s is for a real snake’s return visit

snake!

snake

if you’ve read our blog for the last while, you’ve seen this guy before.

snake

cooper has grown older just like us.

snake

i practiced calm and strength and carried him from his cage to circle time.

snake

snake

he really is a sweet snake.

snake

clever and funny too!  when at circle time, he’d move quickly to our chalkboard and slither down the chalk track.

snake

thank you for coming again, cooper!  and thank you, john david, for sharing. :)

snake

About these ads

s is for sense of smell

7086018771_e17086bd8d_z

smelling jars

i love this activity.  the surprise and the guessing and the freedom to explore further.

smelling jars

this time we had cinnamon, lemon oil, vanilla and dill.  after we passed them around at circle time, we left them out for friends to keep on smelling and guessing.

smelling jars

smelling jars

smelling jars

later in the week we added black pepper and vinegar.  mmmmmmmmm!

smelling jars

l is for listening tubes

6939906576_a7ba91b4d5_z

hearing tubes!

{imagine you are hearing me whisper this entire post into a tube pressed to your ear.}

hearing tubes!

after we decorated different sizes of cardboard tubes with mini strips of duct tape, talked about the delicateness of the human ear and needing to keep it safe from too-loud of sounds, the classroom got really quiet.

hearing tubes!

we listened to classroom sounds like our water ball and the clock ticking:

hearing tubes!

we listened to a friend whispering in our tube:

hearing tubes!

hearing tubes!

hearing tubes!hearing tubes!

we listened to the radio that was only one number 2 out of 40 volume:

hearing tubes!

we listened to anything we could hear:

hearing tubes!

hearing tubes!

s is for snake egg

6939971284_c149fda311_z

snake

we used plastic easter eggs, strips of making tape and parts of paper bags to make mini versions of our big mama snake.

snake

at the beginning of the year i mentioned that in the spring, mama snake (who hangs in our classroom all year) would have babies.  the preschoolers remembered!

snake

snake

snake

snake

snake

snake

snake

snake

snake

snake

snake

snake

yeah, mama snake!

snake

mama snake had 44 babies that week…and all 44 were adopted and went to new homes.

snake

s is for sticker art

we’ve done quite a bit of this lately…drawing and dictating.

sticker art

this day we had some stickers as “starting points.”

IMG_4970

we talked about what our cat or dog might need and headed to the “scribble tables.”

sticker art

fellow teachers and parents and those who visit with children know how awkward the glance can be if a child is asked, “what is it?” and they don’t know.  so we say things like, “what do you want to pretend this is?” or “do you have ideas of what this is?” or “anything you want me to say about this blue circle shape?”

sticker art

sticker artsticker art

sticker artsticker art

the other things that these draw and dictate times allow for is teacher/child bonding.  we have those one-on-one moments to visit and make eye contact while in close proximity of each other.

sticker artsticker art

sticker art

and note:  if these kids are ever in charge of a cat or dog, they have it covered!

sticker art

w is for we wish you well, kindergarten-bound friends!

tonight is kindergarten pre-enrollment (aka kindergarten round-up) for our local school district (7 pm at the elementary school that your child will attend in 2012-2013).

wishing stones

at preschool today, one friend brought these stones to show and tell and said, “they are for everybody since you are going to kindergarten!”  i have yet to find out if that was a family plan or one that evolved from our conversations about tonight’s events.  we sent the wishing stones around the circle until all had been held by the warm crayon-smudged hands of the preschoolers.  by the end, the stones were warm and there were lots of smiles.

wishing stones 3

the afternoon class has a couple of friends who will attend kindergarten in a neighboring town and they already had their kindergarten round-up.  they reported a good time with movies about a caterpillar, coloring and round-up being short.  there are a few friends in our afternoon classes who will be homeschooled and we figured out that every day is like kindergarten round-up since they will be at home!

and there are other friends who weren’t here today but will come to preschool later in the week.  their stones, warmed and breathed upon, will be waiting for them.

now we all have a tangible reminder of those who are moving on!

wishing stones 2

be brave, children and parents!  breathe through those growing pains.

e is for egg carton challenge!

we joined in on tinkerlab’s creative challenge…there are oodles of egg-celent ideas over there!

our post-easter-pre-earth-day plans include making another BIG cooperative collage like we did with ellie the elephant a couple of years ago:

egg-celent fun - 01 by you.

egg-celent fun - 07 by you.

then we painted them with white and black paint.

elephant - 02

we used leftover paint to paint paper and recall the concept of a “math sentence”

elephant - 04

then with painted egg cartons, a big piece of cardboard, silver and black duct tape, black crayons, gray crayons and scissors….we made ellie the elephant!  since her initial photo was taken, more paint and crayon has been added.  she still stands guard over the block corner (to watch her baby elephants in the animal tub, of course).

spider web  - 2

 what’s all that yarn she’s stuck in, you ask?

spider web  - 3

a giant spider’s web that she went out to play in one day!

: : : : : :

thank you, tinkerlab, for the motivation to firm up the plans!

e is for easter

our preschool is a ministry of our church, a member of mennonite church usa. while we don’t teach any specific theology or doctrine, we celebrate the birth of christ at christmas and the resurrection of christ at easter. we know families come from all different faith backgrounds and practices and we respect that. so when easter comes around, i am honored to sit and ask the questions. the children provide input, i work hard to guide and watch expressions. it is clear when some kids are hearing some things for the first time. it is clear when some kids are a bit unnerved. those are moments i break in with clarifying statements and the assurance that i will let their families know about these conversations so they can talk more.

still life flower drawing - 02

somewhat similar to a conversation with some already graduated children from last year, here are a few favorite moments from our “what we know about easter” conversations that we do brainstorming style…my writing could hardly keep up:

“jesus is god.”
“jesus is not god. god is god!”
“no, jesus is god and god is jesus.”
“wait. there is another one too.”

“bunnies are like ninjas because they hop around.”

“it was a sad day when jesus died. but when he got out of his cage, it was happy.”

“they found out jesus was gone when they were out looking for easter eggs.”

“i thought god killed jesus on the cross. yeah, he did.”
“no he didn’t!”
“yeah, i think he did.”
“no! god LIKES jesus.”

“the easter bunny knows more because of his brown fur.”

“jesus died and then rose from the dead.”
“jesus is a zombie?!?!?”
{eyes look to me…i ask, “well, what do zombies do?”}
“zombies walk with their arms out and head to the side.”
“zombies hurt people and are mean.”
“jesus can’t be a zombie. he walked normal.”
“he was nice.”
“jesus wasn’t even mad at the people who hurt him.”

“the easter bunny is real.”
“no, the easter bunny is fake.”
“no, the easter bunny is real.”
“no, the easter bunny is fake.”
“no, the easter bunny is real.”
“okay, maybe the easter bunny isn’t fake.”

“people die when they are old and they don’t come back.”
“people die when they are 99 or 100.”
“i know someone who died at 88.”
“now people just go to heaven.”
“jesus must have been magical.”

“people were mad at jesus like they were mad at dr. king.”
“they shot jesus?”
“no. there weren’t guns.”
“he had cuts and sores and didn’t get to eat or drink.”
“dr. king had injuries too.”
“but they let him drink before he died.”

“easter is the happiest day.”
“the easter bunny found jesus first.”
“that’s why we get to go on egg hunts.”
“yeah, we have to practice looking for jesus.”

i always learn something new.
may the promise of new life bring you joy.
happy easter.

a is for april fool’s 2012 {edible paint, grilled cheese and a poopy diaper}

well, there were silly things like when we drank glue (really it was cream put in a cleaned out glue bottle), ate dirt (really it was pudding and oreos), saw a friend who grew his hair from short and blond to long and black (really it was a wig), shared our sneaky snacks with pastor renee, went out the church door (instead of our preschool door)…….but i didn’t get pictures of those moments.  i did of a few other moments, though.

april fool's!!

first off, the pudding in the paint bottle.

april fool's!!

i demonstrate how we’re going to finger paint with it and in the middle of my demonstrations i lick my finger.  oh, the surprise!

april fool's!!

it took some kids a while to warm up to the idea of trusting that it really was pudding.

april fool's!!

april fool's!!

april fool's!!

april fool's!!

it didn’t take some long at all.

april fool's!!

april fool's!!

:: :: :: ::

then we added to our pudding snack with grilled cheese brought by a friend.

april fool's!!

april fool's!!

he waited until everyone was served and had a chance to take a bite, then explained that it was pound cake and frosting!

april fool's!!

april fool's!!

yum yum yum.

april fool's!!

:: :: ::

and then, a show and tell surprise like no other (in all my 17 years!):

april fool's!!

we knew right away from the show and tell friend that it was just chocolate, but that didn’t make it less silly!  smelling a diaper that looked poopy!?!?  trust me, some friends passed it right by.

april fool's!!

april fool's!!

april fool's!!

april fool's!!

april fool's!!

april fool's!!

april fool's!!

april fool's!!

april fool's!!

april fool's!!

as silly as it sounds, it seems like we bonded during this experience.

april fool's!!

april fool's!!

april fool's!!

and sometimes it was enough to just look.  : )

april fool's!!

sweet silly stuff.  happy april fool’s!

april fool's!!