We had the most perfect snow for our Forest 4s this past week!
At Morning Meeting today we were discussing the upcoming change in weather. For those of you not in our locale, it is 56 degrees here today with rain. Tonight, this will change drastically. We are expecting up to a tenth of an inch of ice this evening with 3-6 inches of snow tomorrow and a high of around 17. I posited the question, “Where does the ice come from?” (They weren’t too keen on my idea that the ice came from trays in the sky.)
When they decided that it came from the sky and the rain, I wondered where the rain came from. One of the children offered that it happened because of the water cycle. She then explained to us that the water cycle meant that the water on the ground evaporated, went up into the sky, made clouds, and then fell back to earth. We tried to find an explanation of “evaporate” and only came up with “you need to have something yellow, like the sun” to make it happen. Finally, another child explained that the sun made the water hot and turned it into vapor. The vapor then goes up to become the clouds and the water vapor parts bonk into each other and get heavier, making it rain. (I still think my idea that there is a big watering can sprinkling water on the Earth is more interesting.)
Then I began to wonder where the snow came from. It took a bit of thinking, but it was finally decided that when it is cold, the water “melts” and turns into ice which turns into snow. I foresee some experiments in our future.
A while ago, one of the students posed a curious question about what happens to the water after it rains. We discussed many possibilities, but eventually came to the conclusion that somehow it ended up in the clouds. One of the most creative methods for this molecular travel was via invisible pipes in the trees that carry the water from the ground to the sky.
This week, we read more information about where water goes and how it travels. The water cycle made sense, but it was still a bit confusing. Hmmm…maybe a little music can help?
Enter Tom Chapin’s The Wheel of the Water:
Following the song, we made up our own motions to help us remember the journey of water as it recycle’s across our planet. This song has now become an oft requested favorite.
Yesterday, I asked the children to write about their favorite part of the water cycle.
Luckily, the weather has been cooperative, providing lots of direct observation opportunities. Who knew playing in the rain could garner so much learning?
Last night, we held our fifth annual Pre-K Movie Premiere where we debuted the masterpiece: The Freezenburg Princesses. Our movie stars arrived in their fancy garb, walked the red carpet, had their picture taken by the paparazzi, ate pizza and popcorn, and even received their very own 3D printed oscars. We could not be more proud of all of the creativity and hard work this class put into this movie!
Thank you to all who were able to join us last night and to all those that made this fabulous evening possible!
Last week, a handful of the students transformed into architects and spent several days creating a city landscape in our block center. The city included parking lots, a school, an airport, a zoo, and of course lots of buildings! Each day, the students added more features to the city such as walls (to keep the animals from escaping), bridges, and more road signs. They also designed maps for their city in case it ever needs to be repaired or remodeled. Then, this week, one of the students proclaimed that it should be called North West City. Each day, the city expands and develops into a more intricate design.
The students have worked together to problem solve when the buildings have fallen apart, where to put new structures, and what to do when they ran out of blocks. The collaboration and synergy has been effortless and is proof that that our once young, wide-eyed students are now confident and ready for kindergarten.
Our class has gone from authors, to actors, and now to movie stars! Today we officially wrapped the filming of our movie and it went off without a hitch. The students delivered their lines, waiting patiently while other’s filmed their scenes, and acted their hearts out. Below, you can see a little sneak peak of our characters in their costumes and how we filmed with a blue screen with the help from Weird Eric (our cinematographer).
As a second treat, I thought you might want to see another glimpse into the students’ writing process. This script was written on January 23rd and largely has the same story line as before. Some of the students have added speaking parts for their characters and they have introduced a problem to the story (the snake). However, no one actually signed on to play the snake, so I guess we had an invisible snake problem. We also had some very imaginative character names that I clearly don’t know how to spell, so bear with me!
S.A. – Mom princess heart
E.C. – Mom princess Bear
C.P. – Princess Butterfly
G.K. – a pot chef
Z.G. – Rainbow the Fairy
G.S. – Gavin the skeleton (with fire hat)
C.S. – Princess Snowflake
N.T. – Izza the fairy
I.M. – Santa
V.J. – a turtle
W.W. – A Prince Zowkoo
F.R. – a princess kitty cat
T.S. – Prince Blaze
Once upon a time there was a little home out in the west where Santa lived 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 turtle. He looks up at the chimney and he sees Santa coming out. And he says, “Just gimme a present.” And Santa said, “Please ask nicely.” And the turtle says, “Please can I have a present?” And Santa says, “Yes you can,” and then Santa gives him a baby for a present and he then flies away.
Then Prince Zowkoo wakes up early in the morning and comes downstairs to see if Santa came. “Santa came! Santa Came!” Izza the fairy comes out of her room and says, “What’s going on?” and she checks to see if the sun is up and if it’s time for breakfast. The Pot Chef says that “the food is ready!” Princess snowflake looks outside and there was a big snow storm happening outside. There was lighting. The storm happened all day and snows a lot.
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 then they come inside to take a bath. Prince Blaze opens the door for the princesses. But he forgot to close and the door and Mom Princess Heart notices a snake has come inside. “A snake has come inside!” The snake bites her and she gets hurt. Gavin the skeleton comes with his fire hose and he blows the snake away with the water.
Princess Kitty Cat and Rainbow the fairy take their mom to the emergency room so she can get a shot and a glued band aid that she has to keep on for a while and that makes her all better. They also check her eyes to make sure she can see alright.
Gavin the skeleton becomes the protector of the castle so that no more snakes or monsters can come inside.
And they lived happily ever after!
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!
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!