Every year, building our classroom community is one of my ultimate favorite things to do! I love it because I feel we begin to build our “family.” We learn how we can work together as a team, support each other, and be the best we can be! Every year our classroom community looks different. We have a basic foundation to our framework but each year the children lead us.
This year, I decided to use the book The Peaceful Classroom: 162 Easy Activities to Teach Preschoolers Compassion and Cooperation By Charles A. Smith, PhD as a supplement to my teaching. This book offers activities to build and then support the classroom “family.” One of our favorite songs from the book so far is below. We are currently using this song to start our group. In the book the rhyme goes as follows:
Hands together, make a group
Hands together, make a group
All together, here we stand
This is our group, so lend a hand
After trying to follow the lyrics, the children condensed it and made it their own by chanting:
Together we stand and we lend a hand!
A few days ago, I forgot to begin group this way. I was quickly reminded it was time to link hands and chant. When a friend had to get up to wipe his nose and wash his hands, we all waited to make sure he was a part of the song.
Teachers: What is something you do to build classroom community?
Families: What is a ritual from your family?
How do you teach living and non-living? How do you teach the growth cycle? How do you teach about shadows? insects?
I hear these questions from parents, training teachers and SAU students as they try to learn more about our program and our classrooms. We are lucky enough to have a wonderful outdoor space we call the Beehive. This environment is my third and best teacher! It allows me to support and foster learning, curriculum goals, a love for nature, living things and the world around us.
As I was touring a family last week, the parent told me that they love our “playground.” He then said, “This area is not a playground! This is an outdoor learning space! Learning is found everywhere.” As he looked around, he looked at each of the activities being facilitated at that time. I looked around with him and couldn’t help but think the same thing.
Here is a picture to capture the beauty of outdoor learning. If you look really closely on the child’s hand you can see our discovery! (I’ll give you a hint, it’s green!) Happy learning!
Children in our room have been learning about diversity through music, games and various activities. With such a high interest in music, we decided to learn more about musical instruments. We began by watching a short clip of instruments that are played in various countries. We stopped the video clip at each instrument and discussed attributes of the instruments. We then gathered items from our treasure chest (a box containing items to create two and three dimensional representations), clay, paper and writing utensils and brought that over to the table. Children choose a medium and then used that medium to represent. We currently have recreated three instruments and plan on continuing this through out the rest of the week. Later, a child asked if we could listen to music that used each of the three instruments.
We meet again! It has been so long since I have posted and since you have visited. Welcome back! I will do my part (on writing more) if you do your part on visiting the blog and posting more comments. Can you help me keep our goal?
We had been in a cooking project which lead us to cooking appliances used in the kitchen mainly the skillet, crock pot, blender and magic bullet. We have several questions for someone who might be able to share how electricity works in relation to these items.
Today, several children joined to sketch a cord from a crock pot. One question that has come up several times is whether or not the electricity that powers kitchen appliances is different from those that power our cell phones, lamps, etc. A child wondered if we sketched, investigated, compared and contrasted the two cords if that would answer our question. So, we started that journey today.
Above: A child (4.8) sketches the cord. He counts five lines in the cord and draws five lines on his paper. He then identifies a square and makes it. He then traces the rest of the cord before completing his work.
It’s true. NAEYC’s week of the young Child begin’s today! How are you celebrating it? We’d love to hear your ideas! Below is a link from their website offering ideas for classrooms (and families) to participate in this week. Or… Create your own activities for you and your child(ren) this week!
We are celebrating with an Art Show featuring each child work from each room in our center at St. Ambrose University. We will also have our project work displayed and some of our university student’s work. On Friday, we will be parading around the university campus celebrating childhood. For those of you in the area, we will be leaving our school around 930am and heading to St. Ambrose. From there, we will parade across campus (feel free to join us or wave at us from your office Ambrosians!) and then spend some time enjoying the campus. We will have guest readers, music, and children’s activities during this time. Help us celebrating childhood as they are the foundation for our future!
As we work on our farm project, children have been wondering what animals are on a farm. They also have been wondering if the animals think the same type of food that smells good to us smells and tastes good to the animals. This discussion arose as we learned and studied silage.
Today, after trying cabbage from our garden a child wondered if our bunny, Rio, would eat it. The children ran over calling any adult or child in their path to join them. Children all joined near the bunny and a child fed the bunny some cabbage. To the children’s surprise, he ate it! The children now wonder, “Do horses and cows like cabbage?”
A few mornings ago, a child handed me a scarf and told me all of the things that they can do with a scarf including wearing them in the winter, putting on your head, dancing rhythmically with it and wearing it as part of your outfit. I mentioned that sometimes I will use a scarf if I am dancing (For those of you who do not know, I am first generation born in America. I was raised and taught all of the traditions of our Greek culture). I then explained to the children that many of the dances we dance include the use of a scarf. The children started to ask questions and we then brought up a few videos of several different dances. After watching the videos the children wanted to learn to dance!
A CD was located in the classroom that I had made. I then taught the children three traditional dances. We would start by labeling the dance and then watching it on YouTube. We then would try out each dance without music and then adding music to it when we felt we had learned the steps. After teaching each of the dances, I had to walk away to help a child. When I returned, a child was teaching other children each of the four dances I had taught with complete accuracy.
After sharing this anecdote with mom later that day, she shared her daughter taught her how to do it as well!
Please share any experiences you have from teaching your children things that are important to you!