April 27, 2012 Pre-K 5 Newsletter
Dear Parents of Pre-K 5 Children:
We have transitioned from 90 degrees to gusty, cold winter weather! What a Monday! We were bundled up with hats and gloves on Monday! When we pulled the blankets over the children, those who don't normally sleep, slipped into dreamland instantly. I think if anyone had given me a blanket, I could have joined them!
We are off and running with a new unit of study this week which will take us through until the end of the year. We have a huge map of the Chesapeake Bay and the five important rivers that empty into the Bay from Virginia's three peninsulas. We are emphasizing the Indian names of four of the rivers (and, of course, "The Chesapeake" Bay); the children remember the Mattaponi and the Rappahannocks from our study of Native Americans last October and November. We have actual maps that we will be sending home in the coming days so that you can read the map with your child. They are so interested in these maps; it makes for a great learning experience.
On Monday…The children enjoyed an early morning gym class. We read our alphabet coloring story "Zippy Zebra," and had fun emphasizing all of the 'z' words from the story. Since Earth Day was celebrated on Sunday, April 22, we read Caring for our Earth by Sally Hewitt. The children were very interested to know what they could do to help take care of the earth we live on. We will continue this discussion as we talk about the rivers that flow into the Bay, and how important it is to keep them clean. The children then worked on an "Earth Day" booklet which required them to practice some lower case letter formation as well as color the pictures on the pages. This is not an easy practice, but we always emphasize the "practice" aspect of an exercise. They were proud of their booklets.
On Tuesday…We began labeling our large classroom map of the Bay and learning the names of the rivers that flow into it. The Eastern Shore is a bit of a trick to understand, because it seems to be just hanging out in the ocean! (...even more difficult to understand that it is actually part of Virginia) The children are very interested in the map, and they love to be part of pointing to the important places and identifying them. In art class with Ms Schacht, the children used actual pussy willow branches to make their own pussy willow drawings with finger prints as the "catkins." Each new art concept uses a different kind of fine motor skill; these creations are all interesting. We read our Alpha Tales story, "Zack the Lazy Zebra," before working on our letter Z for our alphabet binders. It is difficult to believe that we have completed twenty-three letters of the alphabet. Those who completed their work had an opportunity to identify and color the "Forest Animals of Virginia" worksheets, which will be placed in our Seasons book.
On Wednesday…We began our unit of study for the Chesapeake Bay today by reading Chesapeake Bay ABC by Priscilla Cummings. We talked about our huge classroom map of the Bay before coloring our own maps for our journals. I was very surprised at the amount of interest in coloring the maps…determining where the rivers and Bay were…where the land (peninsulas) needed to be colored. The children were very proud of the fact that they could actually determine these areas and color their rivers all the way to the Bay! Mrs. Fischetti came in to teach more colors; the children have learned red, blue, green, yellow, black, and orange, associating them with animals. She also read a book to the children this week. We read Crabby and Nabby: A Tale of Two Blue Crabs by Suzanne Tate. Suzanne Tate has been writing her nature series for over 25 years. Her illustrator, James Melvin, has worked along side her for all of those years. Both author and illustrator make their home in the Outer Banks of NC. We use this series because it explains life cycles of Bay animals and gives us a reference point to identify them. Mrs. Tate uses the inlets and bays of the NC coastline to tell her stories. Crabby and Nabby (jimmy and she-crab) became a 'couple' with baby crabs of their own. After reading the story together, the children colored their 8 legged, 2 pincers crab illustrations for their journals. They were so proud of their crabs; these illustrations that we work on will be placed in their journals. We want to keep a running documentary of what we have learned about the Bay in our journals. The children work so diligently; I want to take care of their accomplishments.
On Thursday…We prepared for the release of our tadpoles on Friday morning…Mrs. Emery is planning to pick them up and take them to her pond. We read All Eyes on the Pond by Michael Rosen, a rhyming book about the creatures of the fresh water pond. On each page, tadpoles are swimming and developing while the other animals and insects are featured. We were grateful for early morning gym class with Mrs. Watts; the children really needed that time for physical fun in the gym. The children enjoyed an extended playtime inside today…the weather was just not very cooperative this morning. Computer class with Miss Hayes is always fun; the children were identifying objects and their beginning sounds on the computer. We worked on the letter Zz in our Callirobics workbooks; the children are completely tuned in to letter formation!
On Friday… This morning we read Meet Chadwick and His Chesapeake Bay Friends by Priscilla Cummings. Chadwick the Crab meets some of his special friends who also live in the Bay. We had music class with Mrs. Reynolds; they truly enjoy music! Later in the morning, we read If I Ran the Zoo by Dr. Seuss; we omitted just a few pages, because you know Dr. Seuss goes to the extreme when he is concocting zoo animals! We also worked on our numeral 13 from our Scholastic Numeral Practice book. Justin has the letter box for the letter E on Tuesday, May 1. I hope that all of you will enjoy our extra day this weekend. I find it difficult to believe that when we return on Tuesday, it will be the first day of May! We could use another month for the Chesapeake Bay, but we will have as much fun as possible during May!
Thought for the Day: "Some children need more attention than others. There is a great deal of individual difference in this area: some children require a lot of hand-holding and snuggling, while others are content to wave happily to their parents from a distance. For those kids who need a great deal of attention, praise and appreciation are not enough. They need their parents' focused attention and demonstrative affection in order to feel confident that they are loved." When there are changes in the household, children may temporarily need more attention and hands on affection; they have a need to talk through what is happening and how it will affect them. They are looking for reinforcement that they are still loved; that they still have a place of importance in their parents' lives. (Children Learn What They Live by Dorothy Nolte)
I am reminded (every day) of the time I spent with my own children when they were five…every time I prepare a certain food, ride by a Little League field, drive by a soccer field or pick up a tennis racket…read the crazy, wonderful stories that I transcribed for them in their journals. The most important gift you will ever give your child is your time and attention. (And…you don't get a re-do on this one!) Thank goodness for that little icon on this computer!
Have a lovely weekend! Mrs. Ryan