One of the many things I love about St. James is that the students are taught, not only to be caring people, but to be good citizens.  To help instill these characteristics, every grade level is responsible for taking on community service projects. Not just one, but several a semester. Some classes go to retirement homes and sing, bring and participate in interactive projects, and/or donate items that will lift the residents hearts. Other classes volunteer to serve at the local homeless shelter, pick up litter, and gather supplies for the needs of local community centers/shelters/projects.  Students are encouraged to be an active participant in their community and go beyond a monetary donation. We teach the children to give their time and themselves.

Both Pre-K classes participated in our first community service project of the year.  On Halloween, the children dressed up in their costumes and visited Opportunities, Inc.  While at Opportunities, Inc., they sang fun Halloween songs to the students. The classes looked forward to singing to the students and hoped that they made them laugh and made their day a little brighter.  We had our Halloween party at the Ashby farm following singing. The children enjoyed playing, having a hayride, playing games, and eating lunch.


Pumpkin math and science was a big hit with the children this week.  Skills such as estimating (estimating a quantity weaves in mental computations that require problem solving and critical thinking), tallying (a quick way of keeping track of numbers in groups of 5), classifying (everyday activities that involve sorting are the beginning concepts of children developing math skills), and measuring circumference (we used yarn to measure our pumpkin, a great introduction to different forms of measurement).

First, the boys and girls used their yarn to measure the circumference around the largest pumpkin.  Next, they estimated the number of lines on the pumpkin. Various answers were given, and Drew was our winner with an estimation of 11.  After that, estimations were recorded in regard to the pumpkins weight, Ben came closest with his estimation of 20 lbs. Finally, we tallied the number of people who thought the pumpkin would float in water, and those who thought it would not float. To our amazement it floated! Hands on learning is always the best!!


Katelyn Gunter

We have started our roads study! Why investigate 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, when children push toy cars from one building to another.  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. When children work together to create roads, they use a variety of skills to plan, write, draw, build, and negotiate with others.

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

Scout - “they can have street lights”

Ben - “they have stop signs”

Dovie - “some are made out of cement”

Rhett - “some have red lights”

Natalie - “you drive your car on roads”

Katelyn - “there are bridges on some roads”

We have added many cars and a race track to our cars/block center. The children are enjoying building roads out of wooden blocks.


We colored, counted and graphed shape objects on ghosts!! They all did an awesome job on this activity.  They are hanging up in the hallway…...check them out. Activities like this are helping them learn the verbal number sequence and one-to-one correspondence.


The children worked on geoboards and learned about spatial relationships and shapes.  Understanding spatial relationships and shapes helps children build the foundation for understanding geometry. Children who have strong spatial sense do better in mathematics.


We played Boggle Junior this week.  Why are we playing board games in PreK?  Young children are learning all the time, and all types of “play” can give them opportunities to learn.  Playing Boggle Junior gives them the opportunity to start to learn, practice and improve their letter and word recognition skills.  The object of the game is to match letters on letter cubes with letters on picture/word cards; and race against the timer. Games like this are demonstrating positive approaches to learning.  When children have a positive approach to learning, they are likely to want to learn more.


Katelyn Gunter

We kicked off our pet study by getting a classroom pet rabbit!  We quickly decided that our rabbit needed a name, so we narrowed our choices down to  Ryder, Daniel, and Pete the Rabbit. We voted as a classroom, tallied our answers, and Pete the Rabbit won!! Pets are beloved parts of many families and classrooms.  Young children love to watch their animal friends and imitate the animals’ movements, sounds, and expressions. Pets, whether at home or at school, teach children the importance of taking care of others, showing affection, being sensitive to others’ needs, and developing lasting friendships.

What a great morning we had spending time with our dads, grandparents, and special friends at Donuts for Dad.  The children painted ties and rocks, colored donuts, drew a picture and filled out a Daddy survey, and all were on display in our windows and hallway. The children have been looking forward to this day for weeks, and a great time was had by everyone.

The fourth grade will be reading to us each week during our library time.  This is just one of the many things I love about this school. The preschoolers love when the big children read to them, and the fourth grade gets extra reading practice.  Children who engage in frequent activities with books have larger, more literate vocabularies. These children learn to read better than children who have few book experiences.

The children practiced their knowledge of the alphabet by matching uppercase and lowercase ladybugs.  Young children’s alphabet knowledge, especially their ability to rapidly name letters and numerals in random order, is a strong predictor of later reading, writing, and spelling ability.

We went on a virtual tour of the ocean floor in technology.  The children thought this was amazing! They got to see fish, whales, sharks, and all kinds of underwater plants.

The children worked on their one-to-one correspondence in Math.  To count well, children must learn the verbal number sequence; one-to-one correspondence, i.e., that one number name is matched to a single object in a set being counted; and cardinality, i.e., that the last number named when counting objects tells how many.


Katelyn Gunter

We had a fabulous week in Pre-K.  This week we have focused on getting to know one another and the rules of the classroom, centers, and playground. Being able to establish caring relationships and to enter successfully into ongoing social interactions are essential skills for school and for success in life.  Children’s ability to form positive relationships with adults is important to their social development and academic success.

We read The Kissing Hand by Audrey Penn, and went on a Chester hunt.  Chester came into our rooms and left us four clues about trying to find him.  This allowed us to work on our ordinal counting: how to indicate the position of something in a sequence, e.g., first, second, third, and so forth. Finally, Chester left us a special treat before jumping back into the book.  The children loved this activity!

We worked on fine-motor strength and coordination by cutting out triangles and squares.  The children also had to use tweezers to pick up a peg and put into a pegboard. Fine-motor skills involve grasping and releasing objects using fingers and hands, as well as using both hands together and often coordinating these movements with the eyes.  They require hand and finger strength and dexterity.

We began journaling this week.  Journaling gives me the opportunity to find out what is happening with the children outside of the classroom.  It also demonstrates emergent writing skills. Writing is an important aspect of emergent literacy. Writing begins with making a mark, originates from drawing, and is supported by make-believe play.

The children put puzzles together and worked on their spatial relationships and shapes.  Understanding spatial relationships and shapes helps children build the foundation for understanding geometry.

Katelyn Gunter
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