Draft #3

It is now March and our story is starting to take shape. Each character now fits into one story that not only has a beginning, middle, and an end but it finally has a plot as well! The story and script is completely written by the students and it quite colorful, to say the least.



(Please note that some students may be missing from this version as they were out due to illnesses)


The Three Horses (March 6, 2013)


The mean ballerina fairies are having a party under the bridge. (Cl, Ra, So)

Along came the littlest horse (K)

“No one is allowed on our bridge, it’s just for us!” said the mean ballerina fairies.

“Wait for my medium brother. She is much bigger and much juicier.” Said the littlest horse.

And the horse went across the bridge and ate at the grassy hill. (K)


When along came two medium sister horses. (Sa and Re)

“You can’t go across our bridge, it’s just for us!” said the fairies. “You have to solve our riddle. What makes scribbles? The second answer is those kind of scissors. Now you may cross.”

And the medium sister horses crosses the bridge.


Then came along the big daddy horse.

“You can’t go across our bridge, it’s just for us!” (Fairies)

“What do I have to do then?” (So)

“You have to solve a daddy troll mystery. Who goes into something tall?” (Fairies)

“People in the loft.” said the bid daddy horse and she knocks them over. (So)


When along came two Thomas trains. (A and Ev)

“You can’t go across our bridge, it’s just for us!” (Fairies)

“Beep beep!” said the two Thomas trains and they went across the bridge.


And the three mean ballerina fairies were trying to figure out what was going on, a rotten egg (J) rolled in and the mean fairies tried to cook it. But the rotten egg rolled away.

And they all came back to have a dance party on the bridge.


The End.

A horse is a horse, of course!

In our study of horses, the children were intrigued to learn that there are many different types.  Once we began to recognize a few of the distinguishing characteristics, the children became curious about our own plastic horses.  We scoured the web for an easy to use guide to help us in our new quest.  Once printed, this image helped us figure out how many bays, palominos, appaloosa, and roans we had in our collection.

Finger Counting and Dice Rolling

20130307_8271Sometimes the tasks that seem simple and one-dimensional have much more impact than we realize.  Finger counting is a good example.  When our children are little, we help them practice counting to five using their fingers.  As they get older, they no longer need to count each individual finger, but know the finger configurations for each of the numbers 0-5.  Ask a five-and-a-half or six-year-old to quickly show you the correct number of fingers for any digit up to five and they probably won’t even think about it.  They will automatically present you with the correct number of fingers. Usually, these older children can quickly use the sets from both hands to represent numbers up to ten without actually counting, either.  They are so comfortable with the formation of these sets, that putting the two sets (hands) together to make a new number looks like an easy task. So how do we get a younger child to this level of creating and recognizing sets?  Play and practice, of course.

In mathematical terms, seeing the quantity of a set without counting is called subititzing.  We support this skill by playing games that require the children to recognize arrays of  pips on dice and singing counting songs using our fingers.  With experience  the arrangements on the dice or on their hands become second nature.  By the time they are in kindergarten, they will see and identify these sets easily.  Being able to visually recognize sets of objects will help them as they move forward into double-digit addition, subtraction and even multiplication.

20130308_8233We’ve been using dice with our horse unit to help us get used to these patterns.  In the photograph above, the child is rolling two dice  to find out how many apples to feed her horse.  The red die represents the red apples (or pompoms) and the green die is for the green apples.   Each child in the group had a turn to roll the dice and announce the feeding requirements.

Our horses are designed using an origami type of construction.  The children decorated each horse as they pleased.  The folds in the head allowed the horse’s mouth to be opened and closed. With each roll, the children “picked” the correct number of apples and fed them to their ravenous equines.  This activity allowed the children to practice their subitizing skills while also exploring addition.


Interview with an Expert

Yesterday, our class was delighted to host a “Q and A” session with our very own horse expert! The students were able to see and touch several different types of grooming tools including a mane and tail brush, a rubber curry that helps to remove mud/dirt, a bristle brush, and a hoof pick. The students were amazed that it took so many different items to keep horses clean!

We also looked at a real saddle, saddle pad, and bridle. These were items that many of the students recognized right away, but were a little unsure of exactly why they needed. The students learned how a saddle is put on a horse and how the bridle and reigns are used to lead the horse.

Once everyone had a good understanding of each item, we listened to the story Noni the Pony written and illustrated by Alison Lester. The students quickly picked up on the rhyming couplets and the simple cadence of the story.

At the conclusion of the story, the students had the opportunity to ask their burning questions about horses and their equipment. We learned that horses can drink a whole bucket of water in a single day and they sleep standing up. We also learned that a boy horse is called a colt and a girl horse is called a filly but all baby horses are called foals.

We are so thankful for our special visitor and for sharing all his expert knowledge on horses and the equipment they use!

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Horses or Egypt

For our new unit of study, our students have actually selected two different units. One group of students decided they wanted to continue learning about horses, while another group chose to learn about Egypt after a student inspired half the class to dress up like mummies. The students choose each day which subject they would like to work on, but may choose differently the next.

Both groups have discussed the facts they already know, what they would like to know, and how we might find the answers to their questions. Now, our little researchers are beginning to delve into their resources to find out more information.

Take some time to check out the information we have thus far.  (Please click on the image for a larger view)

Horses KWL Web

Egypt web 2



This week, our students have started expressing an interest in horses. The inspiration came from one student who decided to dress up one of our toydle blocks with yarn. She started by adding some yarn for a mane, then some for reigns, and finally some yarn for a tail. As she galloped around the classroom, many little heads popped up and wanted in on the fun! Soon we had horses with rainbow-colored hair and spiral-shaped stripes on their bodies. It was pretty clear that this would be our new topic of study!