We've had a wonderful week in the Tzemach class! This week we have started what we're predicting to be a very long study on bugs! This is something the kids have brought up to us multiple times and it's the perfect time of the year to start hunting for bugs. As most of you already know from my email yesterday, my last day will be next Friday, May 5th. This was not an easy decision for me to make as I hate leaving the school year early. However, my doctor and I think it's a good decision as baby boy will be here in a few short weeks! I can't tell you how much I have loved this class of kiddos. They are absolutely precious and I couldn't pick a better group to be my farewell class. I'm planning on taking next year off to stay home with the baby. However, I will definitely find my way back to teaching! From the bottom of my heart, thank you for such a wonderful school year. As parents, you have provided me with so much love and encouragement. You are all wonderful! I'm sure I will be full of many bittersweet tears on Friday. Please keep in touch with me and let me know how everyone is doing next year, as most of us will be spread out to different schools. I'd love to hear about everyone's new year as big kindergarteners!
Ok, back to bugs! The kids have loved this new exploration and we've been overwhelmed with the number of questions they've been asking...yay! To start the week, we made a chart for our bug study. We asked the kids which bugs they were curious about and have been adding questions to our chart as the week has progressed. We'll continue to add our questions throughout the study and we're currently working on a good way to graph our findings. This week has been full of book reading and research. One thing we've been realizing is the similarity in so many of the bugs we're exploring. We've also been able to make a lot of connections to our study of bees from earlier this year.
While we know that worms are not actually considered bugs, we have added them to our study. The kids are insisting that they are bugs and have been begging us to explore them further. We thought we would dive into worms first since they seemed to be such a hit. To start we brought some live worms into the classroom. We laid them out in the middle of the table along with magnifying glasses and rulers and let the kids explore them. They loved this!! Honestly, it was quite hilarious. Some of the kids dove in hands first without hesitation. Others took time to work up their strength to touch them. Others wanted nothing to do with them at all. As we petted and held the worms, we compared sizes and tried to figure out which end was the head and tail using our magnifying glasses. The kids used the rulers to lay out different worms and measure their length. The longest one we could find measured right at 10 inches. Some of the kids even used the worms to form into the shapes of different letters. This started when one of the girls laid 2 worms on the table. When she looked down she saw that one was shaped like an "O" and the other like a "S". She immediately screamed, "Look! The worms are trying to spell Oscar's name!". This started a whole process of encouraging the worm to wiggle and guess which letters and shapes they were making. I love when the kids extend the learning like this. The unplanned stuff always seems to be the best! We have kept the worms in the classroom this week for the kids to continue to explore.
We also spent some time this week making bug boxes. The kids have been wanting to go on a bug hunt so we brainstormed some ways that we could use recycled items in the classroom to make our own bug catchers. We started by gathering any containers we could find with lids. From there we cut the center out of the lids and glued mesh to the existing lid. We then wrapped our containers in paper and decorated them. After we were done, we went out for a bug hunt! We walked all through the woods area and even up closer to the school where we thought we might see bugs. While we weren't very successful with our first hunt, we did gather some items to place in our boxes. The kids wanted a nice environment for their future bugs. They collected flowers, sticks, rocks, leaves, grass, anything they thought the bugs might enjoy walking on and eating. We did catch some ants but quickly learned that these wouldn't work in our boxes. They were way too small and quickly found their way out through the mesh. The kids are taking these boxes home and are excited to hunt for bugs again. If they find any, feel free to bring them in or send pictures! We'd love to see a variety of insects to add to our science center!
We have also started growing butterflies in our room! We were able to find a kit that allows you to follow the whole transformation from caterpillar to butterfly. The caterpillars are very small now so we'll also be able to watch them grow before they make their cocoon. The kit comes with food for the caterpillars as well as steps on how to feed the butterflies once they hatch. We are planning on keeping the butterflies for a couple of days once they hatch and then setting them free in the woods. We have given each child a journal to document their findings. In their journal they can write or draw pictures of the different changes they see. We are giving the kids liberty as to how often they want to check the progress of our caterpillars. They have already started documenting the progress. We're so excited to see how this goes! We have told the kids that this is a fragile process and because of that we aren't touching the caterpillars. However, we can watch them as often as we would like. They seem excited to watch this process!
I also wanted to let everyone know that we are now having Torah Time with Morah Sarit. She will be coming in during the morning to meet with us as a sub for Morah Devorah. The kids were so happy to have her in the classroom and we know they'll love this new time with her! She has a lot planned for them in the coming weeks, which I'm sure you'll hear all about!
We're excited to see where our bug exploration takes us in the weeks to come!
Approaches to Learning:
- Demonstrate growing ability to predict possible outcomes based on prior experiences and knowledge.
- Demonstrate increasing ability to identify and take appropriate risks in order to learn and demonstrate new skills.
- Demonstrate eagerness and interest as a learner by questioning and adding ideas
- Demonstrate delight or satisfaction when completing a task, solving a problem, or making a discovery.
- Demonstrate self direction by making choices among peers, activities and materials.
- Demonstrate confidence by participating in most classroom activities.
- Respond respectfully to positive and negative feedback from adults most of the time.
- Use classroom materials responsibly, most of the time.
- Show interest in informational texts about familiar objects
- Begin to identify significant words from text read aloud.
- Recall some details in stories read aloud.
- Begin to ask questions about the causes of events they observe or hear about in books.
- Explore books independently.
- Show interest in informational texts about familiar objects.
- Begin asking "how and why" questions when looking at texts.
- Investigate solutions to simple problems.
- Locate patterns in the environment.
- Integrate mathematical ideas into personal representations.
- Show one-to-one correspondence through ten when counting real objects.
- Identify the positions first through tenth using concrete objects.
- Associate time concepts with a clock.
The beginning of our bug chart...
Exploring and learning with worms...
Working hard on making sturdy bug boxes for our hunt...
Hunting for bugs in the woods and collecting nature for their habitat...
Exploring and journaling our caterpillars...
Our new Torah Time with Morah Sarit!...