Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Super Special Story Time!

Today the upper girls came to visit and read us stories. In Hebrew class, with Morah Chani Loew, the girls had translated children's books into Hebrew. They came to our room to read these books. It was a wonderful opportunity for the older girls to practice their Hebrew reading and showcase their hard work.  The preschoolers LOVED the individualized attention from big role models and the story time. Morah Racheli regularly reads Hebrew books to our class, so we are already seasoned in comprehension of Hebrew stories.
This was such a lovely time and we plan to continue these shared learning opportunities. 

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Tea Time

How  can we experience the letter 'T' without some tea?
Today, in our tent, we had a tea party!
Instead of simply tasting the tea, we enjoyed using many senses to really appreciate tea.

First dry tea leaves, from an opened tea bag, were passed around the group. Students enjoyed touching and smelling the tea leaves. They were intrigued that tea is made from adding hot water to dried plant leaves. 
"It is like how you make coffee," Ahava noted. 
I quickly thought to myself about coffee beans, grinders, french press, instant granules, and Keurigs. "Similar," I replied.  

Then we talked about how tea can have different plants and flavorings added to change its scent,color, and flavor.
The students sampled the smell of a variety of teas and tried to guess what was in it.

The students easily and gleefully identified vanilla and mint. 

Fruit blends were a lot trickier to discern.


After smelling. some students sampled their favorite smelling tea on a tasting stick. The students were largely disappointed with the flavor. These teas were caffeinated and heavily concentrated, so we did not drink them.

Instead I made a big pitcher of Good Earth Tea. Almost everyone enjoyed drinking the tea, some having many cups.

"What is the beracha for tea?" Ori asked.
"Is it adama?" Naftali suggested. I praised him for the logical suggestion, since we learned it is made from a plant.
"It is shehakol because that is the beracha for all drinks," Elazar explained.  I was impressed by all aspects of this conversation. Ori's interest in the right beracha, Naftali's thoughtful application of information, and Elazar's recall of preexisting knowledge are all wonderful parts of the learning process. 

I did not capture photos of the students enjoying the real tea, but here are shot of various tea parties.

Ironically, although Adina loves to play tea party, she refuses to taste real tea. One of the joys of imaginary play, is you can try things you would avoid in reality. 

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Reuse-Reduce-Recycle--> Sustainability-->Tree loving.

R week had many aspects, but perhaps the most important connect to recycling. Many of you recycle at home. Your children told me how many bins you have and in what color. They all eagerly shared where they donate unneeded items. Good for you!

In our classroom we have not been recycling. We do a lot of up-cycling, where we use items which would otherwise be considered waste, for a new and exciting purpose (like the cardboard tubing we used to make Yonah's big fish, the atzei hayim of Torah scrolls, and the megilah holder).  Sadly, all of our classroom waste has been going to the landfill. We 'R' changing that now.

First we chatted informally about where garbage goes and why we don't to add to the landfills. Recycling and compost intrigued them, but generally they were more interested in the 'reusing' idea.

We played a game of sorting unwanted items for reuse, recycle, compost, and landfill.

At first the game was challenging, but the students quickly gained confidence in how to best dispose of items.

Seattle transplants often complain about the struggles of embracing the local waste disposal requirements. 
I guess you have to start young, because the students have happily embraced the proper disposal system we now use in the room. 
I did not want this concept to be tied too closely with the letter 'R'. We don't enjoy ice cream every day or regularly fly a kite. We always are working to preserve and improve the world around us. Your children are happily doing their part to help.

Friday, May 1, 2015

R is for Robot

The topic of robots has come up numerous times over the year. 
This week we finally got to focus on them.

We designed robots in the factory.

We sorted and matched robots.

 Robot fun!