Thursday, October 25, 2012

October 25th 2012

Curriculum Newsletter

Ms. Cook's Project
Ms. Cook is working closely with the children this semester with painting. This project was inspired directly from the large interest within the classroom about using paint. Painting was introduced to the children with the intention of enhancing their knowledge of painting as well as increasing their language skills in describing their experiences. During this project the children will be exposed in using various materials to create different appearances with the paint, such as spray painting, marbles, string, and Q-tips. 

For the first activity we explored painting with spray bottles. The students greatly enjoyed watching the paint as it was sprayed onto their paper. From there we decided to use other materials starting out with just finger painting. We talked about what kinds of lines and what type of appearances can we make with our fingers. We looked at the same appearances with using a marble to move around the paint along with a string. After discussing these things with the children, we will use a Q-tip in the next exploration of painting.

These paint explorations are beneficial for the children and have been working hard on making good paintings with the materials given. Another goal for this project is for the children to become responsible painters. This will involve gaining understanding of the use of paint and learn what it takes to be independent while painting.

Ms. Kurtjian's Project

Ms. Kutjian has been noticing a large interest in working with animals on Tuesdays and Thursdays.  When thinking about animals, there are a lot of aspects t consider: how do they move, what do they sound like, what do they do, where do they live etc…  She is looking more closely at all of these aspects and introducing them to the children in a variety of ways to see where the interest really lies.  More recently she has been hearing a lot of talk about animals and their habitats.  She has been working with this idea and have been starting these conversations with the children.  What is a habitat?  

A few days ago the children took some time as a group to talk about habitats.  They spent some time talking about the characteristics of the animals at hand and how that might relate to habitats.  What do monkeys like to do?  Where do you think they do that?  With these ideas, this will hopefully translate into other means of play.  For example, the children have started building animal homes with the classroom materials.  Using a variety of blocks gives us a variety of animal homes.

Thinking about animals and habitats will help the children use known characteristics of animals to help them think about where they might live.  These discussions will also bring in a whole new crop of animals other than what the children are familiar with.  With so many possibilities, Ms. Kurtjian is excited to see where the children take it!

Ms. Gillespie's Project 

Ms. Gillespie is working with the children this semester with sand.  From the first day of the semester the children have displayed a large interest in the sand table.  Every day the teachers would see the children working in the sand and looking throughout the classroom and asking the teachers for tools to use in the sand table.  Playing in the sand tends to be an interest with many children, but Ms. Gillespie thought it would be interesting for the children to understand how the sand moves.

The first steps in the project began by exploring the tools the children could use with sand.  Children often forget the tools they have attached to their own body - their hands.  So Ms. Gillespie started out by having them explore the sand with just their hands.  They found this to be not the best tool to use, but began understanding the beginning concepts of the movement of sand flowing down.  They then moved on to exploring with spoons and cups.  This lead to an exploration with those same tools, but the new set had holes in them that let the sand flow out and not keep it in.  Then they moved onto using funnels and tubes.

With all of this exploration, the children have learned many things. Given the opportunity, sand will always flow in a downward direction.  They also discovered that an item has to be whole to hold sand in it.  Another addition to their learning is that sand flows quickly out of a tube, but slowly out of a funnel because it has a smaller hole.

Next Ms. Gillespie will be attaching slanted and flat cardboard for them to further experience sand moving in a downward direction.  Their current knowledge will be validated with the slanted surface allowing the sand to flow back into the table.  However, the children will learn that a flat surface above the table will hold sand, but not allow it to flow downward into the table without assistance of some kind.

So these are some of our classroom investigations this semester- there might be more to come!  I wonder if any of your children are mentioning these ideas at home...