The Wonder Jewelry Shop

Welcome to The Wonder Jewelry Shop.  A couple of days before our Thanksgiving Break a few of the children started making paper purses in the art studio.  What began as one or two a day soon became a mass production.  When they realized they had such a large number of purses, they decided that the best thing to do was to open a store.  The shelves in the science lab were cleared off, and stocking merchandise began.  A few children suggested other accessories that might be sold in the shop, though purses continued to be the main attraction.

When we returned to school six days later, merchandise production went back into full swing.  As soon as the store was named, the very fancy sign seen above was designed and posted by the “door.” Two cash registers, an old keyboard, two old phones, and a mouse were added so the store employees could “work.”

One of the children informed us that purses with short or no handles are called bags.  These were placed directly on the shelf for display.  The longer handled purses are displayed on the walls of the shop.  I wondered aloud how a customer might know how much to pay for a purse.  So far the consensus is that whoever is selling the purse will just tell you how much it costs.

I was informed today that the Wonder Jewelry Store will have a Grand Opening at 2:00 on Thursday.  I’m not yet sure what this entails as the spokesperson did not give me any details.  Although, in the last three minutes of class, I did hear a rumor that lipstick might be on sale soon!

Want to know who is allowed to shop in this exclusive store?  Here is a soundbite the children made earlier today.  I just found it on Seesaw a minute ago:


And I found more!

I just found another clip on Seesaw.  This one was obviously designed as a commercial.  Note, adults did not have anything to do with the recording.  The children use our class iPad to document their learning and share it with their parents.  Near the end, you can hear an adult nearby suggesting that jewelry and purses are not actually gender bound.  Our voice-over artist isn’t so sure.  Sounds like a great place to start a discussion.

Telling Stories

In the Pre-K world, Miss Davis and I observe many ideas flit through the classroom.  Some last only a few moments while others take root and grow.  In the past month, we have noticed many performances popping up.  We’ve seen puppet shows, dance shows, circuses, and acrobat shows.  Intrigued by this groups’ drive to tell stories and perform, we decided to take a closer investigate how stories are made.

Using a mix of child-made character and setting story cards, the children worked with Miss Davis to create new stories.

Unicorn, Goat, and Gnome in the Woods

Characters: Unicorn, Goat, and Gnome
Setting: The woods

Unicorn is walking and gnome saw it.  Gnome ran away.  Goat sees the gnome and is afraid of the gnome.  Goat tells Unicorn and Gnome to come back and try a hug.  They are still scared.  Pig comes and helps solve the problem by telling the friends to spread out.  They spread out and they are not scared anymore. THE END

Unicorn, Princess, and Little Red Riding Hood in a Field on a Sunny Day

Characters: Unicorn, Princess, and Little Red Riding Hood
Setting: A field on a sunny day

Little Red is walking along and finds Unicorn.  The Unicorn runs away because it’s scared and then finds the Princess.  The Unicorn hugs the princess and falls asleep. The Princess goes over to play with Little Red Riding Hood.  The Unicorn wakes up and is very hungry. Little Red Riding Hood and the Princess don’t know what to feed the Unicorn.  Little Red and Princess decided to dig in the dirt and while they’re digging, they find unicorn food! They know it’s unicorn food because it’s shaped like unicorns.  They go give the food to the Unicorn, and then they all play together. 
The End.

We Can All Be Friends

Characters: Lion, Knight, Alien, and Fairy
Setting: The Beach (and Outer Space!)

The Lion, Knight, and Fairy are all laying on the beach when the Alien floats down to Earth.  The Alien chases the others down the beach. The Alien hides behind a coconut tree. The Alien flies back up to space and gets everyone else astronaut clothes so they can all have a picnic in space.  The Alien and the Fairy help everyone fly up to space, where they have a picnic together. 
The End.

Halloween Celebration

A very heartfelt “Thank You” goes out to our class room parents, Mrs. Holloway and Mrs. Knicklebein.  Together they planned a fun and creative class party.  A party in the pre-kindergarten classroom consists of three or four stations: an art project, a game, a story, and sometimes a snack if time allows for four groups.  We rotate all of the students through the stations at 8-10 minute intervals.

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Though it might seem a bit rushed, it is much more calming for the children to have direct access to a grown up in a small group with specific goals in mind.  Whole group activities generally don’t go as well as one would hope on a day where routines have changed.

After our party, we joined the rest of the school in a sing-a-long and a parade.

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What can you do with a box?

One of our favorite pastimes in Pre-K is inventing something new with a box.  This fall, we had a huge assortment of boxes at our disposal.  Before we began designing, we read both Jane Yolen’s What to Do With a Box and Dana Meachen Rau’s A Box Can Be Many Things.  We realized that there were so many possibilities, it would be hard to choose just one giant project.  To help us narrow our focus, we closed up all of the boxes and pretended they were blocks, instead.  After some preliminary “block building” with the pieces we had on hand, a few ideas came to the forefront.

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Options provided by the children included a boat, a rocket, a cat, and a castle.  One morning, we all voted to find out which design we should choose.  At ten votes, creating a castle was easily the most popular choice.

In the past, we’ve always depended upon duct tape for our box construction needs.  This morning we began using some new child-friendly box tools.  While the hand saws were fun to use, they were a bit difficult for our Pre-K hands to manipulate.  However, I was quite impressed with the resilience of the many that returned to using the saws again and again.  The screws and screwdrivers were much more comfortably applied.  In fact, you might notice that many screws grace our castle as pure decoration.

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When the final walls had been battened down, groups of children went off on their own to create accessories.  So far we have a chair, a trash can, and two mailboxes.  Signs and flags were also quickly posted on the structure.

It’s hard to believe this entire project was put together in one morning.  I wonder what direction it will take tomorrow?

Welcome, Dr. Fech

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Today we planted daffodil bulbs in honor of  Dr. Fech’s welcoming reception.  Digging in the mulch wasn’t easy, though burying the bulbs was fun!

Best Friends

P1260906One of the hottest (and most toxic) topics in Pre-K and K is Best Friends.  Most of the children do not enter the year with a preconceived notion that a Bestie is expected.  However, once one child says, “You’re not my best friend anymore,” it pops up all over the place both in the classroom and out.

Friendships in early childhood change on a minute by minute basis.  A Pre-Kindergartner’s event horizon can usually be confined to 15 minutes before and after right now.  At this age, you are my friend if you want to play what I want to play.  The minute you want to play something different, you are either no longer my friend, or simply no longer existing beyond my sphere of awareness.  Pre-K children are not trying to be mean in this behavior.  Rather their ability to understand the perspective of others is simply not developed enough to see beyond their own interests.

For this reason, “Best Friend” is not an appropriate term for the 4 to 6 set.  We encourage the children to realize that all of us are friends in our class.  Sometimes, we want to play with one child or group and sometimes we chose another.  It has less to do with how much we “like” another person and more with whether or not what we are doing is related.

How’s your bucket?

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This week we read, “How Full is Your Bucket? For kids.”  In this story, we learned that each of us has an invisible bucket we cart along with us everywhere.  With each negative interaction or event drops of “water” drip out.  When your bucket is empty, it can be hard to be kind or helpful.  It can also make you feel sad or irritated.  On the other hand, with every positive interaction or event, our bucket fills up.  We also found out that when we are kind or helpful to others, not only do we refill their bucket, but add new drops to our own, too.

Some days, your bucket seems to be leaking like a sieve.  Your alarm clock didn’t go off.  You burnt the toast.  Your dog stepped in the mud and then jumped on your pants as you walked out the door.  All of these tiny little things take from your bucket.  Children and adults are more quick to anger, irritate, judge,  and outright react without thought when their bucket is empty.

We’ve been noticing when our buckets are losing water and when we can help fill another person’s bucket.  Today on the playground, I saw children filling buckets by sharing binoculars, taking turns on the swing, helping others build once a building had collapsed, and by inviting friends to join them in play. If you notice your bucket is a bit low, try a small act of kindness.  You’d be surprised how quickly it will fill back up.