(Pictured on first page: Boys doing yoga!)
Whew...what a rainy week! And, it looks like there is more on the horizon! Don't forget to pack extra rain gear and dry clothes on Thursday and Friday when it is forcasted to rain.
It was a good week back... Everyone had interesting stories to tell and all the students were glad to see their peers after the long break. We started out the week by starting a KWL graphic organizer of our new unit on the human body. We documented what we knew about the body before we started learning and added the new information we gathered after doing some preliminary reading. We will continue on Tuesday when we meet for Science with Sally and Michele.
In art, we created art inspired by Keith Haring. Although he was a controversal artist, we looked at a few of his early works and thought about how our body positions conveyed meaning. Each student had the opportunity to pose and we traced their body outline in interesting and dynamic poses. These pieces are still being finished up but we hope to have them on display soon! Thanks Maria and Melinda!
In literacy, word sorts were introduced. Basically, a word sort is when you take a number of items or pictures and sort them into the appropriate categories. In our case we had pictures of items that began with the letters "b" and "m". Each student had to cut each item out, sort into the correct category and glue it down in the appropriate place. Word sorts address a number of skills. It is academic in that we are practicing sounds, but it also promotes vocabulary development, organizational skills, spelling and fine motor skills. We will be adding this practice to our weekly literacy activities. This week we reviewed the letters "b" and "m" and the sounds each of them make. Next, we will continue by adding the letter and sound of "s". Also, the sight word "the" will be introduced though our weekly book work.
Our self-reflections for our upcoming progress reports are going well. It is difficult work but I hope you will be pleased with the thought and heart our students have put into their reflections.
Note: We still need shoe boxes for our upcoming valentine exchange!
January 24 - Class Meeting...I am thinking to meet off campus. Any ideas?
January 27 - End of semester and Lunar New Year Celebration
January 30 - Field trip to Gymnastics facility
February 7 - 100th Day of School (We need help!)
February 14 - Valentine's Day Celebration (We need more help!)
February 20-24 - President's Day Break
The Phenomenal Fives and the Feisty 5 1/2 Year Old
Posted February, 2010 on responsiveclassroom.org
Oh, what fun to be five! Busy and loving every moment of it, each day is a brand-new adventure, and if the structure of life around them is strong, they’re good to go.
Fives are actively and selectively receptive, as they take in the world through their senses. They see, smell, hear, touch, and taste just about everything, but their secret is that they do so one thing at a time. Fives are focused—this provides them the gift of detail.
Every location in the classroom appears full of possibilities. Usually whatever five-year-olds are doing can hold their attention for a half hour or even more if we give them that kind of sustained time. You can observe this focus easily when you see a five-year-old working alone with a bunch of Legos or a lump of clay.
Fives adore their teachers and parents and significant adults. They expect that the grown-ups will create the safe boundaries, tell them what is happening next, where they are going and if they are there yet. Fives are literal. In kindergarten last week a teacher was leading a class activity to make thank you cards for volunteers who had helped out in the classroom. She wisely asked, “So, children, what do you think the word volunteer means?” There was a slight pause. It was the children thinking.
“Like when the man said, ‘can I have a volunteer from the audience?’” offered one boy. Many other children then chimed in with similar accounts, immediately accepting their colleague’s definition. The teacher acknowledged each of these and then skillfully scaffold their thinking to other connected concepts of “helping out.” The children caught on.
“I volunteer when I pass out the paper,” said a girl, as she drew her thank you card showing just that. Everyone was happy to make a card for the people they remembered who had come to their class. And the big word, volunteer, took on different specific meanings as the cards emerged from their minds onto their papers.
There’s a discernible turning point in children’s fifth year where the focused, centered, rule-following kindergartner becomes the full-fledged explorer. The growth spurt that’s beginning will last through the sixth year. “Stretching” is a good word for this age. Children often stretch the truth, test the rules, see what they can do on their own as they become more confident and self-assured.
Like children at 2½, children at 5½ can be oppositional. But this is more a sign of cognitive and social growth than anything else. Children want much more to figure things out for themselves than to get things right—a main focus just a few months before. Learning and social interaction get more complicated, interesting, and challenging. There are more mistakes, tears, and semi-tantrums over best friends or following directions because children are engrossed in discovering how the world works.
Such willfulness and sensitivity are positive attributes at this age, indicators that older five-year-olds want to take on the world. But their behavior can feel difficult unless you recognize it as a developmental shift and respond with patience, awareness, and a sense of humor.
This is a time when good question-asking or fun challenges can be some of the best teacher tools around. They can give children choices that help them follow routines from the strength of their own decision-making, rather than from an adult directive, which five-and-a-half-year-olds often struggle with. So, “I’ll bet you can’t pick up your clothes before I count to ten” may work much better than “Pick up your clothes or no snack.”
“Remember where the counting blocks go?” may succeed better than “Put the counting blocks in the bin, now.”
“How long do you need to finish your journal page?” may create less anxiety and more productivity than “You have two minutes to finish that page in your journal.”
At this particular age, choice in classroom settings is a universally useful tool to advance learning. Maximum learning happens when children have opportunities to “approximate” and discover right answers and right behavior on their own, with the guidance of caring adults. This sense of having discovered or decided something is the “Aha!” experience that creates young scientists, artists, and problem-solvers in math—and in life.