Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Wednesday, December 3

A nice, peaceful day today. Everyone got to work and settled down fairly quickly once we returned from picking up Norah. I never know how long it will take to get started once we pick her up. Gene and Norah usually race ahead and wait for Lucy and I, but now with snow on the ground everyone wants to pick it up or eat it or whatnot. Lucy was intent today on picking up a huge chunk of dirty snow and carrying it with her the whole way home. And then she wanted me to carry it because her arms were tired! I'm getting sidetracked. Anyway, my point is that there is often some distraction on the way back to our house. And once we get there, they have to remove shoes/boots, mittens, hats and jackets, and put them all in their proper places. Then they wash hands before starting any work. Sometimes (and I don't know how) it seems to be close to 9:30 or even 9:45 once in a while before all three of them are actually working. And we go to pick up Norah at 9! I wonder if we can improve on that:)

The highlights today were as follows:

coloring a picture
sandpaper letters
all the dressing frames
cutting paper
reading a book

putting dimes in a bottle
putting pins in a shaker
lesson on coloring a picture
bean bowl

pins in a shaker
pooh puzzle
butterfly puzzle
duck floor puzzle

Here are the new works I just mentioned:

"Coloring a picture"...I have been printing out coloring pages from online (look up "free winter coloring pages" for instance), and then laying out a couple choices for coloring. A child would choose a picture, and take it with a bowl of crayons and scissors to a table. Placing the materials on an art mat (we have some wild crayoning kids and the tables don't appreciate it) they can color the picture. That part is obvious. Then, if they want, they can cut on the lines that you may be able to faintly see in the picture...I drew lines above and below each picture, so that when cut the picture would be completely free of "computer lingo"...the words that always print telling the website the picture was printed from, etc. I am trying to incorporate some cutting practice in, as well as coloring, and it has been really popular. Gene is actually coloring, and learning to color in the lines! (He was never interested in coloring books, and loved to scribble on blank paper, but that's what it would be, lots of scribbling. So, this is a new step for him:)

Below is "Pins in a shaker"...I will take votes on new names for this. I bought some long sewing pins with colored heads, and they fit nicely in this vintage sugar shaker I found at a thrift shop a few weeks ago. I first saw this work at Go Like the Wind Montessori school I visited over the summer, and have been wanting to put it together ever since! It has been used every day since I put it out...The shaker is turned over, and all the pins are dumped in the small red tray (really a cardboard lid for a wine gift-box, but such a pretty lid I had to find a use for it!). Then, carefully, a child can pick up a single pin and put it into a hole in the shaker. They can put them in any holes they like, but when they are ready to put it away they must put the pins around the edges again.

And here is a picture from a few days wasn't during school-time, but Gene and Lucy pulled the Magneatos out, and I was finally able to interest them in building three-dimensional towers. They watched as I started one, and then helped to build a little of it. But then, they went back to their comfort zone and began putting them all end-to-end to build "roads"...

Also, at circle time today, we finished up reading a Bill Peet book (Zella, Zack and Zodiac)...I had never read any of his books before, but am pleased with what we have read so far...they are long but interesting picture books. I am enjoying reading random picture books during circle times...we don't have a theme to what we read, but I find that the books hold the kids' attention, and help them to settle down for the other activities we do. We also recently read "The Rainbow Fish".

And then, at the end of circle time, we build a couple "pink and brown towers" all together. It was fun for them, and I am hoping to interest them in using the cubes and prisms a little more (actually, at all...they have not been chosen by anyone by me!)

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