Friday, November 19, 2010

Stone Soup

The Thanksgiving preparation in Utopia is in full swing. The crockpots are waiting and the children are excited. We have most of the ingredients we need for our stone soup. Thank you to everyone who brought them in. We are planning to make three different kinds of soup—chicken, tomato, and butternut squash. Please plan to come on Wednesday at 10:30. Remember Utopia closes at 12:15 that day.

Last weekend, the teachers attended a conference that focused, among other things, on the advantages of Self Talk. This strategy is found to be effective for children who need help developing expressive language. Self-Talk is when the adult describes what he or she is doing without expecting the child to answer. This is especially helpful in building vocabulary.

For example:

Let’s make hot chocolate for breakfast. I am getting milk from the fridge. I am pouring it in your favorite cup. Here is our powdered cocoa from the pantry. I’ll get 2 scoops of powdered cocoa from the jar. I’ll stir it and then put it in the microwave. To make it really fancy, I’ll put a dollop of whipped cream. Cheers!

Watch out for more strategies in the future.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Friday, November 12, 2010

What are you thankful for today?

Do you want to know what your children are thankful for? Check the Utopia bulletin board to the left of our classroom door in the first floor hallway. Our students jotted down the specific things that they are thankful for. Their written thoughts will be very timely for our long-awaited family get-togethers during Thanksgiving week.

Earlier in the week, our young marine biologists played with crab and mussel shells along with fresh seaweed in our water table. They also explored miniature sea anemone and hermit crab toys with their curious little fingers. This is to prepare them for next week’s activity of constructing our very own tide pools.

For Language Arts, we have already begun activities that deal with phonemic awareness, which is “the ability to hear, identify, and manipulate the individual sounds (or phonemes) in spoken words.” For example, the kids have to identify the beginning sound of the words “chair” (ch) and “table” (t). The emphasis is on the sounds of the letters of the alphabet.

We hope to see you in Saturday’s Polynesian Night!

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Salty Ocean Water

Our young Utopians remain fascinated by our lessons on tide pools. Our ongoing discussion this week focused on using different senses to identify different types of water. We separated one gallon of ocean water from another gallon of tap water and asked the kids to perform a simple experiment. They looked, smelled, and tasted both types of water and identified each of their sensory characteristics. We certainly had fun taking that mini plunge with them in the classroom.

Another highlight this week was the dental screening. A dental hygienist / nurse visited our classroom and talked to the children about the proper way to brush their teeth, emphasizing brushing frequency (3 times a day), toothbrush texture (soft bristles), and brush size (children’s size). The representative also discussed the importance of eating healthy and exercising frequently. At the end of the day, our kids had a healthy goodie bag that they took home – complete with a kids’ toothbrush and a tube of travel toothpaste.

What a euphoric month it has been for the San Francisco Giants! Last Wednesday, the entire school shared in the citywide celebration of the Giants’ victory parade. Along with most Bronco teachers and students (a lottery-picked contingent was lucky enough to actually go to the parade), we sat in the gym and watched a live broadcast of the Market Street celebration. Thanks to Timothy’s parents for contributing some goldfish crackers for the children to munch on while watching the big screen.