Friday, May 27, 2011

Stage 3: Chrysalis

This was a sign written by a child who learned that for our caterpillars to survive, they needed to remain undisturbed.

The child sounded out each letter for this sign. For the letters he did not know how to write from memory (but he knew what they looked like), he got a book to copy the letters from.

If you were able to read this sign, there is no denying that you are a preschool parent! If you can't read the sign (or at least a part of it), the translation can be found at the end of this blog.

When we came back to school on Monday, most of our caterpillars have turned into chrysalis. There were a few that were not quite there yet, but getting there. We learned during our research that caterpillars hanging shaped like a "J" at the top of the cover (or leaf, if they were in the wild) will soon turn into chrysalis.
Not wanting to miss this important event, the students were quick to make observational drawings of the changes happening to our special creepy crawlies.
For good measure, I taped all the little cups with individual caterpillars/chrysalis so they don't get "accidentally" knocked off from their hold of the cover.
The million-dollar question: What is this black speck at the bottom of the container on top of the caterpillar's food? We had lots of guesses--from poop, to spiders that opened the lid to keep the caterpillar company, to a part of the caterpillar that fell off.

The million-dollar answer: It is the skin which the caterpillar sheds as it grows bigger. In its lifetime (not that it is that long), the caterpillar sheds its skin (molt), 3-4 times. Obviously, the bigger the caterpillar gets, the more substantial the size of the skin is.

The day has come! As soon as the chrysalis attached itself to the cover, it was time to transfer it to the butterfly pavilion. How long before the butterflies come out? The guesses have been from 2 weeks to 7 years. We'll see.

I'd like to share an excerpt of a conversation that I overheard in the yard. Backstory: this happened the day we transferred the first batch of chrysalis to the pavilion.

One child commented on a hair clip that was about to fall. She said, "Look, your hair clip is hanging like a pupa on your hair!" Talk about very vivid imagery!

Dance Festival

We hope you enjoyed the preschool's version of the Maori dance. Thank you parents for doing the costumes and to Charlie for sewing all the headbands. The elementary teachers who watched our dance for the first time couldn't believe that we only started practicing the dance 8 weeks ago, for half an hour each week. Thank you Teacher Ayla!

*Translation of the sign: Please do not touch

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Tuesday was such a comfy pajama day! On this day we had the privilege to go upstairs to the science lab to see and test out the marble mazes the 8th graders created. We were amazed at how different they all looked. One in particular that stood out to the boys was the one named Marvelocity, which had different super hero figurines around it. The 8th graders were so nice and helpful!

As the week went on the children continued to talk about the mazes and asked if we could make our own. So we decided to go back upstairs on Friday. We looked at the mazes, drew pictures of what we would want ours to look like, and then wrote a list of things we may need.

The list the kids came up with was:


"No, not wood metal"

"Super man"

A suggestion from one of our students was to turn our shoe store into a construction area. Hmmm....we'll see what develops from this....

On Thursday we had a Utopia parent come to school in his police officer uniform and car! He talked to us about safety and let us get in his car.

The day before, we talked to the kids about having a police officer come in and visit us. We decided to prepare questions to ask him. Some of the questions were:

"What does a person do when they go to jail?"

"How come when bad guys come to your house and see money they steal from you?"

"I'm going to ask a police officer he arrests somebody."

Practice Makes Perfect!

We're almost ready for our dance performance! This week we were able to practice in the gym so that we know where to stand for the actual performance. Don't forget the Dance Festival is this Thursday May 26th at 7 pm. Have your child at school by 6pm.

They're growing! Our caterpillars have almost tripled in size! Everyday our students are so excited to see their caterpillars and notice any changes. Any day now they should start attaching to the top of the cups and then we will transfer them to their new home, which is a big net that is in our science area.

Each student has their own caterpillar journal in which they have been drawing what their caterpillar looks like now. Here are some examples of their journal entries:

Reminder:Our field trip to the Academy of Science is coming up on Thursday June 2nd! If you plan on coming with us please let us know as soon as possible so we know how many adults will be joining us.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Dancing, Shoe Store, and Caterpillars!

As always, it has been a very exciting week at Utopia Preschool! We have been practicing our song and dance moves for the always exhilirating dance festival. Teacher Ayla was back on Wednesday, and worked separately with the boys and then the girls. There is a part of our second dance where the boys pound their chests and say "Hee!" four times and the girls turn to the side and clap four times.

Hopefully, the hula skirts we sent home with you are coming along well! Remember if you need any help please let us know and there are parents who have volunteered to work on more than one if needed.

Here is an image of Maori women in their skirts, from a book we have in class. Notice the blacks beads on the skirts, on your child's skirt feel free to get creative and add black tape to different parts of the skirt to make a unique design.

Reminders for the Dance Festival:

*Please have your child at school by 6pm already dressed. We will open the Utopia sidegate for families to enter.

*Girls are wearing a red top and boys are wearing a black top. Everyone is wearing black shorts or leggings under their hula skirt.

*Next week we will be sending home a head band and wrist band for each child to wear.

*The show starts at 7pm!

Yet again, the hot spot of the classroom has been our amazing shoe store. Each week the children think of something to add to it and/or a new role for people to play in it.

After adding the "closed" sign last week, one of our classmates noticed that we needed a way to notify people when the shoe store was open, so he took the initiative to write "open" on our sign. Now that the children have an "open" and "closed" sign at the entrance of the shoe store the children now close the shoe store, which is usually when a teacher announces it is clean-up time, and then open the store when it is free choice time. This week, the "manager" would usually open and close the store.If a customer was spotted in the store during closed hours they were warned that if they didn't exit the shoe store immediately the employees would call the police!

New friends joined our classroom: Caterpillars!

These little critters have captivated the hearts of our Utopians! Thank you to the Girarde family for having them delivered to us this week. 2 containers filled with 30 caterpillars each arrived and so we gave most of them their own home by putting them each in their own little cup. Each child chose their own caterpillar so they can observe their caterpillar each day and notice any changes. Many of the children even named their caterpillar! Some of the names given to our new friends are: Fido, Stella, Star Wars, and Toilet. Look for updates next week on the amazing transformation of these fascinating caterpillars!

Teacher Sonja was back this week and as always, we had such a fun time!

We started the class by sitting in a big circle and followed what Teacher Sonja asked us to do. We watched her very carefully as we clapped our hands over and under one leg at a time.

Then we chose a partner and were asked to identify different body parts and put the named body part on our partners body part.

Oh and just as a reminder: Monday May 16th we will be closed for a school holiday! See you next week!

Friday, May 6, 2011

Happy Mothers' Day

Shoe Store
We got back from Spring Break and our shoe store was still the hang out area. This time around, more children pretended to be workers in the store. Here is a Utopian trying to clip a rope by the entrance of the store. He said he was doing this to let the people know that the store is closed.
The store was a mess at the end of this business day. The customers did not return the shoes. They were everywhere!
It was a good thing that this volunteer helper was eager to lend a hand. He worked with a partner and between the two of them, was able to accomplish the task. As a "shoe liner", he lined up the shoes while his partner, collected the paired shoes for re-stocking.
When everything was put back in its place, the store was officially closed with this sign.
Survey says....

The children were surveying the shoes worn. After looking at each shoe closely, they came up with three categories: shoes with velcro, shoes with laces, shoe with neither.
After careful deliberation and consultation with peers, each one figured out where to put their names.
Everyone was eager to see which category had the most number of names.

Happy Mothers' Day!

Step 1: Get paper with color. Gather the paper at the center.

Step 2: Tie a pipe cleaner to hold all the paper together.
Step 3: Put in a vase.