I am excited for our school year together! I feel truly lucky to be a part of your child’s education. It is important for the children to feel at home in the classroom and come together into a learning community. Our community is made up of unique individuals each with their own learning style, strengths, interests, history, hopes and dreams. I look forward to being a partner with you in your child’s learning experience.
"Education is a natural process carried out by the child and is not acquired by listening to words but by experiences in the environment" -Dr. Maria Montessori
In the last couple of weeks, we have been talking about Ruby Nell Bridges Hall and what she did as a six year old girl for our country. Paving the way for Civil Rights action in the American South. Some of the elementary children came down to our classroom last week and presented the history and legacy of Ruby Bridges. As a school we did a walk with all of the primary and lower elementary students around our school’s driveway in recognition of this special day. It was a beautiful tribute to watch the children share in this experience.
In the afternoon, we started reading the biography of Helen Keller. The children have a curiosity and are sharing thoughtful questions about her disability. They are learning the challenges Helen Keller had to endure and how she is overcoming these challenges by having a determination and drive to achieve her goals. Recently, the book talked about Braille and how blind people can use this to read. We are fortunate to have a sample of Braille in our classroom on our restroom sign. Each of the children took turns feeling the Braille and commented how they were going to close their eyes and feel what it is like to read Braille.
It was great to connect with you all during conferences. It is important for us to check in and share our concerns and joys of your children. The communication we can share brings together the bridge from school to home. Working together, we can help your child to have a successful experience at school. Thank you for taking the time to talk with me.
We are looking forward to our Harvest Feast together next Tuesday. It will be a lovely meal we will share together. I wish you all a Happy Thanksgiving with your family!
I hope you all had a fun Halloween. We celebrated on Tuesday with Pumpkin Fun Day. Our morning consisted of carving a pumpkin and roasting the seeds. They also made Halloween necklaces and colored some fun coloring sheets. As we sat for our group time together, we read a book about Halloween, ate some pumpkin seeds and lit our jack-o-lantern. In the afternoon, the children could took part in face painting, gourd racing, spider racing, dancing and crafts. The children enjoyed this time to celebrate and some different fun for the afternoon.
A few weeks ago, Marisa gathered some children to go outside and collect some flowers to be dried out. They took the time to trim and lay out the flowers to be flattened in some books. When they were dry, the children helped to Mod Podge the flowers onto some white pumpkins. It was a lovely activity to decorate our classroom for fall. They will also be wonderful centerpieces for our Harvest Feast coming up in November.
Our Spanish practice happens every Tuesday during our group time. So far, this school year we have been working on colors, numbers, greetings, family members and food. The children have the opportunity to practice these Spanish words with the language cards on the shelf. They enjoy playing a game of bring me with an adult or with another child. There are also songs we will sing sometimes to help us to recall these words.
Angela Lickiss-Aleo, our music teacher, has brought some unique African instruments to share with the children. She has also taught them this catchy African song representing a traditional dance and greeting to visitors.
Funga Alafia, ashey ashey, funga alafia, ashey ashey
We’ve come to greet you, ashey ashey, we’ve come to greet you, ashey ashey
On November 2nd, we talked about The Day of the Dead or Dia de los Muertos. It is a Mexican holiday where families welcome back the souls of their loved ones for a brief reunion that includes food, drink and celebration. We read a book about this holiday and we shared how we can celebrate those we have lost by sharing stories or celebrating how much we loved them. The kitchen made Pan de Muertos (Mexican Bread of the Dead) and each of the children had the opportunity to try a piece.
I am looking forward to talking with all of you next week for conferences!
As a class, we recognized Black Poetry Day on October 17th. I talked to the children about Langston Hughes. He was a renowned poet and playwright as well as a social activist. As a young person he loved books. He started writing when he was very young and was made “class poet” in the eighth grade. His writing continued and eventually during the Harlem Renaissance, he published “Let America Be America Again” in 1936. This powerful poem expressed the hopes and dreams of black people in the United States and remains one of his most celebrated works. I shared the poem called Dreams by Langston Hughes. After reading it, I asked the children what it meant to them and how it made them feel.
Hold fast to dreams
For if dreams die
Life is a broken winged bird
That cannot fly.
Hold fast to dreams
For when dreams go
Life is a barren field
Frozen with snow.
This week we talked about our five senses. We played the silence game at group time which involves sitting very quiet and still for a period of time with our eyes closed. The children practiced this for a minute and then we opened our eyes and shared what we heard during this time. We read a book about sight and discussed how we can see how others are feeling by looking at their faces and body language. Together, we played a game acting out some different emotions together. Children who learn how to understand emotions in themselves and others are better able to regulate their own responses to strong emotions. We will continue practicing different activities related to our senses and strengthening their recognition of emotions.
It is that time of year to relish in the flavors and smells of fall. The children each helped to prepare applesauce for our snack by coring, peeling and slicing an apple. We were able to enjoy the wonderful smell of our apples and cinnamon cooking in the crockpot all day. The children thoroughly enjoyed eating the applesauce for our snack the next day.
Thank you for joining us for Parent Visiting Day! We enjoyed having you visit the classroom and I know the children were very proud to show you their work.
Emily took some of the children out for a walk last week through our school gardens. They brought back a summer squash. We cooked it up with some olive oil, salt and pepper. We took some time at group time to taste a sample of the squash. Before we took a bite, we looked at some language cards with many different types of squash and pumpkins. All of them had unique names and interesting shapes. Many of the children were a little unsure about tasting it, but most of them gave it a try and some even asked for seconds. It’s important for our children to try new foods because it is more likely they will have a varied and balanced diet later in life. Also, children are more likely to want to try the food if they helped to grow it or helped to prepare it.
This week we talked about bones. What is a skeleton? Do we have one? What does it look like? Skeletons are often depicted as being scary during this time of year with the Halloween decorations they may see. I wanted to educate the children about the importance of our bones and how they do not need to be seen as something scary. We discussed how many bones our body has, what our bones are made of and how we can keep our bones healthy. Ask your child where the biggest and smallest bones are in our bodies.
We have been talking a lot about the season of fall. What happens this time of year? We discussed why the leaves of the trees turn color, focusing on the low levels of direct sunlight and how the chlorophyll in the leaves breaks down. This causes the yellow and orange in the leaves.
The autumnal equinox happens when the sun provides equal amounts of daylight time and night time. Autumn is the season when the duration of daylight becomes noticeably shorter and the temperature cools considerably. It also affects animals in various ways. The turtle digs down deep in the mud of the lake and remains dormant all winter whereas the swallow flies south.
It has been a great start to the school year. The children have enjoyed seeing each other again and getting reacquainted. The new children are becoming acclimated with their new surroundings. We have been busily practicing many grace and courtesy lessons. For example, how to wait for help, how to observe someone working or how to respect someone’s space by asking them before touching their body. These are just some of the lessons we are all practicing as we learn to work together as a peaceful community.
This week we recognized the International Day of Peace. We have been talking about what the word “peace” means to us. As a school, we came together in the courtyard and sang a song about peace. Our efforts to spread peace to one another will hopefully spill out to the many individuals our children will touch in their lives.
This week we had the opportunity to talk about the bountiful harvest this time of year brings us. We read a book about the life cycle of an apple. We taste tested some different types of apples. Each kind brought a different sense of taste to our mouths. Many of the children shared their experience and what apple was their favorite.