Saturday, October 27, 2012


This week we began the study of the five vertebrates.  Amphibians was first on the list!  We were able to borrow some Africian Water Frogs from a child's big brother! (Thank you Zach!)
The use of our three part cars are very important when learning about the parts of something.  We have the children match the pictures and also the words.
The children were able to make their own parts of a frog booklet to take home.  This not only helps them to understand the concept but also helps to refine their fine motor skills for drawing/writing.
 One of our afternooners used one of the moveable alphabets to write a thank you note.  He then copied it on paper and drew a picture. 
"Thanks Zack for lending the frogs."

From Globe to Map

The children are very familiar to our continent globe but have not yet had the opportunity to work with the continent map.  Some have seen the map and have asked why there are two Antarcticas.  As most children are very concrete at this age, we present this lesson in a concrete way.  The goal is to show them how the map and the globe show us the same thing, in a different way.
We made a small globe out of dough and then cut it in half.
We pressed the two halves of the ball down to flatten it out.
Here the children can see how it is flattened like our continent map.
The children all had turns taking out the continents and placing them back in the puzzle.  You may be hearing the Continent Song this weekend.  Also, many children have made continent stamp books.  We have a stamp for each continent which they stamp on paper and color in the colors on the map. 

Sunflower Seed Harvesting

Sunflower seed picking was a fun activity this week.  Again, the children developed concentration, fine motor skills and coordination.  When their little bowl was filled, they were able to ask a teacher to accompany them outside to give the seeds to the squirrels and fill up the bird feeder.  (These sunflower heads can be bought at the main farmers market for $4.00 each.)

Hole Punching

Another fine motor activity the children enjoyed was punching holes in paper.  They take a tray to the table and punch out little circles.  When they are finished punching the holes, they empty them into an envelope or into the recycling bin.  This was a fun activity that seemed to give a means to the development of concentration in many of the children. 

Bead Stringing

This week the children were introduced to necklace making.  This is an extension of the large bead stringing that has been on our practical life shelf.  The children can really improve their fine motor skills and hand to eye coordination with this activity.  The best part is being able to wear the necklace and to take it home!

Friday, October 19, 2012

Parts of a Leaf and Leaf Dissection

Along with the botany cabinet, the children enjoyed the leaf dissection (with matching) as well as making booklets with the various parts of a leaf. 

Afternoon experiments with gas

This week the afternooners experiment with "gas."  To do this we used a bicycle pump.  The first experiment was to use the pump to feel air coming out.  We discussed how air is a gas.  Then the children put the pump in the basin of water to see how it bubbles when the gas comes out of the pump. 

Another day the afternooners continued this experiment with the pump and balloons.  After our experiments we write down our observations.

Pickle Cutting

This week our food preparation work was pickle cutting!  Some children really enjoyed cutting and eating the pickles and some wanted to cut and give them away to their classmates. 

Pumpkin Muffins

Last week we dissected a pumpkin in class to learn about the different parts.  We then baked the pumpkin and the children took turns scooping out the inside.  To demonstrate what to do with pumpkin we decided to make pumpkin muffins.  The children all had a chance to help with mixing up the muffins, putting them in the tins and of course, eating them! 

The Botany Cabinet

This week the children were introduced to our Botany Cabinet.  This is much like our geometric cabinet as it has several drawers of shapes.  This cabinet contains various leaf shapes. 
We chose three shapes and matched leaves we have found outside.  The children enjoyed learning the names of some of the shapes. 

Land and Water Forms- Archipelago and System of Lakes

 This week the children were introduced to the idea of an archipelago and a system of lakes.  They took the land and water forms to a table and were given a lesson on pouring water into the forms.  This was very timely as we had students return from Hawaii this week.  (Notice the spill of water on the table, this is a great lesson in cleaning up.  We have blue cloths that the children use to clean up spills.  They can all do this independently now.)
As an extension to this lesson, the children feel the small sandpaper land and water forms and then color a paper to take home. 

Pumpkin Hammering

Tis the season for pumpkins!  After we had a few days of washing the pumpkin, we decided to hammer nails into it!  This is very fun for the children to do and is a great practical life activity. The child takes the pumpkin off the shelf and then carries a tray with a wooden hammer and a tin of nails to the table.  They line up the nail and hammer away!

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Nature Table

We have a nature table in the classroom.  This provides the children an opportunity to share an object that is usually found in nature with the classroom.  We have had various objects such as rocks, pinecones, feathers, leaves, shells etc.  The children like to look at these objects up close with the magnifying glass. 

Sink and Float

This week we introduced the concept of Sink and Float.  The children take various objects and drop in water to see if it sinks or floats. 
 This is also a multistep activity which involves putting on a smock, drying off each object after it is dropped in water and then classifying it on the sink or float tray.  When done, they put all objects back on silver tray to prepare for next person.
To extend this activity the afternoon children completed a more extensive experiment on the same topic. 

                                          Here we made predictions and recorded the results.

Pumpkin Sewing

As many of the children have shown an interest in sewing, we added a sewing work with multiple steps.  First is to sew around two pieces of pumpkin shaped cardstock. This is slightly different than how we sew cardstock. 
 The second step is to rip newspaper and stuff it inside the pumpkin.
The third step is to paint the pumpkin on one side, let dry and paint other side.
The children then sew up opening and draw a face on the front with marker. 
They are really enjoying this multi-step activity.


This week we introduced the idea of weight.  We had a small postage scale that weighs objects in ounces.  We offered a basket of small items to weigh.  The children had no difficulty figuring out how to read the scale.  Some needed a little help writing the words of the objects.  They could independently write the number of ounces. 
After the basket of objects was weighed, some children decided to gather objects from the classroom like color tablets to weigh.  Some also made predictions based on what other objects weighed.

Pumpkin Dissection

Pumpkin season is upon us.  The children love reading books about pumpkins and are quite interested in how you can carve them to make Jack O'Lanterns.  We have introduced washing a pumpkin this week and the children liked to wash the dirt off various pumpkins.  We decided to dissect a pumpkin and look at the insides. 
The children were very interested in the innards.  We discussed the fibrous strands, seeds and flesh.  We asked for observations.  Some children commented on the smell of the pumpkin and others commented on the sticky strands. 
We gave the children a chance to scoop out the seeds so we can bake them and have as a snack. Some children were so interested they made a "Parts of a Pumpkin" book.

Cape and Bay

This week we studied cape and bay.  The children were given lessons on how to pour water into the different land and water forms. 
Some children then went on to use the sandpaper land and water forms to give a tactile impression and then color their own cape and bay.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

More afternoon work...

We have begun to study time in the afternoons.  Using our special "Judy" clock, we introduced the concepts of an hour hand, minute hand and gears.  Thus far we have started with "o'clock." 
They decided to make a book and took turns turning the minute hand to go to the next hour. 
They used the stamp to make a sheet and draw in the time.  We stapled these books. 
Next up is "half-past."
Cutting is so popular right now and many of our afternoon children (4-5 year olds) have decided they want to cut out more advanced shapes.  Since we have been studying arthropods (spiders mainly) they wanted to make a black widow. 
It was a challenge to hold the black paper together so it was cut on both sides but they all did it and then made red parts to glue on the spider. 
They also cut out pumpkins, maple leaves and attached hands with a heart in the middle. 

Arthropods- parts of a spider...

You may be receiving a booklet in your child's backpack with parts of a spider.  Continuing our study of arthropods ( the children colored various pages with parts of the spider.  We have been comparing these parts with a book containing photos of real spiders- up close.   

Cheese Cutting

Our food preparation work this week was cheese cutting.  The child takes the tray to a table and walks across the room to get an apron.  They wash their hands and then proceed with cutting the block of cheese.  Some children have cut very thin strips and other cut large chunks.