This morning, a group of students spent a large chunk of their morning play time designing and implementing a classroom pet store. The students worked diligently to draw various pets that could be sold and decided together how much each pet should cost. It wasn’t long before they pulled out the cash register and started making money and credit cards that people could use to purchase the animals. The name of the pet store is still up for debate but lots of ideas were tossed around. The look of excitement was clearly present on each of their faces and we are anxious to see how this pet store will grow and prosper within the classroom.
Today in Art class, the students learned about the artist Michelangelo and his work. They read a story about his life and how he sculpted a number of very famous pieces that people travel all around the world to see. They also learned about when he painted the Sistine Chapel and how he had to paint laying down on scaffolding as he covered the entire ceiling with beautiful scenes from the heavens. It was great deal of hard work but the result was a masterpiece.
The pre-k got a chance to create some of their own masterpieces just like Michelangelo did so many years ago.
Today, we introduced the students to a new chapter of Forest Fours by implementing a writing component to our day. Each child received a special journal that travels with us while on the trails. The students are allowed to draw pictures of the games that they are playing, the structures they build, or the specimens they see while out in nature (fungus, birds, rocks, deer, etc.). They also are allowed to collect things like leaves or small pieces of moss and tape them into their journals for safe keeping.
In addition to the journals, we borrowed four Polaroid cameras from Mrs. Weber so that the students can take pictures of items that would be too big to fit in their journals. The pictures are then taped onto a page and the students write about what they observed. The journals will travel with us each time we venture into the woods and the children are allowed to fill their journals to their heart’s content whenever they deem it necessary.
Since it’s inception, our class has used Forest Four days to play in an unstructured setting so that they could explore and create at their will. The addition of the forest journals allows students to extend their learning by giving them the opportunity to write, even while outdoors. Through this activity, the students are practicing skills such as fine motor development, phonemic awareness, self-regulation, observation, categorization, identification, and much more. We look forward to sharing our journal entries with you in the future!
This week, we had the opportunity to introduce the Fairy Tale Trail to the Pre-K students. It is one of our smaller trails, but has been beautifully embellished with a variety of whimsical decorations from the older students. Today, we were able to spend an extended period of time exploring the ins and outs of the Fairy Tale Trail on our Forest Fours day. It didn’t take long before the children made an exciting discovery! Someone had taken three of my painted “Story Stone” houses (that were meant for the small world table) and placed them on the Fairy Tale Trail! They naturally thought that I had placed them there but after learning that I had nothing to do with it, they had decided that fairies must have used their magic to put them on the trail and turn them into fairy houses. Fairy magic is some pretty amazing stuff!
Now, they are commissioning me to make more fairy houses that can live on the trail. After all, winter is coming and every fairy needs a place to live. So don’t be surprised if you show up to school only to find me stealing rocks from the playground or covered in paint in the classroom. It’s messy job but someone’s gotta do it!
In honor of our Pre-K Movie Premiere that will take place later tonight, we would like to present our final draft of our script entitled The Food Mystery. We actually had a total of 8 drafts but after the first three or four writing sessions it was pretty obvious that the story stayed exactly the same and only their characters changed. You’ll notice that in this version, there are not any copyrighted characters such as Iron Man or Cinderella. We explained to the students that it is important to come up with our own ideas and characters because otherwise, we are just stealing someone else’s idea. With some coaxing, and lots of trying out different ideas, we ended up with some pretty amazing characters.
The Food Mystery
(March 11, 2016)
L.W. – a giant named Boxy
Z.W. – fisherman
A.H. – Policeman named John
C.S. – a princess
R.F. – a floating cloud
K.H. – a giant mouth that can walk
A.G. – a parrot
K.V. – a horse
M.H. – a building robot
S.S. – a witch
N.P. – spell Witch
(L.W., Z.W., A.G., and K.H.)
Once upon a time a giant named Boxy wanted to play a game so he invited a fisherman to come and play, “Fisherman, let’s go play some crazy games,”, and the fisherman invited a parrot, “Parrot come play,” and the parrot says, “Squawk, squawk,”.
They played the game for a long time and then they decided to stop for a snack.
The parrot says, “Let’s stop and eat some French fries and water, Squawk.”
Just then a giant mouth sneaks in and whispers to herself, “Ooh, those french fries sure do look yummy. Maybe I’ll just have a few,” and then eats a bunch of their food and then runs before anyone can see her.
They turn around and shout, “Where’s our food!?!”
The Boxy says, “Where are our french fries and water?”
The fisherman says, “I’m hungry!”
The Parrot says, “Squawk, The only thing that is left is a potato, squawk.”
They try to share the potato but it’s not very big.
The giant says, “I need more food, I’m still hungry.”
(M.H., A.H., S.S., C.S., and K.H.)
In the next house a princess, a robot, a police officer, and a witch all live together.
Everyone was having a dance party.
The princess says, “Let’s stop and have some pancakes and cupcakes.”
But before they could sit down and eat, the giant mouth, sneaks in and says, “Those cupcakes and pancakes look pretty good! Maybe I’ll just have a few!” but she accidentally eats all of the food and so she runs away before anyone could see her.
The witch says, “What!?! There’s no food!”
The robot says, “It’s a mystery! Who took our food?”
Then the robot walks out of the house and starts looking to see if he can solve the mystery. He looks outside and notices that there is a trail of crumbs on the ground. He runs back inside and is breathing hard and he says, “There are pancake crumbs outside. Let’s get our magnifying glasses!”
So they all run and get their magnifying glasses.
Just then, the phone rings. The princess answers it.
Fisherman: “Hey somebody ate our food!”
Princess: “Somebody ate our food too! We found a trail of crumbs. Want to come search with us?”
Princess: “I don’t know where it leads to, but let’s go.”
(N.P., K.H., K.V., and R.F.)
The spell witch lives by herself with her horse Majesty and her magical flouting cloud. All the sudden, Majesty sees a giant mouth trying to steal her food and she says, “Neigh, neigh!” and then spell witch and cloud see the mouth too.
The flouting cloud rushes to the spell witch and says, “Use your wand to get the giant mouth!”
The Spell Witch uses her magic wand and says, “Come here!” to make the mouth come closer. The mouth tries to run away but the spell witch locks up her house and she says, “Bibbidy bobbidi boo!” so she can’t leave. Then she says, “Lock up the food now, wand and stay forever, giant mouth!” to make the mouth want to stay in her house forever.
Just then, group of friends follow the trail of crumb and it leads right to the Spell Witch’s house.
The robot says, “One of you ate our food. Who was it?”
The spell witch says, “It was this giant mouth and she tried to eat my food too!”
The regular witch says, “AHA! I solved the mystery, it was the mouth that ate our food!”
Police officer John says, “That wasn’t nice. Please don’t eat our food again!”
The giant mouth says, “Ok, I’m sorry. I just didn’t have any food.”
The spell witch uses her magic wand to make a new house with a refrigerator for the mouth to live in.
Policeman John says, “Let’s all have a dance party!”
And they lived happily ever after.
For the past several months, our students have been working together to write their very own screenplay. Starting in January, we periodically sit the children down and ask them what kind of story they would like to write. We usually start by having each child choose a character and then they take turns adding details onto the story. The story is completely their own and can include almost anything the students’ dream up. The first few writing sessions usually result in a story that has little to no plot and often very little dialogue. It takes a few practices to understand how to work together to create a story that not only makes sense but involves all of the characters.
The next time the children sit down to write, they can choose to either change the story they wrote last time or try to write a whole new story. The students are allowed to change their characters and the storyline as many times as they want until spring break. Now that we have returned from spring break, we will begin practicing our lines for the play and designing costumes and sets.
On April 26th, our friend Weird Eric will visit the class to film and help us turn our little student-written screenplay into a movie! On May 19th, we will premiere the Pre-K Movie to our families and friends. Until then, please enjoy the students’ first draft.
Jan 7, 2016
N.P. – Thorn Rosa
A.H. – Blue ninja 1
R.F. – Creeper 1
C.S.– Elsa 1
K.V. – Elsa 2
M.H. – Minecraft zombie 1
L.W. – Yoda
L.Z. – creeper 2
W.S. – blue ninja 2
Z.W. – Minecraft zombie 2
K.H. – Princess Leia
A.G. – Blue ninja 3
S.S. – Blue ninja 4
Once upon a time the Minecraft Zombie 2 (Z.W.) is in the loft. Then the blue ninja 1 (A.H.) came and meets him for lunch. Then Elsa 1 (C.S.) came out and said, “Hmm probably we should take their sandwiches and freeze them”. The minecraft zombie 2 (Z.W.) and the creeper 2 (L.Z.) warmed up the sandwiches in the toaster.
Yoda (L.W.) was flying a ship and saw a red light and Minecraft zombie 2 (M.H.) was crossing the street to the taco shop and Yoda said, “Get outta the way!”. Thorn Rosa (N.P.) hops on Yoda’s ship. Then Yoda (L.W.) came and found the bad guys and he turns them into bunnies and then Thorn Rosa (N.P.) finds the bunnies and they’re standing near the toaster oven and she locks them up in a doorway. Princess Leia (K.H.) comes flying in from a different ship and becomes friends with the zombie bunnies. The blue ninja 2 (W.S.) also becomes friends with the bunnies. Blue ninja 3 (A.G.) makes a boat out of ice and he sails back to land and he goes on a bus back to town and he eats pizza.
The creeper 1 (R.F.) crosses and street and he sit down and he watches the cars and eat a sandwich. Blue Ninja 4 (S.S.) turns on some music and Elsa 2 (K.V.) comes over and starts dancing. Then everyone comes and joins in the dance party.
This week our students had a chance to meet their fourth grade buddies today! Each child was paired up with either one or two fourth grade students and they had some time to look at books and read together. We will get together with our buddies several times throughout the year to read stories, play games, and interact on the playground. We also will be sitting with our buddies during the Thanksgiving Feast next Tuesday. The bonds that are created during this time last throughout each child’s WT school career and become some of their fondest memories.
After our buddies returned to their classroom, the Pre-K wrote about their favorite part of the experience in their journals. These were their responses.
Throughout the school day, Marie and I spend a significant amount of time observing the students’ play. We write anecdotes about what the students are playing and sometimes even the conversations they have with one another. This helps us learn more about the students’ personalities, how they navigate friendships and conflict, and where their interests lie. Once the students have started to get to know one another, you may start to see trends in their play. We then take those trends and find ways to infuse them into our classroom so that we may broaden their understanding and of course implement a ton of learning along the way.
In the past week, we have noticed the students have become more and more interested in money and how it is used, so we decided that we needed a bank. The students started writing lots of numbers on paper for dollars and cutting out little, tiny coins to fill up the cash register. We even voted on a name for the bank. After much consideration and many great ideas (“The Dollar Store” being my favorite) they came up with “The Beautiful Bank”.
Yesterday, we started talking about how you get money from the bank. Many of the students had differing ideas. Some students said that you have to pay for the money, while others said the people at the bank just give it to you. One child said that you have to get money from the “money machine” but wasn’t really sure what that might look like. Several students said it needed a screen and buttons and a place for the money to come out. We decided that we should make a design for the money machine before we try to build it. Below, you will find the students’ ideas for what they think the money machine should look like.
We are excited to see where this topic may take us next!