Gaga: it’s what’s up outside

On Monday we found something new on the playground.

For anyone that hasn’t seen one of these yet, it’s called a Gaga Ball Pit. Think less traumatic dodge-ball. While the older children are working with Mr. Cooper to create a set of school-wide rules, Miss Davis taught our class a simplified version. All players start on the edges of the court while one person tosses the ball into the middle. At that point, all of the players begin running around either avoiding the ball or trying to push it with their hands. If the ball hits you between your knees and feet, you are out and climb out to cheer on the other players. What makes this much more relaxed than traditional dodgeball is that the children are not allowed to throw the ball. They have to swat it toward other players. If the ball flies out of the court, the last person to have touched it is out. Although the big kids may eventually design more rules and procedures, this version is just fine for our five-year-olds. The playing field is more level for beginners than any of the ball grass games we’ve played and game time is fast. It’s also a great way to encourage the children to pump up those heart rates and get a little cardio in.

How’s your bucket?

HowFull

This week we read, “How Full is Your Bucket? For kids.”  In this story, we learned that each of us has an invisible bucket we cart along with us everywhere.  With each negative interaction or event drops of “water” drip out.  When your bucket is empty, it can be hard to be kind or helpful.  It can also make you feel sad or irritated.  On the other hand, with every positive interaction or event, our bucket fills up.  We also found out that when we are kind or helpful to others, not only do we refill their bucket, but add new drops to our own, too.

Some days, your bucket seems to be leaking like a sieve.  Your alarm clock didn’t go off.  You burnt the toast.  Your dog stepped in the mud and then jumped on your pants as you walked out the door.  All of these tiny little things take from your bucket.  Children and adults are more quick to anger, irritate, judge,  and outright react without thought when their bucket is empty.

We’ve been noticing when our buckets are losing water and when we can help fill another person’s bucket.  Today on the playground, I saw children filling buckets by sharing binoculars, taking turns on the swing, helping others build once a building had collapsed, and by inviting friends to join them in play. If you notice your bucket is a bit low, try a small act of kindness.  You’d be surprised how quickly it will fill back up.

 

Forest Fours

Yesterday was our first official Forest Four Day.  Kindergarten and Pre-Kindergarten spent about two hours exploring our Northbound Trail.  The undergrowth sprouted up beyond our knees over the summer, leading to a lovely, wild excursion.

We made collections:

 

Tried some problem solving and teamwork:

 

Repaired forts:

 

Took on some challenges:

 

 

And searched for wildlife:

 

One Little Pigeon and the Big, Bad Spider: The Final Draft

Last night we shared our movie with family and friends.  We rolled out the red carpet, enjoyed pizza and salad, and smiled for the paparazzi.  This project couldn’t have been possible without the children’s creative ideas and the help of Mrs. Haluszczak.  Filming in the past, we discovered that attempting to film the story straight through was a painfully long process.  This year, we tried arranging filming day a bit differently.  While Weird Eric and I worked with current scene actors, Mrs. Haluszczak took the remainder outside.  They spent the morning exploring Spring as it presented itself that day.

For those that are intersted, our final draft follows.  I’ve also attached some of our shot notes and the storyboard if you are curious to see how we organized ourselves for this process.

2018 Pre-K Movie_Final

Scene I: Pigeons’ House, exterior

Narrator:  Once upon a time there was a little pigeon playing basketball.  A Big Bad Spider came along.

BBS: “What are you doing?”  

Pigeon: “I’m playing basketball”

Narrator:  Then the pigeon ran into his house.  The BBS was very hungry and now he was grumpy and lonely.  He knocked on the door.

BBS Knocks

BBS: Pretty please, can I come in and get some food?

Pigeon:  Not by the feathers of our feathers, feathers, feathers!

Narrator: The BBS tries to wrap the house in a web.

BBS tries to throw a web on the house

Narrator:  The police officers came.  

Four police officers and two police dogs enter the scene.

Officer X: Halt in the name of the stars!

Officer R: Halt in the name of the star loft!

Officer N:  You’re going to prison.

Officer F:  I’m going to capture the Big Bad Spider

The BBS is hiding from the police.

Officer N: The police dogs can sniff out the Big Bad Spider.

PD V:  We’ll find him, sir.

Police dogs run back and forth sniffing for the spider.  Eventually, they find him and go get the police officers.

PD Kate: Woof Woof! We found him!

PD Victor:  We found him! Can we have lunch now?

Officer R:  Yes, you may.

Officer X:  Good job, doggies!

Officers F & N:  Good job today!

Police give the PDs dog bones.

PD K:  Woof, woof! Thank you!

Narrator:  They captured the BBS and took him to the police car.  

Police take BBS to car and drive away.


Scene II: Pigeons’ house, interior

Narrator:  The pigeon decides to watch tv.  

Pigeon W: (turning on the tv using remote) I’m going to watch, “The Unicorn Drives the Bus” show.  


Scene III:  On the TV, Unicorn driving a bus

Narrator:  The Sparkly Unicorn decides to drive somewhere.

Sparkly Unicorn:  I’m going to have some mac and cheese and some Brussels sprouts.

Narrator:  Then the Sparkly Unicorn gets dressed in pink stuff.  Then she puts on some make-up. She begins to drive.

Sparkly Unicorn: I have to pick up White Cat on the way.  

Pick up White Cat on the bus.

Sparkly Unicorn:  Come on, let’s go to our meeting.

White Cat: I hope we have fun at our meeting.

Sparkly Unicorn:  Sparkle Butterfly and Rainbow Butterfly are going to be there.

White Cat:  Ok. Well, that sounds fun.

Narrator:  They drive to the meeting.


Scene IV:  An office or meeting place

Narrator:  Rainbow Butterfly and Sparkle Butterfly are at the meeting.  They are all talking about work.

Improv “work talk”, Sparkly Unicorn, White Cat, Rainbow B, and Sparkle B.

Narrator:  Rainbow Butterfly and Sparkle Butterfly accidentally end the meeting by being too silly.  

Rainbow Butterfly and Strawberry leave scene.

Sparkly Unicorn & White Cat: What in the world!!!!


Scene V: The bus

Narrator:  White Cat and Sparkly Unicorn get back on the bus and leave.  After they drive for a while, they stop and go to sleep.


Scene VI:  Pigeons’ House, exterior

Narrator:  The pigeon goes back out to play basketball again.  

Everyone that isn’t BBS or police slowly comes over and says, “Can we play, too?”  All play basketball for a bit.

Order:  Rainbow G, Sparkly B, Sparkly Unicorn, White Cat

Narrator:  Then they all get tired and fall asleep in a heap.


Scene VII:  Police Headquarters, interior

Narrator:  The police officers drive the BBS to jail.  

Police taking BBS through the headquarters.

BBS:  “I just wanted some food!”  

Officer X:  We have some spider webs in the closet.

PD V:  They are really yummy.

PD K:  They are super good for spiders.

Officer N: They are very healthy!

Officer F:   “We have a web cage that can help you with that!”  

Officer R:  You have to keep eating it all day because we have lots.

Narrator:  The cage is made out of webs.

BBS: This cage is GREAT!

The BBS eats the web jail.  

Officer R:  “We’ll drive you back if you say please.”  

BBS:  “Please drive me back.  I want to make new friends.”  

Narrator:  The police drive everyone back to the pigeons’ home.  


Scene VIII:  Pigeons’ House, exterior

Narrator:  Everyone was inside when they arrived.  

Officer F:  Go knock on the door, spider.

The BBS knocks on the pigeons’ door.  

Pigeon:  “Who’s there?”

BBS:  “The Big Bad Spider, can I please have some webs to eat?”  

Pigeon:  “Sure! Here’s a web.”

Pigeon hands BBS some web.

Pigeon:   “You can have as much as you want.”

Rainbow B:  Let’s make a cake for the spider.

Officer X:  We’ll make it banana flavor

Sparkle B:  Let’s have a party.  

Narrator:  Everyone has a party at the pigeon house.

Dancing and partying ensues.


If you are curious about organizing an amateur shooting schedule here is how I did it:

Play2018_Storyboard

2018 Movie_Shots-character

Shooting_Order_2018 Movie_Shot List

Unboxing a Mystery

P1240712An unusual box arrived today.  Curiosity and excitement are bubbling out the door and down the hall.  What could be inside?

  • A hamster in a cage, because I saw one once.
  • A turtle because ___ put his finger in and he said something bit him.  It must be a turtle.
  • I think it’s a stuffed cat.  Stuffed cats come to your house in a box like that.
  • Glass because you said that it is fragile and can’t get hot or cold.
  • A turtle because that’s what some other people said.
  • A real cat.  When kittens came to my house, they came in a box.

We tried listening to the box for clues.  Unfortunately, we didn’t hear anything that might give us clues.

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Everyone wrote down their ideas using one of our Feely Box Friday forms.  The top says, “I think it is a________.”  We use the bottom to write about what we actually find.

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Finally, we opened the box.  Its contents were not what we expected.  Inside we found bugs! In fact, there were four containers of them.  The bugs are very small and a few of the children were a bit nervous that they might be poisonous.  I quickly assured them that I would never invite a dangerous bug into our school.  The package also contained some white fuzzy things, two little Petri dishes with what appear to be seeds, and some sort of crispy, hard thing that reminded the children of a butterfly “cocoon.”  I’ve set up all of these items in an observable space so we can keep an eye on them.  Our little scientists are looking forward to watching this drama unfold.

 

The Question of a Hole

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Big discussion this morning in the forest: What made this hole?  The first discovers were sure it was a snake.  Laughing, screaming, and yelling warnings while running through the woods followed.  This brought the rest of us in for closer inspection.  Many assured us that it was definitely a snake hole.  That is until we were presented with another idea.

MF:  It is not a snake hole. It is a mole hole.

Mrs. F:  Oh, how can you tell?

MF:  Mole holes have the dirt pushed up around the edge like this.  Moles are bad. My grandpa has them all over his yard.  We put little yellow worms in that the moles don’t like and they go away.

VJ:  Snakes don’t dig holes.  They slither and there are no slithers here.

FD:  Moles aren’t bad.  They are cute.  I held one once and they are cute.

GS:  Yeah, moles are good for the world.  They help trees and plants grow.

AZ:  No, it’s definitely a snake hole. RUN!!!!

After this discussion, some of the children remained to contemplate the origins of the hole.  The rest ran off to run from the attacking moles and snakes.  It appears it doesn’t matter what is attacking, it’s just fun to run around hiding from the imaginary threat.

The Properties of Snow

We had the most perfect snow for our Forest 4s this past week!