Monday, December 23, 2013

Let's Play Outside!

Once the frigid temperatures subsided, we were able to have some outdoor fun in the snow!

If you are interested in outdoor fun this break, here are some helpful links--especially if everyone starts to get cabin fever.

Animal Tracking: Click here for a great printable from the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources on finding animal tracks in the snow. The story Tracks in the Wild by Minnesota native and North Shore resident Betsy Bowen is a wonderful book with beautiful illustrations that can accompany this activity--here is an additional printable follow-up activity based on the book.

On the Hill: Tubing at Elm Creek is a lot of fun--no equipment required!

If you want a change of scenery... inside: The University of Minnesota Arboretum in Chaska has weekend fun programs for children that engage the senses and include access to the outdoor Green PlayYard and an indoor greenhouse.

For a quiet writing and drawing activity, your child might enjoy creating their own scene inside a snowglobe and writing a story to go with it!

Happy Winter!

Christmas Party Fun

Whoo--I am finally getting around to all the fun we had the last week before the winter break!

On Wednesday, we had a lot of fun at our Christmas party.  We read Harvey Slumfenburger's Christmas Present, a story about people helping Santa Claus deliver one last present to Harvey Slumfenburger.
After our story, the children had lots of hands-on fun making crafts and eating treats.
 Building and eating Christmas tree brownies--complete with candy canes.
 Making candy canes with beads
The Christmas word search

Matching colors and shapes to a holiday tree

More yummy treats!

Saturday, December 14, 2013

How to Convince Your Mom to Make Pizza for Breakfast!

Our writers' workshop unit this month is creating "how to" books.  We read several books like Bruno the Baker and The Jacket I Wear in the Snow to help us think about the steps in creating something.  To close out our week, we got to improvise with some persuasive writing on "how to convince your mom to make pizza for breakfast!"  The children had a lot of fun with the topic.  We even took video of each child reading their special how-to!  We will continue the unit into January, and look to publish some how-to books after the new year.
Happy Winter!
Let it snow!

St. Lucia Day

We celebrated St. Lucia Day on Friday.  St. Lucia Day is a Christmas tradition celebrated in Scandinavia on December 13th each year.  Saint Lucia is remembered as one who brought giving and light on the longest night of the year.

For our St. Lucia celebration, the girls made St. Lucia crowns with tissue paper to resemble wreath of the traditional crown.  The boys made Star Boy hats; the Star boy was created as a helper to St. Lucia.  We made Lussekatt, saffron buns with raisins and cinnamon, and ate them with hot cocoa for snack. They were a big hit!
Traditional Lussekatt

St. Lucia even came to see us!  She shared the special tradition of the pepparkakor, a Swedish spice cookie--you place the cookie in the palm of your hand and make a wish.  You press with one finger in the middle, and if the pepparkakor breaks in three pieces, you get your wish!
St Lucia posing with the class!

For a short online book on St. Lucia, head to PBS Kids.  There are also stories on Ramadan, Christmas, Hanukkah, and more.
Thursday, December 12, 2013

Lower School December Giving Opportunity

During these gift-giving season, our school is supporting the Greater Minneapolis Crisis Nursery.  The Crisis Nursery works to end child abuse and neglect and create strong, healthy families, by supporting families in crisis 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.

The school recently sent some communications about the donations, but as a reminder if you would like to donate please send new, unwrapped gifts to school with your child.  The nursery is particularly looking for: culturally diverse toys, boys and girls shoes sizes 6 through 10, $5 gas cards, Target gift cards, and Cub/Rainbow gift cards 
Tuesday, December 10, 2013

The Five Senses

To get ready for biobuddies tomorrow, we explored our sense of taste today.  We looked in mirrors at our tastebuds, then tried out a sour food (dill pickle), a bitter food (baking chocolate), a sweet food (Oreo cookie) and a salty food (pretzel).  We talked about how our senses of smell and taste are linked, so some children tried holding their noses to see if they could still taste all four items.  Surprisingly, many students actually liked the unsweetened baking chocolate!    

We graphed our favorite taste--the Oreos, the sweet treat, came out as the clear favorite.  A few students drew some of their favorite foods as well.  Look for more pictures tomorrow from our five senses stations with our biobuddies!
Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Happy Hanukkah

We had a wonderful time at our Hanukkah party this morning, despite the heavy snow and long commutes this morning.  Thank you to our parent helpers for taking on our party fun and spending their mornings with us.

We read a story about the history of the menorah and created paper collage menorahs.

  A big favorite was the dreidel game!

The children were divided on whether they liked our potato pancakes--it was a good introduction to thinking about our sense of taste for the five senses as well.
On Friday, we will discuss the traditions of St. Nicholas.  The children will make and leave out paper shoes for St. Nicholas to fill with treats and goodies.  For some interesting information on St. Nicholas, check here.
Monday, December 2, 2013

First Skate this Friday

Snoopy is ready... but he forgot his helmet and skates!  We will be ready this Friday for our first skating time at the Breck Ice Arena with skates, helmets and snow gear.  And at the end of the video, Snoopy shows us the best thing of all--how to fall gracefully!
Sunday, December 1, 2013

Grandparents and Special People Day

We had a wonderful, busy time for Grandparents and Special Person's Day.  For both myself and Ms. Brandl, it was our first experience with this happy tradition, and we had a blast.  Thanks to our parent helper as well--she captured some great moments in the classroom.
Doing the special person/kindergartner interview

 Learning about our special people!

 Making pomanders--an early American custom and environmentally-friendly air freshener!
 Making handprints and dot-to-dot turkeys
Some of our students had grandparents visiting from California and New York--how exciting!
 Our lower school director stopped by to join in the fun!
 One of our kindergartners had his great-grandparents visit--it was their 26th Grandparents' Day!
 Fun playing "the little old lady who lived in a shoe" from our shoe tying day last week!

 Thank you, thank you to all our grandparents and special people for taking the morning to be with us.  We are thankful for you and your kindergartners.