Wednesday, January 19, 2011

january slump

it's here- the most difficult stretch of winter. it is nearly impossible to be motivated and excited when we have sub-zero temperatures and the ground is covered in ice. i know that the coldest bit is still to come, and we have a solid eight weeks before we start to round the corner.

well, at least we have lots of fun things happening in the classroom.

we've been building bridges indoors using our giant hollow blocks. if you fall off, the crocodiles will eat you.

there has been an obsession with building houses and people with legos lately. my older, kindergarten-bound girls gather together every day and engage in this play. each evening they put their names on their work and come back to it the next day. i briefly considered bringing a dollhouse and furniture into the classroom for them, but decided against it. they are learning far more by building their own lego houses and furniture and people.

gingerbread fever continues. we've put cinnamon into the sand table and made gingerbread-scented play dough and decorated construction paper gingerbread people. tomorrow we are mixing up real gingerbread cookie dough, and on friday we will roll them out, cute them, and bake them.  next week, in keeping with the theme of winter foods, we will make hot chocolate. i'm wondering if the conversation will naturally turn to soup in the enxt couple of weeks as we continue to talk about seasonally appropriate foods. i would love to spend a bit learning about stone soup and making soup of our own.

Monday, January 10, 2011

what do you know about the gingerbread man?

angel: "his nose, mouth, eyes is candy."
jian hao: "gingerbread man have buttons and have foot."
nelson: "he's a cookie."
aaron: "that little old woman... he comes from grandma's house."
sharon: "he met a pig and fox and duck and sheep."
amy: "RUN!"
mandy: "he say 'run, run, as fast as you can, you can't catch me. i'm the gingerbread man!'"

it seems we already know a lot about the gingerbread man. we are going to learn even more about gingerbread and the many variations of this story (including the gingerbread girl) over the next couple of weeks. this is all part of our study of winter and the foods we typically consume in the wintertime. this year i plan on baking gingerbread cookies with the kids, too. it's something that i meant to do last year but when i found out how complex the recipes were, my motivation fizzled. i won't let that happen this year, no matter how pressed for time i am or how overwhelming this week (which is dedicated to parent conferences) feels.

paint cups on the tables are very attractive

Friday, January 7, 2011


there is a surge of interest about footprints lately. i think it began when we found bunny tracks, squirrel tracks, and bird tracks in the snow outside of our classroom's back door. yesterday these children discovered that our toy animals make footprints too, and they descended on our trays of "moon sand" with horses and tigers and hippos. there was lots of jostling for positions at the trays, and i just stood back and took notes about how each one handled the conflict. some didn't think it was worth it, and wandered away. some used their elbows effectively. others stamped feet and wailed. we are planning to make play dough on monday, and i'll bring the animals over to see if tracks are made in the dough as well.

i like how this last photo highlights the differences in the different kinds of animal feet- i have many ideas percolating in my brain regarding an exploration of this: toes and claws and hooves and paws and oh my, the possibilities for sorting and categorizing...