Monday, November 22, 2010

"birds die too."

last week we discovered a dead sparrow on our playground. i was hauling the balls out when a few of my children started shouting for me. "ms. wendi! ms. wendi! something happened!"

something had indeed happened, and we gathered around to observe the sparrow's body and talk about what we thought might have happened to him. it was a chilly day, but we stopped moving and playing to kneel down and discuss. here were some of our ideas:

  • the bird have no jacket.
  • bird cold.
  • he no have mommy, no have daddy. he no have friends to take care of him.
  • he fly too high, and he die.
  • he fall down. he's dead.
  • he's mommy, daddy sad. i'm so sad too.
  • he not moving.
  • we'll miss you little bird. his heart is broke. birds die too. it was too icy cold and no one to take him worms. no one to take care of him, that why he died.

it was very touching to see those sober little faces gazing at the bird and then looking to me, and expressing their ideas, confusion, sadness. most of them stayed for the entire thirty minutes of our allotted playground time. death is a profound topic for young children, and the language barrier between the kids and myself forced me to take it back to the simplest ways of explaining it: he was too old, or too sick, or too hurt, so his body stopped working. no, he isn't sleeping. no, he can't be alive again.

today at group time i read how to heal a broken wing, which is a sweet story about a boy who helps an injured pigeon, and i had every single one of my children entranced. the eruption of questions and comments after the story was finished was ferocious: ms wendi! why we not give our dead bird a bandage? what happened to our bird? we need to take him to the doctor. why that boy take the bird home?

and angel remembered how she felt last week when we found the sparrow, and before she went to wash her hands for lunch she whispered to me "i so sad about the bird."

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

wallpaper sample collages

last year at one of our lead teacher meetings at the public schools' partnership office, we received books of wallpaper samples to use in our classrooms. i brought my book into the classroom today for some collage work. most of our children were already engaged inother activities when i arrived at 9:30, but i had a solid group of five who stayed with me ALL morning, snipping and cutting and designing and arranging and gluing and folding.

the level of focus and concentration was pretty impressive. i'm excited to see where this goes tomorrow- especially because by the time lunch rolled around, there were several children wandering over and investigating the paper, complaining that they hadn't had a chance to "play" with it.

nicole's "leaf door"

renee's house

Monday, November 15, 2010

a sunny day

we did lots of things today, like working in journals and reading books about families, playing the fingers-only version of simon says, and making the ffffff sound of the letter f. but the best part of our day was spent outside in the (chilly) sunshine, soaking up what's probably the last bit of nice weather before the chicago winter sets in.
there was one last green tomato lingering in the garden

there was water to flick from every surface

much jumping from the balance beam

and of course, the trusty trikes.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

goop, for the first time.

i don't know why i haven't made goop with the children before today. it used to be a weekly staple, but honestly- with all of the things we are supposed to do to every day, an activity like this has become something of a luxury. i HAVE to change this. we need to have something wet, slimy, gloppy, or otherwise totally messy in the classroom every. single. day. for some children it is an absolute necesity to get them to stop circling and engage with something for longer than five seconds. for some it provides an essential finger-muscle workout. for some it is the perfect chance to practice writing their name (with something as popular as the goop has been, we have to create a sign-up sheet). and while some will become completely silent and absorbed while working that glop, most will explode with language. "ms wendi! it's like noodles! it's like water! it's like spiders! i want more water in it! it's cold! gooooooopy. feels yucky! like a tree! like a snake! no, like milk!"

yes. we will have goop available as often as possible.