440 Class Newsletter – February 2012

It was great to see so many of you at Mother’s Night a couple of weeks ago.  The children really enjoy sharing their school and the work that they do here with their parents.  Thank you so much for joining us.

 Kristen, Melody and Vida

440 Classroom Teachers

 Classroom Spotlight

This month we began our Cultural study of Antarctica and the Oceans of the world.  Our study of Antarctica has included learning about the animals that inhabit this cold and dark continent, as well as learning a bit more about why it is so cold and dark there.  The children have been learning about lots of different kinds of penguins and fun information about them such as how big they are and where they build their nests.  They have been enjoying bundling up and pretending to explore Antarctica with tools like a headlamp, map, compass, heat blanket, and binoculars. 


The children had been showing interest in many marine animals such as sharks, whales and walrus throughout the fall and winter.  We’ve expanded this interest into a study of all the animals that live in the deep waters of the Oceans.    We’ve spent some time learning about how big some of these animals are.  Ask your child to tell you how many children it takes to be as big as an Orca whale, or a Humpback whale.  Someday soon we are going to recruit the other classroom to help us find out how many children it takes to be as big as a Sperm Whale!  As a follow up to this activity, we are exploring the concept of “Life Size”.  In addition to the whales, we are measuring a Giant Squid, and several of the children have traced their own bodies on butcher paper to get a better perspective of how big they really are! 

Another animal the children have shown a particular interest in is the Jellyfish.  We started by learning that this sea creature is unique in that it is an invertebrate.  Then the children began to ask some interesting questions, such as “Does a jelly fish have eyes?”  “How does it know where it is going?”  “How does it find food?”  Children also shared their own knowledge or personal experiences with jellyfish such as, “I saw a jellyfish on the beach when I was in Mexico” or “Jellyfish have tentacles and they can sting you!”  In order to explore this further, we did some research with the children to learn more about these interesting invertebrates.  We learned that they do not have eyes, but they can sense where they are through receptors that identify light.  They have limited ability to move around — basically they open and close their bodies like an umbrella opening and closing in order to move themselves around.  We allowed the children an opportunity to experience what it was like to be a jellyfish, by placing a thin fabric over their heads and a blindfold over their eyes.  They then used their hands to find their way around the classroom.   They took turns trying to identify which child’s head and face they were feeling with their hands.   

We are also studying the Oceans themselves. The children are working on creating rubbings of the continents, water coloring the oceans around them, and then labeling each of the four oceans.  Watch for this work to come home in their Friday folder!  We are also learning an Ocean song.  We usually sing this as a call and response, so ask your child to sing it, and you can answer back.

Here are the lyrics:

“Do you know the Oceans (do you know the Oceans)

Of the planet Earth (of the planet Earth)

Biggest is Pacific (Biggest is Pacific)

Then comes the Atlantic (then comes the Atlantic)

Indian is next (Indian is next)

Arctic is the coldest (Arctic is the coldest)

Now you know them all (now you know them all)

These are the four oceans (these are the four oceans)

Of the planet Earth (of the planet Earth)


Please continue to watch our Parent Volunteer Basket, which we bring out to the gate periodically, for ongoing Parent Volunteer Opportunities.


We would like to wish a Happy Birthday to the following children who have birthdays this month:

Jack Williams                     February 3

Lilly Bowler                        February 15

Sydney West                     February 26


 Thank you to all the children who contributed pennies for the Penny Harvest.  The children enjoyed sorting all the coins, and Extended Primary will be taking them to the bank to be counted at the end of this week.  The oldest children are now conducting a Roundtable Discussion to decide where the money should be donated.

Thank you to Delaney Untermeyer for the yogurt and to Gabriel Dunn for the sunflower seeds.  These are being used in our Food Preparation area.

Thank you to Parker Bouc for the tracing paper and to Nevi Louis for the paintbrushes.  These are very useful in our classroom.  Thanks to Gabriel Dunn for the beautiful potted flower which is now decorating our snack table!    

Thank you to Erin Pierce and Lori Sherry for substituting.  Thank you to Jaela Sheldon for doing the snowflake project with the children.  Thank you to Erin Pierce, Kimberly Coughlon, Shannon Rapp, Candace Wickstrom and Staci Bouc for reading to the children.


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