We have a lot going on the last week before the winter holiday! In particular, Thursday and Friday we are having pj days! Yes, two days where the children can come to school in their pyjamas!!!!
On Friday, our school will be presenting a holiday concert. We would like to wear Santa and/or reindeer hats for our concert. So, if your child has one, please allow them to bring it in on Friday. Parents are invited to come in to watch at our 11:30 a.m. presentation in the gym.
Have a wonderful night!
We have been reading a variety of fiction and non-fiction texts about the seasonal changes we are noticing in the forest. Animals in Fall and Time to Sleepboth outline the ways animals get ready for cold weather. The children were very good at determining which book was factual and which was make believe based on a variety of criteria: The non-fiction book had real photos, while the fictional story had illustrations painted by an artist. The non-fiction book had a Table of Contents and provided factual information, while the fictional story contained events that could never happen. “Animals don’t talk, Madame!” It is fun to read different types of material for a variety of purposes.
We often invite one of the children to hold the book at the front of the class and “be the teacher.” They are very good at retelling familiar stories and using clues from the pictures to predict the meaning behind the words. From my spot on the carpet, I can see that the “readers” have clearly mastered several conventions of print: They hold the book upright, turn pages from front to back, and scan their eyes from left to right. These are excellent pre-reading skills!
There is a vine swing that is also a popular attraction in the forest. Without prompting from adults, the students organize themselves, form a line, and patiently wait for their turns on the swing. Collaboration, social intelligence, emotional maturity, and self-regulation are practised spontaneously and authentically during forest play.
The creek running through the conservation area is another interesting play space that we visit frequently. The children love pretending to fish in the stream. They enjoy walking to the foot bridge and climbing across the pile of scrub brush. (AKA “The Beaver Dam.”) The students are excellent at recognizing and assessing risks for themselves. They remind each other that cattails mean that open water is present and we need to be aware. We teach the children that any ice that they find in our forest or near their homes at this time of year is thin and unable to support our weight. Balancing safety and rich learning is of primary importance.
Visiting the same sites over a long period of time leads to a feeling of connection with the land and helps us to be keenly aware of seasonal changes around us.
On subsequent days, we talked extensively about the feeling of anger. All of us feel angry sometimes, and occasionally it is difficult to know how to manage this powerful emotion. We read a book called, When Sophie Gets Angry – Really, Really Angry. In the story, Sophie is ready to explode like a volcano. She wants to kick and scream, but instead, she makes a better choice and runs outside and climbs her favourite tree. In this quiet, peaceful place, Sophie finds comfort and begins to relax. Sophie returns home and is welcomed back and embraced by her family. Different people handle anger in different ways, and the children recognized that it is never ok to hurt people, say mean things, or damage property when we get mad. We brainstormed a very extensive and insightful list of things to do instead. These were some of the ideas of your amazing children:
- go outside
- cuddle a stuffy
- draw or paint a picture
- read a book
- take deep breaths
- watch TV
- scream in my pillow
- lay in my bed
- walk away
- talk to parents or siblings
We began with the sentence starter, “Quand je suis fâché, je ...” and the children printed their ideas in French and drew pictures of themselves using their strategies. Recognizing the feelings of others, identifying our own feelings, and managing powerful emotions are important skills that help us get along and build strong relationships.