Weekly Notes: 2/25 – 2/29 2013

Midday: I presented our new artist of the week, this time a musician, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. I told the children that Mozart was born in Salzburg and that he started playing the piano and the violin when he was their age. At age 5 he gave concerts to royalties all over Europe. I also showed a picture and a puppet of Mozart wearing the well-known red jacket and white shirt with lace trimming. And of course, the indispensable white wig…Then we revised the rules of being at a concert, which the children remembered so well from one of our previous lessons. The concert began: I played Mozart’s Sonata in C major. The children were a great audience and loved the music. While we were listening to the concert I showed the children a collage work where they replicate Mozart’s portrait using soft pastel, red felt, stuffing material and some jewels.

Pm: I read the children the book called How Big is a Foot. It is a sweet story about how the foot, as a standard measuring tool, was invented. In order to illustrate why this was necessary I measured the length of one of the rugs with my feet. Then I called Ruby to do the same, and then Claire measured it again. We all ended up with a different number. How is that possible? Did the rug change? No, it was our feet. Our feet are all different sizes. Then I showed the children a pair of inflatable shoes that are exactly 12 inches/one foot long and they can wear on their feet. I had taken photos of various pieces of furniture/objects in our school and made a sheet for the children to measure the distances between them. For example, in order to find out how many feet there are between the frog tank and the pink cubes they had to wear the shoes, walk heel to toe and count their steps until they got from one place to the other. Then they recorded the number they counted.

Midday: Since we are approaching the end of our amphibian unit we revised all the things we learned about this group of animals. The children remembered so well! I can assure you they are real frog experts! We also had Story Time with Caroline and had tremendous fun! She read the following books:

  1. Randy Riley’s Really Big Hit by Chris Van Dusen
  2. Stuck by Oliver Jeffers
  3. The Cat on the Mat is Flat by Andy Griffiths
  4. Minerva Louise at School by Janet Morgan Stoeke

Pm: I showed a short film about the African bullfrog and how the father frog takes care of his offspring. The African bullfrog lays its eggs in a small pond adjacent to a large pond where there are no predators to threaten the tadpoles when they hatch. However, due to the hot sun the water evaporates from the ‘nursery pool’ and the tadpoles need to get to the large pond as soon as possible. This is when father bullfrog comes into the picture; he digs a tunnel between the main pond and the nursery pool and leads the way for his offspring into security. Amazing, isn’t it?

After that I showed another measuring work, the Frog Jumping work. The children roll out a rug and stand on the edge of it placing their heels against the edge of the rug. They do a long jump and with a popsicle stick they mark how far they jumped. Then they measure the distance with the number rods and fill in a chart to see how far they jumped.

Midday: As a follow up to our art lesson on Mozart I played Mozart’s overture to the Magic Flute as the children were gathering for circle. Then I told them that besides being a great musician and composer Mozart was also famous for writing operas. We discussed what an opera was and then I told them the story of the Magic Flute accompanied by samples from the most popular songs from the piece. The children were enchanted by both the story and the music and listened attentively for the whole time. I hope you will hear them singing Pa-pa-pa away and talking about the characters.

Pm: We retold the story of the Magic Flute together, but this time I showed the children the pictures in a kids’ book version of the Magic Flute. It was fascinating to see how well they remembered the plot. They actually filled in the details that I forgot to mention for the second time. Then I showed them an art project where they could make a picture of one of the characters in the story using water color pencils, gold paint and various accessories for decorations. So far all the children chose to do a portrait of Pamina, the daughter of the Queen of the Night. We’ll see if they decide to do a picture of Papageno, Tamino or the other characters.

I also showed a reading work; I introduced our first phonograms: th, ch and sh. After practicing what sound the phonograms make we matched objects to them that start or end in the same sound.

Am: We had music with Jan! The children were having lots of fun experimenting with various rhythm instruments and activities.

Midday: I told the children that I had noticed that the goodbye window is all smeared with the kisses and hearts and love that they are exchanging with their mommies and daddies each morning, so it needs a thorough cleaning. So I showed them our Window Washing Work. Dear parents, take advantage of your children’s window washing skills; let them wash your windows for you!

Thursday being our designated day for Spanish, Jan revised the names of the clothes with the children, adding two new ones: underwear and sweater.

Pm: I presented a Sound Bingo Game and the Square of Pythagoras Work. The children worked very hard all afternoon and were engaged in a variety of language, math and art work.

Morning: Our letter of the week was ‘s’ and the animal of the week was sea star. This time I could find a large collection of objects starting with ‘s’ and the children happily added some more.

Pm: I showed an Instructions Decoding Work in which the children look at a series of pictures and match their initial sounds to the correspondent movable alphabet letters. When they are done with the matching, they sound out the letters in order to decode a secret message that might say: jump, nod, sit, stand, blink, etc. and then the children carry out the instructions. The activity promotes sound-letter recognition, sounding out letters, reading and reading comprehension. I also put out a shoe lace tying work, so don’t be surprised to soon see your children tying their own shoe laces!

Have a great weekend,