Thursday, December 3, 2009

Sharing & Service

The girls are learning all about sharing, service, and what it means to give yourself as a present to someone. We had lots of fun today, and lots of memorable moments! Jeff captured some great shots of our avid learners and I attached a few of our playdough craft activity and free play time as well. Once I convinced them to converge for stories, discussion and songs they seemed to really love it and did a fabulous job learning a new song & the accompanying hand motions. All the girls loved playdough time, free play time, and story time.

Annika's face lit up when she saw the picture that Abby, Imani and Ava drew for her last class.
Ava told us about how happy her mom would be if they peed together! I loved when Ava was showing us her nativity bag--she pulled each thing out one at a time and said, "this is a little puppet, this is Grover, this is a sheep...," and when she pulled out the Mary and baby Jesus figure said, "I do not know WHAT this is." Imani, as usual, loved jumping on the bed and snuggling up with her friends on the couch. They were all absolutely adorable today and are becoming such great friends!

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Service Learning

Tuesday, December 1 2009. Today we started a new unit about the Joy of serving others. The girls decided that Imani's bed would be the coziest place for learning (forget the mats!) so they all snuggled up to learn the new concept of service--what it is and how happy it makes us all. We did some role play and riddle games to help them understand what constitutes service and the many ways we can serve others in everyday life.

To apply the concept of service, the girls drew each other's names from a bucket and then created nature pictures for that kid to take home. We also worked together to create a special get-well picture for Annika. Our big service project was called "earth service." We learned about how taking care of the Earth serves everyone and then went outside to rake leaves. All the girls helped to put our pile of leaves in the garden for replenishment. They all received a service chart and stars to work on ongoing acts of service.

We also had story time, a visit from Joy Boy and his friend Jolie, a puppet show about service (the girls loved this--they were all cracking up!), and lots of fun pulling each other in the wagon on a beautiful sunny day.

Abby loved music time--she said, "Nazneen, I can sing twinkle twinkle. It goes like this, "twinkle twinkle...." Imani loved learning time and did a great job coming up with all the answers. Ava loved pulling her friends in the wagon! There was lots of laughing, joy, and learning today.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Bird Houses and Gingerbread Cookies

This morning, the girls and I started out with a couple of our favorite songs. Annika did a beautiful job with the "We never hit or kick or push" card and following her rule throughout class. Today, we talked about the color white and read a poem about all the different things around us that come in the color white. Imani noticed that our joy school house is white, and Ava pointed out that clouds are white. Next, we played a guessing game about animals and Annika did a great job of identifying types of animals when given their physical descriptions and habitats. After our guessing game we acted out some of the animals we had discussed. This game was particularly popular, as expected, and Abby had a great frog hop :).
Our big project of the day was our bird houses. I was impressed with how focused all the girls were on this project. Each of them took their time choosing colors and they seemed to really appreciate the purpose of the houses (they took turns making "tweet, tweet!" sounds, which I took to mean that they grasped who would be visiting their houses!).
We had snacks of gingerbread cookies, milk and apples and finished the morning with some songs on the piano and free play. My favorite story of the day came from free play time. Abby found a jack-in-the-box and was sitting next to Annika and attempting to make jack appear. Annika noticed that Abby was having some difficulty and said, "Abby, do you need help?" Abby said yes and Annika said, "Here, I'll hold it and you turn the crank" (wow, where did she learn the word crank?). When Abby continued to have some trouble, Annika offered encouragement, saying "Keep going Abby, you're almost there!" Together, the made jack appear.
We had a great time together today and Ava and I are looking forward to Tuesday!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Making Applesauce

Wow--their attention spans are really expanding! They LOVED learning about the Earth--we focused on seeds and seasons. I couldn't believe how much they loved sitting on their mats and singing songs about the Earth, doing finger plays, listening to flannel board stories and participating in riddle games. They had a visit from Joy Boy and showed him what apple seeds look like.

All four of them loved making applesauce--I included a picture of Annika, Abby, and Ava helping make homemade applesauce with a food press, and one of Imani enjoying it! We also planted bean seeds and apple seeds in little cups, which they all loved as well (especially the watering part). They also enjoyed constructing their very own bean and seed collages with glue and construction paper.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Halloween and other adventures

This post is late in coming, but I wanted to get up some good pictures from the Halloween party we had last week and also from the last lesson on the Body and the first lesson on the Earth. Although we're a month behind, and we should be having the Earth lessons in October, the weather has been cooperating, and we've been able to spend some good time outside in the beautiful Fall atmosphere.

For Halloween, Elizabeth organized some great activities for the girls. They made pumpkin faces with glue-on pieces for eyes, mouth and nose. They also decorated sugar cookies with frosting and sprinkles. Abby likes eating her cookie. Ava likes eating the sprinkles, and Annika was the crafty one. They all chose the pumpkin shape cookie eventhough they had their choice of ghost, pumpkin or bat (?). they also learned a song called Mr. Jack-o-Lantern. Annika knew all the words, and the other girls enjoyed singing along. Unfortunately, Imani was sick that day.

After the crafts, cookies and singing, the girls were able to put their costumes on and parade through the apartment building. Annika was supposed to be a witch, but she wanted to wear her princess costume like Ava who was also a princess. Abby was supposed to be a cowgirl, but she didn't really want to put or keep on the horsy part of the costume. Nevertheless, it was fun to walk around with the girls on parade.

The lesson following Halloween was the last lesson on the body, and because Ava and Annika were both out that day, Imani and Abby had a great time talking again about how wonderful their bodies are. They played outside with hula hoops, balls and a tunnel. They read a lot of books, they learned how to exercise, and they were measured and weighed. They get along very well together, and it was fun to see how their friendship grew that day.

The next lesson was on the Joy of the Earth. In this lesson we focused on the first meaning of the word sense. The girls practiced using their 5 senses to enjoy the world around them. They sang a great song about how all the Earth is Mine when they use their senses because they can smell, hear and see it. They loved singing that and Mary, Will You Stand Up. They also liked story time.

Exploring Nature, November 5

Today at Joy School the girls went for a lovely walk in a small subsection of the Rock Creek Park Woods. We glanced at a large community garden and then headed up to a park for snacks and further sight-seeing. Ava led the group with her nature prowess--she enthusiastically gathered up a pine cone, dandelion, sticks and different colors of fall foliage. We "looked around the world" with our viewfinders and Annika was an expert at spotting things that were green. Sweet Abby overcame her fear of Jeff and even let him carry her, momentarily, over rocky terrain. Imani was happy to share her toys, jump on the bed, sing, and dance with her three friends. It was a great day! Being my second time around, I was amazed to see how quickly all of them are growing in knowledge, developing positive senses of self, and learning to find joy in one another. I love Joy School, too!