Fall continued and Thanksgiving preparations!

We have been having fun with pumpkins. We each got to paint a pumpkin and carefully place a stem at the top of our pumpkin. We could see that pumpkins are round, like a circle, so we first painted a circle and then carefully painted it in. We used orange, because pumpkins are the color orange. We also talked about the stem. We looked at a pumpkin and could see that the stem grows from the top of the pumpkin and it is brown.

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We also had fun using our gross motor skills and improving our coordination by hammering nails into a pumpkin. We could choose what we wanted to use as our hammer (a wooden hammer, branch, or block) and got to work.

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We also learned how to use the scale in our classroom. We learned that when one side of the scale is lower (closer to the ground) than the other, it means that side is heavier. We put a pumpkin on one side and then we each got a chance to choose what we wanted to put on the other side. We made a prediction about which item we thought would be heavier and then checked to see if our prediction was correct. We learned that pumpkin is heavier than a lot of the materials that we have in our classroom!

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We also used our fine motor skills to roll pumpkins out of play dough. We took the play dough between our hands and gently pressed our palms around it while we rolled until it made a circle, just like a real pumpkin. We then took a small twig a stuck it in the top to be the stem.

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We also played a game called pass the pumpkin. First, we all looked at a pumpkin and got to feel it while we brainstormed describing words all together. Then, Morah sang a song while we carefully passed the pumpkin around the circle. When Morah stopped singing, the child holding the pumpkin thought of a word to describe it. This helped us work on our descriptive language skills. Some of the pumpkin descriptions that we came up with were: it is orange, it is bumpy, there is a brown stem, the stem has white in the middle, it is heavy, it is small.

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We also used pumpkin seeds to work on our one to one correspondence skills. We had real pumpkin seeds and had to put them onto paper pumpkins based on the number written on the pumpkin. This helps us to learn what numbers really mean.

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We were also busy working on a special fall project. We made trees on paper using the materials that we collected on our nature walk. First, we looked at a picture of a tree. We saw the tree trunk, the branches, and the leaves. We noticed that the leaves were on the trees, and that some leaves were also on the ground. Then we chose a large twig and glued it onto our paper to be the tree trunk. We selected smaller twigs to be used as branches. We were careful about where we glued our branches, because we knew that branches grow from the tree trunk or from other branches, so we tried our hardest to make sure the branches were touching another part of the tree.

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Then we used the leaves that we cut up last week as the leaves on our trees. We decided whether we wanted the leaves to be on the branches or on the ground and then glued them onto our tree.

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We have also been learning about a special holiday that is coming up: Thanksgiving! We learned that on Thanksgiving, we think about the things in our lives that we are thankful for and we each thought about what we are thankful for. Then we drew a picture, and Morah wrote down our words on a piece of paper and hung our art on the wall in the classroom.

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We also learned that on Thanksgiving, we gather with our families and have a special Thanksgiving feast, where we eat turkey, cornbread, cranberry sauce, pie, and other special foods. We made a special plate to take home. First, we mixed together ingredients to make homemade clay.

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Then, we carefully rolled the clay and used a bowl to make a circle. Some friends used a knife to cut around the bowl, and others pressed the bowl down hard into the clay.

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We waited for our plates to dry and then we carefully painted a small pumpkin in the middle. We started with an orange circle, filled it in, and then made a small brown stem on top.

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After our pumpkin dried, we painted around the outside of our plate (with our pumpkins carefully covered up). When we were done painting the outside, we took off the paper and there was our pumpkin!

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The last step was to add some nice stones for decoration. We carefully put glue around the edge of our plate and laid each stone down, careful not to cover our pumpkin. Making these plates helped us strengthen our fine motor skills, concentration, shape and color recognition.

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While learning about Thanksgiving, we found out that at the first Thanksgiving, the Pilgrims and Native Americans helped each other. We have been talking about doing mitzvahs (helping other people) and every day we do the special mitzvah of giving tzedekah for people who need help. We then got to paint our own tzedekah cans that we will be able to take home at our school’s Thanksgiving feast.

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When we put our tzedakah in our tzedakah box every morning, we sing a special song. Here are the lyrics, so you can sing with your children at home ūüôā

The coins go dropping one by one hurrah, hurrah

They drop into the tzedakah box hurrah, hurrah

When the box is full, we’ll be so glad

We’ll give to it people who may not have everything that they need hurrah, hurrah

We did a mitzvah!

Also in preparation for the feast, we made 6(!) loaves of cornbread. We measured, poured and mixed together the ingredients and can’t wait to taste the cornbread at the feast.

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Even though we have been busy talking about fall and Thanksgiving, there are also opportunities for more learning. Some of our friends were wondering what would happen if we mixed colors together, so we decided to find out! First, Morah put two different colors in ziploc bags and we had a fun sensory experience squishing the bags to mix the colors. We learned that yellow and blue make green, red and blue make purple, and yellow and red make orange. We also practiced mixing using water with food coloring in it. We used our fine motor skills to pick up one color with droppers and put it into another cup with a different color.

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We also had fun painting pictures with the purple, green and orange paint that we mixed ourselves.

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We are noticing that some of our friends are getting sick and are coughing or sneezing. Since we do not want to get each other sick, we have been practicing catching our coughs and sneezes in our elbows. Please encourage us to practice this at home so that we become experts at keeping our germs safely away from our friends, food and toys.

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Fall is Fun!

Last week, we celebrated Ryan’s 4th birthday with cupcakes. We also made him a special birthday book where we each drew him and picture and made him a special birthday wish. Happy birthday, Ryan!

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We have also been busy learning about and experiencing this new season that we are in: Fall. We bundled up and went on a nature walk. On our walk, we looked for special fall items like leaves, pinecones, acorns, and twigs.

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While we were walking, we saw a large flock of birds and they all flew together over our heads and landed in the trees above us. It was so interesting to see all of the birds fly together at the same. One of our friends thought that the birds were ravens and he even thought he knew why, “because they are black!”

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We made it all the way to the river! When we got there, we sat together quietly and listened to the sounds of the forest. We could hear the wind rustling through the leaves, the birds chirping and, if we listened really really carefully, we could hear the water moving in the river.

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On our way back to school, we had so much fun running and kicking leaves and picking them up and throwing them in the air. We are really enjoying fall so far!

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We have been doing a lot of fun activities with all of the fall themed things we found in the woods.

We strengthened our fine motor skills and concentration by making leaf tracings on the window. We also used scissors to cut leaves to use for a project, which also helps us with our fine motor skills.

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We did math activities with the leaves, too. First, we sorted the leaves by color. We had brown, green, yellow, and red leaves. The next day, we graphed the leaves by color. Then we counted how many of each color we had (8 brown, 5 yellow, 7 red and 2 green). We figured out that we found the most brown leaves, because 8 is the biggest number.

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We also used our natural materials to make a lot of art!¬†Instead of using a paintbrush, we each got to paint with what we found. We could choose to paint with leaves, pinecones, acorns, or twigs. It was different than painting with a paintbrush; some of us felt like it was more difficult to get paint onto our “brushes”.

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We also worked together to paint a large fall “tree.” We got a real tree branch and used real leaves to dip into paint to make leaves for our tree. We looked at a picture of a real tree and saw that the leaves were on the branches or on the ground, but there were no leaves on the trunk.

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We also learned about a special food that we harvest and eat in the fall: pumpkins! We saw that pumpkins are round and orange. Then we touched the outside of a pumpkin and felt that it was bumpy. Morah cut open the top and we got to reach inside and pull out the seeds! We worked to separate the white, hard seeds from the slimy, orange guts.

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The most exciting part was when we found a seed that had already started to sprout inside the pumpkin! We saved it, put it in a ziploc bag with water and put it in the window so that it could get some sun. We love to check on it every day to see if has grown anymore.

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We have also been busy learning about what animals do to prepare for winter. We learned that some animals hibernate, which means that they sleep through the cold months of winter. We read the book Hibernation Station which talks about different animals that hibernate. We got to see pictures of the animals while they were awake then looked at pictures of animals hibernating. We worked together to match the animal to what it looks like when it hibernates.

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We also had a lot of fun playing with a box! We read¬†It’s Not a Box and then thought about different things that our box could be. Some of our ideas were a rocket ship, airplane or train.¬†At first, we had fun closing the box up while we were inside it. Then some friends had the idea that our foam shapes could be used as food, and slipped them into the box for our friends who were inside.

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The next day, we read The Busy Little Squirrel, which is all about a squirrel collecting food and leaves for his den that he will hibernate in. When we finished, we remembered that we have a big box in our classroom and decided to make our very own hibernation den! We thought about the things that the squirrel had in his den and decided to use packing paper to make the den comfortable.

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Then we talked about what we could use for food in our den. Yesterday, our friends were playing a game where they pretended that foam shapes were food and when they suggested using those shapes again, everyone agreed it was a great idea. We all had so much fun building and pretending to hibernate in our cozy den.

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