Week of Sept. 18, 2014

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Explore and Experience

The doors between the classrooms and the Exploratorium were left open last Friday as the Alpha students participated in their first exploring day. During this 90 minute period, the children move freely between the rooms engaging in a variety of messy and fun-filled discovery. The morning of color exploration began with the reading of “Mouse Paint” by Denise Cronin. Then, with shaving cream and dry tempera, colored water and pipettes, and even stuffed mice and tempera, the boys and girls mixed and experimented with color to their hearts’ content. Even snack was a mixing activity as the students choose two colors of sprinkles to sprinkle and stir into their yogurt!

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Do height and weight affect velocity?

Supplied with plastic gutters of different lengths and a variety of balls, the Junior Kindergartners created ramps and bridges. Gutters stretched from one end of the room to another and were moved up and down to different levels as the students investigated the effects of height of the ramp and the type of ball on the speed of the ball by propping the gutters on tables, walls, blocks and chairs. Teamwork abounded as balls rolled, sometimes moving from one ramp to another and sometimes into the tubs placed just in the right spot at the bottom!

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Creating Gus the Bus

Riding the bus is the highlight of the first field trip for Alpha so the teachers and children extend the experience by creating a bus in their exploratorium that they can “ride” and “drive” anywhere their imaginations can carry them. Of course the the creation process was as much fun as enjoying the results of their labor as the children dipped the wheels of their toy buses into paint and “drove” them across the paper.

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Super Shadows

Turn on an old overhead projector and hang a sheet, and you have an irresistible place for children to discover how shadows are made and can move. Adding scarves and music gives the experience another dimension, but the fun really escalated when Mr. Evans added some shadowy effects of his own!

Come out, crab!

Hermit crabs can be hard to find as they move into a new shell or hide out under an old one but the Alpha students love to try to find them or to observe their movement!

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When is snack more than snack?

When snack is a math lesson, it becomes more than just snack! A scoop of colored goldfish led to sorting, graphing and counting practice for Junior Kindergarten. The children sorted their fish, then lined them up on a graph by matching them to the colors at the bottom of each row. Before eating them, the students counted each row and figured out which colors had more, less or were equal. Literacy was involved as well as the boys and girls used their letter knowledge to determine which color fish went in each row.

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Letters and Literacy

Learning letters is fun, the Experiential School way! Choosing letters from a basket and then locating those letters in the newspaper gives relevancy to the children and an authenticity to their learning as they apply it to real life situations. Of course, games that involve manipulative letter matching related to that wonderful story, “Chicka Chicka Boom Boom“, are fun and skill reinforcing, too.

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Parents in the classroom

Having parents volunteer in the classroom allows them to see the program in action, get to know their child’s friends and see their child in another light. Of course, the teachers love having the parents come as the more hands we have to help, the more fun they can plan. Best of all is the joy of the children in having their parents visit.

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Playground fun = development and learning

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Swinging on tummies is a great activity for developing the vestibular system.

Each method of getting from the bottom to the top of the climbing structure has a purpose! Whether they use their arms to pull themselves up or their feet and hands to climb, the children are developing their strength and coordination.

Playing in the sand takes on many dimensions including collaboration, cooperation and compromise.

Is anyone there? Walkie talkies and a workshop bench give rise to socio-dramatic play where anyone can take on any role. Gender roles are erased and imaginations fly!

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More photos here.

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