Are you heading out to see Santa in the parade tomorrow? The weather is supposed to be +1 and sunny (if the Weather Channel is to be believed) so it should be the perfect day for a winter parade. The parade begins at 2nd & St. Paul, travels North on 2nd Avenue and East on Victoria St. to 6th Avenue where it will disperse in the 600 Block Victoria St. The parade runs from 11am to approximately 12:30pm. I'll be thinking of all the parents attending with their overexcited children, trying to stay warm by jumping up and down and drinking too much coffee (which leads to the need for a nonexistent bathroom and more jumping) until the big finale, which after all is really the only thing everyone is there to see. Children are only children for such a very few short years and soon aren't interested in parades or things they consider childish or Santa either, meaning there are only a handful of Santa parades to enjoy with them. So bundle up warmly and revel in the sunshine!
Did you know that one of the predictors of how well a kindergartner will learn to read is if he is able to rhyme? All those nonsensical verses from your childhood really do matter. The ability to recognize and produce rhyming words is an important phonological awareness skill and research indicates there is a correlation between phonological awareness and reading ability. Rhyming is a precursor to learning how to read and write. Phonemic awareness (awareness of how to listen to, identify, and change around the sounds in spoken language) lays the groundwork for written language. Because rhyming words – words that have sounds in common - often share spelling sequences in their written form, children sensitive to rhymes are well equipped to develop their reading. By making children aware that words share segments of sounds (e.g. the -ight segment shared by light, fight, and might), rhymes help prepare them to learn that such words often have spelling sequences in common too.
Engaging children with rhymes and rhyming songs, while an important precursor to reading and writing, is also fun. In addition to the timeworn Mother Goose, there are many great and humorous children’s poetry books by authors like Shel Silverstein and Jack Prelutsky. And don’t forget Dr. Seuss! So have fun reading, rhyming and singing with your children while teaching them reading readiness skills and exercising those awesome sponge-like brains!
We have been learning to rhyme in class and a large number of Team Awesome members are struggling with the concept. You could help us by playing some of these games to practice at home.
I am a creature of routine. I approach change slowly and with plenty of thought. I don't like things sprung on me and need days, sometimes weeks, to warm up to new things. Why am I telling you this? Because last week the trusty, familiar, old cranky computer mentioned in a previous post refused to turn on. No matter how often I jabbed the power button with increasing force and panic it refused to power up. Not even when I used the usually magical-seeming trick of pulling out the battery and putting it back in. I thought my head was going to explode (for all sorts of reasons, 11,000 photos not the least). Not only would I be forced to buy a new computer before I was comfortable with the idea but I would actually have to USE it without letting it sit on the table in the box unopened for a few weeks (months?) while I wrapped my head around it. And although my learning curve for all the new stuff on the up-to-date computer is steep, there are some cool perks. Isn't that true of most upgrades?
As part of our pumpkin unit, we adopted a green, unripe pumpkin that was just beginning to speckle orange from a late volunteer plant that popped up in my garden in August. The children spent time running their hands over it, studying it with magnifying glasses, wondering what was inside and why it was green and generally observing it. And this week the poor pumpkin has become the subject of numerous experiments Team Awesome and I have concocted. But first we guessed and measured its circumference with string, as well as guessed and graphed whether we thought pumpkins would float or not. Then we got out a large tub, filled it with water and threw the pumpkin in with other garden items from the science table. We hypothesized (made scientific guesses) and then tested some of those hypotheses- Do you think the chestnut will sink? Will the tiny pumpkin float? Why does the big pumpkin float? You can watch those activities in the video 'Pumpkin Investigations'.
Besides the unripe pumpkin, we have been watching a jack o'lantern slowly disintegrate into a pan on the counter the last few weeks. We have been amazed to see mold grow on the inside and soft spots develop on the outside. There was some black mold and some thick white/gray fuzzy kind and a few spots of a pinkish-red kind. But why was it getting moldy? How did the mold grow? Where was the mold coming from? We made some hypotheses then put the green unmoldy pumpkin under the knife. Parts of it were put into two jars. We made sure that neither jar had mold. One jar we poked holes into the lid and labeled Aerobic (with air) and the other we put a lit candle into and screwed the lid on real tight so the flame would use up all the air and we labeled it Anaerobic (without air). We predicted which jar would grow the most mold. Then we left the pumpkin to do its thing. We are also conducting some experiments Team Awesome proposed based on what they thought mold needed to grow. We will observe the aerobic/anaerobic jars for the rest of the year and compare and contrast what is happening in each jar. We will also keep a close eye on the petri dishes for the next while, possibly changing our experiments as well as hypotheses based on what happens. After all, that's what scientists do.
I have taught many grades, including high school, but LOVE teaching primary.