This week, after lots of play and then parent teacher conferences, we took a cupcake break. We went to Baked to see how cupcakes are made, and then we got to decorate our own. We walked on the shape rope with our adults down the street in the wind and cold. We waited for the crosswalk light and we said hello to the construction man. We were careful on the stairs down into the bakery. "Big oven!" said one classmate. "Look, cups!" said Romeo. Everyone was so impressed by the display. When we sat down to decorate the cupcakes, we found out that Grady does not like frosting, while Oliver loves the frosting. Also, some classmates put lots of sprinkles, while others carefully put a few. It felt like one big family eating together with some of our actual families even in the same room. As November and December come, we will be asking "Who is our family?" and "What does family mean?" What an amazing morning!
In the month of November, we are utilizing nature to learn and explore in the 2B classroom. We are counting leaves, practicing color and texture recognition, using art, and playing games related to nature such as "I spy..." and "Going on a Bear Hunt." Science, math, art, literacy, and creativity can all be found in our nature related activities. Also bridging the connection between classroom, city, home, and the outside world is so important for their developing minds and critical thinking. Today, we examined leaves and pinecones with the magnifying glasses. "What's that?" Alisha asked about the white growths on the edges of the pinecone. "I don't know, maybe its dried mold. What color is it?" Hillary asked. "White. What's mold?" said Alisha. "That's a good question. Sometimes it grows on things outside." said Hillary, who needs to do more research. Questions that arise from things the kids don't see on a normal basis are the most important questions for creativity and critical thinking. If you have a chance, please take your children in nature as much as possible so that they can explore and question new things.
This week, we noticed a much bigger shift from parallel play to group play in the 2B class. This has included "copy cat / monkey see monkey do" mirroring behaviors (as seen in the paint video below), group play in dyads and triads with cars, animals, and in the kitchen, and group games like hide and seek - a game that Oliver initiated today without any ideas from teachers (in the video below). Moving to group play is an important developmental milestone in socialization. In the link below, you can see ideas on what to expect and how to facilitate your child's socialization skills.
This month marks new learning objectives and milestones in the 2B class. As mentioned before, our school wide intent this year is focused on child identity, and specifically for November and December the emphasis will move towards the child's relationship with friends, family, and the community. In our classroom and for development and cognitive milestones, we will be working on number recognition (1-10), choices and preferences, memory and recall, story telling and sequencing, critical thinking and problem solving, communicating needs, wants, and emotions verbally; new artistic projects & songs, and continuation of scheduling and potty training.
Today, we celebrated ourselves and our accomplishments in the 2B class. Our school wide intent this year is focused on "child identity," and in the 2B classroom, we have brought our beginning of the school year curriculum to self identity. We have most specifically accomplished learning our names, our friends' names and faces, our bodies, our likes and dislikes, and ways to communicate our needs and wants.
It was such a pleasure to have the whole 2B classroom with us today and at least one parent or guardian present for each child. Our faces lit up with excitement to see the pancake feast at the table and we loved making handprints with our friends, teachers, and family. Last, but not least, we were able to show you one of our learning accomplishments - our name and face recognition, counting skills, listening skills, critical thinking & emotion recognition, and creative self-expression - all of which take place in morning meeting, as well as throughout the day. What a beautiful celebration indeed, when we all got up to dance during the name game, and supported our 2B friends when it was their turn.
As mentioned in yesterday's blog, below are snippets of video from our "skeleton dance" and other dance / focused listening songs, which have been teaching aides in our curriculum presentation of the human body as part of our self identity segment of child identity. In the coming months and school year, we will begin to take a look further out at our friends and families, and then our neighborhoods, city, and culture.
This week, the 2B classroom has been extra excited about Halloween! Maybe, all of the fall colors in our art has helped, but my oh my we are ready. Everyone's favorite book this week is called Even Monsters Need Haircuts. "What's that?" asks Alisha. "What is he doing?" asks Jude. "A mummy!" shouts Lauren, while Oliver says, "Hey, there's a skeleton like in our class!" We have fun naming the different types of monsters in the story and we laugh when a monster plays a joke and pretends to be a human.
In Spanish this week and last week, our teacher has a presented a Halloween song about monsters too. We learned the names of the monsters in English and in Spanish and we get to do fun dance with it! "Oooooo!" Alfie makes the sound of the ghost.
As part of our curriculum, we have presented Mr. Skeleton in the classroom. Everyone in 2B has practiced being gentle giving high fives to the skeleton and dancing the skeleton dance to learn about parts of the body (a video of this will hopefully be posted tomorrow if we find the cord for the other camera)! Bones like the hip bone and back bone and neck bone remind us of our personal identity within the space and we point down, behind, and around to the different bones in the body. We really love dancing with Mr. Skeleton and maybe when Halloween is over he will stay with us!
This week, in addition to focusing on memory and recall, we have really been practicing the development of our fine motor skills. On Monday, we used our hands to scoop out the insides of our Jack-O-Lantern and we used our fingers to examine and count the tiny seeds inside. With Diane on Tuesday, we were grasping plastic knives to spread cream cheese and apple butter on our tea sandwiches. We worked on Wednesday placing very skinny birthday candles into birthday cakes during morning activities. On Thursday, Evan let us try a finger piano during music and Debbie let us practice cutting paper with plastic scissors. On Friday, we were so busy in the sand box very carefully painting our clay pumpkins, which had dried from last week. Devin S. even decided to very carefully paint her hand! We are reaching fine motor development milestones left and right. We are strengthening the muscles in our fingers and hands and we are practicing placing, grasping, spreading, pushing, poking, pinching, and squeezing all in various class games and art projects. How exciting!