February 2015 News

February 2015 News
Dear Parents,
Awwwe, February…the month of love. As Lucy Van Pelt from Peanuts said: “All I really need is love, but a little chocolate now and then doesn’t hurt…”
In February we will finish up our Author Study with Robert Munsch and David Wiesner. We have emphasized something unique and different about each author we have reviewed. With these two we will focus on humor and stories without words. The kids will have a fun week of different things during Munsch like Wacky Hair Day and Crazy Sock Day so please watch the February calendar for these special events.
Following the Author Study, we will go in to The Performing Arts. Children will learn about sound, presentation and dance. We will begin our study with a field trip to the Millibo Art Theater on February 18th. There the children will enjoy an actor’s workshop and watch some kind of performance. We will be able to go on stage and see first hand what it feels like to be on a real stage.
Report Cards: Second Trimester Report Cards will be available for pick up beginning February 18th. There are not formal conferences this time but if you would like to meet, we will have limited time set aside for Tuesday the 17th. We will also call for a couple of conferences to discuss the progress of some of our students. Please don’t forget, that we meet officially in April for children going off to Kindergarten next year, and at the end of the school year for children who are staying one more year.
Here are some highlights from January and a list of envisioned projects for February:
Language Arts
During January, our Language Program emphasized both writing and comprehension. The children enjoyed telling what happened next while reading The Snowman (Briggs) and Snowy Day (Keats) and about their goggles after listening to Goggles (Keats). They also wrote about their own favorite chair and what they like to do when it snows. Comprehension, the ability to understand and make connections between the written word and experiences, was highlighted this past month. The children listened to the book Frog and Toad and the Lost Button and eliminated buttons that were not Frog’s until they knew what Frog’s button looked like. They also sequenced the story The Hat by Jan Brett. The students learned to gain facts from non-fiction books especially about the penguin. The discussions grew to what was fact and what was fiction and how we know a book is fact or fiction.
Oral Language was also practiced with Show and Tell and during the award ceremony for our Pet Show as they presented their pet with a blue ribbon for a special characteristic.
Handwriting and literacy practice included Qq, Uu, Ss and Bb and we worked on the phonemes -an, -ow and –up last month.
In February, the Author Study will resume and writing and comprehension will be a continued focus. The children will write a wordless book, discuss how a person feels and why and act out The Three Little Pigs Blues. The students will also use comprehension to recall specific information about pictures and stories.
The letters we will emphasize in February will be a review of Qq,Uu,Ss,Bb, then learn Pp, Rr and Nn and we will listen for rhyming words that end with –ate, ink, and –ance.
To support the letter Rr, we will have Pirate Day (AAAArrrrgh!) on Thursday February 26th. Children are encouraged to dress as a pirate and we will read pirate books and find a buried treasure.
The Snow and Winter theme supported a lot of math and science in January. The children were able to experiment with snowball and ice observations. They participated in an ice crystal art project and learned the anatomy of the penguin. They were able to compare their height to that of the Emperor Penguin and we had fun adding the buttons to a snowman based on the given number or math sentence.
Coming up, the children will be learning about the basics of sound with lessons on vibration and ear anatomy. We will be busy with Math activities including patterning with characters from David Wiesner’s book Tuesday, estimating the number of frogs in a jar and adding warts for Wart Math. We will also observe both wet and dry sand and enjoy doing art with scented, colored sand.
Sign Language
In January we learned the signs for zoo animals and farm animals. We had “Guess Who” cards and board games to help us learn our signs. In February we are going to finish up animals by learning about nature, water and pets. In addition, we are going to make a memory game of animals. In honor of Valentine’s Day we will learn expressions and do valentine crafts using signs. ~Ms. Smith
During the last month we made a rainbow and artic creatures such as polar bears. To support the Antarctica theme we created two kinds of penguins. For the month of February we are going to build farm animals, circus animals and animals found in nature. ~ Ms. Smith
The students have been making line designs using oil pastels with water color wash. For these, the children used their language of art (colors, shapes and lines) and followed specific directions (draw a line from one edge of the paper to the other, draw a circle on the line) to create beautiful compositions. They have been drawing with pastels in a circle to make Mandalas that are represent the universe.
Students have been practicing their acting skills and theater terms to the story Bear Snores On by Karma Wilson and Jane Chapman. In February, we will be creating animal characters with costumes and face paint.
The students will be planning a Talent Show with a retelling of the story Bear Snores On at our annual performance on February 25th (more information below) complete with interpretive dance, lip syncing, air guitar or anything else the children feel comfortable performing in front of an audience. ~Mrs. Ruth
February Performance!!
Discovery Trails ELA and
Mrs. Diana Ruth Presents
Bear Snores On And Talent Show
Wednesday February 25th 4:00 PM
(Children who attend on Wednesday may just stay to get ready for the performance. Children who do not attend on Wednesdays may come at 3:30 to get ready!)
In January Ms. Freeland and the children concentrated on body parts and personal space using hula hoops. They also practiced throwing overhand, underhand, backwards, high, low and to a partner using Color Bombs. Balance and proprioception skills were experimented while walking on a balance beam, somersaulting on a mat (with guidance), dancing, twirling and taking turns leading movements with a rainbow stick. In addition, listening and moving skills were reinforced while playing a game called “Captain.” In this game, children moved to commands such as move like sea creatures, boats and items on a ship.
If the weather holds out in February, the students will enjoy outdoor workout stations such as cone relays, balance activities and tag games (elbow tag, partner tag, team tag). If not the children will be playing more cooperative games with partners and they will play with the parachute and participate in various ball games indoors. ~Ms. Freeland
In Music, the children have been introduced to Expressions in Music. Dynamics, pitch and tone have been used to “feel” the emotions in musical scores and the kids have played their rhythm sticks to
stories like Robert Munsch’s Mortimer to reflect characters and their feelings. The game The Talking Drum helped us to move to music to feel and see the tempo. To coincide with our Performing Arts Theme, the students will be learning about Instruments and Musical Stories in February. The Gruffalo, Peter and the Wolf and Carnival of the Animals will be a few of the musical tales we will be studying. The kids will enjoy making drums, shakers and masks to go with the stories.
Cooperation in our Classroom: The philosophy of education used at Discovery Trails is a mixture of several learning philosophies including constructivism and John Dewey’s theory of learning through experiences. We also use the cooperative model of learning helping children to work together with their peers to accomplish a shared goal. Research has shown that cooperative learning opportunities creates greater student achievement (Slavin, 1984). Children in preschool are moving away from the “all about me” phase into a phase that includes social acceptance, knowledge and understanding.
Here at Discovery Trails we do a lot of activities to promote cooperation. We feel these activities help children:
• To trust others
• To learn how to praise and encourage one another
• Be accountable for their actions
• To gain needed social skills to be successful in life
• To practice the process of mediation, negotiation and problem solving
On Wednesday January 28th, we read the story Peter’s Chair by Ezra Jack Keats. This story was about a little boy who had a brand new baby sister. He saw that his baby sister was getting all of his old things like the cradle, high chair and crib and he was feeling jealous. As an integrated activity the children played a form of Musical Chairs. When the music stopped, all children had to find a place to sit even though each time a chair was removed. No one got out. They had to make it work. Before long, we had one chair and thirteen children sitting on it or touching it in some way. They worked together. They learned how to cooperate and in the mean time, they laughed and giggled at the idea of all of them sharing one chair!
Valentine’s Day Party February 13, 2015 2:30-3:30
Our Valentine’s Day Party will be Friday, February 13th from 2:30-3:30. All children are invited to come. We are changing up this day a bit to better meet the needs of our current students. Students will not have to bring Valentine’s this year. Instead, each child will make one for another child in the

class. Children will pick a name out of bowl and make a Valentine just for that child. The children will also list what they like best about their classmate. We will then make a Classroom Heart Caterpillar depicting each Valentine. We will also play “minute to win it” games, have a special snack and other academic-type activities throughout the day. We would like no more than two adults to help us with the party. If you are interested please let us know.
If you want your child to hand out treats and/or Valentine’s that is fine. We just ask that parents help their student place them in the drawers.
Dates to Remember
February 3: Wear Purple, Green and/or Yellow
February 5: Wacky Hair Day
February 6: Crazy Sock Day
February 13: Valentine’s Day Party 2:30-3:30 All students are invited!
February 18: Field Trip to MAT
February 16: President’s Day NO SCHOOL
February 17: Grading Day NO STUDENTS
February 26: Pirate Day-Children may dress up if they choose, no weapons please February 28: February Performance 4:00 PM