Phew! February is OVER! We can now start at least looking for signs of spring. This is a great opportunity for you to look with your child so they can begin to understand what season changes mean. Here’s some signs:
—Birds appearing in larger numbers; spring songs from robins, cardinals, sparrows, etc. (they’re marking their territories); look for birds’ nests in the trees before the leaves come out.
—Flowers: the earliest flowers are the snowdrops and crocuses, and then the cilla and daffodils. You might see some little bumps in the soil where they are getting ready to appear. Tulips come a little later. Look now for pussy willows and forsythia shrubs. You can cut pieces, put them in water and watch them blossom in your home!
—Trees: you can see little sprouts ~Az1where leaves will appear. In flowering trees you’ll start to see the flower buds.
–Look for dirt as the snow melts. Notice how hard it is and how difficult it is to dig in it. Gradually the dirt will become muddier and softer as the ground thaws.
–You might see signs of other animals moving about more. Last week we saw a raccoon in our alley. The squirrels will be more active as they look for mates and rebuild their nests.
–There will be an equal amount of daylight and night time on March 20 (Vernal Equinox). Watch as shadows get shorter as the sun appears higher in the sky. Look for shadows at certain times of the day and notice how they are changing in size from day to day.
Do you have more signs of spring? Please share them with us. We’ll be looking forward to your spring collections (new leaves or flowers, robins’ eggs, photos, etc.).
Some places you might want to take your child for nature walks are:
Wooded Island (behind the Museum of Science and Industry) – there are millions of cilla growing there in the spring and it’s also a bird sanctuary.
Washington Park Lagoon (east of the field house and west of Cottage Grove)
Montrose Harbor Nature Preserve (get off of Lake Shore Drive on Montrose)
North Park Nature Center (5801 N. Pulaski) – last time I was there I got to see and hear thousands of frogs mating!
We have had three new students in our morning class. Abdui came over from room 405 a few weeks ago, and this week Randall (aka RJ) and Upamanyu joined our classroom. I hope you’ll all help our new families feel welcome. We have room for 1 more student in the afternoon session.
The children learned to listen to and dance to a number of jazz songs and artists, including Ella Fitzgerald, Louis Armstrong, Sonny Rollins and Miles Davis. We also played jazz on real records and so were able to tie our study into our study of circles. It was a lot of fun!
We had a great time on Camping Day. What a great way to help us get through winter! Thank you to everyone who brought in tents and camping equipment and to those of you who stayed to help us really enjoy it. We pretended we were on a camping trip, with sleeping bags, a pretend campfire, songs and stories, and even a show of the northern lights (Aurora Borialis) with our overhead projector! The children went on a pretend hike where we climbed through tree limbs and under rocks and even went to a bear’s cave! With a little imagination you can do anything, even imagine a warm day! Photos are on the way, as soon as I understand how Dropbox works.
We are planning a trip to The Point (55th St) for a real picnic and campfire for all our families when it is really warm. We hope you can all come. Friday, June 13th we will be having a full moon. Shall we plan for that day? We can do it earlier in April and May also, though the full moons will be midweek.
We’re finishing up our author study of Jan Brett. We will be starting to read books by Gerald McDermott who wrote and illustrated a number of folktales from American Indians, ancient Mexicans, Africa and Brazil. We’ll start with books about the sun, including “Arrow to the Sun” (southwest Indian), “Raven” (northwest Indian) and “Musicians of the Sun” (Mexican). You see a theme here? We do what we can. Hopefully we’ll read up some sunshine and warmer weather.
For the next few months we’ll be reading a number of versions of the Three Pigs. There are many, many versions. At the end of April, the Kohl Story Bus will be making an appearance at Ray all decked out with the Three Pigs story. While we’ll take this study in whatever direction the children prefer, I’m thinking that construction will be a part of this, including some carpentry. If you would like to help us with this, we would love the help. We’ll need wood. We have tools, safety glasses and a portable work bench. We will also need other kinds of building materials. Because of allergies, we won’t be able to bring real straw or hay into the class.
HAPPY BIRTHDAY DR. SEUSS!
Today is Dr. Seuss’ birthday. He would have been 110 had he not died in 1991. We’ll celebrate by reading the “Cat in the Hat” tomorrow.
We have been learning about shapes for this last month, including triangles, rectangles and squares, circles, and some more complicated shapes like hexagons and octagons. We learned a little about parallel lines as well. The best way for children to learn about shapes, of course, is to play with blocks, something we do daily. As is usually the case with children, play becomes the best classroom.
The children have been enjoying the ipads! They write stories on them and play a game that involves creating a 3 part pirate story (Toontastic Jr.). We have other apps that we’ll be teaching the children. I’m working on getting an efficient way to share their stories with you. Please bear with me. I was raised in the pencil and paper generation and sometimes this stuff is a little hard.
These next two weeks are ISAT testing weeks. We do not do any ISAT testing in preschool. We’ll continue with our regular program.
Scholastic Books – March Catalog due MARCH 14
If you would like to order books from the Scholastic Catalog, you can do so by either filling out the order form on the back of the catalog and pay for it with a check or cash, or you can order online. To order online, go to www.scholastic.com . You can set up an account there and place your order. You will be asked for the CLASS ACTIVATION CODE which is H8RPD. The books will be delivered to the classroom. Thanks to Kristy Papczun for taking care of our orders.
Please return library books, in the canvas book bag, to the black milk crate in the cubby area. Thanks to Emma Bourgessa and Kara Scott, we are a lot more regular about sending books home with the children. Please make sure you return borrowed books. You can look at the library pocket with your child’s name to see if they have an unreturned book. If you’ve lost your bag and need another, they are $2.00 each. I’ll be ordering more bags for next year’s class and will order some extras.
In general, if it’s 25 degrees including windchill we will not be going outside. This means we rely on you to get your children outside. We stay in if it’s raining, though if it’s warm enough we will go out and play in the snow. Please make sure your child has snowpants , waterproof mittens and boots! If the temperature is about 30 and there’s snow on the ground, we will go outside!
If you haven’t sent in supplies this year, we need:
low-order dry erase markers (thin)
liquid hand soap
ziplock bags (quart and gallon)