Monday, March 31, 2014

Capilano had a farm

In our classroom this month we have been singing, acting and playing with pets, both house pets and farm pets.The children had a few favorite games such as doggy doggy and duck duck goose and have enjoyed songs, including How much is that puppy in the window, Old Mac Donald and Down on Grandpa's farm.

I wanted children to understand that owning a pet is costly for families. So many families purchase pets but have a tough time when things change in the home and they need to still buy food, and the animals basic needs.I offered a challenge to the children to help them understand the power of money. I encouraged the children to make money, and then donate it to the Edmonton Humane Society. 
How do children make money? Often parents hand it over, and tell them what to do with it. We teach them this at the grocery store or toy store. At the till we pay the nice lady or man before they hand us the bag and tell us how cute we are. The thing about money, and most important key concepts of our society is that the best way to teach someone how to be responsible is to teach them young, and make it into a social norm. The children were told to make money, but of course I told the parents first to give the children ways to make the money. When I was a child I loved making drawings and then selling them to friends and family. Often I was offered a shiny dime. Other ways the children told me how to make money was cleaning family members rooms, doing their own family choirs, or finding it in common areas like the laundry room or couches.

Once the children made the money, parents helped inspire them to bring it into the classroom and put it into our donation jar. Once the children donated it we began exploring the money. What it looks like, the size differences and the details.



Money rubbing into our journals

Bubble wrap is so much fun! Did you know fish make bubbles under water?!

Making painting with cat toys.

Offering the children materials for their dramatic play supports the questions and rules children use to care for pets. They help organize the same and different needs as we do such as food, water and love.

Capilano Playschool Humane Society

Feeding the puppy treats was a great fine motor experience. The children were given the classroom tweezers to pick up the dog treats and put them into the puppies mouth. Some children had a really hard time manipulating the tweezers, so instead I asked them to only use their "L" fingers (first/pointer finger and thumb). The small pinch the two fingers create when grasping the dog bone becomes the same fingers and grasps the children will need to hold a pencil. Of course they will still need to add the middle finger eventually, but this is a successful start as well as a wonderful strength exercise for when they're ready.

Class Acting - Old Mac Donald
The children enjoy public speaking for the class in the form of acting out songs with puppets. Each child was given a farm animal character, and one by one as we sang the song the children acted out their puppets.

We used farm animals to play with prepositions. Each child was able to have a turn to move an animal around the cup. I also tried to work in opposite concepts with directions. If one child put the horse under the cup, the next child was asked to do the opposite with the bull, which of course is "over" or "on top."

June is a VERY busy month for families as the school year ends. To help support our busy families we organize a special "Daddies Donuts" event. Our daddies, and the special men (and women) were welcomed into the classroom to play parachute games with us, eat sweet treats, enjoy coffee, see what our children are up too in the classroom and meet the other parents.

Children LOVE to paint with their hands. Often, when the children are asked to use painting materials before they leave the table they have touched the paint. I put out an open invitation for the children to use the primary colours to paint with their hands.

They had fun painting on the mirror in the classroom.

On March 17th and 18th we had some sneaky visitors - Leprechauns!

We knew it was them because they left glitter on everything they touched, as well as a scavenger hunt.
They started with an invitation to use rhyming words to find a treasure. The children helped me rhyme drink with sink, and hand with sand, until we found the gift they left us!

Toys, a book and a RAINBOW! (I think they had a hard time finding nut free dollar coins).

We used our fingers to paint, and then the children told me why they were lucky, so I could write it on their picture.

Some children had a hard time with the concept of being "Lucky."  Children are exceptionally lucky since their parents make sure to give them the love the need, the toys they enjoy and the activities they can't wait to do. To me being lucky is when we are given "things" that we don't necessarily ask for or sometimes even work for. I work hard for my house, I am just so lucky that it is a place where I find comfort and love. I was born into a family, but I am lucky that they value me, and ensure my happiness is a priority. The most simple way to explain it to the children was to ask them what they what makes them happy. Happy is still a pretty basic emotion. Once we add complexity to it we get ecstatic, and over joyed. The backbone of those feelings are happy. My playschool children make me happy, and I am lucky that they are so good to me.

The invitation to snack has been a well received activity in the classroom. This one really helped children try new "green" vegetables.  One child started with "I don't like cucumbers" but had ate them all before snack was over because two other peers were eating theirs. It was also so neat to see parents get creative with the idea of a "green snack."

Playing with green sparkly play dough.

In gym we played croquet!

We watched puppies do agility training and run obstacle courses in class on our ipad, so we wanted to do our own!

Ms Asha

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Where I'm from

One of our favorite topics in our class is family. We love our family so much, and can talk a lot about them no matter what our family looks like or how old we are. With the Olympics this year, it gave us a chance to talk about where our families are from, and our culture.

Culture is defined as a particular form or stage of civilization as that of a certain nation or period, which can be the misleading definition when talking about a families culture . For many, culture is the behaviors and beliefs characteristic of a particular person ( We had a "Culture Day" in class for all of the children to bring in various items that reflect their culture. A persons culture is a complex compound of who they are and where they came from. For some that is their nationality. We saw some neat flags and costumes, and ate some yummy treats. Other children shared stories of their families with us, such as how one child's great grandfather was one of the first people to bring coloured photography to Alberta! Culture is something you create with passion and time. A mentor teacher of mine was adopted, and wanted to share how even though her family was not of blood, they still shared a culture based on their traditions. 

We really enjoyed the Olympics in the classroom!

Cutting strips of paper to make Olympic chains

Making circles from found recycled materials

Playing hockey under our classroom table
We flipped over one of our classroom tables to create a skating rink in our class! The children used Popsicle sticks cut up as hockey sticks and a black button as a puck. It is nice to make toys from recycled items and items in the classroom.

Watching the Canadian Mens hockey team play live

To support the children understanding of where we are, I offered them tin cans with photos of them.
The small one had our schools picture on it, which is IN Edmonton, which was a larger can with the photo of Edmonton on it. Edmonton is IN Alberta, which we would put the other smaller cans inside of a can with Alberta on it. Lastly we had a large can with the photo of Canada on it.

The children had access to play with the cans after, to experience the order.

We also spent time talking about what our houses looked like, where we live. In our journal the children would either trace found shapes in the classroom (toys, recycled materials, etc) and would then add details.

In circle we used math to create a tally chart of what kind of house we lived in. We found out the children all lived in various types of houses. The children loved finding out that they lived in the same kind of house of some of their peers and that some of their friends had different looking houses.

Green - T/TR class
Orange - M/W/F am class
Red - M/W/F pm class

It was really exciting to use "concrete" (shaving cream) to build houses. Some children created their own houses, and some made replicas of photos of houses.

During our enjoyment of building and creating, we built large tracks from marble works.

And from duplo.

Enjoying the weaving basket.

Ms Asha