Wednesday, May 28, 2014

The First Phase of The Pet Project!

        For the first phase of our pet project, Michelle brought in her cat, Misty, and Mairead brought in her dog, Valentine! The teachers told the kids that we had a surprise visitor for them to meet in the Art Studio and the kids were immediately intrigued and excited. When we walked over to the Art Studio, Misty was under a blanket and we asked the kids what they thought could be under the blanket. This is what some of them had to say:

Ariana: “A kitty cat”

Daisy: “A unicorn”
Gabriel: “A car”
Anya: “A princess unicorn”
Brendan: “Horse”
Kaylin: “A polar bear”

The kids had a wide variety questions about Misty and wanted to know all about her. The kids also got to pet Misty and we asked them, “How does she feel?”:

Kaylin: “She feels warm.”

Brendan: “I don’t know.”

Gabriel: “She feel good.”

Anya: “She hot.”

Daisy: “Good.”

Daniela: “Soft and good.”

Ariana: “She’s warm.”

Sage: “Misty is white and soft and has different colors on her tail. She’s a cat. A furry cat.”

Questions and Comments About Misty

Anya: “I have a pet in my house. I have a toy cat. A house cat.”

Daisy: “She licks herself for a bath, but what is her soap.”

Ariana: “The cat is the surprise! She has no fingers in his paws.”

Gabriel: “I have fingers!”

Daniela: “Does she use a bathtub?”

Kaylin: “How a cat exercise? When I have a cat it used to eat dog food.”

Ariana: “Cats are really crazy.”

Daniela: “Is that your pet Michelle?”

 The Sensory Table “Fish Tank”

           As our exploration of pets has continued, the children have shown a consistent interest in a variety of pets. Specifically, the children have been talking about dogs, cats and fish. As a result, the teachers decided to turn the sensory table into a pretend fish tank!

To start the process of transforming the sensory table into a fish tank, Rachelle asked the kids:

“What should we put in our aquarium?”

Sage: “A sea horse and a squid! A goldfish! Some cats and dogs look like fish, like a catfish and a dogfish.”

Emily: “Catfish only have whiskers.”

Ian: “Sharks of all different kinds.”

Sage: “And they need water and something to play in. Maybe a log and seaweed! A big castle for the fish! How about flowers in the aquarium?”

Blake: “How about Santa Claus?”

Emily: “Ha ha ha! He doesn’t swim. He only sends presents.”

Malea: “What about a octopus?”

Blake: “And a colossal squid!”

Rachelle: “What do you think we could put on the bottom of the fish tank?”

Emily: “Rocks!”

Blake: “Some sand”

Sage: “Rocks. Rainbow rocks and maybe a statue.”

Blake: “And some play toys and houses.”

Malea: “And they need food!”

Rachelle: “What do you think fish eat?”

Mia: “Fish food”

Ariana: “Rocks”

Nathan: “Seaweed!”

Brendan: “They eat goldfish.”

Kaden: “Yeah, they eat little fish.”

        The children have had so many interesting ideas about fish, their diets, and their habitats. We will continue to explore the world of fish in preparation for our upcoming field trip to the Aquarium of the Bay!

       This activity supports scientific exploration and observation, expressive language, cooperative play with peers, shared use of space, critical thinking, and positive social interactions.

Pet Shop

  Before the pet shop became a “Pet Shop”, I noticed some children taking on different kinds of play, roles and responsibilities. I carefully observed my first week in the dramatic play area so I can have a better understanding of what they think a pet shop is.
      I observed the children in the area choosing a particular stuffed toy, taking care of it by picking out a kind of food or treat and feeding it. I asked each child what the name of their pet is, how old they are, what they like to eat and how they play with them.

Malena: “Pinkie Pie is my pet rabbit. She’s 5 and eats carrots. She likes to jump and play.”

Daisy: “Her name is Chocolate Chip and her tail goes up when she’s scared, happy, or excited. She’s black and white and she likes running around. She likes to eat little fish bones.”

Ariana: “Artsie is a parrot. He likes to play and goes on a flying trip to San Francisco, California. Artsie is 4 years old and lives with mom and dad.”

Mairead: “Bill is 4 and he’s sick because he ate sand. I don’t know why he likes to eat sand. He needs his medicine. I will buy medicine at the pet shop.”

      After the children described their pets, I had them write down their name, age and tape them on little baskets. This is a wonderful literacy activity incorporated in their play of our “Pet Shop”. It gives the children the opportunity to read, write and recognize the name of their pets when they put them away.

Jumping In Style!

          The whole class has been enjoying the addition of our new rainbow mat to the playground! There are two tree stumps for the children to climb up on and jump onto the mat. Every child has grown a strong interest to this new area, which has initiated some new friendships!

This jumping area has not only created new connections within the class, but also is a great activity for children to strengthen their expressive language and taking turns. The most important rule for this area is to make sure no one is on the mat when someone is jumping. The class talked about why it’s not safe when someone else is on the mat and the children came up with responses such as, “You can bump your head” or “Because you can jump on top of them”. We took this as an opportunity for the children to independently recognize and discuss among each other the dangers of jumping on the mat and so far they have been amazing at jumping safely!

We have also incorporated measurement and color recognition into the activity by talking about how far the children can jump or which color they can jump to. Jumping also strengthens gross motor skills as well as balance upon landing!

Here are some quotes as the children were playing in this area:
Rika- “Hey look Stephanie! I can jump over to the green!”
Abby- “Jump split!”
Jacklyn- “Boing!”
Kieran- “A jump roll”  & (Before jumping) “Let it go, let it go, let it go!”