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Archive for February, 2010

Today we began our day with finishing up our matryoshka project. We labeled each doll with their given names (from our story, the Littlest Matryoshka by Corrine Demas Bliss) and each friend helped laminate her latest creation. They will all be part of a mobile to take home next week.We also talked about the story itself and composed a summary to be part of our mobile.

After our snack, we worked on the letter “F” our Peace Traveler Alphabet (forget-me-not, fox, fiddler crab, fireworks, flags, fairy in the fall, flamingo, food). During snack, Rhiannon talk us of her upcoming birthday party, and (at the mention of pizza!)we sang and signed the Silly Pizza song (by Laurie Berkner!).

This afternoon we celebrated Rhiannon’s 5th Birthday with her Mom, Karen, and all the friends. We saw pictures of her as an infant and toddler, and heard stories of her early life from her Mom. We all celebrated with chocolate chip oatmeal cookies freshly baked by Rhiannon and her Dad this morning. Thanks!

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Welcome back!

We have been working on the concept of days of the week, days of the months (numeric), months of the year, and the names of the seasons. We also have reviewed the numeric names of the last few years. All of these concepts fit nicely into the conceptual framework of patterns and the idea of repetitive patterns. To finish our “simple” patterns unit, we used the entire egg cartons (6X5) and six colors and made repetitive patterns that “worked out” to be patterns in all ways (horizontal, vertical, and diagonal). From this unit, we will begin pattern blocks—a study of shapes and in combination, what those shapes can become.

We did a walk along the ridge between Whately Road and Old Cricket Hill Rd. on a walk through the “taiga” (the Russia forest), imagining the kind of animals we might see if we were there. (The snow on the trails is finally packed down enough that we can walk on them without sinking down eight or nine inches!) Of course the forecast predicted is heavy snow for this week, so this may be our last hike along these paths for a while! We returned to our cozy classroom and read, The Tale of the Firebird, a classic Russian tale loaded with adventure: flying horses, a wolf that can transform, using cleverness to obtain a coveted peacock, and meeting a resplendent princess.

Books We Read: The Tale of the Firebird by Gennady Spirin

Editors Note: The Double Edge Theatre Troop in Ashfield will be performing the Firebird this summer July 21-August 22nd. If you have been to a performance there you will know that they are not to be missed and if you have not get your tickets soon! Fun for the entire family!

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Today we celebrated Valentine’s Day. We finished decorating our “mailbox envelopes” and passed out the valentines that each friend made. We rolled and baked sugar cookies decorated with red sprinkles. We ate them at our party after lunch and opened our valentines at that time. Many thanks to all the friends and their assistants for the artistic creations that friends shared with one another. It was a memorable event. We also worked on the letter “V” in our P.T. Alphabet Book (Valentine, Village, Violet, Vulture, and Violin).

We finished our read aloud story, Gwinna by Barbara Helen Berger. There are many themes in this book that friends will share. They include listening to one’s inner voice, being aware of one’s surroundings, receiving wisdom from the elders and the animals around us, and seeing ourselves in a web of connection to all living things.

Have a relaxing week off, and we will return on February 23!

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Our study of patterns continues. Using egg flats (6X5) each friend began a pattern of three to four and the next friend finishes it. We began with two colors, and worked our way up to three.

Our Peace Traveler’s Alphabet book continues with the letter “U” (Umbrellabird, Urchin, Unicorn Root, Union of Soviet Socialist Republics—1922 to 1991, and United States of America). This is the last of the vowels, and these letters prove to be the most difficult to distinguish from each other. Long vowels say their names, like the “a” in “ate” or the “u” in “huge.” Contrast this with the short “a” sound in “apple” or the short “u” sound in “sun” or “un.” If you so desire, use the Sign Alphabet poster and practice a letter with its sounds and words that go with it. This definitely proves helpful to recall as we play with letter boards and make “rhyming words” (at, cat, rat, mat) that reinforce certain vowel sounds.


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Today we continued our creation of Matroyshka’s for our mobiles and completed our Senegal animals for our passports.

We had our monthly visit to Ruth Craft’s home, the senior member of our community. Ruth has lived in Ashfield her whole life (as she says, “so far!”) She enjoys hearing us sing, telling stories, and joining her for lunch. We also enacted the Little Matroyshka for Ruth with the assistance of Charlotte’s Mom, Danielle.

We also celebrated Charlotte’s 5th Birthday with the story of her birth and growth as told by her Mom. We had some freshly-baked, warm Anadama bread with homemade strawberry jam. Thank you Danielle!


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We began our day with a discussion of Candlemas (also known as Brighid’s Day and  Groundhog’s Day. ) It is the marker of the halfway point between Winter Solstice and the Spring Equinox. We also discussed that winter usually hangs around a bit longer than late March here in Western Massachusetts. We discussed the importance of light and warmth, and sang some sweet songs about the groundhog. And for the record, the wee groundhog did see his shadow, so we are in for six more weeks of winter weather (…but, then again, we already knew that!).

We have continued to work with manipulatives (small wooden colored blocks, dice, and wooden beads) in constructing and recognizing patterns. We have worked, thus far, with simple patterns using two colors (ABABAB, ABBABB, AABBAABB) and three colors (ABCABC, AABBCCAA, ABCCBA), etc. (Each color represents a letter, and friends construct and name the pattern of their own and each other’s.) We have linked this beginning activity to recognizing patterns with dice, and recognizing patterns in numbers. We have also been examining our surroundings for patterns in our regular day-to-day lives, as well as the patterns we recognize in nature.

As for Russia, we read a sweet book entitled The Littlest Matroyshka by Corrine Demas Bliss that chronicles the creation, adventures, and life of the smallest doll in a set of six. I was able to share two matroyshkas brought to me from Russia by a dear friend. On of them is two and a half inches high and contains nine dolls. You can imagine that the smallest one is as big as a grain of rice (maybe smaller!). We had an adventure as I took the last one out and it popped right out of my hand. After all the friends feeling around under the table, we found it in my slipper with the help of a flashlight and some young eagle eyes!

Books We Read:

The Littlest Matroyshka by Corrine Demas Bliss

Patterns by Sarah Pistoia

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