Joy and Wonder
We spend our days as a class laughing, exploring, reading, wondering, talking, climbing, drawing, writing, singing, building, counting, imagining, creating, observing, playing, and otherwise living and learning joyfully.
Before Thanksgiving, we read beautiful books including “Giving Thanks: A Native American Good Morning Message” and drew and shared about what we are thankful for. We sang “Oh, the Earth is Good to Me,” and we each made our own version that included some things we are thankful for. The children also made beautiful cards for their families.
Sunny Ray Planet Pal
We introduced a 2nd planet pal this week- Sunny Ray. We talked about her “super powers,” sang a song about her (based on the Raffi song “Mr. Sun”), played a sun ball game, traced our shadows in chalk, made solar prints with natural objects, and enjoyed the folktales “Grandma Spider Brings the Sun” and “The Story of the Sun.”
We introduced some new materials this week; the marble race tracks were definitely a hit!
Creative and cooperative play abounds on the Oaks’ playground and on our Friday morning visits to the Saplings’ playground. Sure, conflicts do occur, but we work through them together. And there are opportunities for alone time as well (whether it’s coloring ginkgo leaves to make fairy fans, being a planet pal superhero complete with cape, or concocting a dish in the mud kitchen).
Exploring more of the 40 Acres of Woodend
We continue to love going to Hilltop Home 2-3 times a week. Fairies, ninjas, transformers and aliens continue to visit there as well. : )
This week we ventured to the Far Corner of Woodend to the hollow log and the hollow tree (or the “possum pouch” as one child dubbed it). What a unique and amazing adventure. Many, but not all children, climbed into the tree to explore the “tree cave” inside.
Exploring the hollow tree and log made for a truly amazing day, and just when we thought it couldn’t possibly get any better, the Pied Piper of Audubon appeared and serenaded us through Woodend!
That was the best day ever! Except maybe for this day…
It was a perfect fall day at Woodend, under a red canopy of Japanese maple tress.. Some children explored, climbed on logs, swung on branches, while others sat by a tree observing insects and creating little nature books. At the end of the day, the children lay down and looked up at the wondrous sight of the fall leaves overhead.
Finding Animals and Mushrooms
Volcanoes at Audubon!
Some students have expressed interest in volcanoes, so we decided to make our own with sand and pieces of bamboo and with baking soda and vinegar “lava.” Many volcanic eruptions occurred that day at Audubon!
We have begun to learn about ways that animals prepare for and adapt to winter. We are looking forward to continuing this study and also learning about nocturnal animals. And our winter celebration with families is just around the corner!
Books We Read
Every day we read wonderful books throughout the day. A typical morning might start with a group of kids gathering around a teacher singing from song books on the Oaks playground. Later in the classroom, other children perch on a counter top window seat and share giggles over an Elephant and Piggie book. In the afternoon at Hilltop Home, a master naturalist volunteer shares a beautifully illustrated nature book, and later on, next to the fairy house, a few children listen again to the story of “Twinkle”, the fairy who causes quite a ruckus when trying to cast spells with her wand for the first time. Some favorite books we have read recently include:
“I’m Thankful Each Day!” by P.K. Hallinan
“Giving Thanks: A Native American Good Morning Message”by Jake Swamp
“Grandmother Spider Brings the Sun” (Cherokee story)
“The Story of the Sun” retold by Ned Jensen
“Moon Glowing” by Elizabeth Partridge
“Time to Sleep” by Denise Fleming
“Miss Suzy” by Miriam Young
Songs We Sang
“We’ve Got the Whole World in our Hands” (with signs and gestures)
“Oh, the Earth is Good to Me” (with signs and gestures): Oh, the Earth is good to me. And so I thank the Earth. For giving me the things I need- the sun and the rain and the apple seed. Oh, the Earth is good to me.
“The 4 Seasons Song” (with gestures)- Winter, spring, summer, fall. Winter, spring, summer, fall. Winter, spring, summer, fall. There are 4 seasons in all.
In addition, we sang “Sunny Ray” and many songs from song books including “Puff the Magic Dragon,” “Catalina Magdalena,” “5 Little Monkeys Jumping on a Bed” and “5 Little Monkeys Sitting in a Tree.”