Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Grandparents' Day is Tomorrow

Grandparents' Day is one of my favorite days of the year. It is amazing to witness the lovely relationships that the children have with people in their lives.

It is a very different day here at school.  Please remember that it is a half day of school for ALL students. There is NO EXTENDED DAY. 

Special guests are invited to leave their jackets in the coat check located in Gym C.  The preschoolers will spend most of their time in the classroom. We have a short snack break at 8:45 and chapel at 11:00. The rest of our school day will be in the room.  Once chapel is finished we will return to the classroom. Families leaving by bus are dismissed first. This allows the buses to leave campus prior to our carline families.  We try to stagger families leaving to prevent traffic congestion. 

I look forward to meeting everyone who is coming tomorrow. To those families that are not participating this year, I hope you have a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday. 

Monday, November 20, 2017

I am Thankful For Paintings

We have been talking about what we are thankful for in our classroom.  The conversation was guided toward "something we are thankful for that we cannot buy in a store." Everyone then made a painting of what they were thinking about. We used Sharpie markers and watercolor paints.  While working students focused on using a proper pencil grip to ensure that we had good control.

After completing their images, each student then wrote about what they were thankful for.  Writing is a difficult task for young children. They first need to hold an idea in their head. Once this is done then she/he needs to listen for the sounds that happen within words, and recall the symbol that goes with the sound. This is a challenging cognitive task that is then followed by the challenge of physically writing the symbol.  With practice children are able to represent multiple sounds within a word, try to write more than one word, and eventually memorize spelling patterns. What is written in letters rarely represents the complex narrative that the writer has to go along with the image. 

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

New Self Portrait Work

Our self portrait for this month had two distinct stages. The first was to paint a background at the easel. When we write at at a table we not only use our finger and hand muscles but our whole arm and our core. It is important that young children engage in activities that help foster muscle control that they will need when working at a desk or computer in just a few short years. 

Painting at an easel is not only fun it helps develop the muscles that are used to write for longer settings. It requires standing which engages the core muscles. This helps facilitate a posture that allows for sitting for longer periods of time.  A paintbrush is often easier to hold with a proper pencil grasp than a smaller writing utensil for many of our young students. When painting at an easel you use your whole arm and shoulder in a similar manner that happens when writing, but it does not require the same level of control.

Once the background was done students were asked to use a mirror to look at the shape of their features and to make it by cutting the shapes out of construction paper. They could use a marker to draw the shape that needed to be cut out, but all details needed to be made out of paper NOT ink.  This required a LOT of cutting. Cutting with scissors is an easy way for all students to build their fine motor muscle control that is essential for using pencils and keyboards.

Most of these new portraits should be done by the end of the week. They are incredibly colorful and each was made with great care.

Sound Wall in the Hall

You may have noticed that the letters hanging on the wall are not in alphabetical order.  The preschoolers are building a letter SOUND wall not a LETTER wall.  This meant that we needed to make sure that Cc and Kk were near one another. This then meant that the “traditional” order of the letters did not matter for this activity.  

Preschoolers worked with a partner in a different room to design and build their letter. This meant focusing on how their letter is formed and ensuring that the letter attributes for both upper case and lower case letters were followed. They had to come up with a plan to use a variety of materials to form their letter.

We will be adding pictures under each letter that demonstrate words that begin with the letter sound that each letter often makes.  Some of these pictures will be labeled and others will not. 

 Sound to letter correspondence along with a strong sense of story are key skills in developing the ability to write and read. That is why in preschool you will often hear us say "What letter can make the sound ____?" rather than "___ makes the sound ___."

Monday, November 13, 2017

We Met an Author!

Last week while I was at the ISACS conference the whole preschool got to meet children's book author and illustrator Nancy Carlson. She came to visit and share how characters can be drawn, what inspires her, and a few of her stories!

Third Grade Buddies

This morning we met with our third grade buddies to read together in the library. It was a lot of fun to see how the preschoolers are showing some leadership in this pairing.  Many chose the books they wanted to read and some even told their buddy what they want to learn about reading!

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Family Photo Request

We still have a few children who have not sent in family photos for our family board.  Please help your child send in photos this week.  We plan to start using the photos as a tool to help the children talk about their own families in our morning meetings THIS WEEK.