February 2015

Hello Afternoon class parents,

A festive combination of snowflakes, hearts and woodlands adorn our classroom this happy month of February, all reflecting topics of investigations happening at school.

Winter of course has brought some fun, snowy conditions sparking the perfect opportunity to look closely at snowflakes and ice. The snow shovels are in high demand when the weather provides enough snow, and odd shaped snowy sculptures emerge across the yard. Painting snow with colored water, melting ice with salt and food coloring are a few of the interesting and colorful science related activities we have been completing in class. Especially satisfying was Emily’s demonstration of an experiment combining the freezing and melting properties of ice. The goal of the experiment was to dangle an ice cube from a string with the use of only salt. The excitement that erupted when the ice cube lifted from the water, suspended by only a string was priceless!

Of course, no winter in Colorado would be complete without countless lessons in hunting for and dressing in layers of clothing and cold weather gear. By spring, your children will be masters of snow pants, boots, zippers and gloves!

Our geographical and cultural studies for winter and spring have us traveling in our imaginations through the lands of North America. We began or journey in the arctic region, where we talked about climate and animals living in the cold and snow. The children were given lessons on how to make an igloo, camouflage, and much more.

We are slowly moving out of the arctic and into woodland biomes. Here, we made connections to migration and hibernation. We listened to birdcalls, classified bird types, made bird feeders and even had a brood of chickens from Urban Farm come to visit. Around groundhogs day, we had some fun with Punxsutawney Phil, the Pennsylvanian ground hog calling the fate of winter. The children were engaged with toilet paper rolls and popsicle sticks creating their very own pop up ground hogs. Urban Farm returned with soft furry rabbits, which the children happlily inspected. “I can’t believe the bunny show!” one child exclaimed. Wetland biomes is our next destination to explore.

The investigation into the lives of animals has extended to the studio where a number of children recorded their observations and interactions with the resident studio rats, Henry and Taffy.

Speaking of the studio, Studio night is coming up in March and is a fun event for parents to come get in on the adventure. This year we will be preparing for a school wide Biomes of North America Festival!

Other topics we have been covering include how to stay healthy during this time of year. (Wouldn’t we all love that formula.) We have been giving many lessons on how to wash our hands, blow our noses, and how to sneeze into the crook of our elbow to avoid spreading germs. We have also been talking about the importance of getting plenty of sleep, keeping sweets to a minimum and keeping our bodies hydrated with lots of water. A huge thank you for keeping sick kids home!

We continue to work on grace and courtesy by reminding children that we can find something to like about everyone in our classroom and talking about what these things are that we like about one another. It can be tricky to take a compliment, so we have also been working on how to except compliments and how they make us feel.

As the year is progressing, so are your children. It is a delight to see them shifting from whole hand grips on markers and pencils to refined pincer grips, from listening to and understanding letter sounds to decoding words, and moving from concrete experiences to the abstract concepts. We are honored to work with you and your children.

As always, please feel free to come and visit the classroom and read stories, do a project or simply be with your child.

Jamie and Emily

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