Wow! What a fun week in YK! We finished our first week of our camping unit. The focus this week was on camping gear and the big discussion was about what we would bring with us on a camp out! Throughout the week the boys went on a bear hunt, explored our indoor and outdoor tent, made animal tracks, and explored a “dark forest” with lanterns. For these activities the boys really had to use their imagination. Pretend play is so important in child development. So when we went on our bear hunt throughout the school and when we took our lanterns around our dark classroom forest the boys were building skills in many essential developmental areas. When the boys are engaging in these pretend (or dramatic) play activities they are actively experimenting with the social and emotional roles of life. It is helping to teach them the important moral development skill of empathy by pretending to be different characters, which gives them that experience of walking in someone else’s shoes. It also helps them understand the power of language. It’s amazing to hear them as they engage in their pretend play because you might hear some words and phrases you never thought they knew! We are also always working towards fostering a culture of thinking in our classroom. Pretend play provides your child with a variety of problems to solve. Many times we see boys wanting to play the same role or searching for the right block to make the roof on their house made for a mouse, during these moments we are seeing the boys using important cognitive skills that they will use in every aspect of their lives, now and forever
What a spooktacular week we had in YK! The boys finished their Down on the Farm unit and began A Camping We Will Go unit today! To celebrate all their hard work during the Down on the Farm unit we had a fun filled Hoedown. During the Hoedown, Mr. Hancock stopped by to play his violin for us which was a hit for the boys as always. We bobbed for apples, made caramel apples, herded barnyard animals back into the barn, and so many other fun farm themed activities. Our Down on the Farm unit was ideal for incorporating a cross-cultural unit into our curriculum. Many cultures celebrate a harvest time or festival with which many children can identify. Children have some familiarity with this topic including farm animals, vegetables, animal products, and animal sounds. This unit provided a great opportunity to introduce new knowledge while combining it with something familiar to the boys. We discussed the purpose of farms and various types. A common misconception at this age is that farms are where animals live. They were so surprised to find out some farms do not even have animals! This was also a great way to discuss with the boys healthy food choices by studying various fruits and vegetables that come from farms. During our corn week we gave the boys ears of corn and green beans. During centers they practiced shucking the corn and shelling the green beans. Not only was this an excellent fine motor activity, but it also facilitated a child- directed and process- oriented creative experience.
The boys have loved Spanish class with Señora Watson! Below is the integrated curriculum she has been working on with the boys!
YK boys have been learning simple greetings in Spanish such as: "hello" (hola), "goodbye" (adios), "good morning" (buenos dias), "good night" (buenas noches).
At the beginning of each class we sing a song called "Buenos Dias, Como estas?".
Our current unit is "Farm Animals" (Los Animales de la Granja). We sing songs and imitate the sounds made by each kind of animal, while we sing. I also read a couple of books aloud to the class to practice our vocabulary.
I love it when the boys greet me with “hola” or “adios, always with a happy face, when we see each other outside of the classroom.
I'm looking forward to lots more fun with these sweet boys in the coming months.
Happy Fall (Feliz otoño )
A few reminders, please remember that Monday is a student holiday and there will be no school. We will continue with our Camping unit on Tuesday! In a few weeks we will have a fun pretend camp out that allows the boys to wear pajamas to school that day. We will make sure to send reminders about that! We hope you all have a fabulous weekend!
Pumpkin week has officially ended and our boys had a blast! We had an awesome turn out for Pumpkins with Pop on Friday and want to thank everyone for making the day so special for our boys! This week we spent time exploring and discussing the pumpkin cycle. We brought in a big pumpkin Monday morning and let the boys discuss and share ideas about what they believed was inside of the pumpkin. There were a few boys who referred back to last week when we cut open the apple. They believed that it would be similar to what we found inside the apple. For example, one boy talked about seeds being inside just like the apple. It is amazing to see the boys foster their culture of thinking each and every day. Our carpet time discussions show us great evidence their thinking abilities are continuously expanding. The process of making connections is important because this helps children structure a framework into which they can place new knowledge or pieces of information and those connections can be transferred to all aspects of learning. When we cut open the pumpkin the boys had the opportunity to stick their hands down inside to feel the slimy fibrous strands and seeds or as we like to call them the “pumpkin guts”! It’s no surprise that children learn best with these hands on experiences and it greatly contributes to the fond memories they have later of these early years of learning. After the boys explored the “pumpkin guts”, we let them vote on shapes to carve into the pumpkin to create our own classroom jack-o-lantern! And, of course the boys gave the pumpkin a special name. STEAM ( Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) is incorporated into our Young Knight curriculum and this week the favorite STEAM activity we did was building pumpkin volcanoes! We carved out two small pumpkins and added baking soda, food coloring, dish soap, and vinegar to the pumpkins. The boys LOVED the “explosion” we made! This was a great activity to discuss the concept of “cause and effect”.
Just a few reminders, please send in extra clothes to have in their cubbies that are appropriate for the cooler weather. Also, labeling hats, coats, and other winter clothing accessories would be very helpful. Please continue to check your son's folder each week as we will be sending important notes home and we want to make sure you are receiving them! Have a great weekend!
YK has officially fallen into fall this week! We have started our Down on the Farm unit and this week was all about apples! We explored through touch, taste, and smell. The boys made apple oobleck and homemade applesauce and cider! We spent one morning just examining an apple. Encouraging a culture of thinking into our classroom we asked the boys, “ What is inside of an apple?” many took a moment to really think about it and some responses were; “ it’s empty!“. “a car” and “candy!”. It was amazing to see their thought processes grow and deepen as they shared ideas with one another. Fostering thinking routines at this age can be very beneficial in supporting the boy’s ability to think more critically and promote more self-confidence. When children face certain situations, which need their attention and thought process, they become more alert when thinking is already built into their routine. This in turn promotes positive attitudes towards thinking and learning. When we opened the apple up the boys were amazed to see the apple seeds. Telling them that those apple seeds, when planted, could grow into a big apple tree just increased the ‘wowness’ factor! Another great activity we spent time on was comparing different types of apples. We gave the boys a taste test with red, green, and yellow apples. They described the apples to be sweet or sour. After we discussed the differences the boys graphed their favorite kind of apple. When we incorporate graphing into the classroom we are introducing broader concepts of grater than/less than, or most and least. Constructing and interpreting graphs provides the boys with the opportunity to count and compare sets of objects, which are two big ideas in number and operations. Introducing the boys to graphs at such an early age can help them understand bigger mathematical concepts such as sorting, organizing, counting, comparing, and analyzing! Next week, we will be moving on to pumpkin week! We are also so excited for Pumpkins with Pop next Friday, October 19th. We will meet in the commons from 8:30 to 9:30 for some pumpkin decorating and breakfast with the dads! Boys who do not normally come on Friday are still invited with their dads and will just leave after the celebration. We hope everyone has a great and safe weekend