Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Lessons on motion, friction and Peter the Rabbit!

As TOP gets closer to spring weather we are talking more and more about seasons and their changes. Some of the changes happen right in front of us in your children's bodies. They grow in stature and maturity as the school year progresses. They grow like the flowers and leaves at Farrel-McWhirter. Their growth through the school year is huge. Sometimes I listen to the TOP child and think how much their vocabulary has grown in the year. Or as they scamper up a tree, I remember their fear of climbing or tentative beginnings of balancing on a log. We go into the woods and a child finds a lone twig of a tree and she whips it back and forth watching what her movements can do. The only thing we teachers say is "good for you-making sure that no one is near to hit with that tree." She reaches her neck up high to watch what happens 15 feet above her-until she is done with her own lesson of movement. What did she learn? That a slight motion can make a big motion at the end. She was watching a wave without having words to her learning. But learning she was!
Because we are lucky enough to have the farm, we'll get to watch baby chicks grow and grow quickly. We'll watch the mother goat grow in roundness as she gets ready to give birth in June. We'll plant our own garden and watch it grow.

Needing a little help getting back onto the walkway from the grass. Friction wins!

Tuesday began with rides in the wagon. 3 is the largest number of children that can fit in the wagon safely. Generally we have one child pulling with others pushing-but no running. We have rules and then let the children explore. What is there to explore and learn from a wagonride? How about friction? Gravity? The children decided to pull the wagon on the grass. I asked them if it would be harder on the grass or easier than the sidewalk. The children answered both in the affirmative-then off they were to the grass to find out. They came back needing lots of help. Was it harder or easier? They have just learned about weight, friction, forces, movement all with a wagon. And they exersized their muscles. An excellent way to have body memory of a learning activity.

Today Peter the Rabbit decided to visit us in the Ops Building. As the children sat in a tight circle, Peter went and greeted each child. We discussed what we knew about rabbits; They hop. They are soft. They are quiet. They have big back feet. What we noticed about rabbits; They are quiet. Their back feet look like kangaroos who also hop. Then we learned a bit about rabbits; They are usually quiet unless they are scared or hurt, then they can scream. Their whiskers help them to tell if a space will fit their body. Sometimes people have rabbits as pets in the house. Peter was very friendly to Teacher Ann and kept hopping back into her lap. I think it felt like a safe place to him. The children were very respectful and careful when they petted Peter. It was a fun learning activity.

Next week April 3rd and 5th are Spring Break for TOP. Also April 17th and 19th we are closed.
There IS school April 10th and 12th.

Teacher Jen is gone until the end of April. She is undergoing surgery this morning. I'll let you know how she is doing. With the wonder of modern surgery, she expects to be home by this afternoon and ready to begin healing. If your children want to bring in cards-I will take them over to her house. We'll also make cards at school to bring over.

Thank you to the parents who are helping out while Teacher Jen heals!

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