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.

First Draft (Pre-K Play 2017)

Our class is exactly one week away from filming our movie, so I thought you might want to see how our writing process has evolved this year. Every year’s writing style is a little different, depending on the group of students and their prior knowledge about storytelling. We spend a great deal of time talking about story elements like the beginning, middle, and end and the problem and solution in stories. Then beginning in January, the students start creating characters and working together to tell whatever story they come up with that day.

Below, I have included the very first draft that our students wrote this year. You’ll notice that it is mostly story telling and very little spoken lines. As the students become more comfortable in the writing process they begin to tell the story through the spoken language, rather than having the narrator explain everything. You’ll also notice that the students chose all original characters. We always start the writing process by discussing what copyright means and how we can’t steal ideas from other people. It also makes for some pretty interesting characters and ultimately fun storytelling.

You might also notice that some students chose a character but then don’t actually do anything in the play. We allow the students to take on as much of a role in the story as they want. Some students are not as comfortable having speaking parts as others and some just forget to include themselves in the story line. The next writing session always starts by acting out what they had written the last time. This gives the students and opportunity to see what needs to be changed or added. It also is a great way for those students to see whether they are a large part in the play or not at all. The students can then decide to make little changes to the current story or write a whole new story line. This class  has stuck with the same story throughout all of our writing sessions, which has never happened up until this point! There is a first time for everything!

 

Enjoy!

 

January 3, 2017

S.A. – Mom Princess Heart

E.C. – Mom Princess Flower

C.P.– Princess Snow Angel

G.K. – a baby

Z.G. – a talking hamburger

G.S. – a skeleton with fire hat

C.S. – Princess Snowflake

N.T. – a fairy

I.M. – Santa

V.J. – a whale

W.W. – a talking garbage can

F.R. – Princess Pom Pom

 

Once upon a time there was a little home out in the west and it was snowing. In the snow there was a castle where some princesses live. Santa shows up at the castle and he goes down their chimney and he puts some presents under the tree. Then he goes back up the chimney and leaves. Outside the castle there was a moat and in that moat lived a whale. He looks up chimney and he sees Santa coming out. And he says, “Just gimme a present.” And Santa said, “No.” and then flies away.

Inside, the talking garbage can is very happy because Santa gave him some garbage to eat. Princess Snowflake comes out of her room and says, “Whats going on?” and she checks to see if the sun is up and if it’s time for breakfast. The talking hamburger says that the food is ready! Princess Snowflake looks outside and it’s still night time and there were a big snow storm happening outside. There was lighting. The fairy wakes up too and tries to use her magic to make the storm stop and it works!

Then all the princesses wake up and come downstairs for breakfast. They look under the tree and see some presents. They open their presents. Then they go outside and play for a little bit but they get cold so they come inside and take a bath. But they forgot to close and the door and Mom Princess Heart notices a snake has come inside. The snake bites her and she gets hurt. The skeleton comes with fire hose and he blows the snake away with the water.

Princess Pom Pom and the baby take their mom to the doctor so she can get a shot and band aid.

And they lived happily ever after!

The End!

Forest Fours Journals

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!

My favorite part was…

After we returned from the Aviary, our students wrote in their journals about their favorite part of our trip. Below are their answers.

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Woodland Wednesday: Bird Watching Edition

Questions from the heart

As many of you have noticed, our students have been challenged each morning with answering various questions about the human body for our Morning Message. These questions were created and answered by the students. So far, the questions have mostly revolved around our hearts, blood, and veins. Once the children have a chance to use their prior knowledge to take a guess, we spend some time doing research to hopefully find the answer to their inquiries. Yesterday, we had the students write in their journals about one thing they had learned about our bodies this week.

Side note: take a look at that amazing kid-writing!

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Book Buddies!

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.

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The Money Machine

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!

 

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Pre-K Writers

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At the beginning of every school year, we have a handful of students that feel very strongly that they cannot write, so Marie and I make it our mission to prove them otherwise! Usually their main concern is that when they write, it doesn’t look “perfect”. It doesn’t look like an adult’s writing. To this we ask, “Are you an adult? Do you have a job? Do you have to pay taxes?” and the students all laugh and say “No!”. Our main mission is to show the students that as long as they are doing the best they can, then they are writing.

We see many different stages of writing in our class as the students’ fine motor development and knowledge about phonemic awareness increases. All of the following examples of writing are acceptable in our classroom.

The Scribble Stage

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Students who are in the scribble stage are moving their marker around the paper in no particular order or design because it feels good to make marks on paper. They typically use their whole arm to move the marker across the paper.

Representational Pictures

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In this stage, the child will draw a picture to convey meaning. Students often draw “bubble heads” to represent people. Although this is not traditionally referred to as writing, it does exactly what we expect writing to do; convey meaning.

Scribble-writing with Left to Right Progression

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Children who are in this stage have started to notice that we write starting on the left side of the paper and continually move towards the right as we put our ideas on paper. Although there are no letters present, the child is starting to have a better awareness of the structure for writing.

Letter-like Symbols

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Students who make “letter-like symbols” are no longer just making stray marks on the paper. Each symbol has a distinct shape and is starting to mimic the shapes that our real letters and numbers take.

Letter Strings

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In this stage, children have a good knowledge about how to draw the correct shape of the letters however the sounds do not match the words the child is trying to convey. Children may write their favorite letters or some of the letters that exist within their names.

Beginning Sounds

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Students that use beginning sounds in their writing are starting to make the connection that our words are made up of sounds. Students will write the letters that match the first sounds of each word in their message.

Beginning and Ending Sounds

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In this stage students continue to build on their knowledge of sounds by adding in ending sounds. Students continue to write the sounds that they hear, which is likely to differ from the actual spelling of words (i.e. “MI” instead of “MY”). It is also likely that the student will clump all of their letters together without any space between their words.

Beginning, Middle, and Ending Sounds

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When children reach this stage, they have a clear understanding of phonemic awareness (our language is made up of sounds) and are now starting to organize their thoughts by using spaces between their words and have started including the sounds they hear at the beginning, middle, and end of each word.

Sight Words

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In this stage, students have started  moving towards writing sight words based on their actual spelling. They will continue to utilize phonemic spelling for unknown words.

 

Children in our Pre-K class typically exhibit stages ranging from the “representational pictures” to “beginning, middle, and ending sounds”. More conventional, “adult writing” is not expected until 3rd grade. We work with each child on their individual needs based on their own development stage. We strive to create an environment where children are excited and comfortable to express their ideas through writing.

What’s in an egg?

A few days ago, while playing it their secret hiding spot, a few children found a blue egg and quickly raced to show the teachers. Some discussion erupted about what could have hatched from the egg. Many children felt that it was a bird egg, possibly even a Robin’s egg. However, other children hypothesized that it could be something else that hatches from eggs. These are some of their ideas.

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With this new curiosity in all things egg-related, we’ve decided delve in deeper to see what new information we might find!