Thursday, November 29, 2012

"Butters" the snake comes for a visit!

Today we continued with our “sensory” lessons. This led us to a guest visitor-a snake named "Butters!" Our substitute teacher, Teacher Rhonda, brought in her pet snake. Butters is a Yellow Corn Snake and very tame. Every child in class was brave enough to touch the snake and many even put it around their shoulders! The kids were asked if Butters felt the same or different –comparing the "feel" or "touch" of a snake to cats or dogs.
The kids also learned about snakes.

Teacher Rhonda asked the kids what "What does a snake eat?"

Here were their responses:

mouse, birds, butterflies, snake food, grass, butterflies,dirt, food, dirt and melons!

Then we found out from Teacher Rhonda what her pet snake Butter actually eats: mice that she keeps in the freezer! When the mouse is all defrosted her snake eats the whole mouse in one giant bite!!!

Soon it was time to head down the trail and hike over to the Secret Grove for snack and stories. We read a “Sensory” Book about touch. Soft, hard, rough, smooth-lots of good words and descriptions for the sense of "touch".

After snack the kids decided to go hunt for ythe ellow group’s pumpkin. The kids used their maps in their heads to find the pumpkin and climbed off the trail to see it –there it was. Right where they had left it almost a month ago. It was really squishy and black. The kids were proud of themselves that they could find both of the pumpkins, even though they were well hidden!

After lunch some of the kids played in the field while others took the time to get to know butters a little bit more.

Thanks for bringing him to visit us Teacher Rhonda!

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

"Freeze!" the game-not the weather!

We had fun with a visitor at TOP on Tuesday.  Teacher Ann was sick on Tuesday so we had a visit from Teacher Tami and all the kids did a fabulous job showing Teacher Tami all the TOP rules.  


We started out playing the "Freeze" game.  We all start out near each other and someone takes a turn yelling "Go" and then we run and dance around until the same person yells, "Freeze!"   Then it's time for everyone to hold really still.  A lot of kids like to freeze in silly poses.  By the time everyone had a turn to yell out commands we toasty warm and ready to sit down for circle time.  During circle time we continued to talk about our 5 senses and how we would use our senses on our walk in the woods.


We went on a long walk and found a great spot to have snack and play for awhile and then we set out to finish our hike and head back for lunch.  We were about to head out when we realized that Jayden's mitten was missing so we decided to head back the way we came and use our sense of sight to hunt for the missing mitten.  Unfortunately, we did not find the missing mitten. :(   It wasn't quite lunch time and several kids wanted to go check the pumpkins since we hadn't done so recently.  We only had time to visit one pumpkin and the "blue group" pumpkin was closest so off we went.  Many kids were fascinated to see how much our pumpkin had changed.  It really is starting to decompose and looked very slimy.  


Before we knew it, it was time to head back for lunch in the sun.  Many kids were quite warm after our fast paced hike and stripped of some layers while sitting in the warm sun.  After lunch we had time for a very quick turn on the swings and then it was time to head back to see moms and dads.


Thank you all for dressing your children in lots of layers and sending hats and gloves.  Please remember to put names or initials on all coats, hats and mittens.  Many of the black gloves all look the same when they are stuffed into our backpacks and fingers start to get cold.  Feel free to send your kiddos with hand warmers in their pockets on the really chilly mornings.  Sometimes they don't want to wear their gloves, but are happy to carry handwarmers while we hike.  (Teacher Ann and I always have some in our pockets for sharing, too).


Teacher Ann will be out again tomorrow, but a new friend Teacher Rhonda will be at TOP.


Don't forget the last day of this session is next Thursday.  All parents (grandparents...) are invited to come at 12:15 for a snack and to watch the kids perform 2 songs.  Bring your cameras, we've been practicing smiling for you!


Sunday, November 18, 2012

Can you make sense of the 5 senses?


Since it was a clear, cold and sunny day, we headed out to the otherside of the park-in search of leaves to rake and a picnic in the meadow. Those rakes were heavy and the wheelbarrow awkward, but the kids worked together and cooperated to help push it all the way! Some kids had fun throwing leaves and Jake even made a leaf hat!
Can you play horsie with us?
The Meadow was lacking in leaves but the kids weren't lacking in imagination. The rakes became horses to ride or a way to make patterns on the grass. For snack time we were deep in the woods-climbing and exploring around ferns and over and under logs.

Our books continue to be about the senses. What do you hear? The waterfalling over rocks in the stream? A crow? What does the forest smell like? We'll continue with our senses until winter break.

Monday, November 12, 2012

TOP is tops!

It was a busy day at TOP. The kids began the day by playing a field game of brooms and balls. A game some of them picked up quickly and others weren't interested in. Since it was sunny out (yeah!) we also got out the chalk and the kids gradually shifted over to drawing on the pavement. We put all of the lunches into the wagon and chose to have lunch out in the back meadow.
Since we are talking about the senses, we have been spending time seeing, hearing, smelling and touching.
We have a new song we are learning about the senses. (Its a new song to me too-since my husband and I just finished it!)
You can see if the kids know some of it at home. We will be practicing it every day for the next week.

Sense 5 Senses

Can you make sense of the 5 Senses?
It’s easy as your ABCs
Can you make sense of the 5 Senses?
Just sing along with me.

1- I SEE you with my eyes (1 finger points to your eyes)

2- I can SMELL the air outside (Peace sign in an arch from nose)

3- I HEAR the words we sing (3 fingers point to ears)

4- I TASTE most everything (4 fingers point to stuck out tongue)

5- I bend and TOUCH the ground) (High 5 the ground)

The 5 senses help me get around……(turn around)
Can you make sense of the 5 Senses?
It’s easy as your ABCs
Can you make sense of the 5 Senses?
Just sing along with me.

(repeat hand gestures)

1- See

2- Smell

3- Hear

4- Taste

5- Touch (clap)

The 5 senses help me get around……(turn around)
c 2012 Tiny Treks

On our hikes the yellow group went the back way, around the parking lot, that they had explored on Tuesday. We found a big hole under a tree that according to the kids had "eyes" in it. I didn't get to see the "eyes" but I believe the kids may have seen an animal in there. Mountain Beaver perhaps? Raccoon? I'm not sure but I know that kids have great eyes...and imaginations, so who knows?
When we got to the designated meeting place for lunch, we "saw" the wagon but no kids. So we went exploring by the stream instead. The carpet of Big Leaf Maple leaves in there was resplendent! The kids tried floating 1 leaf at a time down the stream and watching where it went.

Blue group went "off trail" exploring and ended up in unfamiliar territory. They had to use their ears and eyes to choose the right trail back to our lunch spot. They were successful! Lunch in the sun under the maple tree was yummy!

Thanks for packing such healthy lunches for your active child. The kids need your good lunches after their physical excursions at the farm.

This is a quick reminder that we DO NOT have preschool the week of Thanksgiving. That way-anyone who needs to travel for the holiday doesn't miss school. After that we have 2 more weeks of preschool before the winter holiday. Wow! This fall session is going so fast! Sign ups for next session will begin the week of Thanksgiving. That way you can have 2 weeks before TOP registration is open to the public. You will always have that extra time to get your child registered for the next TOP session. I will let you know the exact date soon. You will need to call the front desk at Redmond Parks and Recreation to register.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

The 5 senses on a farm.

We went to a favorite climbing spot from years past that had been covered in nettles till the cooler weather took off.  It was amazing climbing!
There was so much to "sense" at Farrel McWhirter today.  The TOP kids are beginning a section on the senses.  Starting with a focus on the sense of smell,  we asked the kids: What do you smell?  The kids answers were: leaves, pancakes, the cat.  (Un)fortunately for us, Farrell McWhirter is a very clean farm and the farm smells aren't too pronounced so we had to go in search of smells that were more subtle. 

To augment the senses class, we began the day with the fine motor skill of putting cheerios on plastic string for a cheerio necklace.  This was the sense of taste as kids were putting one on the necklace and one in their mouths! Tasting! During circle time we talked about all of the senses and how we use them. 

The leaves were captivating. So fun to squish and crackle in.
On their hike, the blue group listened closely to see if they could hear the yellow group in another part of the park.  They passed by their pumpkin to say hello while they hiked the perimeter trail around much of the park.  They ended up in the prolific leaves in the back meadow which made great crunching and crackling sounds in spite of their wetness.

The kids found a pile of gravel and just had to march up and down it!  There was no shoving or being rough.  Just concentration.
The yellow group took a hike into a different part of the woods-where we had never been!  We passed a pile of gravel which just had to be climbed, shook leaves off of trees trying to catch them and ended up climbing on huge logs up and down.  Everyone was very brave and practiced their balancing and climbing skills. 

Back at lunch we shared with each other where we hiked and out experiences.  Angus told everyone how the blue's pumpkin was getting really yucky.  We were able to eat lunch under the open sky again! Yippee!

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Maps in our heads...

Yellow Group re-finding their pumpkin.
Maps are for finding your way. We have maps in our heads.  The kids laughed and laughed with this.  "Maps in our heads!"  Well we have to know how to get places.  How will we find the pumpkins we hid on Tuesday?  Will we follow a map? Or will we remember the way?
So we looked at maps I brought from home and a map of Farrel McWhirter.  Then we made our own maps with pictures and drawings.  When we started off toward the Yellow Group's pumpkin we had to have a vote on the right way to go.  Which was the way?  We had 4 out of the 5 kids vote on the direction that would get us there the fastest.  (We could have gone the other way but we would have had to walk around the entire park to get to the pumpkin...) The Yellow Group led the way directly to our well-hid pumpkin.  Up a trail, through the outdoor classroom space, down a log, through the ferns and around a big stump.  And there it was!
The pumpkin is getting black inside.

 Then it was time for a book on a mouse who goes exploring, gets a bit lost and then finds his way home and back to the fields again.  A mouse on an exploration-just like our kids.  An it gave the concept of safety on a exploration.  How to not get lost!
What a fun story about a field mouse.

Now we were going to be guided by the blue group.  Did they know the way to their pumpkin.
Pretty soon we were climbing under a fence, over 2 logs (they had had to remember these instructions from Tuesday.)  Everyone had to learn some patience as the kids took turns leading the hike.  The fast kids have to learn to wait for the slower ones and the slower ones to keep up!  There is so much to learn on a hike with a group.  How to watch out for your group.  How to listen to directions and instructions.  And these are not arbitrary instructions,  they matter or you may fall into the stream or go the wrong way!

Go under the fence and over 2 logs to find the blue group's pumpkin.

At the end of the day we split up back into our color groups to hike back.  Both groups trail blazed and ended up back under a big leaf maple tree to play with the fall leaves. Next week-more work on maps, more time with the animals and still working on hiking rules.