Rock Slime, Transportation, and Muffins for Mom

I can not believe that our journey is coming to an end.  This class will forever hold a special place in my heart.  They are genuinely kind, loving, and very helpful.  We have laughed, cried, lived, studied, learned, sang, and grown up together.  They are very close-knit and will always be a part of each other. I am so blessed to have been a small part of their little lives. 

We celebrated the ending of our roads study by making rock slime, and it was a huge hit! We also had a transportation day.  We blocked off the sidewalks and the children rode their bikes and scooters around campus.  Some proclaimed that this was the best day ever!!

We have been able to examine roads and parking lots.  We discussed what they were made of, and what features they have.  We have learned about traffic lights, signs, gutters, crosswalks, ramps and overpasses.

We had our annual Muffins for Mom to celebrate our beautiful mothers!  The children have been anticipating this day for several weeks.  We made handprint flowers, a fork tulip card, drew a picture of them, answered survey questions about them, and wrote a cooperative story, which promotes critical thinking skills.  We started with the prompt "Once upon a time, there was a mother...."  Each child had to add a sentence or two about the Mom.  It quickly grew into a pretty funny activity!  I typed and printed the story, and then we created a cover and voted on the name for the story (The Sweetest Mom In The Whole Wide World).  Copies were made and given out.......pretty priceless activity!

We had our last show and tell yesterday.  These kiddos have come a long way since that very first show and tell.  They are comfortable in their own skin, and have no problem getting up in front of their peers and speaking about what they brought to share with the class…….just one of the many things we teach at St. James!

 

 

Tracy Jones
Pep Rally, Show and Tell, Medieval Fair and Talent Show

Our focus question for the week is how can we make a road?  Here are our answers:

Emily – “you can use rocks”

Collin – “you can use wood”

Townes – “you can make a road using blocks”

Abbi – “you can make a lego road”

Tobi Lee – “you can use sand”

We have attended many events and have had lots of activities since my last post.  Here are a few of the things we have done.  We attended a pep rally to cheer on our quiz bowl teams that competed in Little Rock.  Our teams did very well in the competition and we are very proud of them.

We had a free show and tell, and the children did an awesome job of presenting!  They were so excited to show and tell everyone what they brought. They have come such a long way since that first show and tell.

Swepco presented Lights on for Louie.  The program was all about electrical safety, and the children learned how electricity is made, how electricity is used, how to identify dangerous electrical situations, and how to stay safe around electricity.

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We attended the sixth grade annual medieval fair.  The children learned about people, weapons, food, games, and the black plague!  We have such a great community at St. James and it is so special that our little ones get to participate in these events with our older students!!

PreK presented their annual Talent Show on Friday, and did a fantastic job.  Words could never express how proud I am of all these students.  It is so impressive that they can get up and perform and speak to a large group at the age of 5.

 

 

 

Tracy Jones
Easter Bunny and Roads

We celebrated Easter with a visit from the Easter bunny.  The children hunted eggs, made crafts, and had a sack lunch.  Even though it was a rainy day the children had a blast!

 

We are studying roads.  Why are we investigating roads?  Roads are all around us.  Roads take us to school, to the store, and to visit family and friends.  When riding in vehicles, children gaze out of the windows and watch the world go by.  They delight in pointing out features on the road that, for adults, are simply part of the landscape: light poles, reflector bumps, overpasses, and bridges. In the classroom, roads become a key feature in the Block area, we added a construction rug, helmet, vest, cars, trucks and traffic signs.

A study of roads provides children with an opportunity to learn how roads are made, where roads take us, how we can stay safe on the road, and the features that make up a road.

In this study, children will explore different types of roads.  They will investigate the features of roads, how roads help us, how roads are made and repaired, how we can make a road, and how to be safe on the road. 

Our focus question for the week was what do we know about roads?  Here are our answers:

Anna Scott – “cars drive on the road”

Victoria – “there are signs on the road”

Townes – “roads are made out of concrete”

Abbi – “you can walk on the road”

We talked about maps and how they show us where to go when we are on a road.  The children were given a sheet of paper and they had to draw a map of our school campus.  I was blown away with how well they did this assignment. Simple map making shows their understanding of familiar places.  Children’s experiences with mapmaking help them to develop the concepts of representation, symbolization, perspective, and scale.

The children decided that we should use all of our blocks and build our own road.  They worked in groups of three for five minutes creating a road.  These types of activities encourage simple geographic knowledge and provides positive participation in group situations.

   

Tracy Jones
Musical Instruments, Board Games and Sequencing

Our focus question for the week was how can we make music with our voices?  Here are our answers:

Collin – “you can hum”

Coleman – “you can move your neck up and down”

Anna Scott – “you can use a microphone”

Emily – “you can sing”

Tobi Lee – “you can whistle”

Madeleine – “you can use your vocal chords”

Over the last couple of weeks the children have been able to use several different musical instruments during music class.  We also had some special visitors come to class and play the guitar, and Townes broke out his mandolin to play along.  A special thank you to Ben, Lee and Mark for taking time out of their day and sharing their talents with our class. 

We played Boggle Junior this week.  Why are we playing board games in preschool?  While playing Boggle the children were working on social/emotional skills by taking turns and sharing; fine motor skills by grasping and manipulating small objects and twisting; and cognitive skills by letter recognition, letter matching, spelling, word recognition, concentration and memory.

We worked on sequencing by talking about the life cycle of the violet in science.  The children had to color the four parts of the life cycle, cut them out, and glue them in order onto their paper.  Sequencing means understanding how a series of objects, events, and time occur in a specific and logical order.  Sequencing activities help children know what comes next and to make predictions about things they cannot yet observe.

The children were able to work on their hopping skills by playing hopscotch in PE.  Hopping is difficult for young children to master; it requires strength and balance to hold one leg in the air while hopping on the other.   

Tracy Jones
Music, Show and Tell, and Vertical Surface Painting

We are studying music!  Why investigate music making?  From very early ages, children begin demonstrating their enjoyment of music by smiling, clapping, bouncing, and dancing.  Songs that they frequently hear sung or played by caregivers become easily remembered and “performed.”  Children soon learn that they can strike objects and make sounds that will cause others to listen, allowing them to become “musicians” in their own right.                                     

In the preschool years, children are often very interested in performing musically, understanding how music is made, and learning new ways to generate sounds.  Taking inspiration from family music traditions and familiar songs, preschoolers are eager to perform and experiment with musical instruments, conventional or homemade, and sing songs both familiar and new.  Music is an important part of the life of the preschooler and  preschool classroom community and is an invaluable part of children’s academic, social, and emotional development.

This study offers many opportunities for children to investigate music making firsthand while they explore social studies and science concepts; experiment with and create instruments; interview musicians; and identify their feelings and preferences associated with different music experiences.  The study also helps children use and develop skills in literacy, math, technology, and the arts as they investigate.

Our focus question for the week was what instruments can we play by hitting, tapping, or shaking them?  Here are our answers:

Emily – “drums”

Collin – “tambourine”

Madeleine – “morracas”

Anna Scott – “xylophone”

Coleman – “shaker”

The children got to practice hitting the xylophone in music.  They also learned that the xylophone is part of the percussion family.

We read the book Chrysanthemum by Kevin Henkes.  Chrysanthemum is a young girl with a very unique name.  She loves her name dearly until she starts school and her classmates make her feel as though her name is dreadful.  We learned the following new vocabulary words:  Chrysanthemum, roll call, scarcely, wilted, dreadful, fascinating, jealous, discontented, trifle, indescribable and humorous.

We had show and tell on Wednesday.  Children had to bring an item that started with the letter M.  Show and tell is so important because it teaches children to use appropriate conversations and communication skills.  Conversations involve back-and-forth exchanges.  Conversations are important to children’s cognitive and social-emotional learning.  Children also must learn the social rules of communicating.  This involves being polite, speaking so the listener understands, and turn-taking.   

We had our valentine party and celebrated our grandparents last week.  The children decorated their own sack, and took turns passing out valentine cards to their friends.  They were able to enjoy a special snack before going home.  Friday, was all about our grandparents.  We had an all school chapel and then each class gave a performance.  PreK sang three songs in Spanish, and did a fantastic job.  I enjoyed getting to see and visiting with all the grandparents.

We worked on our one-to-one correspondence skills in math.  The children had to count objects on a puzzle piece, and then find the correct number card that connected the two pieces.  Most of them could look at the small group of objects and identify the quantity without counting; this is called subitizing.  From this children explore concepts of more and less, how many, and parts and wholes.

We practiced on our vertical surface working.  This has been one of my favorite activities to date. Not only does it foster creativity, fun, and memorable experiences, it is so good for their little bodies. Vertical surface working, allows for more movement and better posture. Working on a vertical surface strengthens the abdomen, back, shoulders, and arms of the students. It also gives them a sense of freedom and confidence to find positions (stand, kneel, sit, etc.) that are comfortable and make “working” more enjoyable. This way of working naturally advocates the correct wrist, head/neck, and grasp positions. It has many benefits for preschool children, and it is fun at any stage. I encourage you all to try to implement this method at home. The fridge is an excellent (and easy) way to do so; add some paper, tape, and crayons - easy vertical workstation at home! 

 

 

 

Tracy Jones