January News 2016

December in Review

Wow, it seems so long ago that we had December! The children were very busy and the three weeks we were in school went by very
fast! The first two weeks the children were emerged in the Math and Numbers Theme. Although we do mathematics in some shape or form every day, this theme allowed us to submerge ourselves in arithmetic while using literature and songs. The children learned that math is about numbers and is a way to compare things. We emphasized number value by making groups of objects to see what 1 looked like, what 10 looked like and what 20 looked like. We compared how it takes fewer large objects to fill a space than it does for smaller objects. We looked at what zero means and played with negative space. We did addition activities while reading Counting Snails, subtraction activities with Splash! and played with division as we made equal sets while reading The Doorbell Rang. Using our feet, we practiced skip counting by two’s after enjoying the book Pairs of Socks. Numbers are fun. Numbers go on forever. Some said infinity was the biggest number. Some said googolplex was the largest number. Others felt 100 was the biggest number in the world. However, it was not until one little girl said 50 was the largest number when this 52- year-old classroom teacher terminated the discussion! We ended December with our wonderful Holidays Around the World Theme. Thank you so much to the families that shared their own traditions and beliefs. It was a very warm and inviting time.


PE: In Physical Education in December, the children worked on balance through play activities. They walked on balance beams, steadied themselves on a board with a fulcrum, walked between and outside of lines, followed obstacle courses and hopped on one foot. In January, the focus will be on crossing the midline. The midline is the imaginary line down the center of the body. This allows the two sides of the brain to ‘communicate’ with each other when performing a skill that requires them to work together. Crossing the midline helps children with everyday tasks such as writing and reading left to right, putting on socks and hitting a ball with a bat. The children will focus on this skill with games like “Miss Mary Mac,” hitting opposite knees to poems, playing Cross the Hand Drop and passing objects while switching hands. Soccer Buddies will continue to supplement our PE program and beginning in January will come every Wednesday. ~Ms. Baker

Music: The students have been learning about math in music during December. Not only have we done a lot of counting and songs with numbers, but we have also learned that songs can contain patterns in words and music. They enjoyed listening to and repeating patterns played on a drum. We had fun learning a song about animal comparisons and added sign language to it. Next month we will begin learning about elements in music such as: pitch, tone, and dynamics. ~Mrs. Draper

Sign Language: During the month of December, the students learned the signs for different types of weather. They did well signing sentences and songs using weather words. We had fun using those signs and others we know to sign the song, Frosty the Snowman. We also began learning about what opposites are and some of those signs. The students practiced counting to 20 with number signs and reviewed food signs as we played food bingo. Next month we will continue learning about opposites and talk about community helpers. ~Mrs. Draper

Art and Drama: Art students drew a picture that tells a story and added a few “behind-the -scenes” happenings in the sidebars. Using markers and watercolor wash, they illustrated their favorite story from a book or created an entirely new one. In Drama we played with story cards that sparked creativity and gave fresh ideas for acting and storytelling. Theater games, singing and dancing were incorporated and enjoyed as always. ~Mrs. Ruth


Looking Ahead to January-HAPPY NEW YEAR!

January Themes:  Arctic and Snow  and Begin  Authors Study (Eric Carle and Kevin Henkes)

   Language Arts:

  • Learning about authors and illustrators
  • Listening for word families for –ose, -ay, -ight,-ice
  • Handwriting and Alliteration of the letters Gg, Jj, Qq, Uu,
  •  Writing a polar bear comparison book
  •  Writing: “______ and the three _______.”
  • Sequencing the Snowy Day by Ezra Jack Keats
  •  Gathering information from non- fiction book

    Math, Science and Social Studies:

  • Expressing numbers and addition with Mitten math
  • Serrating snowmen
  • Problem Solving: “Where’s the


  • Using “money” to buy supplies for A House for Hermit Crab art project
  • Charting: “Are you as tall as a polar bear?” and “Have you thrown a snowball?”
  • Predicting what will melt the snow
  • Understanding how food source determines hibernating, migrating and adapting
  •  Observing ice and snow
  •  Studying polar bears
  •  Staying warm with blubber

December News 2015

November in Review:
The month of November was busy as usual as the children learned about First Americans and Breads. During the First Americans Unit, the students discovered the past and present lives of Native Americans. They learned about diverse tribes including the Hopi, the Pacific Northwest Indians and the Ojibwa. They learned the legends behind the rain stick and the dreamcatcher and how totem poles tell a story about families and tribes. The children whittled canoes out of soap, wove dreamcatchers, created totem poles, narrated an oral story using Native American symbols and learned a rain dance. To emphasize how First Americans had to catch their own food and make their own clothes, the children celebrated a Hopi tradition of making gifts for each other. The girls made par fleches for
November in Review
the boys (bags for carrying hunting tools) and the boys made kachina dolls for the girls. They offered each other their present as they gave their special person a Native American name. The children also enjoyed a field trip to the Manitou Cliff Dwelling where they toured the pueblos and made clay pots.
Our Bread Unit was cut short by one day because of a snow day, but we still enjoyed this delectable unit. The students learned how yeast makes bread rise and they participated in a bread tasting experiment and charted their favorite bread. One of the best days of the year was Gingerbread Man Day. We read the story of the Gingerbread Man and made gingerbread cookies. However, while we were at recess, our class gingerbread man ran away! Good thing he left clues around the
classroom so we could find him. We then enjoyed the poor guy for snack and decided we should eat his legs first so he couldn’t run away again. On the last day of the unit we read Seven Loaves of Bread and made rolls and bread sticks for the Family Feast. In December, we will focus on two units. The first is Math in Literature. We will be doing everything math. The literature will be a vehicle to keep the children’s interest as they will be sorting, comparing, adding, subtracting, counting, skip counting, patterning, making equal sets and doing a simplified version of division while reading the Doorbell Rang. We will finish up 2015 with our Holidays around the World Unit the week before Winter Break.

PE: In November, the children enjoyed physical activities that promoted jumping and hopping. The kids jumped like animals, hurdled over a “river,” leapt from low heights into hula hoops and bounded over a “candlestick” while playing Jack Be Nimble. During December, our physical education program will support the developmental skill of balance. Through play activities, the children will practice walking on, between and outside of lines and balancing on one foot. The students will also walk forwards and backwards on a 4X4 board as well as along pathways in a balance obstacle course.~Ms. Baker
Music: Students have done a great job learning about tempo this month. We have learned that songs can be sung: very slow (Lento) -like a worm, very fast (Presto)- like a lion, and 4 other tempos in
between. We enjoyed singing songs such as: The Wheels on the Bus, Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star, and The More We Get Together with different
tempos. One of our favorite songs with changing tempos is Our Train and doing it using our homemade Native American shaker rattles was especially fun. Using our knowledge of rhythm, beat, and tempo as we learned the song, We Are All Connected and then performing it was our grand finale experience for the month. Next month we will learn songs with numbers in them and talking about math in music.~Mrs. Draper
Sign Language: During the month of November, the students have been learning the signs for members of the family and making sentences. We practiced sentences like: “I am __ years old,” “My name is__,” and “My family eats___.” We also spent time learning the signs for a Native American children’s song called: We Are All Connected. It was fun signing something that used so many of the signs we have learned since August. Of course performing the song for family and friends was our favorite activity this month. Next month we will review manners and learn weather words. ~Mrs. Draper
Art and Drama: Storytelling was the emphasis in the month of November. Storytelling helps expand young children’s vocabulary as they build plots, climaxes, characterizations, conflicts and resolutions. While developing stories, the students have practiced memorization while engaging in imagination. As the children prepared for their presentation of The 3 Tales of Three, they took turns putting their own personality into the characters they portrayed. The students also made puppets and created their own stories as well as retold familiar stories. This allowed the children to rehearse speaking in front of an audience and develop the skills to be a good audience. ~Mrs. Ruth

Looking Ahead to December:
December Themes
Math in Literature and Holidays around the World

Language Arts:
 Following directions read from
 Creating Number Books
 Poems: Five Fat Peas, One-Two
Buckle My Shoe, I’m a Little
 Rhymes: -est, -icks, -at
 Oral Language: Share favorite
holiday decoration from home and groups of 10 and 20 for Show and Tell
 Illustrating Poems
 Class Book: Quiet Night
Math, Social Studies and Science:
 Comparative Words-more, less,
equal, bigger, smaller, taller,
shorter, heavier, lighter
 Patterns, equal sets, counting,
addition, subtraction, sorting, pairs,
skip counting by 2’s, 5’s and 10’s
 Crayon making, heat experiment
 Concept of Zero
 Exploration of Cultural Celebrations

November News 2015

In October, we finished up our Five Senses Theme with Sight. We learned about the anatomy of the eye and read books such as Lucy’s Picture and It Looked Like Spilt Milk to support our theme. The students discovered the idea of Braille as a tool for reading and they used glue to create their name in this format.

We then moved into the Growing Season Unit. In this unit we learned how seeds grow into plants. We learned about the parts of the plant and enjoyed tasting and
graphing our favorite parts: root (carrot), stem (celery), leaves (spinach), flower (broccoli), fruit (pepper) and seeds (green beans). We dissected plants from root to fruit and dissected seeds to observe the seed coat, the food and the baby plant. We learned that plants need four basic elements for survival: the seed, soil, water and sun. We also discovered how seeds travel to give each seed more space for growth. From this unit we moved into the theme of Apples. We took the knowledge we learned about plants and placed it into new context with apples. Apples start as seeds and they need soil, water and sun to grow. We learned the life cycle of the apple tree and discussed how the fruits we eat, are “suitcases for seeds.” Math was emphasized using apple themed literature such as Ten Apples Up on Top and Ten Red Apples. The children sequenced apples from 1-5 or 1-10, depending on ability, on a self-portraits to create their own “apples up on top.” We also used red, yellow and green apples for patterning and creating a chart of our favorite apple to eat. Lucky for us, we were able to incorporate apples into lots of cooking. We enjoyed making apple muffins and apple pie. Hmmmm, maybe the children did not quite understand this unit and we should do it again!

We ended the Apple unit learning about Johnny Appleseed. We studied about four of the major states he visited to plant seeds: Ohio, Indiana, Illinois and Pennsylvania. We used this knowledge to help us travel from state to state during the Johnny Appleseed Traveling Party. During the party the children created a beautiful apple tree mural, “bobbed” for apples with spoons, pinned the stem on the apple, laced Apple Jack necklaces, played apple bowling, threw bean bags through an apple tree and ate apples and drank apple cider for snack.

PE: During the month of October, we stressed eye-hand-foot coordination. The children enjoyed many activities that helped with this concept including tossing games, kicking a stationary ball and ball relays. In November, the emphasis will be on hopping and jumping. Activities like Jumping as Animals, the Jump Bump, Jack Be Nimble and Jumping Over the River will be enjoyed. As always, Soccer Buddies continues to support our physical education program once a week. ~Ms. Baker
Music: October has passed quickly. We have practiced listening and following directions in songs. Some of the songs included: “The Magic Seed”, “Can you do it?” “The Train Song” and an ‘apple version ‘ of the “ Hokey Pokey”. We have also been learning about the seasons with “It’s Fall Again” and “The Four Seasons” song. Our favorite direction song this month was the “Polka Dot Pants Dance.” Next month we will be learning about tempo and the ways it can change in songs.~Mrs. Draper
Sign Language: This month we have been learning signs for different foods, animals, and some plants. It was fun talking about our favorite foods in sign language. We also learned signs for “Way up high in the apple tree”, one of our rhymes for the month. It was interesting to watch a short video of a family communicating through sign language because they were deaf. Next month we will be learning family and manners signs while we continue reviewing food and animals.~Mrs. Draper
Art and Drama: Children have been making masks so that they can then “become ” the mask. They’ve created a wonderful story about a rocket ship and aliens! We have been singing songs like ” Ooooo, eeeee, oo, ah, ah , ting tang, walla, walla, bing, bang” and acting out the story. The children are also preparing for their presentation of 3 Tales of Three to be performed on November 20th.

Looking Ahead
Themes: First Americans and Breads

Language Arts:
• Writing Stories with Native American Symbols
• Identifying Fact VS Fiction
• Rhymes: -ay, -op, -ock
• Letters and Sounds: Cc, Ee, Ff
• Create Personal Horse Stories
• Oral Storytelling
• Sequencing The Little Red Hen

Math, Science and Social Science:
• Rock Hunting
• Boat Carving and Totem Poles
• Numbers 7, 8, 9
• Baking Beads
• Discovering the stories behind dreamcatchers and rain sticks
• Boys will make Kachina dolls for girls, girls will make par fleches for boys
• “Let It Rise” Experiment
• Bread Tasting and Charting
• From Wheat to Bread
• Bake bread, breadsticks and gingerbread cookies