Gal is from Israel and her and her family are Jewish. During the winter they celebrate Hanukah (The Festival of Lights). Gal’s mom came to share their family’s Hanukah traditions with us. We watched a short video that told us the history behind the holiday (look Below).
We also made our own dreidels (spinning top), dreidels are used to play a special Hanukah game. Gal and her mom sang a traditional song as they lit the candles on the menorah and they taught us a song and dance about lights.
Since the children have been very interested in building houses during Exploration time…I thought that I would surprise them with one. When the children were at recess I set up a house with a curtain, picnic blanket, blocks and our stuffed animals set up at the table.
When the children came into the room they were very surprised to see this scene. They immediately asked me why I set it up. I told them that I was so busy with my teacher work and I didn’t see what happened. I told them that when I returned back to the classroom, the house was set up. They started asking questions and offering ideas of who was responsible. Was it the animals themselves? Was it one of our neighboring teachers (Ms. Natalie or Mr. K.)? The Ayi or Ms. Laura? Since we are already in the Halloween spirit, they wondered if it was a fairy or a good witch.
The reason for not admitting that I was responsible for setting up this scene was more than just for fun. I set it up as a provocation. I knew that the children would be surprised and interested in the house. I also knew that they would have many questions about how, why and who. Instead of me giving the children the facts, I wanted them to share their thoughts and ideas. Many times throughout the day teachers do not answer many of the children’s questions. We put the questions back onto them and their classmates. We are interested in hearing their theories and reasoning. It doesn’t matter whether the children’s theories are believable or not. What we are looking for is that the children are developing their critical thinking skills. That they are developing the ability to
communicate when formulating and sharing their ideas.
In Pre K2, our math work is about hands on exploring at the concept level. Several times a week we have Math Centers after lunch-recess. During our Math Centers we are counting, matching, sorting, comparing, measuring and drawing. We set up activities that are both teacher guided and open exploration.
The Laser Bugs were a bit sad that the rain was too heavy to have our Field Day! They were looking forward to putting on their Laser Bug uniforms and showing their parents the P.E. skills that they had learned this year. Never the less, we still put on our Laser Bug uniforms and had an exciting morning together. We had a dance party, read books together, took photos of each other, colored our own Laser Bugs and did exercise videos together. We are looking forward to the postponed date when we can wear our uniforms and have our parents cheer us on!
We got some cool old-school style robots, the kind that you have to wind up. We have been using them during math centers in a few different ways. First we must count and only wind them 4 times. Once the robots start walking, we either count the amount of steps that they take or we use rulers to measure how far they go.
Early Learners need ample time to explore open ended, hands on math centers/activities. It is also important that the math concepts that they are introduced to can be applied into their everyday activities so they can understand how it fits into their daily lives.
The children are always a part of the preparations for classroom celebrations. For CNY we decorated and cleaned the classroom. When I asked The children what kind of activities they would like to do when their parents came; they decided that they would share their Learning Portfolios. Of course they were most excited about sharing food for the potluck brunch! They were proud to work together to prepare muffins for their parents.