May News 2012

It’s time to say good-bye.
Our class has come to an end.
We’ve made more cherished memories
And made many more friends.

We’ve watched your children learn and grow
And change from day to day.
We hope that all the things we’ve done
Have helped in some small way.

So it’s with happy memories
We send them out the door,
With great hope and expectations
For what next year holds in store.
~Unknown

Dear Families, May 2012

It is so hard to believe this is the last newsletter for the 2011-2012 school year. It has been a pleasure serving you and your children. The year was full of fun, surprise, adoration and benevolence. Not everyone drives to work each day loving what he or she does all day. We do and it is because of your children. Thank you for bringing your children to Discovery Trails and entrusting their education to us. It has been a pleasure being a part of your child’s life.

Language Arts:
April was very heavy in science and math, but we were able to integrate language into the themes. The students combined their knowledge of inventors, in particular the Wright Brothers, and wrote what about their own invention and what purpose it would hold. We had machines that clean rooms and make birthday cakes. We even had a machine that created endless video games. During the life cycle unit, the children listened to two stories that lead to writing activities. The first, Small Green Snake, piloted the children to describe what they would do and where they would go if they were a “small green snake.” During the week of the frog, we read the story Tuesday by David Wiesner. This story illustrated a day that frogs fly throughout the night on lily pads. The students then wrote, “If _____ could fly, they would _______.”

In April we also have concentrated on the letters YWV and rhymes for –ake, -all and –og.

The most important skill we have been working on in Language Arts is reading for information and the differences between fact and fiction. The children discovered that the written word can give us so much knowledge and how can get this from books. We also alternated between reading non-fiction and fiction stories and discovered how we can tell if a book is about the truth or about one’s imagination.

In May, the writing assignments will support our units and will include sequencing the story, The Very Hungry Caterpillar and writing about the connection between themes of stories and how they relate to our own feelings.

The letters we will be practicing will be XKZ and we will be listening for rhymes for –eep and –et. During one week the children will be writing their own cooperative poem and the rhyme will be determined then!

Math/Science:
In April, the children participated in several math activities such as estimating how far they could jump, charting if they would let a snake crawl on them and practicing counting backwards. However, the main focus of the month was science. Here of some highlights:
• Science of flight
• The power of air
• The need for speed
• Evaporation
• Cloud formation
• The water cycle
• Creating a “snake” egg
• Frog metamorphosis
• Camouflage
• Water conservation
• Heat rock/cold blooded experiment
• Phew!
In May we have planned to continue with the lifecycle of the butterfly and watching the transformation from caterpillar to butterfly right here in our classroom. We will also be studying rock formation and layers of the earth.

Spanish:
We had the great pleasure of having Senora Sepulveda substitute for Ms. Houston while she spent time with new baby James. The children enjoyed learning new Spanish songs that supported colors, food and the human body. Senora Sepulveda used Fridays to read stories in Spanish and followed up with an art project. As the children made a book to say goodbye, many students expressed this was their favorite activity.
In May, we will welcome Senora Houston back into the fold!

Art/Drama:
Mrs. Ruth, Mrs. Ruth, Mrs. Ruth! What else can we say! She has had the children busy using thematic art projects. The students have listened to stories and then they would use crayons, pastels and watercolors to create projects tied to the story.

Mrs. Ruth will be busy preparing the students for the last day of school. As per tradition, we will have the children perform at the Luau! It is always so wonderful thanks to Mrs. Ruth.

PE/Music:
During PE, we used our themes to help develop games that help children practice developmental skills. During the Aviation Theme, the parachute was used to build upper body strength as we discussed the power of air. Amidst the snake theme, the students crawled in and out of a tunnel and a body bag like a snake shedding its skin. “Frog in the Middle” was played during the Frog Theme to enhance students’ ability to throw in an intended direction and to catch a ball thrown to them. In May, we will rehearse basic skills such as balance and eye-foot coordination while doing some soccer drills, kicking a ball in motion and walking along a balance beam heel-toe forwards and backwards.

In Music, the children have used literature to reenact stories such as The Greedy Python.” The children acted out and sequenced parts of the book as a group. The children have also utilized following instructions with directional songs and dances. I’m Being Swallowed by a Boa Constrictor (Yes! By Peter, Paul and Mary!) was a big hit. This month we will be working on matching body movements to the emotions in songs and playing hand games that cross the midline such as Miss Mary Mack and Peas Porridge Hot.

Year Book….
This year’s yearbook will be available the end of May. We will order only as many that is paid for in advance. The books will be around $50 (a more accurate amount will be available when finalized) including shipping and handling. Order forms will go out next week and we will need the forms back by May 16th.

**Please note that we create this book for Discovery Trails. A few years ago, some parents showed interest in having one for their children. Please do not feel you MUST order one. This is definitely OPTIONAL!**

Dates to Remember:
May 25: Last Day of School-Noon Dismissal
May 25: Annual Luau 12:00-1:30
May 30 and 31: Optional Parent/Teacher Conferences
May 30: Report Cards available for pick up

Discovery Trails ELA Annual Luau!!
Each year we have a Luau for the entire family (and friends!) at noon on the last day of school. We will supply the main meal of ham, cheese, condiments and rolls. We will have a sign up sheet for parents to please share a dessert, side dish or bottled water/juice.

Parents will be asked to wait outside at the picnic tables when they arrive. The students will come out after everyone is seated and will perform a Luau themed dance. It is a lot of fun and this helps the children to say good-bye to teachers and friends with joy.

More information will come when as Luau plans materialize…

Parent/Teacher Conferences
May 30th and 31st have been set aside for Parent/Teacher conferences. These are optional but we may ask you to be sure to schedule one if we feel we need to have a conversation. Please feel free to schedule one as the sign-up sheets come available the week of May 14th. If you have anything specific questions/concerns, you would like to discuss, please shoot us an email so that we can have the information readily available for you.

Sincerely,
Jen and Peggy

April News 2012

“Tell me and I forget. Teach me and I remember. Involve me and I learn.”
— Benjamin Franklin

Dear Parents, April 2012

April is here. Birds are singing. Flowers are blooming. Snow is falling. March was a fun
month and we hope your children went hope with enthusiastic attitudes and lots of
information. Learning about Simple Machines just lends itself to so may energetic
activities and messy art fun. Mrs. Priest and Ms. Baker had a blast. We hope all the
students did too.

The month of April will be filled with aviation and life sciences. We will learn how
airplanes work and how speed and air are needed. We will observe the water cycle
and discover how clouds are formed. Late in the month we will study the life cycle of
the snake and frog before going into our butterfly unit in May.

Sunscreen Alert: It is time to start applying sunscreen to your children every
morning. We will reapply only if we spend extra time outside.

Language Arts: Last month, the students continued their individual lessons in
language. Some children have one on one reading time during the day as others work
on their individual needs whether it is isolating sounds to create words or writing their
name. The students also had group activities including writing about their own
inventions and imagining where he or she would go and how he or she would get there
after reading Oh, the Places You’ll Go. For handwriting and letter sounds, the
emphasis was on the letters Nn, Mm and Hh and the rhymes –oo and –een.

In April, the children will be learning how to extrapolate facts and information from
books as we will be reading a lot of non-fiction to help children understand concepts.
The students will also be writing or drawing observations. After reading the books
Tuesday and Small Green Snake, the children will write, “If ______ could fly they
would ______” and “If I were a small green snake I would ________.” We will be
working on reviewing the letters RNMH and writing the letters Vv, Yy and Ww and
listening for rhymes for –og, -ake, -igh and –all.

Math/Science:
Simple Machines was what March was all about. The children learned about the wheel
and axle, gears, inclined planes, screws, levers, pulleys and wedges. The children
learned that Simple Machines “make life easier” and help us become super men and
women. The kids were able to lift a car with a jack and even lift an “enormous” teacher
with a lever! Then we were able to go to the fire station to see how Simple Machines
are used in almost everything firefighters do. The fire fighters said the kids knew more
about simple machines than they did!

Aviation and the Life Cycles will be a focus in April. We will do a lot of observing and
learning about the power of air and life. Bernoulli’s Principle will be emphasized with
experiments to keep a ball in the air and push a beach ball. We will be discussing lift
and thrust as we make our own paper rockets and shoot them in the playground with a
bottle launcher. During the Life Cycle Unit, the children will learn about the lives of
frogs, snakes and butterflies. In April the students will discover the metamorphosis of
the frog and the unique survival patterns of the snake.

Spanish News: The biggest Spanish news is that Ms. Houston had her baby March
26th! Little James is healthy and all are doing well. Congratulations, Rachel!!

While Ms. Houston is on maternity leave, we have Mrs. Bernice Sepulveda filling in
until Rachel is ready to return.

Art/Drama: Springtime has sprung in art and drama. Mrs. Ruth has the children
creating, singing and dancing about this wonderful season…well, maybe not in
Colorado as the words to “Springtime in the Rockies” continues with, “and it’s forty
below.” Bunnies and chicks abound as spring and new life are celebrated through art
and movement.

As a side note, Mrs. Ruth became a grandmother for the first time this week! She was
in San Diego attending the birth of little Charles “Joseph” and is in heaven!

PE/MUSIC:
The body movement focus in March was on balance and body control. In both music
and PE the children played games and danced to directives. The students followed
directions in songs and practiced moving a ball around their body. They also read and
followed rhythms with sticks and body movements.

In April, our main goal will be to practice throwing objects in an intended direction in
different ways such as under hand and over hand. We will be isolating body
movements in both PE and music while playing games, acting out stories and dancing
to music. We will also be working on tumbling and rolling forwards, backwards and
sideways.

Earth Day: We will celebrate Earth Day on April 23rd. The children will learn about
conserving water and discovering ways that will help reduce the amount of water we
use. We will also read the story, Tiddilick the Thirsty Frog. As a school project, we will
be planting flowers and produce in recycled tires. If you have any automobile tires
without the rims that you would like to get rid of, please let us know.

Camp Registration: Summer Camp 2012 registration has begun. Reserve your
child’s spot today.

2012-2013 Enrollment
Enrollment for the 2012-2013 school year is now open to the public. If you have
not returned the Intent to Enroll form for your child, please do so as soon as
possible to save your child’s spot for next year.
Dates to Remember:
April 5: Field Trip to Solos Airplane Restaurant 10:30 AM-approximately 1:00 PM
April 10: Fire Truck Visit (We will try again! The snow on the 3rd changed these
plans)
April 23: Earth Day Celebrated at DT
April 26: ½ Day: Noon Dismissal for Professional Development for Teachers
April 27: No School for professional development for Teachers
May 1: Student Enrollment Contracts due for 2012-2013 School Year
May 25: Last Day of School Noon Dismissal and Annual Luau for all!
June 1: Deposits due for the 2012-2013 School Year

Sincerely,
Jen and Peggy

March 2012

I never teach my pupils; I only attempt to provide the conditions in which they can
learn. – Albert Einstein

Dear Parents, March 2012

February was a very busy month. We finished the author study with a week each of Eric Carle and
Audrey Wood. We then went into the Visual Arts Theme. The children were busy preparing for the
Art Show that was held Thursday March 1st. They learned a lot about different types of art, various
artists and were able to explore with an assortment of techniques. As the literary arts and the visual
arts come to a close, we will head into science, science and more science with three weeks of Simple
Machines and then two of Aviation. Fun, fun, fun.

Language Arts: In the last month the children have been provided opportunities to enhance their
reading, writing and listening skills. We have read books by Eric Carle and Audrey Wood and we
have studied many biographies of famous artists such as Georgia O’Keeffe, Jackson Pollock, Claude
Monet, Michelangelo, Piet Mondrian and Picasso. The students had several writing assignments that
helped them finish statements like “I am as _______ as a _________” and “King/Queen ________ us
in the bathtub and won’t get out because __________.” They also sequenced the events in the book
The Napping House as they acted out the story. Then they wrote an ending to the book that included
what the characters did next. The writing center has offered many different writing experiences as
well. The children made crowns and wrote and drew on different textured paper. During the Visual
Arts, the children were challenged to come up with titles for their art creations just like the artists we
learned about.

The children worked on the handwriting and alliteration for the letters Ss, Uu, Pp and Bb and listened
for the rhymes for –art, -ay, -ou and –ush.

In March, the students will be creating new inventions and sharing their ideas. They will also listen to
the story, Oh, the Places You Will Go then write where each of them want to go and how he or she
will get there. We will also emphasize the letters Nn, Mm and Hh and the rhymes for –oo and –een.

Math/Science: The Literature and Art themes offered many integrated math and science activities.
We were able to add and subtract pigs and predict the how far a pig could fly after reading Audrey
Woods’ Piggies. We used Eric Carles’ The Very Grouchy Ladybug to complete math sentences and
his story Mr. Seahorse to learn about camouflage and to sort animals by different characteristics.
During the Art Unit, we used color as a basis for science. We mixed colors and did an experiment
that showed us how secondary colors separate into primary colors.

March will be filled with science and math. We will be learning about Simple Machines, particularly
wheels and axles, inclined planes, screws, wedges, levers and gears. Among so many other
activities, we will be taking apart an electric pencil sharpener, making a class pulley, raising a car with
a jack and participating in a friction experiment that will involve different materials and a slide!

PE/MUSIC: As always, we have been very physical in the month of February. In both PE and Music
we have incorporated the works of the authors and artists to focus on large locomotor movements.
The students were able to dance to Animal Action, Jump Jim Joe and play Monkey See, Monkey Do.
After reading Mr. Seahorse the children played Underwater Squeegee Hunt where they acted out
movements of ocean animals. In addition, the art unit supported large and fine motor control while
painting with large paintbrushes and using q-tips ala Monet-style.

We will be focusing on balance and body control in March. The children will dance and move to
directive music and use items, such as balls, with control.

Ceiling Tiles: When Discovery Trails does the Visual Arts Unit, the children have the opportunity to
do some of the art on ceiling tiles. We have four new tiles for this class. The children made two
Jackson Pollock tiles, one Monet tile and one Mondrian tile. Please take the time to “look up!”.

Sock it to ‘em! Success!!

Between February 3rd – February 17th we collected socks for the Springs’ Rescue
Mission. We were able to collect 166 pairs of socks. Thank you all for your help!

Camp Registration: Summer Camp 2012 registration has begun.
Reserve your child’s spot today.

2012-2013 Enrollment
Enrollment for the 2012-2013 school year is now open to the public.
If you have not returned the Intent to Enroll form for your child,
please do so as soon as possible to save your child’s spot for next
year.
Dates to Remember:
March 13th: Open House 5-7PM for new students for the 2012-2013 school year.
Refer someone to the Open House and receive 20% off Summer Camp Tuition!
March 20 OR 22: Fire Truck Visit
March 21: Field Trip to Fire Station #9
March 26-30: Spring Break-No School
April 5: Field Trip to Solo’s Restaurant

Open House for New Prospective Students
Tuesday, March 13, 2012
5-7 PM

Children will enjoy We’re Going on a Bear Hunt! activities while
parents learn about the best, high-quality preschool program
in Colorado Springs.

Sincerely,
Jen and Peggy

Refer a friend for the
Open House and receive
20% off of our Summer
Camp Program!
 

February News

“Treat people as if they were what they ought to be and you help them become what
they are capable of becoming.” – Goethe

Dear Parents, February 2012

2012 is off to a great start. The students came back from Winter Break enthusiastic to learn and the
teachers came back eager to teach. It is an illustrious combination!

In January, we finished our Arctic Theme that encouraged children to learn about life at the North
Pole. The students studied polar bears and created a book that compared their lives to a polar bear
called, Polar Bears and Me. While learning about the magnetic North Pole, the kids discovered how
a compass works and participated in an orienteering activity outside. They also created a picture in
which the animal they were presented with needed to be camouflaged as we learned about this
important survival technique.

We also began our Author Study in January. So far, the children have discovered and rediscovered
the works of Laura Numeroff, Kevin Henkes and Eric Carle. This theme has brought many
opportunities for children to write, enjoy math and participate in science as we integrated the subjects.
Using literature has helped children discover a common frame of reference in which to base the
activities upon. Children relate to the subject and build schemes from known and newly acquired
knowledge.

February will bring the last weeks of our Author Study with Eric Carle and Audrey Wood. We will then
head into the theme of Visual Arts in which students will learn about different artists around the world.
Please look for new ceiling tiles!!

Language Arts: The Author Study has provided us with many opportunities to use literature as a
basis for writing activities. The children created progressive puppet stories with sock puppets
inspired by Laura Numeroff’s If You Give a Moose a Muffin. They practiced asking questions, instead
of producing statements, when they wrote a letter to Ms. Numeroff asking her anything form “what is
your favorite color?” to “Does your mom like you?” Kevin Henkes’ books Little White Rabbit and
Jessica helped children use their imaginations while journaling “I wonder what it would be like to be
_____” and creating an imaginary friend.

In handwriting and alliteration, the children practiced writing the letter, Gg, Jj, and Qq and listened for
the sounds for –e, -ice and –ay. This month we will focus on the letters Uu, Ss, Pp and Rr and the
sounds –art, -ou and –ush.

Math/Science: January lent itself to many scientific acquisition and experiences. The children
learned about wildlife in the Arctic and what is needed to sustain life. With this, we discussed why we
do not live there…no electricity, no roads, no houses, no Costco…With Laura Numeroff’s circle
stories, we discovered cause and effect and did an experiment about prediction when we poked
pencils into a bag of water. Also to support cause and effect, we used liquid colors to mix and predict
color outcomes in the science center.

For math, the children have worked with varying degrees of counting, number recognition, addition
and subtraction. Two particular activities, Muffins on a Plate and Ladybug Math correlated with books
such as If You Give a Moose a Muffin and The Very Grouchy Ladybug that allowed students to
challenge their math skills.

In February, our math and science will be again integrated into theme. Children will be seriating
objects from smallest to largest, thinnest to fattest and from smaller to larger number values. They
will also be sorting objects by secondary characteristics as they sort items from the room and children
in class. Scientifically, the children will discover what happens to a paper straw wrapper when it gets
wet and why things sink and float.

PE/MUSIC: Healthy children are active children and boy are our children active! The children have
enjoyed outdoor activities such as Polar Bear Tag to support the Arctic Theme and Square Dancing
to go along with Laura Nueroff’s Chimps Don’t Wear Glasses. They have been enjoying a parachute
game that encourages isolating upper body movements called Cat and Mouse. Since Kevin Henkes
often uses mice in his stories, the children have played a form of Three Blind Mice in music as
students without tails try to steal the tails of the students who do have one. Music is a favorite time of
day and The Bean Bag Boogie and Going on a Squeegee Hunt were two favorites this month.

Coming up in February the children will enjoy activities that promote movement in PE with Animal
Action and Jump Jim Joe and storytelling through music with Peter and the Wolf.

Social Learning Model: Discovery Trails encourages children to learn to live in a community with
both give and take. Part of this model encourages children to listen to others and take into
consideration others’ needs and feelings. Because of this idea, we do many activities that will
encourage working together. In January, the students participated in games such as cooperative
building in which four students worked together to build ONE tower and they also played Monkey
See, Monkey Do in which they had to observe another student and copy his or her movements.

Spanish: In Ms. Houston’s Spanish class the children have had the pleasure of hearing books from
our author study in Spanish! They have been reading Laura Numeroff, Kevin Henkes and so many
others. They have learned to say pequeno (small) and grande (large) and used different hat sizes to
demonstrate. The students have also been practicing reciting the ABC’s in Spanish and numbers up
to 20. Greetings, such as Buenos Diaz, Buenas Tardes and Buenas Noches, have also been
reviewed.

Art/Drama: In art and drama, Mrs. Ruth refined and presented the The Three Tales of Three on
January 13th. The children had a great time and I am sure we can all agree how wonderful each and
every actor/actress performed. In art, the children have been learning different techniques such as
mixing warm colors and making watercolor shapes. The students have also created their own flowers
using the methods of Georgia O’Keeffe and Vincent Van Gogh. To support these ideas, Mrs. Ruth
has shared integrated literature with Katie and the Sunflowers and My Name is Georgia.

Sock it to ‘em!

Between February 3rd – February 17th we will be collecting new socks for donation. If
you would like to help, please bring the new socks in and place them into our
collections box that we will have available. The children will be learning about helping
others and how valuable their assistance can be.

Dates to Remember:
February 3-17: Sock Drive Please help the homeless by bringing in new socks
for any age and gender.
February 14th: Valentine’s Day and correlating activities
February 20th: President’s Day, NO SCHOOL
February 21st: Grading Day, NO STUDENTS
February: Intent to enroll for 2012-2013 Begins
March 1st: Summer Camp Registration Begins
March 13th: Open House 5-7PM for new students for the 2012-2013 school year.
Refer someone to the Open House and receive 20% off Summer Camp Tuition!

Bicycle Day Success!!
In support of Kevin Henkes’ story Chester’s Way we had our first bicycle day here at Discovery Trails.
Children brought their bikes and helmets and had a blast racing, cruising and Sunday driving on the
playground. Thank you all so much for the support for this event. The children were overwhelmed
with excitement (and we were just a little bit too!)!

Intent to Enroll: Intent to enroll forms for the 2012-2013 school year will be going home shortly.
Please be sure to fill out a form as soon as possible so that we can see how many open spaces we
have available for new students next year. We understand many students are heading off to
Kindergarten or 1st Grade next year. We are sending them home anyway with the idea there may be
a younger sibling or a friend that may be interested.

Report Cards: Trimester Two Report Cards will be available for pick up on February 22nd. We are
not holding formal conferences this time but if you would like to arrange one, please let us know. We
will also be calling some as well and we will let you know.

Open House
Tuesday, March 13, 2012
5-7 PM
Children will enjoy We’re Going on a Bear Hunt! activities while
parents learn about the best, high-quality preschool program
in Colorado Springs.
 
Have a wonderful February and please let us know if you have any questions or need anything
at all.

Sincerely,
Jen and Peggy

 

January 2012 News

I hear and I forget. I see and I remember. I do and I understand.
~ Chinese proverb

Dear Parents, January 2012

Welcome to 2012! Is it a bad thing that some of us still think it is 1992? Yikes! It always seems that the children grow so much after returning from Winter Break. We have too, just not in the same way!

2012 will be full of the excitement of learning, the joy of discovery and the hope of warmer days.

December was a busy and enjoyable month. In it’s few short weeks, we finished our Math and Numbers Theme, participated in Holidays Around the World and began our Snow and Arctic Unit.

Our Math and Number Theme took the kids in many directions in the relationship between literature and math. The children were exposed to counting, adding, subtracting, creating equal sets, patterning, graphing, estimating and skip counting. After enjoying the book Quiet Night, the children counted animals and created a class book. While reading the book Splash, the children worked on number sentences and followed math symbols to add and subtract what fell into the pond. The children estimated the number of objects and the lengths of items after reading such stories as Who Sank the Boat. Graphing and sorting were emphasized using Skittles and M&M’s and the M&M Counting Books. The book Pairs of Socks opened the door to counting by 2’s to find out how many feet were in the classroom. Creating equal sets was another skill that was practiced. The children listened to the story, The Doorbell Rang. In this story, “mom” made a dozen cookies to be shared between her two children. Every time the doorbell rang, more children came in and the twelve cookies had to be divided again and again so that each child had the same amount of cookies.

During the Holidays Around the World, the students were exposed to several traditions and customs of their classmates and others they may meet. We learned about Kwanzaa, Norwegian Christmas, Hanukkah, Las Posadas and Diwali.
We were honored to have the following parents join us with their expertise:
Sonja Braun-Sand: baked Krumkake with the students
Dayna Kohn and Shimon Kohn: discussed Hanukkah, shared Latkes and played dreidel with the children
Renju Peroor-educated all of us about India and the celebration of Diwali

Just before the Winter Break, we began the study of Snow and the Arctic. With this theme we will learn about the North Pole, ice, snow and Polar Bears. It is with this theme that we have introduced the scientific method of asking questions, observing for change, making predictions (hypothesizing), drawing conclusions and discussing the results. The children observed ice melting and what will melt snow the fastest using this system of inquiry-based education.

Language Arts: In December, our handwriting emphasis changed to practicing writing the numbers 0-9. Our sounds revolved around –at and
–ix and the children wrote a class book based on Quiet Night. Journaling was also highlighted last month as the children wrote/drew their favorite holiday, a pair of “something,” and a certain number of objects.

In January we will be moving from the Arctic and Snow theme to our Author Study. After we write our own Polar Bear Comparison Book, we will investigate the works of Laura Numeroff, Kevin Henkes, Eric Carle and Audrey Wood. During this time we will be creating our own books, writing a question to Ms. Numeroff, creating a 3-stage story with a beginning, middle and end, authoring “If you give a ____ a _____,” writing Gg, Jj and Qq and listening for the sounds of –ee and –ight.

Math/Science: As mentioned, the month of December was full of math. The children learned that math is a way to appraise numbers, evaluate measurements, review comparisons and assess groups.

In January, the children will continue advancing their individual math skills to include estimating the number of chocolate chips in a cookie, counting muffins on a plate, deciding the outcome of cause and effect and finding sums in addition sentences.

For science, the children enjoyed observing ice and snow and they will write a book comparing themselves to Polar Bears. We will also be learning about the magnetic poles and how a compass works. With this, we will do some orienteering outside. The children will concentrate on the role of camouflaging for survival and dissect owl pellets to discover what owls eat. They will also enjoy “invisible writing” and play a game based on whether or not a Polar Bear would eat them.

P.E.: For physical education the children enjoyed games that reinforced large motor skills. The played a relay race as penguins, thew snowballs and “ice skated.” In January, we will work on upper body strength while playing games with the parachute, wiggling through obstacles and playing basketball.

Music: In December the children practiced singing songs for the parent program on December 20th. This month, the children will be working on crossing the midline. Midline crossing helps children to develop bilateral coordination skills. This is important for brain development as it creates pathways between the hemispheres of the brain and for skills that require a dominant hand and a helping hand such as cutting. Crossing the midline also helps with core stability and trunk rotation.

The Three Tales of Three

On January 13th, the children will be presenting The Three Tales of Three. All students who attend Discovery Trails are involved. The children that attend school on Fridays, may stay at school for the 4 o’clock performance. Those who do not, should be at school at 3:30 to get ready. The children have worked very hard on this play and are delighted to show you what they have learned. Please remember that the room will be very crowded and to shower and smell good for that day! Please be seated and quiet so that the children can begin right at four.

A cast party of snacks and drinks will follow the performance.

Dates to Remember:
January 11: Challenger Space Program Visit-9-10AM
January 13: The Three Tales of Three 4 PM
January 16: Martin Luther King Day-No School

On behalf of Ms. Baker and Mrs. Priest, we wish you all a safe, healthy, wonderful New Year.

Sincerely,
Jen Baker and Peggy Priest

Discovery Trails Newsletter December, 2011

Dear Parents,

December 2011 News

Welcome to December! The children have stayed happy and busy as we engulf ourselves in an erratic school schedule due to the holidays. As a word of warning, many children have difficulty coming back to school in January after a long break. Holidays are fun, but they can be very stressful for children. Sometimes families have company for prolonged periods of time, travel to other parts of the country or world and daily routines are thrown out the window. After being home with parents, children may also show concern about what the parent will do without them when they return to school. To help your child with the “January blues,” get back into pre- holiday routine as soon as possible. Allow yourself, and your child, to relax and recover before school begins again January 4th and stay consistent. Before school resumes, remind your child how you want them to be in school and how much fun you know they have at Discovery Trails. Help them by talking about the teachers and his or her friends the child will see and be excited to let them go to school once again. If your child still has trouble re-adjusting to school after a few weeks, please let us know. We will work with you to help your child feel safe and secure at school just as before the holidays.

The month of November was very exciting. The students began the month learning about breads. The Bread Unit allowed us to do many science experiments, read correlating books and taste different types of bread. After this theme, we went on to First Americans. The students discovered the past and present lives of Native Americans, learned about diverse tribes and realized the importance of the horse to Native Americans. During this unit, we took a trip to the Manitou Cliff Dwellings where the children made clay pots, traveled through the pueblo and admired real Native American tools and jewelry. We ended the month with a Thanksgiving Feast for the children and their families. Despite packing the rooms with some 55-60 people like sardines, the food and company made up for any inconvenience. It was a hectic ending to a very busy month.

Language Arts: In November our language building emphasis was on the letters Ii, Ee, Ff, and Cc and the sounds –ay, -and and –op. The children enjoyed creating a cooperative class story using Native American symbols. The story went like this:

Once upon a time there was a Native American child. He shot a bow and arrow. He saw a beautiful girl. A fish saw corn. The girl and the boy shot a bear. Thefish swam away. The boy and the girl got tired and went to the tipi. The big bear and the little bear woke them up. The big bear tried to eat them. They shot him with a bow and arrow. The bear died.

In December, we will be taking a slight break form “Letters of the Week” as our focus will be on numbers. We will be writing numbers instead of letters, but we will continue rhyming sounds of –op, -oo and –at.

Math: For math in November, graphs and games were integrated into the curriculum. The children graphed and discussed more, less, zero and equal as they decided which bread they liked best. They also participated in a balance graph answering “yes” or “no” to whether or not they liked the buffalo meat they tried. They then decided which answer had more by viewing the balance and which side was lower. We conversed about how this kind of graph can give us “some” information but not all such as “how many,” “how many more?” and “how many less?” Some of the children enjoyed a game that introduces smaller and bigger numbers. The children rolled a dice and whoever had the biggest number, got a jewel. They continued to play until the jewels were gone. The children then counted how many they had and determined who had more or less.

In December, we will have a two-week unit on Math and Numbers. We will learn how math is a way to measure and compare things and will live and sleep MATH!

Science: Science is such a “draw-in” for young children. Anything scienc-y amazes and astonishes children like magic. During the bread unit, yeast was our best friend! We enjoyed watching how yeast worked in dough and we observed how yeast, water and sugar created carbon dioxide in a ziplock@ bag. The student loved watching the bag enlarge and viewing the bubbles it was making inside.

In December, science will be emphasized in the Arctic and Snow Unit. We will observe ice, make sno-cones, understand the importance of blubber and learn about Polar Bears and their habitat.

Cooperative Learning: During the past month, the students have had many opportunities to learn with and from each other. The Native American symbol story was one activity, but we had several more. One game we played together with one goal was “Pass the Bagel.” The children were each given a chopstick. One child started passing the bagel. The bagel had to circle around to the end without anyone using how or her hands. In PE, the children played a game called Squirrel and Nuts. In this game, the kids each had a partner in which they had to hold hands. Each pair had a hula-hoop that was their “home.” “Nuts” (popsicle sticks) were placed around the classroom and each group had to pick them up and bring the back to their home together. On one particular day, the children learned about the Hopi tradition of making gifts for each other. The boys made a kachina doll for a girl and the girls made par fleches for the boys. It was amazing to see the thoughtfulness that went into each gift. Another activity was on Gingerbread Man Day. Individually, the children made their own gingerbread cookies to take home, but we all created one big gingerbread man for the class. When the students went outside to play, the gingerbread man ran away. He left clues around the classroom and as a group the children went on a mission to find him. Don’t worry, all ended well!

Preschoolers are at the perfect age to begin learning to cooperate. At this age, they begin to learn they are part of something bigger than themselves. The benefits of this are endless. A cooperative attitude will help kids develop strong friendships, succeed in school and contribute to society.

PE: InPE this past month,we were able to integrate a lot of Native American games into the curriculum. The children became engaged in a game called “Bowl and Pit.” They each had a bowl and threw peach pits in the air and tried to catch as many as they could. They also played a snake stick game that allowed them to use math skills as well. While learning about the importance of the horse, each child made their own stick horse and during PE we raced them around the playground. Who knew horses could not only run, but skip, scoot, walk backwards and jump!

In December we will be working on our throwing skills. The children will do some activities using scarves and balloons as well as participate in a “throwing obstacle course.”

Music: Again, the themes of November led to many music ideas. The children were able to participate in Native American dances and the Silly Squirrel Dance. The children also danced with yarn and scarves and played patterns in a “kitchen band.” The children really liked re- enacting the story The Bear Snored On creating roles for themselves and recalling the movements of the animals in the story.

Next month the musical emphasis will be on learning the songs and poems to present to the parents after the Winterskol Party on December 20th.

Holidays Around the World: During the week of December 12th, we will be celebrating holidays from cultures around the world. This year we will be celebrating Kwanzaa, Norway’s Gnome Nisse, Hanukkah, Los Posadas and Diwaldi. We are excited about having parents join us including Sonja Sand, Arjun Peroor, Shimon Kohn and Dayna Kohn.

Art/Drama: In Art we (Mrs. Ruth and the students) have been focusing on drawing skills and the elements of art. The students were using lines; curved horizontal and vertical and shapes; circles triangles and squares to draw turkeys for Thanksgiving. They also drew American Indian clay pots using symbols and watercolors.

Students acted out familiar stories to improve acting and performance skills. They love to square dance and sing songs for their performance of the The Three Tales of Three.

Spanish: Hola! We (Ms. Houston and the kids) have been working very hard this year on some of the basics. We started off the school year with numbers and colors and have moved on to farm animals, parts of the body, shapes and textures, weather and feelings. We had a lot of fun

exploring Dia de los Muertos, a holiday celebrated at the same time as Halloween and made our own pretend ‘Caldo’ (soup) while we celebrated Dia de la Accion de Gracias (Thanksgiving). Each week I try to reinforce numbers, colors, greetings, numbers, etc. with games, crafts and stories, in addition to our new lessons. We are working on our Abcedario coloring books this week, and will soon start on a clothing theme.

We are having a wonderful year so far! Feel free to email me if you have any questions or concerns.

Dates to Remember:

December 20th: Winterskol Party for children from 2:30-3:30-at 3:30. We will invite the parents in to listen to a short concert!

December 21-January 3: WINTER BREAK-NO SCHOOL

January 11: Challenger Space Program Visit 9-10AM

January 13: Mrs. Ruth Presents: The Three Tales of Three @ 4 PM (more information to come)

December Show and Tell:

December 2: Bring 10 of one thing

December 9: Bring 20 of one thing

December 16: Favorite Holiday Item

Sincerely, Jen and Peggy