We read the book Mapping Penny’s World by Loreen Leedy in which a child draws a map of their bedroom. We toyed with the idea of having the class draw pictures of their bedrooms, but wanted to have a visual at the time they were drawing as a reference. After reading another book,  As the Crow Flies by Gail Hartman that showed a map from a flying crows perspective, we decided to go to the highest point on our playground (on top of our slide) to get a visual as if we were a bird in flight.

After climbing to the top we asked the question, “If someone wanted to see what our playground looked like, could you draw them a map?” We started by taking a good look at the shape of the grounds. We noticed our playground is rectangle shaped, the same as the paper we were using to sketch on. While drawing we used the corners of our paper to mirror the corners of the playground. We pointed out identifying features (the snack tables, the big tree, the “boat”) to draw first and then filled in things in t…

Our Town

House, street, neighborhood, town, state, county, continent and planet are some of the concepts we have been reading and talking about. It’s a lot for little ones to wrap their minds around. We began talking about these concepts by starting small, with their houses. From there, we discussed our street and neighborhoods. We realized that we don’t all live in the same neighborhood and our town has many neighborhoods. Our town doesn’t just have places to live, it also has places and things that we need and all share. 

We asked the children, “what are some of the places in our town?” We got so many answers! There were answers like the fire station, the library, restaurants, parks and places to buy groceries. We started drawing our houses and from there our town grew. Our friends got excited to draw some of the place we all share in our town. The roads and street signs came next because the roads help us get around our town. Some of our friends saw a need for trees and bushes because our to…

My House

Before spring break, we were talking about insect homes. Upon our return from vacation, we started talking about where humans live. We asked the question, “why do we live in houses?” Our friends had a lot of really great answers, “we need to be safe from raccoons”, “when it’s winter it is too cold and we have to go inside”, “we don’t want to get rain on us”.  We asked what are the things that all houses have? We gathered all the answers, “roofs,walls,doors,windows”, and went on to talk about the usefulness of these things.

We set up an invitation to build a house with small blocks. One of our friends built their own house. He said, “my house is a long house, it has a hallway that goes to my room”. The houses were all so creative and different. Some included yards with houses for their dogs and grandparents as well. I guess you might say an entire family compound!  We spent time talking about the shapes of doors and windows. We noticed that most roofs slant but some are flat. Everyone seem…

Spring Celebration

What a lovely day for a family picnic, a bit of entertainment and some garden planting!

Thank you to everyone that participated. It was a truly great day!

Insect Homes

Since the beginning of the year we have been exploring the world of insects. Our class has been observing them, reading books about them, and drawing and sculpting them. We have been very busy in the last month learning an insect song to perform for our Spring celebration. Along with learning the song, each child chose an insect to represent and created a head band that reflected that representation. Each had the opportunity to closely observe the head of their particular insect. They noticed shapes, colors and details that were unique to each insect.      One of the books we read about insects was focused on where insects live. This gave us the opportunity to talk about habitats and homes. We asked the question,“Where does your insect live?” We set out to find out a little about where each of their insects live. Along the way, we started a few different class discussions about weather and climate, and reasons living things need some type of shelter. For our last project of our s…

Going “Buggy”

For our Spring celebration we decided to sing the song “going buggy”. We typically create some kind of costume to go along with the song or play we have chosen to perform. This year we set out to make insect head bands. The  first step after choosing what insect we wanted to be was to take a very close look at the details of our insects head. What shape is it’s head? Are the antenna above or below it’s eyes? This gave us a great opportunity to really focus on details and talk about things like the reason a butterfly has that funny spiral like thing on its face. We learned it’s called a proboscis and that the butterfly uses it for feeding. 

The head bands themselves are made out of newspaper that each child painted. The rest of the details were constructed with egg cartons, construction paper, chenille sticks and glue.

Insects made of clay and other stuff

We invited the children to show us what they know about insects using clay and other loose parts. Clay is a great medium for so many reason. It’s malleable for one, which allows the children to make changes to their creations while they are working. 

One dimensional drawings are more challenging when trying to capture the essence of a living thing or anything that isn’t flat for that matter. Working in a three dimensional medium like clay can have its own frustrations but ultimately with perseverance a child can have much “success” creating something they feel looks like what they are trying to create. 

As with the drawings some of the children were very specific about what kind of insect they were making right from the start. There was care for some that went into detail like the way wings sit on the body of a fly.  Others molded and shaped until the specific insect appeared, while others just made an “insect”. 

Look for these awesome creations on the windowsill in our red room.