During our newt study we learned many new things. Pictured here is just one of our many play dough "newts." We talked about the newts long body and tail, his four legs, two bulging eyes and many toes. We talked about newt colors like brown, green, red, orange...BUT we decided to make our newts blue. We discussed that newts usually have interesting marks on their back and tails like stripes and spots and we learned the difference between a stripe (line) and a spot (dot) using glue and stamp paints.
I do believe that the children's favorite activity was yesterday's "newt habitat." We each choose a box as we talked about how newts are born from eggs, so they are "oviparous" like a chicken. We again learned that when something is "oviparous" it is born from an egg. Newts are born in the water. The mommy newt lays eggs in the pond and then they hatch. You can see from our habitats that the children even placed "eggs" in their blue "water." Once the newt grows lungs and can breath air just like us, he crawls out of the water and can live on the land, on rocks, climb trees and play in the grass. Newts like to eat bugs and we tried to catch some bugs, as some of the children wanted to put bugs in their habitats, however we couldn't find any we thought the newt would like :).
Creating teachable moments...
One of my favorite jobs as a preschool teacher and learning coach is the process of creating "teachable moments" for young learners. This provides me JUST as much enjoyment as the children have being the ones in the middle of the creation. During our newt studies I thought we would try making these habitats. I knew this would be an advanced craft for 2's and 3's, but I was also certain that the process of completing this project would provide the children with many, many opportunities to ask questions about what we had been talking about during the week.
As an experienced preschool teacher I also realized that its the process...not the product that produces real learning and "teachable moments" when we can connect. However for the mommas and daddies at home, the product allows you to connect again with your child and talk about what they did at school today. It gives you something tangible to look at, discuss, and ask questions about. It gives your child an opportunity to proudly display the way they spent their day as you notice all the little details and inquire as to the color choices, placement and simply to "Tell me about this!"
There will also be days, however, still filled with learning, fun and PACKED with teachable moments, however, they do not produce "papers" to bring home. Here is a poem I ran across many years ago that beautifully speaks to this...
A Child's Plea Original Author Unknown
Today I did my maths and
I toasted bread, I halved and quartered, counted,
used my eyes, ears and hands.
I added and subtracted on the way.
magnets, blocks and memory tray.
I learned about a rainbow and how to
So please don't say -
'ANYTHING IN YOUR BAG TODAY?'
I'm sharing as I play, to learn to listen and speak clearly when I talk
wait my turn and when inside to walk.
To put my words into a phrase, to find
my name and write it down.
To do it with a smile and not a frown,
my pasting brush away. So please, don't say -
'WHAT NOTHING IN YOUR BAG
I learned about a snail and a worm.
Remembered how to take my
Helped a friend when he was stuck.
Learned that water runs off a
Looked at words from left to right.
Agreed to differ, not to
So please don't say -
'DID YOU ONLY PLAY TODAY?'
Though we read many, many books this week (as always :)), this one was by FAR the class favorite. It's about a chameleon that was able to do MANY wonderful and naturally talented things, but looks around at others and wishes that he could be like them. He gets his wish, but then becomes so mixed up that he can't even do what the basic task of catching his food anymore. So, he again wishes that he could just go back to being "ME!" He again gets his wish and is, once more, happy...
Below is the youtube link for the book. This was very fun and sweet and the children enjoyed watching this little short that went along with our book. Though this was NOT a book about a newt...he looked as close to a newt as we could find in a book that was still in print. The children loved watching his LONG tongue shoot out to catch a fly!
Soooo....a LOT more papers came home than what is shown here! We KNOW you did more!!
Yes, we also practiced our letter "N", its sound, words that begin and end with this letter sound and writing the letter "N." As usual, all of our little learners LOVE to write. They "write" in many different forms, but I allow them all to "work" on the same papers so that everyone feels "big." We also do LOTS of journal writing. I watch for their development as they grow. This link discusses what to look for in your child's "writing" and what stage they are in. This will also help you recognize and celebrate milestones in your child's development. We also practiced lots of counting skills, we traced our numbers, counted with games, bugs, newts, spots, crackers, each other and playing Hide and Go Seek. We played "follow the letter" with this paper. We practiced matching shapes and naming them with this paper. And...of course...we did LOTS of sensory activities like this...and this...and this...
We had an AMAZING week of learning and look VERY forward to "Olympics" week next week.
So what letter "M" week would be complete without a bit o' Mickey?! Thanks to one of our families, and their recent trip to Disney, we obtained a Mickey mold. Our magnificent muffins were a delight in the shape of Mickey Mouse and the children were excited to bite the ears off these tasty treats!! Later that morning we again snacked and snacked on these. What a clever way to get my sweet monkeys to eat fresh blueberries....shhhhh, it's our secret ;)!!
The Power of Unity...
Some days present a few more challenges than others and we had a few of those moments this week :). During those times we sing, and sing and sing, read lots of books, pass around the cranky cream (lotion can be very soothing to an upset babe) and engage in some sort of water play. This can be washing our babies in the sink...washing Sheppie in the water table, playing with various sprinklers and funnels, washing our kitchen center dishes in the sink or water painting with a soapy canvas. All of these calming strategies are helpful to disengage a preschooler's stress signals, soothe a tired toddler and redirect energy FROM conflict to peace. However, even with all our Conscious Discipline skills there are moments when a behavior simply, "Is what it is..." and we look around and find that the only one we can make sure stays calm is oneself. Is this ok? YES! When the adult figure in a child's life is expressing peace, safety and love in the midst of a child's meltdown that child is still learning. It may not be apparent at the time, but what is being taught is that "I accept and love you no matter how you feel at this moment in time." "We will get through this together"... it IS the Power of Unity in action...
More fun with food! It's funny how much better a child eats when their meal is "plated!!" Of course, who doesn't like a meal that looks a yummy as it is... As you can see from the plates to the left we are having oranges, spinach, tomato, grilled cheese and cheese slices. A serving of these is a bit more than what is on each plate, but I have been trying to get the children used to eating veggies and fruits that they may not normally eat (spinach). So I will place small amounts of these items arranged on their plates and add more as they are more inclined to eat them.
We completed our week with foot tracings, toe counting. We also sent home a monkey counting bananas game and these CUTE little monkey puppets. We had a wonderful time welcoming a new friend to our school and another will join us next week as well. All of our children went home singing our favorite little monkey song, "Five Little Monkeys Jumping on the Bed!" We will begin next week with the letter "N" and Newts! This will be a fun little chapter as we learn all about a creature I believe will be an experience for everyone!! Have a wonderful weekend and I wish you well!
Life is made of moments...
"There isn't anything more full of hope, joy and peace than a child's smile... It captures the mundane and makes it extraordinary." - LaDonna Woolsey
I am a Mother Goose Time Blogger. I decided to become one after trying their products because I they are comprehensive and serve my mixed age group well. I do receive products to review from Mother Goose Time and do so with my own honest and thorough opinions. For more information, please contact me at Ladonna@woolseyacademy.com