INTO THE WOODS

We finished our tree unit with a special visitor and a special nature walk into the woods around our campus. Mr. Clint Harris is the Southern Arkansas Project Manager for the Nature Conservancy’s Arkansas office. Mr. Harris showed our children the different types of trees that are native to our area. Our woods are full of pine, oak and cedar trees. The class learned about evergreen trees and deciduous trees. We discussed the wildlife in our area and we learned that the woods are home to several animals. We found a bird’s nest and we noticed that a deer had rubbed a small tree with his antlers. We were thrilled to follow our woodland path as we explored the natural beauty that surrounds our campus. A special thank  you to Mr. Clint Harris and Emily Harris for taking time out of their day to educate our children.

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After our tree unit it was time to move on to our clothing unit. The past couple of weeks we discussed what we know about our clothing and the features of our clothing. I used the children’s raincoats to discuss the different types of materials used to make clothes and how different materials can protect us from the weather. We used snaps and zippers to keep our raincoats together. This fun activity was also a great fine motor workout! Everyone had a blast putting on their raincoats and telling each other about the color and features of their raincoats.  

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After we looked at our raincoats, I had the children take out their winter jackets and we talked about small, medium, and large sizes. Everyone looked for the size in their jacket. We searched for the letters S, M, or L.  I used my sweater to show the children a large item and we compared my large sweater to their small jackets.

Each investigation has a set of books that I read each day.  One of our books for this study is Goldilocks and the Three Bears. The story of Goldilocks helped us learn about size. It is important for each child to learn to recognize objects by size. Ordering by size also prepares children for more complex math and problem solving.

Our P.E. class this week had us jumping for joy! The children had to jump with feet together and land on a colored circle.  After each child completed their task , they galloped around the orange cones and resumed their place in line. During our next P.E. lesson the children used scooters to strengthen their core muscles. The class had to use their gross motor skills to move forward , backward and spin around. Our P.E. class helps with several skills. The class has to listen to instructions, wait in line for a turn and learn to work as a group.

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Katelyn Gunter
FABULOUS FALL

Fall is a exciting time of year! The leaves are changing and we are growing. Halloween and trips to Egypt are just a few of our recent adventures. This month was full of fun!! We ended October with our Halloween Party. Our parents helped paint pumpkins, and celebrate the season. This party helped our class with their hand and eye coordination as we bowled with a pumpkin.  One of the highlights of our party was getting all wrapped up like a mummy. The food was great and the children enjoyed dressing up and seeing each other in their costumes. As we wrapped up our party , it was time to take off to Egypt.

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One of the great things about St. James is watching the older children learn about other countries. We were invited to tour ancient Egypt last week to watch the sixth grade class as they described what life was like in another time and country. We learned that ancient Egyptians used symbols as a form of communication. The children were amazed with the beautiful clothing and the knowledge of the older students. We went back to our class and used shaving cream as our form of communication.  One of the joys of teaching is watching my students learn to write letters. Our fingers were our writing tools and the children drew straight line letters, shapes , and people. This activity was a fine motor workout and a sensory delight!

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Early math skills are important to each child. We discussed patterns and we used our shirt color to reinforce our skills. I picked a child to get up in front of the class and make a pattern with shirt colors. Red and blue shirts were involved in our AB pattern activity.The children came up one by one as their friend called their name. Each child is having to think about the color that will come next as they make their pattern.

We worked on patterns with leaf color and colored people manipulatives. Seeing a pattern and extending a pattern helps promote observation skills.

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We are getting ready for our fall program and Thanksgiving. This class is soaring into autumn!







Katelyn Gunter
BRANCHING OUT

We are branching out in all directions with our tree unit. The children loved our investigation on, “Who lives in trees?” I think our favorite creature that lives in a tree was a squirrel. One of our math activities had us scampering like squirrels for nuts. I love to use nature items for our math projects. We gathered acorns and counted them. I put out number cards and the children had to place the correct amount of acorns on the number card. Children learn to count more accurately if they can touch and move objects as they count. We are working on connecting numerals to quantities, and having fun while leaning!

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Expressive language is flowing in this room. Our unit had us moving to the beat with, I’m a Sturdy Oak Tree, which was the title of a movement activity that had our class hooting like a owl, flying like a bird, slithering like a snake, and buzzing like a bee.

This class used their imaginations by pretending to be creatures that live in trees. This lesson helps your child learn about the characteristics of living things.

Everyday we learn about letters and numbers. Children love to learn when we have hands on activities. During the tree unit we collected sticks from trees on our playground.  We used the sticks to form letters. Our Handwriting Without Tears curriculum begins letter recognition with the straight line family - E, F, H, I , L , T; these letters are easy to form with sticks and we had a blast making them! The curriculum begins letter writing with the straight line family because it requires the fewest amount of strokes and these letters are easiest to write.

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One of our highlights was going to the Williams Memorial United Methodist Church pumpkin patch. It was very exciting to see all of the pumpkins! We learned that not all pumpkins are orange, as we walked through the pumpkin patch the children noticed yellow, grey and white pumpkins. The boys and girls enjoyed a story as they ate their pumpkin muffin. The field trip was a hoot!

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Each year St. James picks a community service project. This year we picked Harvest Regional Food Bank of Texarkana.  Our community service project was a big hit! Harvest Texarkana came to our school and picked up our donations of food for our community.  We love to help others and give something back to our community.

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Check back with us in a couple of weeks to find out what this class is investigating!







Katelyn Gunter
WHEN DO THINGS HAPPEN AT SCHOOL?

The children loved our first unit!  It’s hard to believe we have wrapped up our beginning of school study.  The last few weeks of our study we discussed people that work at our school and the time activities occur at our school. We also learned how to form friendships and become part of a group.


One of our focus questions,“When do things happen at school?”, kept us on our toes. Children do not grasp the concept of time until around age six or seven, but we can learn important lessons from our focus question. We discussed our time for events to occur during the day. Your child may not recognize 11:30 a.m. is our lunch time, but they know after P.E. we go to lunch.  The children do understand a block of time , such as circle time or outside time. I use a bell or a drum as a signal that a time for one activity is over and another activity is beginning. The signal helps children with transitions.

Hickory , Dickory, Dock had us moving to a tick-tock beat.  We brought this nursery rhyme to life as we took turns moving the mouse up and down the clock as we recited the rhyme. The large clock I brought to school helped your child with positional words. Positional words help your child with spatial awareness. I used a little mouse and the children took turns placing him UP the clock and DOWN the clock. We expanded on these positional words as we worked in pairs to place the mouse on, beside , above, or below our heads or arms.  These activities help your child grasp where an object is in relation to them.

Sequence of events is an important concept that we touched on during this unit. Each child put together three nursery rhyme puzzle cards in the order in which they occurred in the rhyme. This activity helps your child understand that events happen in a certain order.


Many people work at our school, and we used the topic question, “Who works at our school?”, to explore our campus. The story of the Gingerbread Man was one of our books for this topic question. Does the Gingerbread Man work at our school? A few children thought he did. We did search for him using clues that were read to us by other teachers. Our imaginations have no limits and the children learned how to follow directions and work as a group to find him.


One of my favorite things about teaching preschool is watching the children form friendships. Each child is learning to be a good friend, we are learning to share and help each other. Several of the learning games we play help your child participate in a group. We work together and solve problems. I love see the children help each other to complete a task. I placed geoboards on the table to help us form geometric shapes. Rubber bands are used as each child stretches them to form triangles, squares and rectangles.  We are learning shapes and using our fine motor skills.


October is fire safety month, and we loved seeing the fire truck. The firemen are here to help us and we are not afraid of them. It was wonderful watching the children take turns as they sat behind the wheel of the fire truck. We discussed 911 and practiced stop, drop, and roll. A good friend is ready to take a turn and share!


It looks like we are off and running right into the school year. Our next unit will be trees and I can’t wait!

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Katelyn Gunter
WELCOME BACK

The first weeks of school are a special time of joy and amazement for your child. The children are making friends and learning about the schedule of the school day. Our first couple of weeks we focused on learning our names and our friend's names. We learned our teachers’ names also. The class enjoyed Physical Education class with Ms. Nicole and Music with Ms. Tipton. One friend we all loved was Humpty Dumpty. I love the way our Creative Curriculum introduces nursery rhymes into our day. Nursery rhymes help your child with language development and auditory skills.They also help each child with discriminating between sounds and developing the ear for the music of words. 


The beginning of school can also be a sad or scary time for a child who does not easily separate  from mom and dad. I introduced a special friend named Miss Muffet. We learned that we all can be scared of something and Ms. Muffet did not like spiders. This rhyme helped your child with social skills as we took turns and pretended to be a spider, or Miss Muffet. It is very important for each child to learn to work in a group and to be able to wait a turn. 

One of my favorite group activities is introducing the class to Mat Man.  We learn to follow directions at a early age and Mat Man helps us with active listening skills. The children listen to oral directions and then attend to the task of putting Mat Man together with big lines and little lines. We will use these lines later to form letters. Mat Man is from our Handwriting Without Tears curriculum. As we work in a group to put Mat Man together, each child is developing drawing and counting skills. It is educational and fun to work together! This class in a joy to have and the school year is off to a great start!

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Katelyn Gunter