Friday, December 15, 2017

Winter break

Below is a list of suggested activities and games for your children during the winter holiday.

Ask and talk about the following questions with your child:
  • Where did you go?
  • What was your favorite place that you visited?
  • Who did you see?
  • Who was the person you were happiest to see? Why?
  • What was the weather like?
  • What kind of food did you eat?
  • What type of transportation did you use?
  • What type of nature did you see (plants, insects, birds, reptiles, amphibians, and mammals)?
  • What books did you read?
  • Which book did you like best? Why?
  • What was the best part of your... (day, week, or winter break)? 

You can ask some of these or similar questions every day, a few times a week, or once near the end of the break. If she/he would like, your child can record (draw and write) their answers to some questions in the small, red “Winter Break” notebook that has been sent home with your child.

Here are some other ideas for your child during the break:
  • Let your child engage in free, unstructured play
  • Make a puzzle with paper or cardboard. Draw and color a picture, draw the puzzle lines over your picture, cut it up, then piece it together
  • Play hide and seek with different objects in the house
  • Think of different words that start with letters A-M. Look for objects that start with a certain sound/letter.
  • Go on nature walks. Look at and discuss any new or different nature your child notices. She/he can draw it later in her/his notebook. On these walks you can also count how many birds, butterflies, trees, etc. that you see.
  • Have your son or daughter help with cooking, set the table, and other tasks to help the family.
  • Participate in a whole family Mystery Animal game:
  • Read with your child
  • Open up your closet for some dress up and make-believe time
  • Offer options for unstructured creative projects that will also enhance fine motor skills such as cutting and gluing old magazines or newspapers, playing with playdough (here is one homemade play-doh recipe), or playing with magnets and paper clip

·      If you have or need quiet time during travels or in the day, I can recommend the following educational films/videos:
  •      Daniel Tiger (found on youtube)
  •      Youtube book series #makethefuture
  •        Breathe, Think, Do Sesame (a free App that you can download)
  •        Nat Geo Kids animals series (found on youtbue)
  •       Jolly phonics letter songs (found on youtube)

Most of all, have a safe and wonderful break. Enjoy the time with your child and family!

Friday, November 17, 2017

Nature everywhere

In the last few weeks we have been very busy in Pre-K 4.

At the end of October, we celebrated Halloween by helping carve a pumpkin in our class. They selected the design which I helped cut: a cat!

In late October, we also started a new learning unit on Nature! We have enjoyed various types of learning experiences including finding and exploring nature outside, doing various treasure hunts around the campus (looking for different types of plants and insects), and planting our own seeds. The children have shown a high level of interest in the seeds that they have planted and remain committed to caring for these seedlings—they are always eager to water them.

Mr Joel helps Kalifa, Malik, Emile, Serene, and Beni make nature mobiles. 

Wilma Sofie shows off the nature she found outside.

Matteo, Serene, Daniel, Adrian, and Malik help each other fill their planters with dirt.

Amani and Kalifa water seedlings.

 This week we focused on insects and next week we will start to discover other animals including reptiles, amphibians, and mammals. We will continue exploring this unit until the December holiday.
George and Alima inspect a caterpillar.
We are continuing with Reading Buddies with Grade 2, but have now moved to this activity to Friday mornings to avoid conflicts with the Thursday morning assemblies.

And, we have sped through our letters and just finished letter J this week! To help learn about the letter J and the word “jiggle,” we made Jello today! Next week we will introduce the letter K.

Ranci and Alima write the letter "F" with Mr. Bouba.
We are continuing to reinforce positive actions by earning “hearts” during the day and sing Daniel Tiger songs (“Use you words” and “When you feel so mad that you want to roar, take a deep breath and count to four”) when necessary. In addition, we have slightly adjusted the classroom schedule so that we have additional circle times (during the 10-11:30 block) which allows us to come back together to find a moment of calm and helps children choose their next activities. So far, this has helped make for smoother and calmer transitions.

And of course, we are still having fun!
"Magic paint" on the outside wall.

Finally, this week was Emilie’s last week in school. She and her family have moved to Dakar. Unfortunately, Emilie was sick on her last day of school so we did not have a chance to say goodbye or even take a picture as a whole group. We are trying to set up a skype or Facetime talk soon to say “hello” and “goodbye” to Emilie.

Saturday, October 7, 2017

Our 5 Senses

Hi Pre-K 4 Family and Friends,

This Tuesday we were happy to welcome the additional help of Teaching Assistant Mr. Joel. From now on, Mr. Joel will be helping our class following snack and recess time until just before clean-up time prior to lunch. Mr. Joel will mostly be conducting educational activities connected to our classroom learning, outside in the Pre-K playground area.

Last week and this week we have been learning about the 5 senses. To do so, we have been doing fun activities such as walking blindfolded (led by a friend!) around the classroom, smelling different smells and matching the same smells, listening and identifying different sounds, and finally using our taste buds on the remainder of our cake that we made (and froze) a couple weeks ago. We will do some final 5 senses activities this coming week.

Ranci and Srene testing out their sense of smell.

Last week we also started Reading Buddies with Grade 2 and it was a huge success! We will continue Reading Buddies with Grade 2 every Thursday morning at 8a.m. 

Liam from Grade 2 and Daniel read "Pete the Cat" during Reading Buddies time.

On Friday following Reading Buddies, we were able to celebrate Basit’s birthday! Basit turned 5 years old and shared a cake and treats with friends in our class.
Ms. Irene helps cut Basit's birthday cake as Kalifa and Basit wait patiently.

Alima writes her name.
Malik writes his name.
Last week we worked on the letter D with songs and with different crafts such as dragonflies and dinosaur hats. This week we worked on the letter E and crafted elephants, which will soon be on display on the wall outside our classroom. In the meantime, students continue to practice writing their names. Next week we are on to the letter F.

We are continuing to reinforce Helping Hands, Listening Ears, Looking Eyes; Walking Feet; and Quiet Mouths in the classroom. Daniel Tiger, Sesame Street, and other short educational videos are helping with these concepts! You can help at home by giving your child positive reinforcement when she/he is helping or playing well with others (having helping hands), listening to you and others, looking when talking to you, walking (rather than running) inside, and using quiet voices inside as well as kind words, particularly to talk out a problem.  For example, you can say: “you are doing a great job of sharing and taking turns with your sister” or “I really like how you listened to me when I asked you to help clean up.”

Also, continue reading to your child in her/his mother language every day (for example, at bedtime). Reading to your child is a top indicator of her/his child’s future literacy skills!

Monday, September 25, 2017

All about Me

Matteo and Ranci work together to play with bears.

We have been very busy since Ms. Melanie left—so much so that unfortunately I don’t have many photos yet (sorry for that)! In addition to saying goodbye to Ms. Melanie, we said goodbye to our friend Nancy. But we are very happy to have welcomed a new student, Srene. Welcome, Srene!

Most importantly, we have been reinforcing our classroom engagements of having: Helping Hands (keeping hands to oneself and/or ensuring that hands are being helpful to others and during clean up time); Listening Ears; Looking Eyes; Walking Feet; and Quiet Mouths. We are particularly working on Helpful Hands to improve using words to talk through conflicts with friends. We have played games and watched some parts of the cartoon Daniel Tiger to reinforce these messages with songs like “Use your words” and “When you feel so mad that you want to roar,” which both come from the wise cartoon.

You can help at home by using similar types of engagements or encourage your child to use words to deal with conflict or when she/he wants to play with friend. Praise positive behavior and actions to help your child improve her/his social-emotional skills (for example you can say: "Sally, I really liked how you asked to see my phone instead of grabbing it. I’m happy to share and look it with you together"). We will continue to work on this and various social-emotional skills throughout the year with the Pre-K 4s!

We have continued the unit “All About Me” with students sharing their family photos to their friends, learning about our bodies, and starting to learn about how to take care of our bodies (with an emphasis on handwashing!). This week and next we will start to learn about the 5 Senses with different games and activities.

At the same time we are learning about letters of the alphabet and have gone over the letters B, C, and this week we are working on the letter D. Each week we make several crafts with the letter of the week (such a bike or car), play games, and practice writing to learn more about the letter of the week. Last Thursday we make a cake for the letter C. 
Daniel and Aristan re-write letters with chalk during a letter recognition game outside.

As we did two Fridays ago for the letter B, every Friday we will have a Show and Tell of an item from home that starts with the letter of the week. As such, for this Friday September 29, please help your child look in your house with your child for something that starts with the letter D. If you would like, you can also select something that starts with the letter C, since we did not do Show and Tell last week.

Kalifa's bike

You can help at home by reading to your child in her/his mother language every day (for example, at bedtime). 

Circle art