This morning it was wonderful to see your children remember the routines as they entered their classroom. More importantly, the children are beginning to remind each other regarding what to do! For example, a child will hand a friend his/her attendance photo. They also went right to work manipulating and creating with shape stickers. At clean up time, we put a small amount of shaving cream on the table with a paper towel. Nearly every child wanted to participate to help clean the tables!
During meeting time today, we implemented a new visual aid to help the children remember the social rule: when one person is speaking, we all listen. While looking/reading our schedule, we had left the picture of Shabbat. This turned into a wonderful opportunity for a teachable moment as we discussed whether today was Shabbat. Your children laughed when they realized and noticed the Shabbat card on the schedule. After removing the card and putting it away, we sang, “Today is Monday.”
On our walk today, your children noticed the National Grid truck still working and digging a hole. The people in our neighborhood really notice us on our walks. They will say hello or wave to us. Your children remember the people they see, the workers on the block, the outdoor cafes, the dogs (large or small), even the chrysanthemums and bamboo plants at the fruit and vegetable store! Our conversations are inspired by your children. Today, they made believe they were going to a party. I asked: “what will you bring?” The overwhelming response was, “cupcakes.”
During work time, your children used their fine motor skills to work with new lacing cards. They created apple stick puppets, and strung beads. Each of our three tables was very busy. These activities not only help your children strengthen their fingers, but allow the opportunity to practice their conversation skills. The lacing table reminded me of a knitting circle - your children were working, talking, and laughing. I also used the shaving cream on trays for a sensory experience. The children explored the material with their fingers.
During quiet time, we listened to lullabies from around the world and read another chapter from “Henry and Mudge.” We will finish the book tomorrow and start a new book for Monday!
The children have started their own book. This book will include all the rules and kind sayings that are said by them! We will also include photographs and pictures showing the rule or action. So far, your children have come up with three rules/sayings. They also are looking at books together. With a bit of modeling, a coveted book can be shared and enjoyed by more than one person. This activity will eventually lead to the discussion and connections with books (we should start a book club!).
During Hebrew, your children remembered all the songs taught by Merav! They were singing after quiet time while waiting for music with Jules. She also worked one-on-one with children to complete their Rosh Hashana cards as well as their Apple Bowls.
Your children embraced the first day of fall by examining leaves, branches, and acorns from an oak tree. They had the choice of either closely observing the organic materials or using them to create a fall collage. These morning transition projects allow for your child to work independently or to work with a peer. They create a sense of anticipation upon entering their classroom: “What will be on the tables this morning? What materials will be new today? I remember working with that yesterday!” Your children also had an opportunity to guess what item was brought to school by one of their friends. I asked if the item was cold; a child responded, “Like ice?” When I asked if it was hot, another response was, “Like the sun?” Next, I asked if it was sticky and sort of prickly? The extension was: “Like a spider?” We finally were treated to an impromptu puppet show featuring a lion!
Your children began a special project with Merav for Rosh Hashanah today—apple/honey bowls! They also have been working hard to finish their Rosh Hashana cards.
We had a small group lesson to introduce the knobbed cylinders. Your children always get excited when a small rug is rolled out and a new material is presented! The cylinders help to develop the visual perception of dimension and coordination of movement. They also provide an indirect preparation for writing by developing the three finger grip.
We listened to a CD with songs such as “Bim Bam” as well as some Shabbat prayers in an easy call and response method. The CD is becoming a Friday favorite!
Even though we do not have Rest Time on Fridays, towards the last 1/2 hour of our day, one of the children rolled out a mat, and quietly rested near the library center! This shows how relaxed many of the children are getting within their classroom community. They know where everything is and take out what they need. We proceeded to roll out all our mats on the rug, turned off the lights, and read two chapters of “Henry and Mudge.” While waiting for our Abbas and Immas, we sang songs and looked outside the window at the rain. We sang “The Ants Go Marching One by One,” “Five Little Monkeys,” “Roll Over. Roll Over, “and of course, “It’s Raining it’s Pouring!” That was one of the best times of the day. It was foggy, warm and cozy; your children were relaxed, and it was really lovely to watch the weather outside.
It was wonderful to see so many parents last evening!
This morning many of the children first stopped to work at the table that had leaves, glue, and paper. Glue sticks help with refining fine motor skills as well as problem solving. The children twisted the glue up and often exposed the entire amount. When they would try to use it, it would sometimes break, so we realized that it would have to be twisted back down. Putting the top back on is also challenging at this stage. This takes hand and eye coordination, as well as patience. They used their senses to feel the variety of the leaves (we provided a wide range of different leaves) and the sensation of the sticky glue. We enjoyed this activity while listening to Duke Ellington. Some of the children moved closer to the CD to really listen and move their bodies to the flow of his music!
During work time, your children worked with the sound boxes. Some prefer this activity either individually or with a peer. This also involves the children that stand/sit on the periphery of the activity! They will observe, learn from a peer, practice their waiting/patience skill, and then try it for themselves. The Practical Life center was especially busy today. It is this area of their classroom that really stretches their verbal skills, negotiation abilities, mathematical strategies, and creativity with the materials. They will count how many children are at the square table, tell a peer that there are four children here already, count the cups on the table, and try to share the food they have cooked.
We now all sit together at lunch! The three tables are joined to formed one long rectangle. This makes for a true community. This also (at this stage of their development) helps with assuring that everyone eats their lunches and practices their manners, listening skills, conversational cues (learning when is it their turn to add to the flow of the conversation!), and is simply fun.
During Hebrew today, your children worked collaboratively to decorate a shofar and worked one-on-one with Merav to create a special Rosh Hashana card. They also tasted (and some enjoyed) a pomegranate.
Before going outside, we introduced a new outdoor activity—sand play. We talked about sand safety and then used nearly all of our senses to experience this new part of our environment. The sand is extremely fine, therefore the wind and height of the sand flowing from their fingers allowed for scientific experimentation! They quickly came up with the rule of how many children could work at the sand table as well as not throwing the sand. Your children even asked for a chair to sit on and wait - and then scooted over to share the seat with a friend!
Our story time ended with Henry’s cousin wanting a pet. This began a quiet conversation about who in the class had a pet, what kind, the pet’s name, etc. This discussion exemplifies their listening skills and shows their personal connection with the story.
This morning, upon entering their classroom, your children noticed that the two new activities were set out for them. The first project was to use their fingers to roll and rub a crayon across a piece of white paper. While doing so, they noticed an image of a leaf appear. Some of the children decided to draw a leaf on paper without a leaf underneath. This shows a connection to the material as well as the ability to draw a shape from a still life representation. The second table was supplied with water, chalk, and colored paper. Your children noticed the difference when the chalk was dipped in water versus dry chalk and verbalized this discovery. We have begun using small rugs for individual and/or shared work. Some of the children were excited to use the sound boxes on their own as well as the color tablets.
Tefila was said during our morning meeting and we continued to learn the song for Rosh Hashanah, “Tapuchim ve’Devash.” We added a new visual aid for our weather chart. We have begun discussing the temperature as well as what the sky looks like. We look at different pictures of children dressed in winter clothing, spring wear, rain gear, and even swim wear! We then announce the weather—today was partly sunny and warm.
During our morning walk, we stopped at a local fruit and vegetable store to examine a chrysanthemum and a bamboo plant. Your children used their sense of smell and sight and one child said that pandas like bamboo! This connection and understanding as well as verbalizing this to their peers is what makes our day as teachers at Luria so special!
We continued reading “Henry and Mudge.” Your children have begun to visualize a story without seeing pictures. I do not show them the pictures (I read this chapter book at rest time) and they have no difficulty following the story line. I enjoy reading the Cynthia Rylant series for she addresses the social concerns and dilemmas of young children. Today we listened to Mozart’s “Eine Kleine Nachtmusik.”
After quiet time, we used our outside play space for the first time! Before going out, we counted the number of tricycles there were. Your children came up with the rule that there would be no bumping into each other and that they would need to share and take turns. We also played soccer, basketball, and catch. We took some of our mats and books and were so happy to be outside on this beautiful day.
When your children came back to their classroom, they painted with watercolors and used clay for the first time. Clay is wonderful for helping to strengthen their fine motor skills and is extremely calming. They will be completing a special Rosh Hashanah project tomorrow and will be beginning another!
This morning, our sound box helped ease the transition from home to school. The children listened closely and tried to match the sounds heard. Some of the cylinders require your children to pay close attention for they are similar in tone. They did remarkably well with this material. Play dough also helped ease your children during transition from home. Kneading and working the dough is calming and helps strengthen their fine motor skills…and is fun! They pretended to make soup and each child “added” a special ingredient to this soup: matzah balls, carrots, and apples.
During our morning Work Time, your children used watercolors in their classroom for the first time. This required them to share the materials and use their fine motor skills. The cursive tracking board also was popular today—this helps your children develop their writing and drawing skills.
Instead of our walk today (because of the rain), your children used the parachute for the first time. We made believe that a rainbow had entered our classroom! Each child held a handle and was able to lift and then bring down the parachute. We created large and then small waves. Your children listened to the instructions and used their gross motor skills to move the parachute. Lastly, all the children danced and jumped underneath the parachute.
During quiet time your children listened to some of Bach’s Brandenburg Concerto. Before beginning any CD, I tell them the composer and title of the work they are about to hear (as I do when we read a story). I have begun reading short chapter books to your children before quiet time. Today, we read a chapter from Henry and Mudge. This chapter dealt with Henry’s uncle coming for a visit and bringing wood to build a tree house. We ended the chapter with questions and responses such as: “What would happen if…”, “What will Mudge do?” and “I have an uncle like Henry.”
Mushka and Merav had the children do apple prints today using yellow paint and of course, apples! Your children sang “Apples and Honey” while creating their art. During Yoga, your children stretched, did cow and cat poses, turned their bodies into flowers, and began learning downward dog.
It was wonderful to see that many of your children are really beginning to understand and take comfort in the routines of their morning. Upon entering their classroom, they know to put away their lunch box, decide where to place their attendance photo, greet a friend, and then choose which table to begin their work. We also have a new rule inspired from one of your children: “if someone is crying, try a kiss and a hug.” This shows how aware your children are of each other, that they are problem solving, and are taking the initiative and verbalizing the solution!
During our morning walk, your children remembered all that they have seen previously and have started a new game: “I Spy.” When I noticed a penguin on the side of a truck, and said: “I spy a penguin,” the children did remember that we have still not seen a dolphin (we just may tomorrow)!
Work time is becoming longer and more focused. Many of the children are building more complex structures with the magna tiles and we have begun having individual, explorative work with the sensorial materials. Today’s focus was with the color box and the touch and match board. This helps your children with tactile differences, sensory perception, and language.
Our comfortable blue cots arrived today! The rule that was teacher and child inspired regarding the cots was: “you may dream, sing quietly, nap, and please no jumping.” On Mondays we have music with Jules, though every day we move our bodies and listen to something beautiful at quiet time (today’s composer was Beethoven).
What a productive Work Time your children had this morning! The pictures capture how engaged they were with the materials they were working on, the curiosity of some of the children as they watched each other, and the joy of completing a task! I also noticed how quickly your children became tired at the end of their day—on Fridays they are without quiet time and they really need that time of their day to recharge! Their bodies also need fuel—breakfast is the most important meal of the day!
The dramatic play center has five separate components (more to be added as the year progresses) and many, many domains to help your child grow creatively, verbally, mathematically, and socially. We had a discussion about how many children can work comfortably in the area—the number four was decided upon. Your children refer to the number and then count to see if they can or cannot play in that area. They are learning to share and put away the items (and there are quite a number of plates, cups, forks, spoons, play food, etc.).
During Morning Meeting we played The Shabbat Mystery Grab Bag Game! Waiting their turns, each child closed his/her eyes and then pulled out one item from a bag. They soon “discovered” all the necessities for Shabbat: candles, plate, knife, wine glass, challah and cover (these items are made from wood). We proceeded to say each bracha. It was wonderful to see some of your children say the blessings along with us! Everyone will learn them!!
Your children are true New Yorkers! We took a long walk today. Not only was it a glorious day, but their observations and energy was at a wonderful high! They noticed that the doors in their neighborhood (at least around the corner from Luria!) are all painted different colors and that many people have bicycles.
Next week we will continue our talk about Rosh Hashana!
The children were curious when they walked into their classroom today—they heard and saw the work that was occurring in their play yard! This became the perfect opportunity to begin careful and thoughtful reasoning and making predictions following their question: will we play tomorrow outside? We took a vote with the answer of “yes” winning by one. Your children have been watching the process carefully and noticing who is outside, what is occurring, where it is taking place, and how and why the work is being done. This event improves oral language development and has the children see a sequential process. After voting and noticing the beauty of the day, the morning meeting’s discussion turned to what we would notice outdoors. We recorded every child’s response. This activity allows your child to learn the art of patience, listen to a peer’s response, and remember what he/she wants to see. We took the list with us on our walk and did see some of their predictions.
Morning work included a fine motor skill activity—the wooden lacing manipulative. These materials help to aid your child in developing the ability to handle materials in a careful, precise and orderly way and to more specifically aid in the development of the hand, especially the pincher grasp as an indirect preparation for writing.
We have been having two music and movement sessions with your children during the day to help them to learn to listen to oral instructions, strengthen their bodies by using their gross motor skills, and to have fun. If your child is singing “Sticky Bubble Gum,” be aware that we are not chewing gum, just moving our bodies to the music of this song!
It was wonderful seeing some of the children today really helping each other during Work Time. The puzzles have become an opportunity for your children to practice, feel confident, and get real joy when they look at each other and give each other a high five! They know they have not only done a great job, but realize the joy of working together. We see this behavior during quiet time. This has also become a rich time for your children to connect with each other, comfort each other, sing, and laugh with each other.
Children are learning brachot during snack and lunch and your children have begun learning the Hebrew words for the colors they see—today we learned “Kachol-blue.”
Today, we painted for the first time. After each painting was complete, children learned how to take their paintings to the dry rack, put their paint brushes in a container, walk to the bathroom, wash their hands, and then go to the rug to read a book! This experience gives your child the time to work independently, develops his/her fine motor skills, provides the opportunity for increasingly more complex work/directions, and has an instant gratification with the end results.
Our read aloud today included: "Does a Kangaroo Have a Mother, Too?" and "There Is a Nightmare in My Closet."
The 3’s class had yoga today for the first time! Your children moved their bodies like frogs, bears, and bees. They twisted, stretched, and learned the classic asana position—shivasana.
Morning work time focused on individual fine motor skills as well as shared work. Your children used scissors to cut paper and play dough and worked with turning and then changing wooden doll pieces. Puzzle time became a lesson today in either waiting patiently for a puzzle or working in partnership. The children are also learning how to hold the classroom materials carefully with both hands and to put them away independently!
The Practical Life area of the classroom has been very busy with your children working hard to cook together, set the table, share the food, and clean up. At this center they are learning the awareness of others and the skill of social integration and negotiation.
At snack time we ate apples and honey and sang “Dip the Apples in the Honey” to continue our Rosh Hashana discussion. We read the book “Apples and Honey” during story time to reinforce this holiday. Our read aloud today included The Very Busy Spider, Best, Best Friends, and Look What I See! What Can it Be?.
Before our walk outside, our meeting discussion topic was: What do you think we will see? Some of the answers included a dog, frog (there are two stone frogs in a garden next to our school!), an airplane, helicopter, dolphin, and a truck. We remembered those responses and looked for them during our walk. Your children recalled the pink truck from yesterday though we did not see one today. The dolphin response had your children making believe they were in the water. We spoke about where we might possibly see a dolphin as well as what we would wear if we were in the water. These discussions allow your child to mentally visualize, expand his/her vocabulary, listen to peers, and to reason for why something can or cannot occur.
Today your children used their sense of sight, taste, smell, and touch to chart “My Favorite Apple Today.” After tasting a red, yellow, and green apple, the children needed to place their names underneath a picture of their favorite apples. This simple activity embraces the practical life and sensorial curriculum. It helped to development your child’s vocabulary by providing language for the perceptions experienced as well as providing eye and hand coordination! We looked at color, size, and shape and the conversation led to a mathematical question: how many apples are there? Then, after using one: how many apples are left?
Before our walk today, the discussion at meeting was: What do you think we will see? Your children predicted that we would see a dog, a work truck, an airplane, and a fox. When we returned back to our classroom, the children remembered their predictions as well as what we did and didn’t see and the reasoning behind their guesses.
Today, we had our first Music and Movement session with Jules! The children were actively engaged in body and mind to listen and follow Jules’ movements.
We had a productive Work Time. The children particularly enjoyed a variety of puzzles that range from simple to challenging. With a suggestion, it was remarkable to witness some of the children working together to problem solve one of the more challenging puzzles and then continue to work together to do it over and over again.
During our afternoon group lesson, the children used their senses, language, and sharing with a peer to examine a shofar. They decided that the shofar felt cold, was empty inside, and was hard to the touch. We learned that a shofar comes from the horn of an animal. Using the classroom’s plastic animals, your children looked at a pig, horse, ram, duck…, trying to see which animals have horns and which do not.
Our read aloud was “Go Away Big Green Monster.” Your children wanted to read this book again as well as look at it during Work Time! We had a discussion before the book was read about monsters, being afraid, and problem solving various techniques and ways to deal with fears.
The past couple of days have been all about routines and becoming acclimated within the classroom environment. Overall, your children are beginning to understand the daily schedule and as important, that they are safe and secure within their room. Responsibility has been and will be paramount. Each child knows to clean up and dispose of his/her snack cup, plate, and napkin and then tuck in their chairs! This simple task shows that as members of our classroom, they need to be responsible and respectful of their environment. Adding to this, each child (on our first day) made a placemat to be used for snack. We began the discussion about being wasteful and then problem solved possible solutions. Your children verbalized that at home they use dishes. This connection, one of home and school, is extremely important. Merav has been leading Tefila with your children and is using color circles to teach children color vocabulary in Hebrew.
Each child is also respectful and responsible of their classroom materials. They are learning to put the materials away when they are done, to share, and to work together. Lastly, during meeting time, we also are learning each other’s names. It has been at this time of the day that we have read alouds. Your children are learning to listen, question, connect, respond, and to be considerate of their fellow classmates. Children, for the most part, usually sit rather close to the reader. At school, they need to mentally visualize the story (for there is not always a picture in front of them) as well as to be considerate when seated at our meeting area. We look forward to next week in which apples will be an underlying theme and we will begin our discussions about Rosh Hashanah!