Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Music and Snow

A lot has happened since I last updated the blog.  Unfortunately, Mr. Schuman (our music teacher) accepted a position at another church.  He will no longer be working with us.  Here are some pictures from our last music class at the end of January. 

 We are in the process of looking for a new music teacher.  

We learned about Groundhog's Day and voted on whether or not the groundhog would see his shadow. 

It was fun to play in the snow and sunshine!

And a couple extra pictures for fun:


Friday, February 8, 2013


Every Friday afternoon, Mrs. Rogers (the Kindergarten teacher) and I teach art to our classes. I absolutely love art class.  We have decided to organize the curriculum around different artists.  Sometimes we study a particular artist, and sometimes we focus on a style that a particular artist is famous for.  
In the beginning, we started with an easy sunflower painting as we studied Vincent Van Gogh.

As we continued with Van Gogh, we moved to acrylics and oil pastels to create our own versions of "Starry Night".  This was a three week long project.
 When we studied Eric Carle, we started by creating some paper with textured paint.  He is very famous for his unique book illustrations using textured paint, as you can see here:
Our projects were these cute snowmen that used the paper with textured paint as hats, scarves, buttons, and mittens.  

We had a lot of that beautiful paper left over, so we talked about architecture for a couple weeks. We started with some "Van Gogh" swirls on the background. The next week, we built houses and skyscrapers and gave them windows (using the paper with textured paint, of course).  
Most recently, we studied another illustrator, Mo Willems.  The preschoolers were doing an author study on him, so it only seemed fitting that we should try to create some art like his.  
In a few of his books, Mo uses real photographs behind cartoon images that he has drawn in.  This is what we used for inspiration. 
We carefully instructed the students on how to draw a person.  
Each student was able to choose one of four backgrounds that he or she wanted to use.  There was a picture of Central Park in the snow, some mountains and a lake, a playground, and a laundromat. (One of Mo's books takes place in a laundromat.)

The kids drew their pictures and then colored them in.  We told them that they had to draw something that pertained to the background.  For example, if they chose the lake picture, they should draw people in bathing suits, not snow suits.  
I think these could go in one of Mo's books! They turned out really nice.  
Everyone is welcome to stay for Friday afternoons! We have a lot of fun learning in art class.  


Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Block Play in Preschool

I recently found an article regarding block play that caught my interest.  

If you have ever watched your child play with blocks in our classroom or in your home and wondered what they could possibly be gaining, look at this snippet from the article. 

When children play with blocks, they are practicing mathematical skills. In selecting blocks of different sizes and shapes and comparing surface volumes and areas, for example, they are unwittingly using classification and seriation (Hirsch, 1996). Cleaning up involves math too: sorting identical and dissimilar shapes, and organizing by size (Henniger, 1987).
Because it involves measuring lengths, widths, and heights (if only by eye), block play develops a child’s ability to mentally visualize relationships. Such manipulations are similar to those used in geometry and algebra during the child’s later school years (Henniger, 1987).
Constructive block play also involves the use of spatial configurations (Reifel, 1983), a vital aspect of mathematics and science generally (Casey, Pezaris & Nuttal, 1992). A study that evaluated the block constructions of four-year-olds (in 1982) and compared them with their test scores in high school (in 1998) supported the hypothesis that a child’s ability to create complex block constructions can predict mathematical ability. Interestingly, the study found a difference in achievement levels between boys and girls only when the boys were given greater exposure to blocks. When both were given equal ­opportunities to develop their skills, there were no gender-related differences (Stannard, Wolfgang, Jones, and Phelps, 2001). 

Click on this picture to read the entire article.
We love blocks in our classroom!


Sunday, February 3, 2013


 Have you ever felt penguin blubber?

 One of the things we focused on when we learned about penguins is how they stay warm when they swim in the cold water and live in the cold air.  
This "Blubber Bag" is the perfect way to see how blubber works.  
First, the kids stick their hand in the ice alone.  It's cold!
Next, they stick their hand in the bag (which is really two bags with lard in between them).  It's a little chilly, but the fat definitely blocks the icy feel. 
 We did this in both classes.  You can see the red bowl of ice being passed around.
We also went ice fishing!
And here we are doing a class favorite, the Penguin Dance! (by Jack Hartmann)
Click on this video to see Jack and friends singing the song:
We also made these cuties:
The four year olds made these:
 And the 3 year olds made these: