The day began with the kids playing outside in the snow. Some schools may have indoor recess because of the temperatures, but my instincts told me the kids were dressed appropriately and really needed this time to explore in the snow. We have had so little white stuff this winter, the kids were craving it! Coming inside, we settled for calendar time with Lucy and Jorge. Claire worked on tangrams; Jack read about the origin of Friday the 13th; and BJ found an anchor activity to explore. The whole group met up to discuss Friday the 13th, unlucky numbers, superstitions and jinxes. The look on the tot's faces as we discussed the lack of a 13th floor in apartment buildings and on planes was priceless.
What followed next was a cooking lesson in the kitchen on making a quick bread: cranberry. All of the kids enjoy being in the kitchen and Paula and I had discussed introducing them to all varieties of bread. We talked about leavening agents and how since this bread didn't need yeast, it contained baking powder and soda instead. Above this post, I will attempt to post the video we took! We MEASURED dry ingredients, BEAT the butter and sugar, CRACKED eggs, SIFTED flour and FOLDED in cranberries. All kids got a turn helping in some way, although, each thought the others were getting more turns :) A lesson for next time in setting expectations!
As we let our bread bake, we came back to the classroom to work on the scrapbooks the kids were creating about their first semester experiences. Each student was working on their own creation of a topic brainstormed previously by the class. A variety of scrap booking materials were available for them to use. Some kids chose to hand write their text, while others dictated to myself as I typed it up on the computer. It was interesting to watch each child decide what to add, how to lay out their page and then commit to finally gluing down each piece. This was an activity that each child could take to their own level and take pride in their accomplishment.
Bread was done, but needed to cool (and I wanted them to eat their lunches before filling up on the yummy bread!) We had lunch together and I was requested to guess what each child had in their lunch. Now, I was pretty good at this as 3 of them were my own children, and even though I only pack their sandwiches, I am aware of their side possibilities! It was fun to try and guess Jorge and Claire's lunch. I would guess something like a "sandwich" for Jorge and all the kids would reply "Jorge never has a sandwich for lunch!" like they couldn't believe I didn't know that! It's amazing how close these kids actually get to one another.
I convinced the kids that the bread would still be warm after they played outside (and it would be a good way for me to lure them back in!) Snow gear was donned and all headed out to continue their snow forts. Claire wore out quickly and came inside and asked if she could get the bread ready. We had made one loaf for our snack and individual loaves for each child to take home. The small loaves were wrapped up and the large one was sliced for us to eat.
All of the kids left outside came in quickly when we announced the bread was ready. Kids ate the bread they had made that morning as I read a fairy tale, "The Lion and the Mouse" to the tots from The Little Book for Mom's. It was time for me to read "Snake Head Invasion" to the bigs and each tot found something to do on their own. This would normally be the time for "Mouse House" which involves blankets laid out and put over chairs so the tots can play a game of house where each plays the part of a mouse. However, Claire wanted to continue reading out of the Mom's book (filled with fairy tales, short stories and poems) and Lucy wanted to draw in her sketch book. Jorge spent his time preparing for Mouse House which just never could get off the ground.
After read aloud, I spent some time with the bigs on their math project while the tots chose an anchor activity to complete. Earlier in the week, holiday break stories were shared and driving vs. flying came to discussion. Kids wondered about the amount of time and money spent on each. Jack and BJ worked on figuring out the different routes taken to get to Florida, mileage, and how much tickets were to different locations in Florida. This was just the start to calculating out the total time and money spent on each mode.
The day was close to ending, and I was grateful. Teaching had taken a lot out of me today and I was relieved to have gotten through the day! We needed to clean the room and pick up. BJ headed over to the chore chart and recorded what each child was responsible forall knew what they needed to do without any guidance from me. Jack changed the water for Leo, the frog; Lucy cleaned the bathrooms; Jorge swept the floors and picked up the classroom; and BJ vacuumed the room. Man, things looked good! We decided to mop up the floors with all the boots tracking in snow. Jorge and Lucy enjoyed getting out the mops, wetting them and wiping up the floors. I showed Lucy how it is better to mop and walk backwards so you don't track right where you just wiped! Maybe this will transfer to her cleaning at home?? :) All finished their jobs quickly and efficiently as they were promised "free time" at the end of the day. Claire and Jorge chose to play "Teach Me Kindergarten" on the iPads while Jack and BJ went back out to play in the snow. Lucy stayed with me and helped me finish mopping the floors!
So that is the end of my tale for the day. I will now head to bed with a clear conscience that my kids are being taught by the most creative and energetic person out there. Yes, it is my sister, but she continues to amaze me at the amount of things my children are exposed to in this small school setting. I know they love school, love Paula, and are learning everything they need to in order to succeed in the world today. Good night...