Friday, February 18, 2011

winter is the warmest season

since, oh, probably late november, we've been talking and learning about winter. this book has turned out to be the most treasured story and a valuable resource for us these many months:

it's a story about the many ways we can keep ourselves warm when it's cold outside. we have had plenty of opportunities to compare our own wintertime experiences to those of the little boy in the story. we've made hot chocolate, just like he did.

we have snuggled under the quilt i brought in from home.

we have found cozy, warm places to read books with friends.

we have drawn pictures of what we do when it's freeeeee-eeeeee-zing outside:


Thursday, February 10, 2011

writing letters to pen pals

we are very excited about our letter-writing campaign to the children at new creation preschool. after looking at the photos and speculating about the sorts of things the children like to do in their classroom, we sat down to write notes. many of them ended up being "happy new year!" notes, because chinese new year was fresh in everyone's minds.

i thought the most exciting part of letter-writing would be choosing the sticker "stamp" to put on the envelope, but i was wrong- it turned out to be figuring out how to fold our letters so they fit into the envelopes. shows how much i know! :) 

the chicago blizzard of 2011

i was very excited about the blizzard we had last week. wait. that is a massive understatement. i was a wiggling, jumping up-and-down, ohboyohboyohboy, ecstatic mess of meteorological dorkiness. i stayed up all night to watch the storm from my living room windows. as soon as the wind died down a bit the next morning, i went out to play.
there was a LOT of snow.

and i LOVED it.

school was closed for two days, and when we came back on friday, attendance was pretty low because it was still very difficult to move around the city. public transportation still wasn't back to normal, cars were buried, and there was too much snow on the sidewalks for preschoolers who usually come to school on foot. by the time monday came, the memory of the storm was already fading for many of the children. when we talked about it, i did get some concrete experiences from them (these were originally dictated in chinese, and translated by my lovely co-teacher).

"daddy and mommy push the car."

"my house has a lot of snow. other people's homes have a lot of snow, too. the snowman held a flower to hit the leaves. snowman had toothache."

"it had a lot of snow. very high. i removed the snow with a shovel at home."

"thunder, snowing, and windy. the car was very fast and fill the gas on the back of the car."

i was glad that at least one child noticed and recalled the thundersnow. before the storm hit, i had made a poster of photos from the 1967 chicago blizzard to show the kids what was coming (and to explain why we were going home from school early that day). there was much buzz about the cars that were stuck in the snow. after the storm, we looked at photos of lakeshore drive and saw that the same thing happened during this storm! when vivian saw the photos after the storm, she pointed to one of a half-buried car and squealed, "me mommy! me mommy car!" i asked her mother at pick-up time and yes indeed, their car had gotten stuck.

much to my satisfaction, "blizzard" has now become part of our daily classroom vocabulary.

gingerbread fever

it's official. we have gingerbread fever in our class. the two storybooks we have in our classroom library have always been popular, but i added the gingerbread girl to the set and- wow. every single child is engaged with this story and the characters. seeing the girls' eyes light up when i introduced the gingerbread girl at story time yesterday was priceless. we have also made gingerbread-scented playdough:

and we have decorated construction-paper gingerbread people:

a word about this activity. it's not the sort of thing i usually ask them to do, but so many of our kids love to glue, especially the younger ones who don't have much english yet. it's a concrete project, and i knew i would draw a big crowd. tomorrow the plan is to sit down with the kids individually and have them tell me a story about the gingerbread person they made- much more challenging, and open-ended.

Monday, February 7, 2011

bernice's drawings

collected from her journal, completed over the past 4 months.





ms wendi, this you. sad.

Friday, February 4, 2011

happy new year! gung hay fat choy!

we had our annual family new year party last week. almost all of our families came and we cooked, feasted, and then went to chinese dance class. the wonton soup was amazing and i took enough leftovers home to feed my household for two days. here are just a few of the 200 photos i took during the party.  

getting ready

look at that spread!

nelson was excited

next time: the great chicago blizzard of 2011.