Playful Directions

Mrs. Forst's Pre-Kindergarten Blog


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North West City

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.


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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!


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Pre-K Pet Store

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.


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Rainy Day Discovery

This morning’s weather proved to be little finicky as it rained on and off for over an hour but that didn’t deter our youngest explorers. We prepared ourselves with boots and raincoats and then embarked on the great outdoors to enjoy the unseasonably warm day. It wasn’t long before a student noticed a small worm making his way up the side of boulder. We theorized about how he was able to hang on to the rock without any arms or legs. We studied how his body would shrink and then stretch as he so effortlessly moved across the rock once he reached the top. Then, before we knew it, there were two worms crawling across the rock. One student proclaimed that there were so many worms out because it was raining and worms love water. The students took turns gently touching the worm and then squealing with joy. It always amazes me what wonderment can be found on what might seem like a dreary day.


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The Science of Blood

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Yesterday, we took a trip inside our blood to learn about it’s composition. We put our items in the middle of our circle and explained that each of these items represent something that lives in our blood. We started with the large container of yellow water, which we were pretending was our plasma. We explained that plasma is a watery like substance that makes up large portion of our blood. At first, some students were not sure how it could be in our blood because it was not red, which lead us to our second ingredient: red blood cells!

We then added our red blood cells (red water beads) to our blood mixture. The students noticed that the more we added the red blood cells, the more the mixture appeared to be red than yellow. Because of this observation, they concluded that our blood looks red because of red blood cells.

white-blood-cells

Next on the list were the white blood cells (white beads). We then discussed how our white blood cells are the “soldiers” of our bodies that are always working to keep us from getting sick and help your body get better when you do have a cold or the flu.

platelets

Lastly, we discussed how our blood needs platelets (blue pom-poms) because they help our bodies create new skin or scabs when your skin is cut. Each child scoured their bodies for an old boo boo that they could share with the class and naturally they all had an elaborate story to go along with them.

Now that our students have spent some time learning about the composition of our blood, it’s time to learn about how the blood moves throughout our bodies. Bring on the giant, tape, floor heart! Hint: here’s what it looked like last year!

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Drip, drip, drip

Sometimes it is the simplest things that brings joy to our lives. Watching a young child discover the properties of falling water fills me with joy. The wonder and inquiry that is involved is like no other. Somewhere along the way adults lose that wonder, until a child comes along and forces us to see the world through a fresh set of eyes.


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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!