as well as openings on all sides for imaginative play. At one point, some children declared that they were, “pirates.” We pretended to row (everyone had an oar) while we sang, “Row, Row, Row, Your Boat.” After taking turns being the captain, I asked, “Where have we docked?” The answers your children gave were: “Treasure Island, Chuckie Cheese, a pool, and home.” We made believe we were pulling up anchor, and off we went.
Ben’s mother and brother came to do an art project with us this morning. Before they arrived, Ben’s picture as well as a picture of Rockaway Beach was taped to our daily schedule. Your children hypothesized about what project we could do that came from a beach. Their answers were: sand, water, a pail and shovel, crabs, and shells. We did an art project with the shells that Ben collected from the beach. Thank you Ben and Ben’s mother! Your children were also very interested in Ben’s brother. They immediately went up to him to look at and even touch his cheeks! We spoke about who has a brother or sister and who is about to become a big brother. After saying thank you and goodbye, your children had Work Time. We used easy grip tweezers for fine motor building. The task was to transfer (from one container) one cotton ball at a time to the other container, using a tweezer.
Merav read a story in Hebrew to your children called,"Maase B’chamisha Balonim." This story is about five balloons, a mother, child, and a present. A new color was added to their growing Hebrew vocabulary: yarok-green. This was a fun activity for your children; they would place the colored balloons on a large, colorful, read aloud sheet.
Mushka read, “Kind Little Rivka,” by Dina Rosenfeld, which is based on the story in this week’s parasha. This story speaks of the kindness of Rivka and how she shared water with Eliezer and his camels. Eliezer gives her jewelry after she agrees to marry Yitzchak, so we decided to practice our fine motor skills and create some necklaces of our own.
Today during our morning Work Time, the most popular table activity was the watercolors. This task utilizes fine motor building and helps with concentration (as you can see from the children working with the material). The connectors (also a fine motor enhancement) were used today to make vehicles. One child made a crane, even demonstrating to a peer the way it worked.
Before going on our walk, Feigy and Merav demonstrated to your children how to put their jackets on themselves. Some of them got it on their first try and other children said that they have done this before. On our walk today, your children looked inside the construction site. They noticed three men sitting and then commenting that they were “taking a break.” I said we all need a break sometime and that they have their break at rest time!
At the playground, the chalk was an item that was used in a way that I have never witnessed before. One child found a small stick and scratched it into the chalk; creating a new writing tool. She then encouraged another child to look for a stick to do the same. Your children have favorite vehicles that they like to ride on and then they have a tendency to meet, stop, talk, and then ride on. Before going inside Luria for our Morning Meeting, your children noticed the changes to our tree.
We have started a discussion on the word “thankful.” This concept (as well as learning the differences between our needs and wants) will be the main focus of our Thanksgiving discussion. Some of your children have already shared what they are thankful for: “mommy” and “hot dogs.”
I observed this morning, your children reminding each other to put up their attendance pictures. They really seem to enjoy this responsibility as well as figuring out where they want to place their pictures on the chart. Frequently, the conversation is: “I am next to ___,” or I may ask a child,”Whose picture is next to or underneath yours?” Sometimes, they can be even creative with the angle of their photos. One child (whose picture was upside down) said, “I’m being silly.”
During Work Time, many of your children made birthday cards for Max and Teddy. These were stapled and made into special “Birthday Books.” Our birthday celebrations include a read aloud by the parents. Today we were lucky; two children = two books! Thank you Katie and Jake for reading "This Is The Firefighter"and"Digger Man." These books connected to what we have been talking about in class and seeing on our daily walks. Your children also worked with the knobbed cylinders, the number pegboard, legos, and the sound boxes before we had Max and Teddy’s birthday celebration.
We stopped to listen and see if the construction site was active before going to the playground. One of the children noticed the lock and chain off of the fence and announced it to her class. They all then needed to see through the small opening in the fence. It was another beautiful fall day for your children to walk through the leaves. At the playground, your children remembered the game they played on Friday but this time, more children joined in! On the way home, we stopped to watch a worker fixing the front steps to a brownstone. This began a conversation about where their mothers or fathers go to work. When we turned the corner onto St. Marks Avenue, we passed by the 3-5 class. It’s always fun whenever you meet someone you know when you’re out taking a walk (and your children picked up on this).
Music and Movement with Jules: Your children moved their bodies like lizards (on their bellies) and also made a small then a large circle to have their feet touch each other. They needed to listen to Jules’ instructions very carefully, and then quickly either move forward or backward.
During our Work Time this morning, your children drew pictures for their friend Asher. These were stapled together to create a special Happy Birthday Book. Asher decorated his birthday crown and was also happy to have Emma and Lelo help him with the stickers and the coloring. Thank you for sharing, Asher! The children had the opportunity to visit the connector table to make shapes. I observed today the same four boys building with legos, sitting in the exact spot that they worked at together two days ago. Your children are learning who shares their same interests as well as learning to play with different children, as was the case later in the day at the playground.
Asher’s mother, father, and sister came to help celebrate his birthday. The children not only had cupcakes, but listened to the story, “There’s No Place Like Space.” After story time, we went to the park. The wind had created piles of leaves so our walk this morning was wonderful. Your children enjoyed walking through and hearing the sounds of the leaves beneath their feet. There were two new occurrences at the park today. The first was that a small group of children began to play a game of tag together. The second was a holding hands game and then creating a chain, running back and forth from one end to the other end of the play yard. Watching your children laugh and play with each other, without having any object or toy, was the best part of my day.
We had a short Work Time before dismissal that included exploring with shaving cream, painting with watercolors, and using the easel. I had blue and white tempera paint at the easel reminding the children of the beauty of the sky. At the end of the day, your children watched as the worker outdoors tried to sweep though, unfortunately, it was too windy for him to complete this task. We did notice that their play yard looks ready to use! They saw the three tricycles, the basketball hoop, and a boat. We will see on Monday if the space is ready for us.
This morning’s Work Time included fine motor skill activities as well as our favorite Montessori materials. At one table, your children worked with clay (not play dough), pasta wheels, and used pictures as visual aides to craft their own vehicles. Clay is a wonderful material to use to help strengthen the muscles needed for fine motor work. The clay needs to be kneaded, rolled, and really worked with their fingers to shape the material into the desired shape that is imagined. Your children made a car, train, spaceship, boat, and a motorcycle. At another table, your children used eye droppers to mix yellow and blue colored water. This task was challenging. Your children needed to gently squeeze the dropper into the yellow container, transfer and squeeze it into the empty container and then repeat the task with the blue colored water. This mixing also had the end result of learning that the two primary colors mixed together created green. I re-learned that food coloring does not wash off hands immediately. Some of the children noticed that my hands were green! I said that tomorrow, we will see if the color remains on my hands. I observed your children use The Pink Tower today and at times working together or waiting their turns. One child, after carefully building his tower, just as carefully took it apart to build it horizontally.
As soon as we went outside, your children noticed a worker across the street on a scaffold. They found this interesting with comments such as: “He’s so high up,” and “He’s not wearing a helmet.” We of course peeked into the construction site: work was going on as scheduled. I observed your children at the playground reading (one stationary vehicle had a small book on it), drawing faces with chalk, and working together to collect leaves in a dump truck. On the way back to Luria, your children noticed their reflections on a car that was extremely clean. They found this very funny; I am glad to witness that they are beginning to laugh together now on a regular basis. The children noticed that there were no more chrysanthemums at the Fruit and Vegetable store, though we did stop to look at the cabbage plants they are now selling.
Our Meeting Time today included a review and hands on building of four shapes: circle, square, rectangle, and triangle. Using connectors, your children had the task of building one of the shapes. Tomorrow during Work Time we will have the connectors out again so the children can continue with this experience.
Merav had fun with your children reviewing the word “Shalom.” Mushka had an activity with the letter, aleph. Your children matched three pieces of the letter to a stencil.
Our read alouds today were:
"Some Machines are Enormous" by Bettina Bird and Joan Short (we had fun with the word enormous as well as recognizing some of the work vehicles we see in our neighborhood).
This morning during Work Time, your children spent time with the Montessori materials, specifically the three sets of knobbed cylinders and the brown stairs. Each time a child works with these materials, there is continuous growth and discovery. They also bring their imaginations and curiosity to their work. The wooden pegs and numbers became a shared task since I displayed the material in a wooden carrying box along with the pegs in a cotton bag. The art easel is always busy. Today your children worked with blue and yellow tempera paint as well as with watercolor palettes. We have now completed our vehicles and they will be on exhibition during parent teacher conference time!
On our walk today, before looking into the construction site, we first used our auditory sense to help us figure out if work was going on or not. We heard the workers and the vehicles, and then we stopped to watch. Your children used the many vehicles that are at the playground, and (with teacher prompts) shared the favorite ones. They like to gather together, (sitting on their vehicles) chat, and then move on. They also like to collect leaves to put inside those vehicles that have a container. On the way back to school, the wind blew some leaves off the trees swirling down to your children. We reached our hands up to try to catch a leaf. It was wonderful to see them laughing with each other. The color of the sky and the trees and the sound of your children laughing made for one of the best walks we have had (so far). Before going inside, we stopped to look at our tree and your children noticed that it is now yellow, green, and brown.
At meeting time (after weather and attendance), we played a “Mystery Shape Game.” We looked and spoke about four shapes: circle, square, rectangle, and triangle. I then put all the shapes inside a bag, and only took out three. The children tried to remember which shape was missing.
Merav, using music, movement, and a puppet taught your children the word shalom. Mushka continued with the letter aleph. Your children matched the letter to the shape and watercolored their own aleph letters.
Today’s read alouds were:
"This Is the Way We Go to School - A Book About Children Around the World" by Edith Baer
We have been busy trying to finish our Shabbat place mats during Work Time. I gave a presentation to a small group of children with a Montessori material today that was familiar to them, but a little different! We added another block of knobbed cylinders; we now have three out of the set of four on our shelves. The cylinders vary in height and/or diameter and help develop visual perception as well as coordination of movement. The brown stairs have become a favorite material with your children. They remembered the presentation and used the one cm prism as a guide to help check their work. Sharing the trains this morning became a lesson in patience and turn taking. The classroom has many trains, though remembering to work together is sometimes challenging. During snack time as well as meeting time, we spoke about the importance of working together as a class and helping each other. We held hands at meeting time to pass a hug and worked together to quickly pass a bean bag and not let it drop.
We were able to walk through the Community Garden that is practically next door to Luria! Your children smelled mint and fennel, and we walked through looking at all the beauty around us. We also stopped to look at an enormous squash that had not been picked (as of yet)! Afterwards, we walked to the playground. Down St. Marks Avenue, your children noticed a large construction truck blocking our path. After crossing the street safely, the truck moved away giving us a view of the construction site. Your children have been keeping a close eye on the work that is going on close to our school. The public school also has a mural we stopped to examine. They noticed a butterfly, helicopter, and a guitar. The weather was warm today and sunny (thank you weatherperson Yosef Aryeh!) so we were able to remove our coats at the playground to run, play ball, use chalk, and go on the various vehicles.
Sarah, our yoga teacher, brought her special bell. Your children waited their turns to ring the bell, tried to balance on one foot, and then passed it silently to the person next to them. They also stretched their bodies, did mountain and camel pose, and lastly rested next to a friend.
This morning during work time, some of the children added wheels, windows, shark teeth, or wings to their painted vehicles from Friday. They looked at the vehicle chart examining what they would need to complete their box. After gluing on the appropriate items, the last step was to play with their vehicles! Work Time also included painting at our easel, working with the knobbed cylinders and brown stairs, coloring with paper, cutting using paper and scissors, and exploring clay. We also had four children bring in items that they wanted to share with their friends. This was saved for an impromptu Show and Tell at our meeting time!
We took chalk to the playground and Sunny shared her bubbles with her friends. Your children are learning to wait for a bicycle they want, to look for another vehicle while they wait, to share a ball with a friend, and to ask for a tissue if needed. Some of your children created a game while they were sitting still on their vehicles. I overheard them say that they were “on a train going to the airport,” then off they went. The children went from one end of the play yard to the other. I noticed that other children watched and then joined. On our walk back to school, we stopped to watch a worker on the top floor of a brownstone. He was wearing a construction helmet (just like the one Lelo brought to school) and working with a hammer to install a window.
At our meeting time, after weather and attendance, we had our Show and Tell. Lelo spoke about his construction gear, Eitan showed us how his trains work, Sophie flew her butterfly, and Mika discussed her shark hat. We will be having a scheduled Show and Tell (this will be discussed at our parent teacher conferences) shortly!
Music and movement with Jules today had your children running, marching, and rolling to a drum beat! Merav taught your children fall songs and Mushka introduced the letter aleph. She had them trace the letter in shaving cream and form the letter with their bodies.
This morning during Work Time, your children started to make their Shabbat place mats. Merav worked with them as they selected pictures that symbolize Shabbat: challah, candlesticks, and grape juice. Your children also began their vehicles! Before painting, we examined pictures of various vehicles and your child described what he/she wanted to create. I then asked the color they wanted to use. I provided this for them, and they began. Next week, they will glue on the wheels, doors, and windows (if needed). Some children chose to make a plane—we will have to make wings. Another child chose to make The Beast boat! On Monday, he will paint on the teeth to make it look like a shark. We listened to Duke Ellington this morning.
During our Shabbat celebration, we sang “Bim Bom” and “There’s a Dinosaur Knocking at My Door.” We are practicing saying our prayers, learning our Shabbat songs, and remembering our manners for when our parents come for Shabbat!
On our walk, we also have been talking about safety; specifically crossing the street and keeping silent. Certain routines have become part of our walk: we always hold on to a colored shape, we are silent when we cross the street, and we hold on to the shape until an adult says “Go Play!” They also know the boundaries of where to go and they are wonderful when it is time to leave! We stopped before entering the playground to see if the cherry picker was there; it was! While walking past a construction truck, one child remarked how big the tires were. We stopped to measure using a child next to the wheel. The wheel was taller than the child (Arcady was our volunteer)! At the playground, the children used their imaginations to set up a car wash that included filling the tank with gas. They had fun with a toy guitar as well today. Even though there was only one, some of the children made believe that they were playing the drums. Before leaving, your children make believe that they are parking their vehicles, putting a quarter in the muni-meter, and then lining up to go back to school.
After our weather and attendance was completed at morning meeting, we looked at a large empty box thinking about what classroom vehicle we could make. Some of the responses were: an airplane, train, and a car. One Monday, we will have a vote to decide the outcome.
Thank you Eitan for sharing a Shabbat treat at the end of the day with everyone—yummy organic lollipops!
Your children had a busy work time this morning. We had one table set up for a collaborative tempera mural using sponge stamps shaped as a tree, car, truck, airplane, boat, and a person walking. Another table had a fine motor skill activity—lacing buttons. At the art easel was blue and red paint to explore and mix. The children also worked with Montessori materials: the brown stairs, the knobbed cylinder, and the pink tower. I gave two small group presentations with the brown stairs for the children who have not used the material previously. The colored textured dominoes became a game with your children practicing their turn taking skills. We also had a visitor this morning: Jack (Eitan’s dog)! It’s wonderful to see that no child in our classroom has a fear of dogs. We love to look for them on our walks in the morning (we always see at least one). Our background music this morning was Patsy Cline.
At snack time, we spoke about what we could do with the small boxes that were brought to class. We are going to make vehicles. One child decided that she wanted to make an airplane and paint it white. Another child decided that he would make the “7” train, and still another is making a red fire engine. This will be a multi-step task with us first discussing and deciding what type of vehicle to make, than painting it, and finally adding wheels, windows, and doors.
On our walk, we stopped to watch a cherry picker (basket crane). Of course, the worker in the basket crane noticed us and showed the children how high he could make the basket go and then we watched him go all the way down to the ground, with him safely getting out. Lelo commented that he should wear a helmet! We stopped to look at the mural again, noticed a dog sitting on a bench outside a coffee shop, and then walked to the playground. Your children raced around on the various vehicles and some children used leaves to represent written letters making believe they were delivering the mail.
At meeting time today, after the weather and attendance, your children worked together to make a spider web (just like the ones we see on our walks). As we “spun” the web, your children needed to hold on to their piece of yarn, not let go, and be patient until we all were holding yarn. I got caught, just like a spider might catch a fly! We then all let go, and our web was broken. This exercise helps your children to follow directions, practice turn taking, be patient, and work as a team.
Mushka played “Red Light, Green Light” with your children to reinforce to word lech (go). She used red, green, and yellow poly spots to represent green-go and red-stop. Mushka also used two vehicles (thank you Arcady for sharing your bus!) for a circle activity.
Your children were busy during work time with our transportation lacing cards, the art easel, using scissors to cut paper, sharing books about transportation (thank you Eitan!), making vehicles with connectors, and working with the wooden shape pieces to build figures. At the easel the children used blue and yellow to make green. They also remembered who did not have a turn yesterday and saw that their art was hung up in their classroom! Merav used the lacing materials to work one on one with your children in Hebrew. She focused on counting and looking at shapes and colors.
Our time in the playground today was about sharing, working together to play soccer, using our gross motor skills to move a play vehicle, and using our imaginations. Many of the children were using the play vehicles in an imaginative and cooperative way. They decided to park, use leaves as tickets, board an airplane, and then go!
We have begun having a longer meeting time. Today, after our weather discussion and attendance, we played a game with the “P” sound as well as made the letter “P” with our finger in the air. I had pictures and items of things that begin with the “P” sound and items that do not begin with that sound. In this way, your children are learning the letter “P” in three different ways: auditory, visual, and kinesthetic.
Mushka had a fun activity with your children. Her lesson today involved the word “go” in Hebrew (lech) as Hashem told Avraham “lech lecha.” She had them use a “suitcase” and walk across (after dipping their feet in purple paint) paper, making footprints. They all enjoyed the trip immensely!
Today your children used the art easel for the first time. This was an opportunity for them to practice their waiting skills, push up their sleeves, paint, hand the art smock to the next child, and then independently wash their hands. Two primary colors were used: yellow and red. Some of your children noticed a new color that emerged from mixing red and yellow. I also heard a child comment on another child’s work: “that is beautiful.” We try to talk to each child before he/she begins and then again upon completion. One child said that he was “painting a dinosaur.”After he was done, he described “how big his dinosaur” was! The easel will now be part of our art center.
Your children worked well together this morning with the color tablets. They made a line of the tablets then took turns to match them. This was completely child centered without any adult intervention. They took out the tablets, needed no teacher prompts with turn taking or sharing, and put away the material when completed. I also observed a child working with the knobbed cylinders. She would say, “This one is the tallest,” find the appropriate spot, and then repeat it again. She remembered the presentation of the material and was able to talk herself through the task.
During morning work time, your children used their fine motor skills to lace through various modes of transportation. They had the choice of a fire truck, an old steam engine train, the Staten Island Ferry, a subway car (one child said it was the “B” train), a bus, and an airplane.
On our walk to the playground, we stopped to look at a restaurant that had different shapes and faces painted on the outside of the building. We saw a butterfly, skull, a heart, and a flower. We also had to watch the Con Edison truck that was parked across the street from the playground. We asked what they were doing, and the response was, “laying cables underground.” The playground was wonderful! Your children played soccer, catch, and used the various wheeled toys that were available. We then stopped to see the construction site close to Luria and witnessed a porta-potty being moved from one location to another!
During meeting time, we tallied up our chart from yesterday and noticed that more children arrive to school on foot than any other method. Merav played a Hebrew lotto game. She had your children matching colors (brown, yellow, red, and orange) and numbers (1-4). Tuesday is Yoga day. Your children stretched their bodies and they also worked cooperatively with one balloon. They needed to sit in a circle, and then gently pass the balloon to the person next to them. I heard many “thank you”s when the balloon was passed to a friend.
Today I introduced a new Montessori sensorial material, the broad stairs. These are ten wooden prisms that range in size to help develop visual and muscular perception of dimension. Your children also worked with the sound of the letter “S.” They discovered in a bag a variety of items and pictures such as a snake, soap, sand, and the sun.
On our walk today your children were so happy to see some snow left over from Saturday! They pointed out the patches of snow remaining on St. Marks Avenue. We also “discovered” a mural. Your children saw a woman with a flowered dress, an elephant, a giraffe, a fish, and a rainbow. They also identified every pumpkin and spider web that they noticed! We found more of the smaller pine cones as well as branches from trees that were brought down from the storm. We brought these back to be examined more closely during Work Time.
At our morning meeting, your children needed to place their names underneath the way they arrived to school. The choices were: car, stroller, walking, bus, subway, or taxi. Tomorrow we will tally up the names under each picture and look at the results. Our chart titled; “How Did I Come To School Today?” will be re-visited and discussed further.
Merav worked with some of your children using pegs and boards to learn the numbers in Hebrew. Jules, our music teacher used poly spots as markers. Your children needed to hop, spin, and jump back to their colored spot!
We read two chapters from, “Little Bear,” by Else Holmelund Minerik. The first story was apropos for today as it discusses the clothing choice for little bear on a cold day.