Thursday, August 27, 2015

Back to School Photos

Miss K did a fantastic job with our back to school photos this year.  I try to hire a professional photographer at least once a year to take pictures of the kids and then I gift the digital files to the parents.  This morning I sent all preschool parents the photos of their child and now I get to share them with you.  Happy back to school photos! These will be the delightful 8 that you'll get to watch grow and learn all year long...

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

A Deeper Look Into Inquiry Blocks

We had a fantastic back to school day today and afterwards I received an email requesting more information about the inquiry blocks we'll be talking about.  It is a bit of an abstract idea, not nearly as concrete as studying a topic or theme per day like the last 3 years has been with these kids.  So I decided that I'd put the ideas in my head down in writing and share the details with everyone.

This year, in both Preschool and Kindergarten, we'll be spending approximately 6 weeks working through an inquiry block. The blocks include:

  • Who We Are
  • Where We Are In Place And Time
  • How We Express Ourselves
  • How the World Works
  • How We Organize Ourselves
  • Sharing the Planet

These ideas are very vague and are so intentionally.  As we start talking about a subject one idea or another may stick as a highly interesting subject for the class and we have the ability to stay with the idea until we have exhausted it or stumble upon something else more interesting.  In my Kindergarten Yearly Scope I have defined each of these blocks as:

  • Who We Are
    • Inquiry into noticing and naming, identity and passions, relationships and cultures including families, friends, and communities.  A focus on how families and friends are important and help each other. 
  • Where We Are In Place And Time
    • Inquiry into personal and family histories; advances in communications (letter, telegraph, house phone, cell phone, computer phone). Past, present, future: yesterday, today, tomorrow.
  • How We Express Ourselves
    • Inquiry into the ways we express ourselves through ideas, feelings, appearances, actions and the arts. A focus on the many ways to tell a story.
  • How the World Works
    • Inquiry into different kinds of materials and how they change. A focus on water and temperature causing changes, being scientists and researchers to make and test guesses, using senses to make observations.
  • How We Organize Ourselves
    • Inquiry into the jobs people do and how organizations are developed to address the needs and wants of a community. A focus on the classroom community and jobs that need to be done to keep our environment clean and a safe place to learn. 
  • Sharing the Planet
    • Inquiry into resources (elements) on Earth. Needs and wants of all living things and how they are connected to other living things and their environment. 
Kindergarten and preschool will vary throughout the year as each class will latch upon different key ideas and desire to focus on differing aspects of the inquiry block.

The ideas floating around preschool are far from concrete.  I have an umbrella of projects and will be looking for the interest-led spark that will lead our discussions, impact our writing and art and show up in our science lessons.

In preschool this year you can expect some, but not all, of the following ideas to be explored:
  • Who We Are
    • Conversations about being "Bucket Fillers" and developing friendships.  
    • Passions and interest of each child.
  • Where We Are In Place And Time
    • How things haven't always been the way they are today and things will change in the future.
    • Possible exploration of communication and its changes over time.
    • Exploration of family in terms of siblings, parents and grandparents.
    • Vocabulary: Yesterday, Today, Tomorrow
  • How We Express Ourselves
    • A study on emotion and actions/reactions.
    • Color and Music
    • Friends/Bucket fillers
    • Telling stories
  • How the World Works
    • Magnets
    • Simple Machines
    • Properties of water at different temperatures
    • Plants
    • Insects
  • How We Organize Ourselves
    • Community helpers: firemen/police/librarians, etc.
    • Jobs we do around our homes and in school to help out: cleaning up messes, sharpening pencils, setting the table
    • Responsibility for one's self
  • Sharing the Planet
    • Space
    • Friends/Bucket Fillers
    • Treating animals and property with respect
    • Serving others to help impact a positive environment 
I am really excited to explore these ideas within our preschool class as we continue learning to read and understand the world around us.  I hope you follow along on our journey of exploration!

Monday, August 24, 2015

Back to School Day is Tomorrow!

This will officially be the last year I am teaching preschool. I have one more 4 year old class of 8 fantastic students. I've had most of them in my classes since they were 2 years old and I'm so thrilled to take them all the way up to kindergarten. As Back to School day approaches I finished straightening up the house so it will be a perfect learning environment. This evening Miss K came to set up the photo backdrop and props for our back to school photos and I couldn't be happier. She does such fantastic work!

Friday, August 21, 2015

Where to Begin?

Wow! Where do I even begin? Life here in the past few months have been CRAZY! The short story: we hired a contractor to remodel the basement/preschool room. We made some poor choices and he ran off with our money :(. After a lot of heartache and searching we found a variety of new experts to complete the job. 3 months into our 2 week job and now it's officially finished. Yay!
Finally adding drywall

Adding paint

And now carpet

building in the bookshelves
Organizing and filling the bookshelves
adding in a door
making an under stair pantry
Finished pantry 
Now, you'll have to wait until after Back to School Day for the final pictures of the amazing new space we have to learn in.  I'm so excited!