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We had a really great week. We are getting back into the swing of working as a group and really learning and not just free playing all day :)
Although we love the open ended concept of our classroom... the kids love being able to take out work of their choice, art materials as they feel the need, & sitting with their friends at the book nook when they want... it seemed like we didn't have enough work on the shelf for the kids to be occupied for the whole "work" period. Beth and I decided to put our heads together and get some of our creative juices flowing. So we spent about 5 hours cleaning out the toys and work we aren't using or don't seem to be very interesting and putting out work that will meet our needs better.
We added a lot of math trays this week. The kids seem to be really interested in the concept of More & Less. So we have decided to add mostly counting trays to see if they have mastered the skills needed to move on to the next step. We will do some simple More or Less activities as a whole group at circle time.
We are doing B & F this week. So we bought a Beta Fish and an African dwarf Frog for the classroom. I want a bunny rabbit very badly, but I'm just not sure I can take that responsibility on right now. So we thought a Fish and Frog would be perfect. So this week we will work out a name for our new friends and graph and vote on the names. I am excited to introduce this concept, as we haven't done it at school as a formal lesson yet. We "vote" lots of times at lunch, who wants juice or milk for lunch, most hands win. The kids will "vote" twice most of the time... they just love raising their hands still at this point.
We added the Toddler Sensory table this past week. We added shredded paper, just to get the Toddlers used to it. Vacuuming up the paper was a lot easier than having sand or water every where. We will gradually work up to that. I have been on-line looking for some interesting sensory table options for the 1yr old/2yr old crowd. I want to introduce them to some interesting tactile experiences, but don't want to always use food or the boring shredded paper. So, if anyone has some ideas... I'd love to hear them. We thought about a little water and fish for this week... or some flour. I think they both would be fun for them. We will continue to search for the perfect sensory experiences for them... I'll let you know when we find them :)
We are still working out our Art area. I have always had paint, playdoh, crayons, water colors, etc... available all the time. It seems it has been quite messy lately, like the kids won't put things away properly, or use quite right. We will be going over some rules and lesson's on handling the work and putting things away properly when done. I work in a Good Shepherd Catechist class on Sundays, and I watched as the teacher went over all the rules today. She pain stakingly went through getting out the rugs, mats/trays, interrupting, and putting material away. She talked about not taking work off the shelf that you didn't have a lesson on and how to respectfully watch another child or teacher do a work. It was nice to have the refresher, I guess because I have these kids all year, I forget that when we make that transition into our "School Year" I need to go over all those rules again. I hope it helps the kids. I know they want to do the right thing and get upset when they feel like they haven't.
Have a great week!!