Children's House November 2011

“Every blade of grass is a study” - Abraham Lincoln With the dramatic display of colors and the whimsical dances in the air, the leaves took the main role in the nature’s show for October.

Science

We looked at parts of a tree, a leaf, talked about why leaves change colors, identified oaks, maples, sassafras, dogwood, and birch. We measured the circumference of the red oak on the playground in wide stretched hugs (three old children, or four young ones, or two grownups). We discussed some of the practical uses of tree products: Fruit, medicine, industrial, environmental. Trees in different hypostasis: Yoga, Mosaic, Fractals.

We learned about mammals, what are their distinctive characteristics, and some odd representatives. We compared the body parts of rabbits with those of bats. We analyzed the differences in the habitats of these two mammals.

In the last week October we invited bats, spiders and owls to our science lessons and learned where and how they live, what do they eat, and discussed why they seem scary to some people.

Math

Counting, comparing quantities and sizes, and estimating exercises are used in games at circle time.

Individual lessons are presented according to the child interest and ability, starting with sandpaper numbers, spindle boxes, number rods and cards and counters. Various materials from the science themes are used as extensions for math lessons. E.g. we had acorns for counters, leaves for sorting exercises, and to approximate geometric shapes.

Cultural

With Columbus Day we took a look at the globe to locate Europe, Asia and the Americas. Throughout the year we will take a trip around the Earth, spending a month on each continent. We started with North America and will still be here in November, with the Native Americans. Then, we will move to South America, Africa, Europe, Asia, Australia, and Antarctica.

Mrs. Parna talked about Divaly, the celebration of light, enchanting us with traditional music and dance.

The international snack is another opportunity to learn about other cultures. So far we had a taste of Italian, Indian, German, Romanian and Chinese.

Art and Crafts

Rubbing textures of wood and leaves, leaf prints, collages, modeling and painting Diyas

Music

Rhythm patterns, high and low pitch, Vivaldi, Beethoven; Songs: Nocturnal Animals, Skeleton Dance.

Books

Shell Silverstein helped us with his story “The Giving Tree” in our science lessons and into thinking about relationships with others, giving and taking, carrying and being selfish.

We will continue discussions on these topics following “The Quiltmaker’s Gift”, a beautiful story by Jeff Brumbeau.

In November we will focus on:

  • Native Americans,
  • Evergreen trees
  • Animals in winter (birds and mammals).
  • Thanksgiving

Reminders

  • Send in a labeled seasonal change of clothing for your children (long pants, warm sweatshirt undies & socks).
  • Check for “user friendly” fastening devices (buttons, laces, zippers, belts). If your child can not handle them at home they can’t manage them at school either so send in a different choice.
  • At school the children practice to turn the sleeves the right side-up, to fold a sweater, to put on mitten and gloves, to button and zip. The flip-over style to put on a jacket is fun and easy to learn: the child lays the coat on the floor with the hood/collar toward him/herself, put the hands in the sleeves, lifts the coat over the head, and slips the arms into the sleeves as the coat covers his/her back. Just ask the children to show you, and take the time to allow them to be independent instead of rushing to assist them.
  • When the ground is covered with snow send your children dressed in snow gear on Monday, Wednesday, Friday and have the snow gear in a bag on Tuesday and Thursday (those two days we start inside, but the children will need the snow suits later in the day).
  • Footwear should be comfortable and warm, even if there is no snow on the ground.
  • Last, but not least, remember to have your children use the bathroom before you bring them to school.

Thank you

  • For taking your time to meet with us during Parent Conferences.
  • To all parents who took the time to pick leaves with your children and send them to school for sharing.
  • To all the Friday snack parents for international day
  • To all who send in Box Top and Campbell Soup Labels.
  • To all who order Scholastic Books.
  • Thanks also for the Small Hands order (they should be arriving soon)

Mark your Calendar

  • Language Art Parents’ Informative Night
  • Kindergarten parents are invited for a Thanksgiving celebration on Monday, Nov. 21st, 6-7 p.m.

Kindergarten Notes

The Kindergarteners feel comfortable working with materials in all areas. The most visible acceleration is in language arts. Keep reading to you children at home daily. We will continue with word games, enriching vocabulary and expanding conversational skills. Selected stories are followed by discussions about the plot, characters, messages, and we look for parallels in our real life experiences. You can have the same discussions at home. Keep building your child’s language, vocabulary, concept and conversational skills.

One of the favorite lessons this past month was building antonyms using prefixes (un-, dis-, non-).

Another one was building fractals with bead bars, and seeing fractals in pictures of ferns, trees, corals, snowflakes, and crystals.

In November the children will work on projects for the Thanksgiving celebration (Monday 21st, 6-7 p.m.).

We will discuss about what it means to them to be thankful. We will be putting out our “Basket of Hope” as we do each year and have the children bring in canned and dry goods for those in need. We gently explain what we have to be thankful for and also that helping other in their time of need is a wonderful way to show caring and sharing.

More photos from our class this month