Green and Purple Room children bundled up and headed to Mother Cabrini for our first fun day in the snow! Once we got there we realized that the rubber matting on the structure side was too slippery for us to really play on as a whole group. Much to the children’s excitement both sides of the playground were opened up for play! There was lots of slipping and sliding, snow angel making, along with other dramatic play. Many of the children enjoyed the experience of trying to keep their balance on the slippery ground. What a great way to build their core strength and coordination. Other children had a great time running from one end to the other and exploring the areas of Mother Cabrini that we don’t get to use every day, especially under the trees.
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Today we had our first indoor “playground” time this year. We try to go outside as a school every day that we can, but there are some days when it is very, very, cold (like today, when, with wind chill, it feels like nine degrees…) we just can't go out.
It’s still important for children to be able to use their full bodies and participate in gross motor movement, so when we can’t go outside, we use our indoor space as best we can to facilitate activities that get kids moving and using their bodies in a way that is closest to what they would get to do were they able to run and play outside.
We use a rotation of three activities with three groups, and the kids move through each one for the full usual outdoor time, from 10:30-11:45. In the MPR, kids built with the large wooden hollow blocks, which take strength and full body muscles to move and manipulate. In the Purple Room, Laura led movement activities, where kids played skip-to-my-Lou, a similar game called "jump in the water," pretended to be animals, and a mirror movement game. In the Blue Room, we set up an obstacle course that required kids to climb, crawl, weave in and out of cones, lift a heavy block of clay, and roll a log across the room (part of the course even included giving our friendly red giant a high-five!).
Here are some photos from indoor movement time today, and a video from our obstacle course cheering section!
This week in art, we've taken a break from building the giant. Before we move on with construction, we're trying to figure out what about it is so interesting to the kids. As a means of exploring this, we've been using the Blue Room for dramatic play and story writing about the giant. Kids can build in the block area with the original sculpture, use miniature versions of the giant at the light table, or draw on a printed photo of the giant with a sharpie while telling a story. The story writing has been particularly rich and exciting. See below for a few of the stories that they told this week, along with photos of their drawings.
"My giant story is about the giant’s family is locked in a cage. The giant is trying to eat his family. He is really sad because he ate all his friends. He’s bad. The giant wiggles his legs and says goodbye to all his friends and cooks them in a pan. He puts cheese on them and then he eats them. He puts his family in a frying pan with cheese. They taste like strawberry. Then he feels upset. The end."
"He can’t find his mommy and daddy because he’s trapped in a cage and he can never get out. Monsters—BIG, BIG monsters—got him and put him in a cage because they don’t like giants. Because they’ll kill him. Little snails can get him out. They have little tiny keys that can lock and unlock. The snail is named Penny. Penny unlocks the key. The giant says, “Thank you!” and then finds his big, big family. They go to a snow ice cold river to find blueberries. They find blueberries and go home. They make blueberry crackers and feel sick, but they drink milk and feel better."
"He is painted red. His face is red, his body’s red, his arms are red, and his legs are red. A rope ties his body. This big huge thing is a seashell. Inside is a family of sea monsters. They tied the giant in a knot and they closed the door and locked the door. He’s under water. The giant’s family doesn’t know where he is. The door closed on his leg and it’s broken. His leg can’t move. He needs to find his family but he’s stuck. He had dinner in his hands and it’s chicken and mashed potatoes. He’s thinking about going to sleep. He’s gonna be in there forever and that’s a big detail. He’s never ever gonna get out."
"He was a little baby. He was saying, 'Goo goo gaga.' The baby giant had a dog named Percy. She has blue spots on her face and brown eyes. Percy likes to play at the dog park. And then the giant’s a big boy. He’s 4 years old. That’s the end."
"This is the legs and this is the arms. It moves. It goes outside to the playground. It’s just quiet. He plays by himself. He needs mommy and daddy. He goes inside home. His mommy and daddy look like this: they are long and red. He crawls under his bed and finds his mom and dad. There’s a monster under his bed so they’ve got to get out. The monster doesn’t have a mouth. The giant has a mouth. He opens his chest and that’s a mouth."
"The giant went to my home and my mommy comes home. The giant goes right in my bed and sleeps. It’s hiding from my mommy and then my daddy comes home and sees it. He says, 'That is a giant!' Olive talked to the red giant but he couldn’t talk. She hit him on the head and he was dead."
For the past two weeks we have been cooking with the Green and Purple Room children in mixed groups during afternoon work time and it has been a hit! Cooking with children is a exciting for children to begin to understand the process of preparing food and where it comes from. It is also a very practical way of introducing math and measurement in a real life scenario that makes sense in their world. To make this activity developmentally appropriate for the ages of our students we decided to make a visual recipe book, the pages from which you can see in the pictures below.
For our first cooking activity we decided to make crackers. Together we "read" the recipe and counted how many cups or scoops for each item. In scooping the flour, sugar and salt we talked about how it is important to follow the recipe exactly as it says and we took turns smoothing over the top of the measuring cups and spoons before pouring it into the bowl. Then each child had a turn to mix and knead the dough and after we used the rolling pin to flatten it out. After we sprinkles some olive oil and salt on top each child had a turn to cut the dough with a (kid friendly) knife into the cracker size they desired. The last step was to put it in the oven which children watched teachers do and last week for snack every got to taste the final product!
We will be doing more cooking with students throughout the school year and look forward to challenging them in different ways and encourage them to begin learning how to read the visual recipes on their own!
Weekend activity tip: Drag Queen Story Hour will be at Pioneer works on Sunday from 4:30-5:30. Hope to see you there!
This week students continued building their house in the MPR. Based on students plans we added: more floor space, the third wall, a beautifully colorful carpet, a circular window and a triangle window. This week’s group also had ideas for the future - they’d like to see: another rectangle window, a zig zag window, a roof, a door that locks, some stairs, a back yard and some lamp posts to light up the house. Today we furnished the house with a mirror and a chair.
As our house becomes more developed and their ideas become more filled out, there are many more rich opportunities for dramatic play using the work they’ve built. The house is most often a place of safety. It has also become a boat during some games, with some kids on board (sometimes pirates) and others playing sharks or dolphins in the water below. When one student asked “But it’s a house for who?”, another answered, “Probably for Croc (our giant)”. Please enjoy the following picture of this week’s kids working on and enjoying the house. Some pictures were taken by students!