100th Day Celebrations
JK friends decorated and cut out 100th Day glasses, made hats with ten strips of bejeweled (or bestickered) paper strips, and counted ten pieces of ten different kinds of snacks to cook up a 100th Day trail mix. We enjoyed counting to 100 by 1s, 5s, and 10s on our hundreds chart often incorporating movement as we counted. As a literacy activity children made a list of things of which they would like and NOT like to have 100. One friend said she would like to have 100 gummi bears but NOT 100 real bears! We had been waiting for this day for a long time and the children could not have been more pumped to celebrate being 100 days smarter, sweeter, grateful, compassionate, and curious.
Valentine's Day and Stay and Play
Valentine's Day is always a favorite day for young children. They naturally show a lot of love to their friends and family by hugging friends when they arrive, including them in play, making letters and drawings for them, and showing an interest in their lives. We've had some Valentine's Day fun around here by making Valentine's Day cards, adding some hearts and heart-shaped baking pans to our sand in the Discovery Table, matching lower and upper case letters on heart-shaped cards, creating Valentine's Day themed art, and reading Valentine's books.
Children worked so hard on crafting valentines for moms and dads. We started with a math lesson on symmetry. We talked about how one can find symmetry in shapes and in a lot of things around their world, like windows, faces, butterflies, and furniture. Children painted a picture then folded it in half creating a a symmetrical painting. After their painting dried, children drew half a heart on the back of the paper and used scissors, developing fine motor strength, to cut on the line. When they opened their paper, they discovered the positive image of a heart along with a negative image in the middle of their leftover paper. We used the heart shape as the valentine for mothers. Children wrote the name they call their mothers, and dictated through an interview process special things about their mothers to teachers. Children then signed the word love and then their name.
For fathers, we made liquid watercolor prints of heart-shaped doilies on watercolor paper. We then followed the same writing process for fathers' valentines as we did for the mothers' cards.
Authentic writing activities, like writing valentines for their favorite sweethearts- mommy and daddy, teach children the purpose of writing in a way that is meaningful to them. They get a chance to see that their spoken words can be written. By actually writing words, like their names, their parents' names, and other words that are important to them, children get a chance to strengthen fine motor skills as well as identify letters and letter sounds.
Our Stay and Play was so much fun! Traditions like the Stay and Play, when families come to the JK House and stay for a while at drop off, unite and connect members of our class, create memories that last into adulthood, strengthen the bonds of a school, and build a strong community. When children read the hearts filled with words you use to describe what you love about them, it strengthens their positive self identity. When children drew their families as the last step in a multistep art project, they deepened their understanding of their own family structure. Later, children told their friends about their drawings to help all the children understand the variety of family structures. When you play with your child, you show them that you are interested in their interests, you value them, and you want to know them. You learn more about your child's abilities, too. We hope you enjoyed some smoothies and breakfast treats, too. Thanks to everyone who brought in ingredients for smoothies, paper goods, and the rice krispies.
Shapes and Measuring
We also made shape collages at the art center inspired by the illustrators, Leo Lionni and Ellen Stoll Walsh, who use collage in their books. Children were encouraged to name the shapes as they worked.
Friendship with Ms. McGuire
This month in Cornerstones we will be watching and discussing the Good Bird's Club to begin a conversation about handling conflicts. The Good Bird's Club is part of Sesame Street's prevention and empowerment program. Below is an excerpt from Sesame Street about the program.
Sesame Street has always been a destination for parents and children to laugh, learn, and grow. Over the past 42 years, the show has focused on the whole child by addressing educational, social, emotional, health and societal issues. Many difficult topics have been addressed through the seasons, and Sesame Street has always been there to provide concrete information to parents, teachers, and caregivers by extending the lessons learned from our curriculum.
The discussion will highlight the following: it's okay to be different, how to identify your own feelings and the feelings of others, and how to communicate effectively when you need the help of an adult. We will practice the skill of seeking help as an extension of the learning activity. Start practicing at home by asking your kids to identify the feelings of others based on what they observe---the person's facial expression, body language, the words that they are using. Play a game of feelings charades by picking a feeling for everyone to act out and everyone else has to guess the feeling. These are positive ways to impact your child's social emotional development and ability to relate to others.
Spanish with Dr. Long
The Junior Kindergarten class is continuing to learn about classroom objects and their colors. We played a matching game with object cards colored and cut out by the children. The students continue to practice identifying common feelings (feliz, bien, and mal). To support this they are learning the song "Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star" ("Estrellita") in Spanish. Star puppets made by the children are used to to act out the song. They are able to say how the "estrellitas" feel and what color they are in Spanish. We are busy, busy!