Playful Directions

Mrs. Forst's Pre-Kindergarten Blog


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Where does the water go?

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.

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Luckily, the weather has been cooperative, providing lots of direct observation opportunities.  Who knew playing in the rain could garner so much learning?

 

 


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Freezenburg Princesses Premiere

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!

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Thank you to all who were able to join us last night and to all those that made this fabulous evening possible!


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Filming Day

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!

Enjoy!

 

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!

The End!


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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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Letter Builders

In the past week, the students have been playing a game during center time called “Letter Builders” where they work with various wooden shapes to build a given letter. At the beginning of the game, the students are given a card with a letter displayed on it and they are asked to figure out which pieces they will need to make their letter. They then take the wooden pieces and place them right on top of the letter card. In most cases, the students exclaim how easy the task is and that they are ready for more of a challenge.

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Once the students are comfortable with their abilities to manipulate the shapes, the letter card is then placed on a stand that sits in the middle of the table. The students must now create the letter shape while looking at the letter card from afar rather than directly in front of them. While this seems like it should be an easy task, the children actually must now use their executive functioning skills and working memory to hold the shape of the letter in their minds while searching for the appropriate pieces. Then they must create the shape of the letter in front of them without the help of the card underneath as a guide. The letters that use more straight pieces tend to be the easiest for the students to create, while the letters that use curvy pieces or letter that requires the students to cross the midline prove to be the most challenging. Some of the letters require the students to overlap the pieces, which created an extra challenge for them to tackle.

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The last step in the game is when the students must create the letters completely on their own. The letter cards are put away and the student are asked to create the letter completely from memory. This is obviously the most challenging as the students must think about what shapes they will need without an example in front of them to use as a resource. Some students quickly problem solved this issue by looking around the room for the letter they were working on or even looking at a neighbor’s completed letter. The more the students work with the letters and their shapes, the easier the task becomes.

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Today, we focused on creating uppercase letters as they are easier to form. Next time we play, the students will be challenged with creating lowercase letters with the wooden shapes. This makes the task slightly more difficult as the students will have to make sure their letter shapes are facing the correct direction. When shifted, even slightly, it can be easy to accidentally create the wrong letter. Letters such as b, d, p, and q look remarkably alike and the students will have to stay focused in order to create the correct letter. We know that our Pre-k Letter Builders will be up for the challenge!


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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!


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So very much going on!

Goodness! We have had a whirlwind of discoveries this week. We’ve found “frogs” hanging out on our log circuit, mysterious yellow goo appeared on the wood chips, towers of blocks curiously refused to crumble, and the ramps in the construction zone have found configurations unseen before.  Oh, and I almost forgot! There has been a rash of author sightings within these four walls.  With so many options, it’s hard to choose what to research next…