During Morning Work Time, your children continued with their projects from yesterday, though now their Purim characters are in book form. Each child has his or her own "My Purim Book" that they can work on every morning. The children who painted their paper plates yesterday got to help staple and fill their groggers with rice. The sand table was open today and many of your children worked and helped to sweep and clean up before moving to another center in their classroom. The library area has become a place to not only read a book but to also sit with a friend to converse (just like a real library!). The classroom/learning space and how your children react to and with it changes. For example, the addition of our new comfy chair enables your children to engage in conversation or to sit alone with a book. The groggers that your children have completed are on display by our Meeting rug; this change shows your children that their work is important. Even our bathroom has been tailored to create a sense of ownership over the space. It is there that we have photographs of your children as well as previous charts that we have discussed. Our groundhogs, bears, peace symbols, and trees are all on display in the bathroom. While your children are washing their hands or waiting in line to use the bathroom, they will look at the photographs. When your children bring in items for Show and Tell, they know where to place these items. Special spots for belongings communicates to your children that items of value from home are welcomed and respected in their classroom. We also know that your children need and want independence. This is a natural aspect of social and emotional development. A developmentally appropriate environment helps to support your children in making decisions, doing things alone, solving problems, and regulating their own behavior.
During Yoga today, your children began to practice a few more of the challenging poses! Many of the children can do cat, cow, and downward dog. The children had fun with Mushka listening and playing the different groggers that she brought with her. She also used paper bag puppets to tell the story of Purim with Merav!
During our Morning Work Time, your children had the opportunity to begin to make two different Purim crafts. The first was to make a grogger. This is a multi-step project that will take approximately two days to complete. Your children decorated one side of a paper plate with dot markers and/or Purim symbols dipped in tempera paint. Tomorrow they will fold, close, (an adult will staple together) and add rice to finish their groggers. The second project was to begin creating stick figure puppets of Queen Esther, Mordecai, Haman, Vashti, and King Achashverosh. Today, your children began working with Queen Esther. Yael brought in the book "Wacky Wednesday" which she shared with Max and Noa (thank you Yael!). I observed Noa, Sunny, and Yael work well together and practice their turn taking skills with the Pink Tower. After each child carefully completed this task (while the other two children observed) they put the material away then said, “Let’s do the Brown Stairs now.” Max, Teddy, and Lelo worked in the block center building a structure that has been similar in design to their previous work. This shows that the children are not randomly placing block on top of block, but have a preconceived vision of a structure in their mind. Emma, Sophie, Noa, Yosef Aryeh, and Ilan all worked in our kitchen area this morning taking turns to use the center’s two telephones as well as sharing the teapot. Manu, Max, Teddy, and Noa (at different times during Work Time) sat to read at our library corner (we now have two cozy green chairs!).
Walking to school, we stopped to say “Good Morning” to the construction workers. Your children noticed that many of the large construction vehicles (they know all the types of these vehicles) are gone. They also are saying “Good Morning” (every day!) to the gentleman that works at the garage (he normally runs out to us to say “Good Morning” back to us). At the park today, I observed your children play hide and seek. Eitan, Ben, and Yosef Aryeh would chase each other and then tuck their bodies into a small ball to hide! I also watched them ask their peers to join them. Yael, Sophie, and Sunny connected well using some of the imaginative stationary toys (though they would frequently pick up and move to another spot!). Lelo came up to me to show me the roots of a weed. Tu B’Shevat was not too long ago and he remembered when we had spoken about the different parts of a tree (as well as looking at the roots of trees whenever we are outside). Manu and Noa both were interested (and sat next to each other) to look at a number and shape box they found. Walking back to school, we stopped to observe the flowers that we have been looking at this past week (which happens to be across the street from Lelo’s house!). Today, Lelo and his friends saw his father. Your children all remember whose mother or father we have seen on our walks (this is very important to them).
During our Morning Meeting we started to learn a new song for Purim, “Did You Ever Hear a Gragger”).
Did You Ever Hear a Gragger
(Tune: Did You Ever See a Lassie)
Did you ever hear a gragger, a gragger, a gragger
Did you ever hear a gragger on Purim day?
It rattles and shakes, such noises it makes
Did you ever hear a gragger make such a loud noise?
Yael was our weather person today and thank you for such beautiful weather: “Today it was sunny and warm.” Mushka told the story of Purim using wonderful visual aides.
During our Morning Work Time, many of your children re-visited the dramatic center (kitchen area) to use our new items. I observed the children using our teapot to pour “grape juice” into a cup to celebrate Shabbat. I also observed your children using our dry erase boards to write and scribble on. Scribbling is the foundation of artistic development and is linked with language acquisition. Scribbling also can reflect a child’s physical and mental process. When your children pick up a crayon and make a mark, they experience a pleasurable moment in which they use a tool and produce a result. It’s wonderful to observe the looks on their faces when they show a teacher or a friend their creations and that feels very exciting for them. Our art center is always stocked so that your children can feel free to draw and scribble to develop the symbols that will later become the basis for all writing and drawing.
Our special art project before lunch involved using cookie cutters in the shapes of various Purim symbols to make tempera based prints on paper. The symbols were: a grogger, a crown, a mask, hamentashen, and the megillah. I modeled for your children (during our Morning Meeting) how to carefully dip the cookie cutter into paint and then to gently press down and then lift up to create a print. This activity takes patience, skill, as well as a refined motor skill touch to accomplish a clean print. We also had (because of Hat Day) your children model their hats and tell us something about them.
"Blueberries for Sal," by Robert McCloskey
Next Week: We will continue to discuss, learn, sing, and doing many hands-on art activities that all have to do with Purim!
During our Morning Work Time, each child drew a picture for Merav - Happy Birthday! The children who worked in the kitchen center used ceramic cups, saucers, dishes, and a teapot for the first time. I observed how careful your children were when they worked with these new items. I noticed that many of the children, after building a train track or a structure with blocks or magna tiles look to add to this type of imaginative play. Your children will take down the box of animals or use a lego figure to enhance their work. Many of your children put away the materials that they use before going to another center or begin working with a new material without teacher or peer reminders. I observed Ben, Eitan, Max, and Teddy carefully put away the kitchen items and then select the container of play dough and bag of tools to work withindependently.
At the park today, your children took turns using a rolling toy as an ice cream truck. On the toy, the numbers one through five are displayed as well as simple shapes. Whoever rolled the toy stopped to ask a friend or a teacher what kind of ice cream he or she would like to have. Imaginary money is always a part of the play, along with change being returned. Today, my chocolate ice cream cone with sprinkles cost me ten dollars! Walking back to school, your children noticed the peace symbol in front of someone’s window on the first floor of a brownstone. We also looked at the bulbs to see if they got taller—they had.
Mushka has been discussing Purim with your children. She has been reading books and using wonderful cut out figures for visual aides. Before going home, we were surprised by a visit from the 5-6 class! They came inside our classroom to sing Purim songs. Ben and Lelo were especially happy to see their sisters.
"Animals should definitely not wear clothing,” by Judi Barrett
During Morning Work Time, your children had the opportunity to re-visit and explore the textural properties of Gak. They discovered the stretching quality of the product as well as its ability to break apart into many small pieces and be put back together again. Your children also worked, practiced, or had one-on-one help with using a scissor. To avoid wasting paper, we used play dough that was rolled into a long snake-like design to practice cutting! The kitchen center was especially inviting this morning with the tablecloth, napkins, cutlery, cups, and plates ready to be used. I observed Lelo, Sunny, Emma, Noa, Max, and Teddy all working (at different times of our Work Time) to make soup, cut challah, say blessings, make phone calls, and work to prepare “dinner.” Noa and Manu have been taking care of our classroom babies. The babies were fed and put into the bassinet for a nap. I observed Eitan and Ben working together to build with the magna tiles. I also watched as they both “discovered” a spot next to the shelves where they were able to peek out and “spy” on their friends during Work Time. Children enjoy finding small and cozy spots where they can be alone or sit with a friend where it is quiet and safe. Cozy spots are not only an important part of the environment, but facilitate learning and can greatly enhance a child’s development.
At our first Morning Meeting, we re-visited the scientific concept of sink and float. We added three new items to test: a pencil, a twig from a tree, and a plastic ladle. Like yesterday, we all thought first before testing. Many of the children hypothesized that the pencil would sink (it didn’t). I wondered out loud why this occurred, and also asked what the pencil is made from. Lelo told all his friends that a pencil is made from wood. We also spoke about the Gak and with Emma’s help; we stretched it from one part of our circle to the other! Lastly, we examined the branches from the tree we have been keeping in water in our classroom. We all noticed that the buds are just beginning to open!
On our walk to the park, your children found a wonderful spot where they were able to observe for themselves (and feel) spring bulbs emerging. We thought about what color the flowers would be when they will open; your children think they will be yellow!
During our Morning Work Time, we made Gak (some like to call this material “goop”). Your children experimented with the feel and texture of this new substance. They described it as “wet, sticky, and cold.” I observed the children watching the substance slide, stretch, and ooze through their fingers. The Writer’s Table was supplied this morning with dry erase markers, tablets, and erasers. I observed the children who chose to work at that table practicing opening and closing the markers even before drawing or writing. Removing and replacing the cap on a marker requires patience, skill, and fine motor strength. The dramatic corner was busy with the children cooking, setting the table, and using the two classroom cell phones. I also observed that your children were happy to see each other after the long weekend!
At our first Morning Meeting, we had fun with the scientific concept of sink and float. Using five of our classroom objects and a large plastic container filled halfway with water, we tested materials (one at a time) to see if they would sink or float. We used a feather, wooden block, a lego piece, a pom-pom, and a plastic pig. Before each item was placed inside the container, we hypothesized on the outcome. Before going home, we repeated the experiment using the same materials to see if the results were the same—they were!
At the park this morning, your children rode on the various vehicles, used chalk, played with rubber balls, and used stationary objects for a variety of imaginary play. For example, I overheard ice cream being made and sold as well as cars being repaired. On the walk back to school, we looked for signs of spring. We noticed purple, yellow, and white crocuses in the front yards of some of the brownstones.
At our second Morning Meeting, after weather and attendance, we had time for Show and Tell. Thank you Yael for showing your friends your special rabbit, Yosef Aryeh for showing us how he plays with his horse, Emma for showing her friends her two writer’s notebooks, Max for reading his book, and Lelo for showing his friends his truck!
During our Morning Work Time, your children had the opportunity to work at the science table testing a number of materials for magnetic attraction. As I worked with the children, we would look at an item (for example, a rubber band) and hypothesize whether or not the material would be attracted to the magnetic wand. Your children also used their imaginations to build with the magnetic items. For example, Arcady created a train using round pieces and metallic hardware. What is essential to the work that the children were doing at the science table is their focus on the material. Concentration is key to the natural development of a child.
"The first essential for the child’s development is concentration. It lays the whole basis for his character and social behaviour. He must find out how to concentrate, and for this he needs things to concentrate upon. This shows the importance of his surroundings, for no one acting on the child from outside can cause him to concentrate. Only he can organize his psychic life." Montessori, The Absorbent Mind p 202, Chap 22
Your children worked in the kitchen this morning. They noticed a new tablecloth, cloth napkins, as well as the addition of a pot and four ladles to cook with. I observed the children adding vegetables and stirring the pot. They would then dish out and serve to each other, making certain that each child had something on his or her plate. I also added two baby bottles to the bassinet. I observed Sophie and Manu both feeding and taking care of our classroom infants. They each appeared gentle and careful while holding the babies and placing them inside the bassinet.
During snack time, some of your children made Hebrew letters and designs with their veggie sticks. Teddy called out, “Look, I made a daled!” I watched as Max and Sunny each create an interesting and similar shape (the children were sitting next to each other) and then eat what they made.
On our walk to the park, your children take the initiative to call out to each other what they see. The roots of trees and bulbs peeking out of the ground are observed by many of the children. The birds (and their distinctive calls) are equally watched and listened to. Numbers on brownstones as well as colors on the doors are all a part of the conversation when we walk to the park. The children remember where the toilet is that we have noticed previously (placed by an outdoor garbage area) and wonder aloud to each other if it is still there! Humor is being tested and shared from one child to the other.
While waiting for their friends to wake up from rest time, Sunny, Ben, Asher, Mika, Noa, and Sophie had an impromptu tea party. After asking for water, I observed them putting their cups together to toast each other - l’chaim! This type of imaginative dramatic play not only emulates important social mores, but has your children practicing language skills and further bonds your children’s social connections.
Mushka reviewed the name and sound of the letter daled. Each child needed to choose three pieces of colored paper and then (following a pattern guide) create their own representations of the letter.
During our Morning Work Time, your children had the opportunity to work with eye droppers, water, white absorbent paper towels, and colored tissue paper for color mixing, fine motor work, and creative expression. The children also enjoyed working collaboratively with the bristle blocks, specifically creating modes of transportation (thank you Arcady and Asher for helping your friends). I observed your children “flying” their airplanes as well as building a landing strip. I also observed (numerous times) the sharing of the wheels between your children! Another observation was the teamwork between Eitan and Ben as they worked to complete the twenty six letter alphabet puzzle. I am certain that both boys would have been able to finish the puzzle independently, though each discovered that working with a friend is quicker and very enjoyable. I observed them sharing and talking to each other while working. They were practicing more than puzzle work; they were practicing social skills and conversational language. We also looked at photographs of Hong Kong! Eitan’s father is on business in this city and all the children were interested in seeing what Hong Kong looks like! We looked at pictures of the business area, a clothing and a flower shop, and a restaurant.
Walking to the park this morning, we observed that the winter crocuses are beginning to open! Your children commented that they also were getting taller. Yosef Aryeh identified the type of bird that flew over us as we were walking as “a seagull!” We then stopped to listen to the starlings that were singing in the trees across the street from us. At the park, I watched how your children helped each other in a variety of ways and would come to their teachers if another child needed help. For example, Ben helped Max put his wolf hat on and Eitan came running up to me to tell me that Noa wanted my help! They are looking out for each other and showing each other the meaning of friendship.
During our Morning Meeting, we had four children share an item from home. Yael showed us her special kangaroo, Eitan showed us his Thomas the Tank engine, Asher spoke about his “number four train,” and Teddy told us all about his green ring. Show and Tell is an important time for the children to practice their public speaking skills, and for their peers to listen as well as to think about and connect with the information they are hearing.
During Yoga today, I observed your children balance and still their bodies to do the tree and the airplane pose. Mushka played a wonderful Hebrew domino game with your children before it was time to go home!
During our Morning Work Time, your children had the opportunity to work with rolled clay and pipe cleaners. I overheard and observed your children creating a variety of imaginative pieces. Emma, after carefully pushing in a number of short pieces of a pipe cleaner, declared; “I made a sun.” Asher and Ben, each using and flattening three pieces of clay created “turtles.” Working with clay allows your children to not only be creative and imaginative, it also helps to strengthen fine motor skills that are needed for writing and becoming independent in regards to dressing, toileting, and eating, and is a calming and soothing art material. Our writer’s table was busy as well this morning. Using the dry erase boards, I watched your children “practicing” to write letters and creating art. Yael “made a rollercoaster” while Mika “made a dolphin.” Lelo wanted to look at the hyacinth bulb again and while doing so, we both carefully removed the remaining dirt off the plant onto a piece of paper. I observed that Lelo enjoyed creating patterns with his fingers using the dirt from the plant. This was similar to practicing and tracing letters with sand, rice, shaving cream, pretzel sticks, etc. that we have used previously. Using any material that your children like the feel of can be used to learn and to shape letters!
At the playground today, we took our first class photo! Your children, when I normally observe and photograph them, aren’t aware that I have my camera in hand. This time, when I said smile and wave, it was with great joy and laughter!
During our first Morning Meeting, we used our felt board as a visual aide to look at and to think about patterns. Merav also used the felt board to start teaching the names of animals. Using the song, “Old McDonald,” your children learned: cat (chatul), dog (kelev), and cow (parah).
Your children readied their classroom this morning to prepare and clean for Shabbat. Working as a team, we first removed each item from the shelf, dusted and wiped the shelf, and then replaced the items! Ben’s mother (our special Shabbat guest) noticed and commented on what we were doing. Each Shabbat is special, as was this one. We were fortunate to have with us Ben’s mother, caregiver, baby brother, and older siblings—Maya, and Sammy. The song they sang and shared with us spoke of the beauty of Shabbat (and we heard how beautiful their voices were!). The 3-4 class shared and sang our Shabbat song with Ben’s family: "Dinosaur’s Shabbat." Our routine changed today, which in itself was unusual. Your children had no difficulties with the schedule change proving to me that they are completely comfortable within their environment and with each other.
Walking to the playground, we stopped to examine and notice nearly every tree that we saw (looking for roots or if the roots of the tree had pushed up the concrete). We also noticed two different things in our neighborhood. One was a homemade bird feeder. This feeder was made from a clean and recycled milk carton. Whoever made this feeder had carefully cut out each side of the carton for the bird to hop in and take out seed. They also had pushed through a dowel for a small bird to rest upon while feeding. While we were examining the feeder, the neighbor (who I imagine had made the feeder) waved to us from the second floor window! We also noticed a small nest, directly above this feeder, in a tree. There is always something interesting to see when we walk to the playground!
Before beginning our Morning Meeting, to settle our minds and our bodies, we took slow deep breaths in and out. We then sat peacefully and silently for a few moments. I then asked, “What did you hear?” Teddy replied that he heard Merav tearing paper. We repeated this peaceful process, and then proceeded (quietly) with our meeting. This exercise helps your children in a variety of ways: to help with a transition, to calm one’s body, to heighten our senses, to connect with our environment, and to connect with each other.
Our Work Time today occurred after lunch. Many of your children (possibly because of the cozy feeling of the sun shining on the meeting rug) chose to unroll a mat and work collaboratively with the magna tiles, the connectors, or the legos.
During our Morning Work Time, your children had the opportunity to visit the science table to examine the roots, bulb, stem, and flowers of a hyacinth. We also felt, smelled, and rolled the dirt between our fingers. Many of your children chose to work with the knobbed cylinders. I observed as each child finished one set, they would push it towards the person next to them for an exchange. Your children also worked with the clothing constructive items; specifically the longer zippers. The art table was active this morning using first watercolors and then your children added dot art on top of their work.
At our first Morning Meeting, we all looked at and discussed what we noticed at the science table. I mentioned that the hyacinth was a bulb and then brushed away the dirt to show your children. I invited each child to feel (if they hadn’t already) and smell the plant. I also said that we would continue to look for flowers (bulbs) that will be opening soon on our walk to the park.
Before going on our walk this morning, each child was asked to first get their own coats and then to put the coats on themselves. Nearly every child was able to accomplish this task! On our walk, we saw a daffodil that was open! It was very exciting because we had just examined a bulb and spoken about looking for these types of flowers. Yesterday at the play ground, Arcady had “attached” a vehicle to the one he was riding to make a type of dump truck. Your children had observed this imaginative play. Today, I noticed Eitan, Asher, Yosef Aryeh, Teddy, and Arcady get into a line and try to hook their vehicles together! Asher was able to accomplish this by using the lower and smoother vehicle that Yosef Aryeh was riding on.
At our second Meeting Time, I read, Living and Nonliving. I asked first, “Is the hyacinth plant living?” I received a mixed response from this initial question. Your children then quickly realized that the plant needed sun and water to grow (and get bigger); therefore, it is living. The second book I read, From Seed to Plant, showed beautiful photographs of the many things that we enjoy (and eat) that grow from a seed.
Mushka brought in a Torah for your children to hold and look at. After unrolling the Torah carefully and placing it gently on a mat, your children were invited to look for the Hebrew letters that they have learned. I observed your children becoming very excited and heard them say, “I found an aleph" or "I found a gimel!” Mushka also read a wonderful book for the children about the Ten Commandments. She asked your children to think about how they help at home to honor their ima and their aba.
During our Morning Work Time, your children worked with many materials made from wood—thank you trees! The block center was used today by Asher, Max, Arcady, and Teddy. Max created a boat while Asher and Teddy designed an ocean. Arcady built a road for the boat to travel upon. Ilan, Asher, and Teddy worked with our doll house. The dramatic corner of our classroom, the kitchen, had a new material to work with: a sushi kit. The children working at that center had the opportunity to practice using—or use for the first time—chopsticks. Emma, Noa, Asher, Teddy, Yosef Aryeh, and Ben worked at the magnet table. I observed your children understanding why the need to share was so important (there are six magnet wands). Emma worked with the sound boxes as well as the touch and feel color tablets.
At our first Meeting Time, we re-visited looking and thinking about the different parts of a tree. When we spoke about the roots of a tree, I showed the children the roots of our classroom ivy plant that is in water. The roots were very long which made this visual aide so exciting.
Our snack time was special. We not only ate fruits that grow from a tree, your children used the cut up pieces to make fruit faces! While enjoying our special Tu B’Shevat snack, we sang our favorite song for the holiday: “Mango, Kivi, Banana, V’Tapuach.”
Your children worked with Mushka to make their own daled letter using play dough. Many of the children (using Mushka’s instructions) were able to roll the dough, make the letter, and then sound out the letter!
During Morning Work Time, your children had the opportunity to create a paper tree to help celebrate the holiday of Tu B’Shevat. Your children decided first what color to make their trees and then chose the art materials they thought would work best for their crafts. Our trees are on display inside the classroom! We had another fine motor material available: a variety of dressing frames (buttons, snaps, zippers, laces, buckles, etc). The magna tile work has become more complex in construction. Your children talk, design, and work together towards a (sometimes preconceived) common goal. I observed today that the legos were added to their imaginative play to help enhance the magna tile creation.
At our first Morning Meeting, I used the felt board as a visual aide to talk about the different parts of a tree. We looked at the roots, trunk, bark, branches, and leaves. I mentioned that on our walk to the park, we would look for trees that had visible roots. Your children also noticed that their trees from Morning Work Time were already on display. They noticed that their paper crafted trees had trunks and leaves as well; some even had roots! We looked at the twigs from last week to see if there was any change; there wasn’t.
Walking to the park, we stopped to look for any changes to the bulbs we saw inside The Community Garden (it appears that they have gotten a bit taller, but still no flowers are visible). We looked at trees while walking to the park and were able to see some of the tree roots. We also observed how strong the tree roots are by noticing how the sidewalk and bricks were pushed up!
We took a long piece of bubble packing plastic to the park today. Your children first jumped on top of the bubble wrap; I said it sounded like fireworks during The Chinese New Year celebration! They then used the packing material collaboratively, running and holding on together! They also lifted it up (together) in the same way as when we use the parachute. I also observed your children looking at their shadows as well as drawing each other’s shadows. Lelo brought his football and invited his friends to be Giants (thank you Lelo)!
During our morning Work Time, your children examined pieces of cut wood from a tree. They also, working with Merav in Hebrew, identified and then colored in the different parts of a tree. The numbered pegs were explored by some of the children. After counting and then filling in the number of pegs needed in the corresponding wood counter, they then placed each of the pegs in numerical order. Our library corner (specifically the soft, green chair) usually had one of your children curled up on it to read this morning. The puzzles were requested by many of your children. When children work on puzzles, they are actually putting the pieces together in more ways than one. Puzzles help children build the skills they need to read, write, solve problems, and coordinate their thoughts and actions—all of which they use now in school and later in life! By inserting pieces into a puzzle, children also help to develop the muscle group used for writing: the pincer grasp. Your children work on puzzles by themselves, with the help of their teachers, or with each other. Working together helps them to practice how to compromise, negotiate, and to share. When a child works (and concentrates) on the puzzle individually, she/he experiences a sense of satisfaction as she/he picks up a piece, rotates it, and discovers the spot in which it fits. Piece by piece, she/he begins to recognize the picture that the puzzle represents. They also have favorite puzzles. For example, this morning, Ben was excited to show his mother and sister a puzzle that he has been working on for the past few weeks. Of course, the puzzles that depict various modes of transportation and animals have become very popular with many of your children.
I read Shel Silverstein’s classic book, C during our Morning Meeting Time. It was wonderful to hear so many of your children say, “I have that book at home!” Merav has been practicing our special song for Tu B’Shevat, "Mango, Kivi, Banana, V’Tapuach." Mushka read a book called, "The Littlest Tree." The story deals with a small tree that was neither big nor boastful and ends up being used for a special job: to be part of the Torah.
During our morning Work Time, your children worked to strengthen their fine motor skills with six new lacing cards featuring a variety of trees to continue with our discussion and celebration of Tu B’Shevat. They also noticed and commented about the two new picture charts depicting many different types of trees by their Meeting area. The dramatic corner was busy with the sounds of Shabbat (singing, practicing the prayers, and cooking). Max, Asher, Arcady, and Teddy collaborated to build a train track and then shared the trains (also sharing the role of the conductor). Eitan and Ben worked with the four Montessori knobbed cylinders. Merav worked (and sang!) with a group of children learning Tu B’Shevat songs. Manu, Ben, Eitan, and Lelo worked with our doll house placing the different wooden pieces and figures inside. Ben, Asher, and Teddy together worked to design a magna tile structure. Lastly, we cleaned and readied our room for our Shabbat celebration. Each child helps to either dust, clean, push chairs in, sweep, and make certain that all the materials are put away in their proper places. Area rugs are rolled up, books are straightened on the shelf, and even stray materials that have rolled underneath the shelves are recovered and put back! Learning (and actually doing) to take pleasure and pride in our classroom (and in our school, neighborhood, city, etc.) is a part of our daily routine. During our first Morning Meeting, I read "Max Cleans Up.” The characterRuby says to Max,”There is aplace foreverythingand everythingis in itsplace.” After the read aloud, we noticed a few items under a shelf and we put them away, back in their places.
Max’s Mother and Father helped us to celebrate Shabbat. After saying our prayers, Max gave each child (and teacher) a piece of challah. We then were treated to a reading of "The Lorax" by Max’s mother. I observed your children listening intently and looking at the pictures during the read aloud. Thank you to Max for choosing this wonderful book to share with your friends!
On our walk to the park, we have been observing the crocuses coming up as well as the work at the construction site. The site has now put up a piece of wood that partially blocks your children’s view (though your children can still see the large construction vehicles at work). Today at the playground, Yosef Aryeh played a new game with his friends. Instead of choosing to go on a vehicle, he would run and have his friends try to catch him. We would hear him say, “Catch me!” and then run away, with his friends on their vehicles racing to catch up to him.
Walking back to Luria from the park, I stopped to remove twigs from three different trees. Coming back inside our classroom for our Morning Meeting, I placed the twigs in the center of our rug with a glass container of water. The sun was shining brightly on our carpet during this part of the day, creating an organic and beautiful setting for these items. Your children immediately counted the number of twigs. I then showed each child the buds on the twigs and then placed them carefully in the water. I spoke about “forcing” the buds on the twigs to open and reveal the leaf or flower that was inside. I placed the glass jar carefully on top of our shelf and invited the children to look and examine the twigs. I also posed a question: “How long do we think it would take for the buds to open?” We all agreed that they would not open today. Through these experiences with nature (for example, examining and celebrating trees and watching for crocuses to open) we set the stage for a lifetime commitment to caring for the Earth, animals, and our communities.
Groundhog Day Announcement: 9:45 A.M. Brooklyn, New York
· The Luria groundhog, when taken out of his burrow, DID NOT see his shadow. Therefore, the 3-4 Class proclaims that there will be an early spring!
During our Morning Work Time, many of your children took part in two different groundhog craft activities. One project was a pop-up groundhog. The first step was to look at various pictures of groundhogs. The following step was to add eyes, nose, whiskers, etc. to a precut groundhog shape. Next, a teacher taped a popsicle stick to the groundhog craft and then placed it inside a cup with a slit on the bottom. Lastly, was to move the stick up and down so the groundhog could pop up from its burrow! The second craft was a groundhog puzzle. Various pictures of groundhogs were cut into three pieces. The task was to put the groundhog back together, and then glue it on a piece of paper.
I observed many of your children working collaboratively this morning as well as helping each other with the more difficult puzzles. Yael and Noa worked together with our doll house. Emma and Yosef Aryeh worked in partnership with the puzzles. Teddy showed his friends how to make a heart out of the connectors while Sunny crafted ice cream with the same material. Before settling down for our first Meeting, we all went outside with our den (which we borrowed from the bear) and our groundhog. Putting the den down, with the groundhog inside, I then took him out and placed him on the ground. We all looked carefully and agreed that the groundhog did not have a shadow!
During our Morning Meeting, I re-read “Hibernation” and we watched a short video about groundhogs (with wonderful violin music as the accompaniment). Your children also noticed a hummingbird in the video as well. Mika modeled her groundhog mask that she made yesterday to show everyone how she looked!
At the playground this morning, your children raced each other again on their vehicles and made believe they were going somewhere (depending upon who the leader was). For example, I overheard your children say they were going to “Grand Army Plaza.” They also enjoy going up to each other to give out, or sell, ice cream cones. Today’s flavors were: strawberry, chocolate, vanilla, and cotton candy.
We are now up to five dots on our weather chart. Asher noticed that his turn is tomorrow and that his name is under Arcady’s! Arcady announced: “today it is cloudy and cool.” Thank you, Arcady!
Merav, using Benzy the puppet, reviewed singular and plural words as well as continued with Tu B’Shevat. Mushka reenacted how the Jews were able to leave Egypt. She hung blue streamers again (your children enjoyed this) to represent the water and parted it to show how a miracle occurred. We all sang and danced in celebration.
During our morning Work Time, your children made Groundhog masks. The first step was to look at pictures of groundhogs. The second step was to paint a paper plate. Your children then decided what color ears their groundhogs would have (brown or black). They added a nose and lastly, whiskers (again choosing between brown or black). Our sensorial materials were very popular this morning. Your children took turns using the wooden sound boxes. Each cylinder makes a distinct sound and has a corresponding match to another cylinder. The touch and match board was explored as well helping with tactile differences as well as sensory perception. The dramatic corner was open this morning and I overhead your children reminding each other (when it was clean up time) where the food, plates, cups, and utensils should go. Merav worked with a small group of children with the puppet, Benzy. They are learning to say “ani-I.”
During our first Morning Meeting, we looked at the similarities and differences between a brown bear and a groundhog. Borrowing the den we made for our bears, I placed a groundhog in it to show that it too hibernates. I then connected our shadow experiment from yesterday and said that tomorrow we would place our den and groundhog outside to see if it has a shadow!
It was another beautiful day! We noticed that the crocuses still do not have flowers. At the park today, your children also noticed that their shadows were no longer there. I asked why and the consensus was it was because of the rain. Some of your children wanted me to trace their shadows again, which I did. They ran and raced on their vehicles. I overhead your children say,” Get ready, get set, and go!” I observed a group of children stopping and waiting for each other, talking and coming to an agreement, following each other’s directions, and then race on their vehicles.
Mushka taught your children the Parasha of B’shalach, which describes how the Jews were finally able to leave Egypt (but got stuck because of a sea). She hung blue streamers to represent the water and parted it to show how a miracle occurred. She told the children that the Jews were so happy and thankful for this miracle that they followed Miriam and sang and danced (which your children did too)!
Today your children had the opportunity to explore the capital letter B by using buttons as a fine motor and sensory activity. The writer’s table was busy with your children using dry erase boards and new colored markers. The block area was used for train building by Eitan, Asher, Teddy, and Max. Asher and Yael worked in partnership to complete one of the more difficult puzzles. Sophie worked with the Montessori Brown Stairs. She carefully placed each piece on the rug, looked for the tallest piece, and went to work. I also observed her “read” the schedule of the day intently. Feigy had library time with Manu, Lelo, and Max.
We have begun having your children read the schedule to the group, during our Morning Meeting. We think and talk about things such as what comes next on our schedule, what comes after, what we did previously, what happens at the end of the day, at the beginning, etc. Today we welcomed back Eitan! He shared with us a photograph of him holding a large blue parrot. Eitan told us that this parrot was from a jungle. Lelo mentioned that he was holding the parrot just like you hold a baby!
We brought chalk to the playground today for a specific reason. I introduced the concept of shadows by having your children stand still while I traced their shadows with chalk. This was in preparation for Groundhog Day (the forecast is cloudy). I asked your children to choose a spot so I could do the tracing. Max chose a spot in the shade and I asked him, “Why do you not have a shadow?” He first replied, “Because it’s windy.” We moved into the sun and we both noticed it was windy in the sun and we were able to see our shadows. Max walked back to the shade and then back to me in the sun and said, “We need the sun.” Yosef Aryeh helped us out and pointed to where the sun was. Your children also noticed the shape of their hats, specifically the ears on their hats on their shadows. Max also noticed that when he moved closer to the brick wall, his shadow was not on the ground, but actually on the wall itself. After the tracing, I observed many of your children going back to add facial features to their shadows and to re-examine and measure themselves and their peers. This simple science experiment has your children thinking about nature and math as well as myths when we will speak about this again on Thursday. We also noticed the beginnings of crocuses coming up in the Community Garden! Asher thinks they might be white or purple when they will open to flower.
At our second Morning Meeting, we had a discussion regarding the number of times that Noa has announced the weather. Every child has four dots now next to their names; Noa has two. Your children all agreed that Noa, even though her turn was yesterday, should announce the weather today and tomorrow to catch up with them! Your children, by all agreeing (and voting) understood the concept of friendship and kindness.
This afternoon Mushka reviewed the sound of the letter daled. She had the children meet a fish friend she named "Dag" and had your children make believe they were bears (dubi). She asked if they (still making believe they were bears) wanted to eat d’vash (honey) or dag (fish). Your children chose d’vash and they all received some on a popsicle stick.
During our Morning Work Time, your children had the opportunity to make bear stick puppets. The craft was not the ultimate goal of this project. The goal was to have your children use their puppets for dramatic play and to engage with each other differently than they have been (which they did!). They also discovered a new set of lacing cards that feature a variety of bears. Merav worked with a small group of children to discuss Tu B’Shevat. The kitchen corner was busy with your children setting the table, cooking, cleaning, talking to each other, and making phone calls—emulating all that they see their parents do at home! The block area was also very popular. Your children worked together to build a structure and were careful not to knock over Sophie’s “boat.” Respecting each other’s work and personal space is an important lesson as well as learning to take care of the classroom materials and environment.
During our first Morning Meeting we viewed a short National Geographic video about polar bear cubs. There were many comments, connections, and reactions. For example: “I can swim like the polar bears,” “they eat fish too,” “look at them coming out of their den,” and “they look like they are playing.”
We went to the park today for our gross motor play. It was beautiful and sunny at the spot that we use to run and ride. I observed your children riding up to each other, stop and chat, inspect each other’s vehicles, and then ride away (following each other). I also watched as they helped each other. For example, Sophie and Lelo were riding on the helicopter together (something they have done previously). They stopped to talk to Mika; while doing so, Sophie’s hat fell off and Lelo picked it up and put it back on her head. Both children are learning from each other how to be a friend.
At our second Morning Meeting, we were able to finish our Show and Tell with Sophie’s two bears named Sophie and Eitan. We also had Lelo show us how his fire truck works (with a movable ladder and three different sounds). Lelo had shared his truck during Work Time. I observed the children use the doll house as the setting of a make believe fire. They said the “roof” was on fire and they were there to put it out. And lastly, Sunny showed her special bag and shells. Your children noticed that on her bag was a turtle as well as little X’s as a decoration (Max said, “Just like in my name!”).
Mushka continued with the letter daled. Your children created the letter using a paper “lick and stick” material.