Happy Tu B’Shevat
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!
“A Color of His Own,” by Leo Lionni
“A Tree Full of Mitzvos,” by Dina H. Rosenfeld
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.
“The Littlest Tree,” by Sylvia Rouss
“The Giving Tree,” by Shel Silverstein
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.
“The Lorax,” by Dr. Seuss
“Max Cleans Up,” by Rosemary Well
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.
Ground Hog Day 2012 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DwEfhYv6O94
“Hibernation,” by Melvin and Gilda Berger
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)!
Welcome Back Eitan!!
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.
http://youtu.be/6eKI7j7mY4M “Polar Bear Mom and Cubs,” National Geographic
During our Morning Work Time, your children continued to use the bear den for dramatic play. They also had the opportunity to investigate using our magnets; specifically the hexagonal, flat circular, and round shapes. The children also worked with the Montessori wooden spindle box. I observed Teddy carefully looking at each number (in order), count first in his hand the number required, and then repeat the count while placing each spindle in the correct slot. There was airplane building using the bristle blocks, complete with takeoff and landing gear. I also observed your children reading their schedule for the day. They took notice of who the Shabbat guest would be and would come up to their teachers to remind us that there was no nap today! Our language shelf with the letter B was explored by many children. Merav worked with a small group of children discussing Tu B’Shevat. She has started to teach your children singular and plural differences (today was etz-tree and etzim-trees!).
Sophie’s mother and father helped us to celebrate Shabbat (she was so happy and excited!). After saying the prayers, Sophie gave each of her friends and teachers a piece of challah. This small act is important for both the child who gives as well as the child who receives. Your children are learning to be gracious, courteous, and to say thank you and todah. Your children were also treated to a reading of a modern classic, “The Gruffalo.” After the story was read, your children made comments and connections. We remembered when Lelo’s Mother read us, “Where the Wild Things Are” and compared the visual similarities to that book.
We used the downstairs space for gross motor play this morning. I observed your children using the sit and spin seats as masks as well as for physical play. They also made believe that it was snowing. They lay down and moved their arms and legs to make snow angels.
During our Morning Meeting, we continued with our bear Show and Tell. Emma demonstrated how to hang up her bears by using our glass door to stick them on. Each child spoke about who or where they got the bear from and how they hold or play with them. Mika brought in a wonderful book, “Afraid of the Dark,” that I read to the class. There was a surprise ending. When I got to the last page, Mika jumped up from her seat to help me to open the page carefully so the characters could pop up. Your children really enjoyed her book. Thank you so much Mika!
After lunch, we were able to have a short Work Time. Your children cooked Shabbat dinner in their kitchen, played at the sand table, threaded buttons on string, and worked on puzzles. Merav continued to work with your children in a small group setting with singular and plural words in Hebrew.
“The Gruffalo,” by Julia Donaldson
“Afraid of the Dark,” by Karen Sapp and Rachel Elliot
“Bear Snores On,” by K. Wilson and J. Chapman
During our Morning Work Time, your children had the opportunity to create a bear. On one of our rectangle tables were pictures of a variety of different types of bears to be used for inspiration or for reference. Also on the table were pre-cut pieces of paper in brown, white, and black, glue sticks, and crayons. Your child first decided what kind of bear he or she wanted to create: brown, black, grizzly, panda, or polar. They then went to work creating their bears. Your children also took part in a dramatic play setting of becoming bears inside a den. We turned the socks that were brought in (thank you parents for remembering!), into bear paws with claws, draped a brown sheet over our square table, and created a den. Your children hibernated and then would come out of the den, sometimes growling or laughing. Dramatic play is very important and enhances your child’s development in four major areas: social/emotional, physical, cognitive, and language development. The children agree upon a topic (today it was bears!), negotiate, and cooperate to bring it all together. Dramatic play helps with gross and fine motor skills as well as coordination (putting away the items used for play). Your children make use of the pictures they have created in their minds (abstract thinking). Lastly, language skills are needed to not only enhance the play, but to explain to each other what they are doing. Some of the children also had the opportunity to put a bear together as a paper puzzle activity. Our new wooden puzzles were eagerly used by Max, Ben, Emma, and Teddy. The block area was very active this morning. I added two new signs to the center to extend their imaginative play.
During our first Morning Meeting, we had some of your children talk about their bears during Show and Tell (tomorrow we will have Show and Tell as well for those who did not have an opportunity today). We used the den that we made yesterday to have the bears go inside first to hibernate. Your children told us about where they got their bears from, if the bear had a name, and how they held or played with their bears. Ilan brought in a picture of two bears with their noses together!
We used our outside area for gross motor play this morning before it started to rain. When we came back in for our second Morning Meeting, Ilan’s father read us a wonderful book about animals from Chile, South America. He taught us how to say some of the animal’s names in Spanish. Gracias to Ilan and Ilan’s father!
Merav led a lesson about Tu B’Shevat. Using a tree and fruit, your children are learning about the holiday and all the Hebrew words. Mushka continued her discussion from yesterday. Before going home, your children explored a new item, nuts (the hardware). This steel, hexagonal shape is a wonderful addition to our magnetic equipment. Your children used them to build horizontally as well as to make “snowmen.”
During our Morning Work Time, your children painted the cardboard box that we plan to use tomorrow to represent a bear den for Show and Tell. The children also cut apples to make chunky applesauce for snack time. Following a rebus recipe, your children were able to follow along and read the directions. The classroom smelled wonderful and every child had a cup of applesauce to enjoy or try. The sand table was utilized today as an imaginary kitchen. Sophie, Sunny, and Noa made “ice cream” at the sand table. I noticed and overheard—throughout each part of the children’s day—the children working/talking of food and bears. Merav began a project with a small group of children using beans to help celebrate Tu B’Shevat. Ben worked with all four of the Montessori knobbed cylinders. After carefully working and completing one set, he would exchange it for another set until all were completed. Manu also worked with a set of knobbed cylinders testing for height and diameter. The magna tile creation today by Lelo, Teddy, Max, and Asher was a shared structure. This material, when worked vertically, needs a fine motor touch as well as a shared plan before it is implemented. Mika worked with our Hebrew alphabet puzzle and Noa worked with our wooden career puzzles. Ben, Asher, Emma, and Teddy (Max will get a chance tomorrow!) worked on our newest puzzles.
During our first Morning Meeting, we watched a short BBC video about grizzly bears catching salmon. We briefly discussed how we obtain food and how bears need to catch or hunt for their food. We then sat down to enjoy our chunky apple cinnamon sauce.
While walking to the park, Max pointed out to us that a tree (possibly a cherry tree) looked just like “an umbrella.” We all stopped to see, and it did look like one! It was another beautiful day at the park today. Your children worked and played together as well as took turns with some of the more coveted vehicles. I observed and overheard them plan trips on planes and trains (to each others’ homes), ask Feigy what she wanted to eat (in Sunny’s restaurant), repair the vehicles, draw with chalk, laugh, and run.
During our second Morning Meeting, we read a picture book that included pictures of items that begin with the letter B. We also made the letter B with our fingers as well as looked at the special new baggie on the language shelf with items that all begin with that letter. Your children would comment about the items such as: “I love broccoli; I eat bananas; I love butterflies; I eat bagels;” and “I go on a bus.”
Merav had a lesson about Tu B’Shevat, the trees’ birthday. Your children gave the tree presents such as: leaves, flowers, and fruits. They sang “Yom Huledet Sameach-Happy Birthday” to the trees.
Mushka taught your children about King Pharaoh. She spoke about how he was not nice and kept saying, “No, no, no. I will not let them go!” Mushka and your children then acted out the ten plagues. They also reviewed the letters aleph, bet, gimmel and introduced daled.
“Goldilocks and the Three Bears”
“The Letter B”
During our morning Work Time, many of the children worked with the Montessori spindle box (zero through nine) as well as the knobbed cylinders. I observed Sophie manipulating and testing the cylinders to see if they would go into the corresponding place the opposite way (she was testing the dimensions of each piece!). I gave a presentation to Noa with the numbers zero through four and Yael read me a book she brought from home (a book that is a favorite of mine—thank you Ellie!). Eitan was busy helping and reminding each of his friends to put their attendance picture on our chart (thank you Eitan!). Yael, Mika, Sophie, Emma, and Lelo were busy at our writers table, working with the dry erase boards. Max, Teddy, and Eitan worked with the magna tiles to build a containment for animals. Yael worked to make pyramids with Lelo. Sophie, using two triangle pieces from the magna tiles, made wings declaring, “I made a bird!” Noa noticed Sophie built one as well, and both flew their birds to show me. Ben and Emma worked with our more challenging puzzles. Each would complete one and ask for another until they finished all the puzzles that were available for the day. Your children also noticed the new bear chart by our Meeting Area. There are pictures of cubs, polar, panda, grizzly, black, and brown bears. One picture depicts a bear catching a salmon (your children found this picture interesting).
At our Morning Meeting, I read the book, Hibernation. We looked at pictures of bats, frogs, snakes, and bears and discussed the word “hibernation.” We also spoke about where bears like to hibernate as well as where their dens might be. Tomorrow, we will be making our own den!
We went to the park today. It was wonderful to see your children running, riding vehicles, playing ball, making believe they were making and selling ice cream (thank you Noa!), and making believe they were doctors if they saw a friend in need. Yosef Aryeh, Lelo, and Eitan played with a football. Lelo told his friends about the Giants game and that they were Giants as well.
“Where is the Green Sheep?” by Mem Fox
During our morning Work Time, your children added red tissue paper streamers to their dragons. They also worked with our doll house, built roads and a city in the block area, explored puzzles, used our Montessori materials, worked in our art center, created structures with the magna tiles, and helped to cook rice! For the rice, Asher and Teddy added four cups of water to a large pot. When the water came to a boil, I added two cups of rice. While your children were working, we listened to classical Chinese folk music.
At our Morning Meeting, we all looked at a short video that was taken during a New Year’s fireworks celebration in China. Some of your children commented that they were afraid of fireworks, but not when we were all together watching them this morning on the computer. We also watched a dance that featured two lions. Before lunch, we used our dragons to have our own Dragon Parade in the classroom. We marched while holding our dragons up high, while Lelo used rhythm sticks to accompany us!
For gross motor play, we spent part of the time downstairs and some time outdoors in our play yard to feel the snow that was left from the weekend. When we came inside, after attendance and weather, I read “The Snow Day.”
Merav continued discussing Tu B’Shevat. Before going home, some of the children decorated fans to welcome in The Year of the Dragon.
“The Snow Day,” by Kumako Sakai
“Splat the Cat,” by Rob Scotton
During our morning Work Time, many of your children drew a picture to give to Eitan for his birthday. Eitan also invited his friends to help him place stickers on his birthday crown. Asher, Max, and Teddy worked in our block center. I observed the three boys using the long rectangular units as imaginary “machines” to help with their play. After the machines did their jobs, the three children proceeded to add blocks to their structure as well as to create a road. Ben worked with our doll house this morning. I watched him carefully set up a bathroom, placing small lego people inside the space. Emma, Noa, Mika, and Sophie worked in our art center, first to make a picture for Eitan, and then drew with crayons, colored pencils, and pastels. I overheard the children talking about the marks they were making. The development of these marks (the scribbles and jabs that we see on a child’s work) is now more deliberate for many of your children. They want to make a line look a certain way, or to create a particular form that represents a specific image (read below regarding the children drawing a birthday cake during outside gross motor play). They are also beginning to make it clear that the marks made on a specific occasion are not a picture of something, but say something. This is an important step in the writing process.
After Work Time, we all cleaned our classroom for Shabbat. Every child had a job. They either cleaned the tabletops, chairs, or shelves. After all was clean, Feigy placed your children’s Shabbat placemats on our table and we waited for Sunny and her family to help us celebrate Shabbat. Reading our schedule for today, your children were very excited. We had Shabbat and a birthday to celebrate!
Thank you Sunny (and her Mother, Father, and brother Zev!) for bringing in two delicious challot, and grapes. Sunny brought in a wonderful story from the Dora the Explorer series for her mother to read to her friends. She also taught us that “hola” means “hello” in Spanish! Gracias, Sunny!
We used our outside area today for gross motor play. We practiced singing “Happy Birthday” in both English and Hebrew and the children used chalk to draw a birthday cake on the brick wall for Eitan, complete with candles. I asked Sunny what kind of a cake it was and she said it was both chocolate and vanilla.
The 3-4 class met Eitan’s brother Zachary for the first time today. Your children noticed how tiny Zachary is compared to Sunny’s brother Zev. Eitan introduced his friends to his cousins from California. Thank you Eitan’s family for bringing in delicious birthday treats and thank you to Eitan’s father for reading a wonderful book to his friends.
Sample Responses from the How I Feel Now chart: I observed your children when putting their name under a feeling, tell each other how and why they felt that way.
Yael - happy - “because my Mom forgot to bring my backpack and she did”
Lelo - happy - “because my uniform is here”
Today during our morning Work Time, the doll house was used for dramatic play by your children. I had moved it to our Meeting area and noticed that the children who were working there also utilized the blocks to enhance their play. Some of them also added more colors to their dragons from yesterday to help prepare for our own Dragon Parade on Monday (to help celebrate The Year of the Dragon). Your children also noticed that their fireworks from yesterday were hung on our clothesline (just like real fireworks; your children needed to look up!). Many asked: “Which one is mine?” I replied that I would point to their work and read each of our friend’s names during snack time, which I did. I observed the children who were working at the sand table walk and pick up chairs to help them be more comfortable or more engaged with their play; all of this was done without asking a teacher for assistance. This one example shows that many of your children are able to communicate their needs to each other. They have taken ownership of their classroom, and are problem solvers. Another example was watching the children at the sand table sweep, take turns with the dustpan and sweeper, and clean the area—again, independently.
During our morning Meeting Time I read, “Dim Sum For Everyone.” This book celebrates a cultural custom and a favorite of everyone: eating! Yael not only had a show and tell with a book she brought from home, but she read some of it as well! She also had the class moving like frogs and penguins.
We went downstairs for gross motor play and I observed some of your children connecting with each other in a variety of ways. Some held hands, circled a couple of times, then fell down together, laughing. Others (with a teacher suggestion) built a stone path. We made believe that if we fell off, we would splash into a river. I noticed as well that your children shared the chair (sitting together) that was downstairs.
Upon waking or resting is another time your children are engaged with practicing social skills, fine motor building, and planning. Your children talk to each other while they are still on their cots. We talk about dreams, if they had any, and what they were about. Your children then need to put on (or try) their socks and shoes. They then need to bring me their pillows and blanket, and wake a friend or help a friend. I said that they would soon learn how to fold their blankets themselves (which some have begun to do already). Your children all do these things—and they like to!
“Dim Sum For Everyone,” by Grace Lin
During our morning Work Time, your children began to make their own dragons for our dragon parade this Monday, the 23rd, to celebrate The Year of the Dragon. We have a new addition to our classroom: a dollhouse! Many of the children worked together to set up the furniture and people. The dollhouse is a wonderful addition to our classroom. It can help your children learn to role play. This is where they will mimic the behaviors and even the verbal expressions of someone or something they are pretending to be. It also will help your children practice their communication skills (specifically speaking and listening). They can practice words they have heard others say, and realize that they must listen to what other children say in order to be able to respond in an appropriate fashion. In order to work together in this type of dramatic play, your children learn to use language to explain what they are doing. They learn to ask and answer questions and the words they use fit whatever role they are playing. Their personal vocabularies grow as they begin to use new words appropriately. The dollhouse can help your children cognitively as well. When children are involved in make believe play, they make use of the pictures (schema) they have created in their minds to recreate past experiences, which is a form of abstract thinking. When your children work together in this form of play, they also learn to share ideas and problem solve together.
During our first Morning Meeting, we continued our discussion about The Chinese New Year. We also watched a short video that featured children from a school watching The Lion Dance.
We used our Luria outdoor space for gross motor play this morning. The children have learned that when they share, they all get a turn, and they all therefore have fun! They also have the opportunity if they are not on a bike, to play ball, use chalk, run, jump, balance, or go on the see-saw.
During our Morning Meeting, after attendance and weather, we had the opportunity to make our own fireworks! Yesterday, during our read aloud, we learned the people from China invented fireworks. Using a piece of black construction paper (to represent the night sky), then having a teacher pour glue along one side, your children carefully held their paper up to force the glue to roll down. We then sprinkled glitter on and had our (safe) fireworks!
Merav worked throughout the day with your children reviewing their winter words and began to discuss Tu B’Shevat!
“Food Around the World,” by M. Burton, C. French, and T. Jones
“I Like Rice,” by Don Long
“Chinese New Year Lion Dance” - Lanore Primary School 2011
WELCOME BACK MUSHKA!!
During morning Work Time, each child made an abacus. We will be discussing, reading books, watching short videos, and creating projects to celebrate the Chinese New Year; it is theYear of the Dragon 2012—Gung Hay Fat Choy! The abacus that your children made is just one invention that came from China. They needed to string ten cheerios, count, tape the string down, and count again to make certain that they had ten. Yael commented that she had an abacus at home! Your children also worked with puzzles, connectors, the knobbed cylinders, the pink tower, and magna tiles. The block center was also active today.
During our first Morning Meeting, after reading, “Look What Came From China,” we watched a short video called the “Chinese Dragon Boat Festival and New Year Dragon Dance.” This video is a short overview celebrating these two Chinese festivals.
After snack, we went for our walk to the playground. It unfortunately started to drizzle soon after we arrived. On our quick walk back to school, we sang “Rain, Rain, Go Away” (but that didn’t work!). During our second Meeting, after attendance and weather, we read “The Dancing Dragon.”
Mushka talked about her special trip to Israel. She read, “Good Night Israel,” by Mark Josper and Anne Rosen. This book highlights the landmarks in Israel. Your children listened to “Hatikva,” the Israeli national anthem, while getting dressed to go home.
“Look What Came From China,” by Miles Harvey
“The Dancing Dragon,” by Marcia Vaughan
“Chinese Dragon Boat Festival and New Year Dragon Dance”
WELCOME BACK SOPHIE!!
During our morning Work Time, many of your children worked with the knobbed cylinders. They also had the opportunity to explore, mix, and paint with water colors. At the art easel, the colors white, red, and yellow were available. Each child who chose to paint mixed and swirled and created new shades to paint with. The magna tiles and bristle blocks have now become a shared material between the children. They build structures together while practicing turn taking, language, and patience. Merav worked with your children using play dough to review (and have fun!) our wintery words, colors, and body parts!
We used the downstairs area for gross motor play this morning. Feigy and friends played on the see-saw! Your children used the tunnel, balls, and balancing rocks and ran back and forth from one end of the hall to the other.
During our Morning Meeting, we spoke about the importance of this special day. We first read the book, “Many Ways.” This book celebrates how families practice their beliefs and religions. At our meeting, I discussed how Dr. King did not believe in fighting. He believed that there were peaceful ways to change people’s minds. I also spoke about how Dr. King received an award for his work—the Nobel Peace Prize. We said that we can learn to be peaceful by being friends who do not fight and use words to express ourselves. We then went around the circle telling each other what our dreams are. Lastly, each child had the opportunity to make a Nobel Peace Prize as well as putting together two halves of a picture of Dr. King.
Merav, using a large snowman, worked with your children before going home. They “dressed” the snowman and changed the colors on his buttons, put on his hat, re-attached his arms, and hug him good-bye!
“Many Ways,” by Shelley Rotner and Sheila M. Kelly Ed.D.
During our morning Work Time, your children had the opportunity to again work with the large tweezers and pom-poms for fine motor skill work. We also had available our dry erase boards, markers, and erasers. It was wonderful to see Max problem solve; he wanted to join our writing table though we have just three dry erase boards. While waiting for a turn, he went to the art center, got a piece of paper and a jar of colored pencils, and drew while waiting. I observed and heard your children drawing pictures, letters, and reading names! Noa drew and said, “I made a W.” Feigy wrote names on Teddy’s dry erase board, which he read. Emma drew a “flower and a snake.” Asher and Teddy worked at the art easel. They were discussing what they each were painting, talking to each other while they worked (this ultimately led to a shared creation). Teddy said,” I am making penguins. This is water for the penguins and dinosaurs.” Asher said, “I am still making the water.” The dramatic corner was utilized today for Shabbat. Feigy worked with Emma, Yosef Aryeh, Noa, and Manu to make soup; each added their favorite ingredient (and they made more soup during our Shabbat celebration!). Eitan, Emma, and Yosef Aryeh worked with magnets. Using magnetic balls, Eitan built, “Mickey Mouse.” Watching him carefully, Emma was easily able to follow Eitan’s work! The block corner extended out onto the carpet. Lelo, Arcady, Asher, Ben, Eitan, and Manu all took part in the building process. Max and Ben built a city with water (adding blue paper as the imaginative representation for water). Merav worked with your children using a large snowman to teach winter weather and clothing.
During our first Morning Meeting, we looked at Martin Luther King’s picture and discussed his dream of peace. We then began a discussion about our dreams (we will continue this on Monday).
Responses from your children about what they want to be when they grow up:
Manu - “a football guy”
Noa - “a princess”
Lelo - “a construction man”
Asher - “a monster”
Arcady - “crane - cranes just picks the dump truck and the crane puts the dump truck down”
Mika - “a princess”
Teddy - “a penguin - I can pretend”
Ben - “a penguin”
Eitan - “train”
Max - “My Momma”
Teddy’s Mother and Father arrived to help us celebrate Shabbat. We asked them what their dreams were when they were Teddy’s age. Teddy’s mother response- “To be a ballerina” (Lelo had a wonderful connection to Katie’s dream. He said that he had seen “The Nutcracker”). After saying our prayers over the candles, grape juice, and challah, Teddy gave each of us a piece of challah (thank you Jake and Katie for bringing in clementines and kiwis; the children really enjoyed the fruit). After our Shabbat treat, we listened to Teddy’s father read, “Dumpy, The Dump Truck, “by Julie Andrews Edwards.
Before going home, we read, “The Snowy Day,” not the Keats story, but Anna Milbourne’s. This is another wonderful picture book that introduces your children to concepts such as where animals go when it snows, how snow is made, how to make a snowman, what children do in the snow, etc. After reading, we all wished again for snow. Walking home from school, our wish came true; it was snowing!
”Dumpy, The Dump Truck,” by Julie Andrews Edwards
“The Snowy Day,” by Anna Milbourne
3-4 Class Pop-Up Art Installation: Peace
· Your children’s art work is on (temporary) display
· Location: outside our classroom
Today during our morning Work Time, to support our Montessori Practical Life curriculum, many of your children had the opportunity to use our easy grip tweezers. Their task was to transfer medium sized pom-poms from one container to another. We also used ice cube trays with smaller pom-poms for a more difficult challenge. We completed our collaborative peace sign today by decorating the inner circle (without the photographs) with dot art. There was a lot of building going on in the classroom this morning! Your children worked in the block area to build a farm as well as worked with the tracks to build a city. They also used legos to make rocket ships and airplanes. Pretend play is vital for your child’s social and cognitive development. Pretend play requires the ability to transform objects and actions symbolically. It also helps promote interactive social dialogue and negotiation and involves role taking and even improvisation. Many cognitive strategies are exhibited during pretend play such as the need for collaborative planning, negotiation, and problem solving. We placed a plastic tray outside our classroom this morning to see if it would fill with rain and if so, to see how much rain we could collect. I noted the time and said that we would bring it inside for our first Morning Meeting. When we did bring it inside, there were just a few drops. We concluded that we were able to go outside for our walk.
During our walk outside, even though it started to drizzle, there was singing (If All the Raindrops Were Lemons Drops and Gumdrops) and laughter. When we came back inside, we sat peacefully and calmly for a moment (listening quietly). After our Morning Meeting, we played circle games. One game uses a beanbag that we have to pass to each other either slow or fast. We then played The Old Brass Wagon. We all needed to hold hands for this game and first circle to the left, then right, then come to the center, and then out again. Lastly we played Duck, Duck, Goose.
“The Greedy Python,” by Eric Carle
During our morning Work Time, your children had the opportunity to do a peace mosaic. The first step was to flatten a rolled ball of clay. Clay is not as pliable as play dough; your children needed to use their fine motor skills and upper body strength to flatten the clay like a “pancake.” On the table where your children were working, were pictures of peace signs to refer to. The next step was to take a wooden popsicle stick, place it down the middle of the flattened clay, and press down hard. Next was to lift up the stick, and then use it to press down again on the left and right side. Your children then decided what materials they would use to place inside the depressions made from the stick. Their choices were: stones, beans, and assorted mosaic tile pieces. Some of your children wanted to continue working with the clay and the materials. Both Emma and Sunny created free-flowing mosaic pieces while Arcady designed a face. Keeping with our peaceful motif, at another table was a large peace sign. Your children needed to find their pictures and glue them on the signs. Tomorrow, they will paint them!
Your children were busy, many working together. For example, Mika and Yosef Aryeh worked to complete one of our more challenging puzzles. Lelo worked with the magna tiles. Arcady, Teddy, Manu, and Ben worked with the bristle blocks. Asher, Noa, Sunny, and Emma worked in our dramatic corner cooking (specifically preparing for Shabbat). They asked me to take out our special wooden Shabbat set to help enhance their play (which I did). Before beginning our Morning Meeting we sat peacefully for a moment to calm our bodies. We then looked at a few of the mosaic clay pieces and discussed the meaning of the word peace. I commented that they all were very busy and that I noticed some of them were building things. I asked, “What did you make?”
Their responses were:
Arcady: “I built a race car, an airplane, and a face”
Manu - “I made a sword”
Max - “I built an airplane and a helicopter”
Ben - “I built a T.V.”
Asher - “I built Shabbat”
At the park today, many of your children made believe that they were first driving to the airport, parking, getting on the airplane to go to New Mexico, and then going back to Brooklyn. Your children made faces using chalk, played with the large rubber ball we brought from school, talked to each other, took turns, and ran.
Merav worked with your children on the weather and clothing. Before dismissal, I read “Snowballs.” We then all closed our eyes and wished for snow!
“Snowballs,” by Lois Ehlert
Your children were very busy during our morning Work Time. Max worked with the Montessori Spindle Box (zero through nine) as well as made the letter “W” with Teddy using our connectors. Both children looked first at the sand letter, placing the straight pieces on it as a guide, and then independently built the letter. Asher, Arcady, Eitan, and Mika built a farm/city. They first constructed the road, added vehicles, used the wooden farm pieces, and lastly added animals. When clean up was announced, they broke the structure down and together, each holding a side, Asher and Eitan put away the vehicles and tracks. Yael, Mika, Emma, and Ben chose to work with puzzles. Emma has been also working at the art easel. Today, after I added white tempera to a blue/teal color, she mixed and stirred the colors together and then painted with it. The mixture was beautiful. Mika worked with our watercolors. She carefully dipped her paintbrush in water, and then would swirl the brush into the color palette. I observed that she used and explored each of the colors on the palette.
During our Morning Meeting, we looked at two dolls (one African American, the other Caucasian). I asked: “How are these dolls the same?” Your children answered: they are both naked, they both have ears, eyes, and heads. We measured them and discovered that they were the same size. I then asked: “How are they different?” Lelo noticed that their hair was different. None of your children noticed or mentioned the skin color differences of the dolls. At a previous meeting we had looked at our hair texture and color. Max noticed that his hair was curly like Emma’s though they had different color hair. Remembering that discussion, we spoke about the differences between the dolls and talked about how it’s great that we all have similarities and differences.
At the park, your children continued to share the vehicles. Thank you Lelo for sharing your football with your friends! Before going home, I re-read “Caps For Sale.” Re-reading the classics is extremely important for your children. Each child will benefit from this activity. They might further their understanding of the story, connect with it from a new and personal experience of theirs, and possibly gain new perspectives from a re-read. It is also a pleasurable and comforting experience for a young child to hear and be familiar with a story. Many children, through a re-read, will become so familiar with the story, that they can then follow along and begin to “read” the words. It is this act of repetition that is ingrained in so many children. There is something wonderful about repeating (or re-reading) a great book. With repetition, your child becomes familiar with characters, plot, and language. Vocabulary (new words) is added to your child’s repertoire. It also helps your child to reflect on the story and connect with his/her own experiences.
“Where Does Breakfast Come From?” by Leslie Kimmelman
“Caps For Sale,” by Esphyr Slobodkina
WELCOME BACK ASHER!!
This week we will be celebrating the teachings of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. During our morning Work Time, every child (and teacher!) made a tempera felt handprint to create a collaborative quilt. “Our Peace Quilt” is now on display on our front door.
Many of your children worked either alone or collaboratively with the magna tiles. The art easel was in constant use as well as our block center. Right now, because of many of your children’s interest in using both the block area as well as the tracks and trains, we sometimes will close the kitchen area to make space for the train and road construction. Before clean up, we listened to and watched the original Sesame Street video, “We All Sing the Same Song.”
At our first Morning Meeting, we again watched “We All Sing the Same Song.” I read “Skin, Skin” which highlights the beauty of our similarities and differences. We also had Show and Tell featuring Yael’s Minnie Mouse, Sunny’s doll, Teddy’s doll, Max’s doll, and Manu’s mouse. Each child sat at the front of our Meeting circle and showed his/her item and spoke about it. We heard how they obtained the items and how they play with it. Learning how to speak in front of one’s peers is an important part of your child’s education. Being the focus of attention may be difficult for some children though it is a skill we must master. Your children also take questions and comments from their peers. They learn to respect each other’s turns and practice listening to and answering questions.
At the park today, your children once again showed their teachers how they are learning to be gracious and to share. When I called out, “Everyone, please get off your vehicles to let a friend have a turn,” they did! Your children also drew with chalk and played soccer.
Merav had a weather lesson reviewing the words shemesh (sun) and sheleg (snow). She had clothing that your children needed to separate into two piles: winter and summer. Merav also played a dressing game with your children. They took turns pulling the winter clothing (coat, mittens, scarf, and hat) from the pile and dressing for the appropriate weather.
On display inside our classroom is “Our Snowy Day.” Please come by and check them out!
“Families,” by Rose Lorenzo
“Skin, Skin,” by Diana Noonan
“Between Sun and Moon,” compilation by Soleilmoon recordings
“We All Sing the Same Song,” Sesame Street http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MYXJlfcfFKU
During morning Work Time, your children had the opportunity to begin making yarn snowballs. This concept is similar to the fine motor skill used to make papier mache. The multi-step project involves using a blown up balloon as the base; than adding glue, white yarn, and your child’s imagination.
Your children prepared and cleaned their classroom for Shabbat. They wiped the chairs, tabletops, and shelves before sitting on our Meeting rug waiting for Shabbat and Emma’s parents to arrive. While waiting patiently, Noa announced the weather for the first time. The children have a new weatherperson tie to wear; this one has seals balancing balls on their noses! They noticed, from looking at the weather chart, that every child has four dots next to their names (Noa has one). After Emma’s mother and father said the prayers, Emma gave each child a piece of challah. Emma’s father then showed us two different kinds of drums. One was called a cajon from Peru, South America. This instrument looked like a box. After watching Ziv Ravitz play, he showed and had your children sit on the cajon with their legs open, so that they could strike the drum with their hands. Wikipedia has a simple explanation about this fascinating percussive instrument (that I have never had the opportunity to see up close myself).
We used our bodies (our knees and hands) to make music with the cajon. We also heard and played a drum that looked like a wooden tumba, but was made of silver. Again, not something we see and hear every day (these kinds of experiences that your children have when you, the parents, come to visit is wonderful). Emma was so happy and read a rebus book (a book with words and pictures to tell a story) to her friends with her mother. Your children listened to Emma and her mother read the story.
We were able to go to the park today! It is a wonderful place for your children to learn empathy from each other. When a child falls or looks sad, we will go up to the child. We ask, “Where are you hurt?” This includes also asking if the child hurts inside (meaning their feelings). For example, today Noa scraped her finger. Doctors Eitan, Mika, Sophie, Ben, Teddy, and Yosef Aryeh all made sure that she was okay. They hugged her and then kissed her finger to make it feel better!