It’s hard to believe January is almost over already! During the last two weeks of this wintry month, we will be learning about Polar Animals. Throughout this unit we will learn about various animals that live in the Polar Regions of the world. One animal that we will look at more in-depth is the polar bear. We will lean why polar bears have black skin, white fur, and hairy paws. We will even conduct an experiment to learn more about their blubber! During this experiment we will place bags of “blubber” (Crisco) around one hand of each child. The other hand will remain uncovered. Each child will have the opportunity to place both hands into a pan of ice water. Children will predict and then test to see which hand remains warmer in the ice water. They will get a first-hand experience in feeling how blubber protects polar bears and keeps them warm in polar waters. By participating in this experiment and the surrounding discussions, children will begin to investigate animal adaptations, recognize differences among animals, and identify common needs of living things. They will also have the opportunity to ask questions and make comparisons.

During these few weeks, we will also begin forming a word wall in our classroom. This word wall will be constructed over our alphabet in our meeting area. This will be a place for the children to add their names as well as other words of importance to them under each letter of the alphabet. This will then become a resource for the children to use when learning to match letter sounds with letter formations. The words on the word wall will make these letter sounds more personal, memorable, and most importantly, meaningful! The words on the wall will serve as examples of beginning letter sounds in words as well as samples of the children’s writing. Each child will have the opportunity to practice writing words for the wall. This process not only helps children to recognize that words are made up of letters and sounds, but also gives them a sense of pride when they see their writing displayed on our wall. In addition, our word wall will help children differentiate between sounds that are the same and different, recognize when words share phonemes, and recognize and name various letters of the alphabet. The word wall will in many ways aid in building phonemic awareness, pre-reading skills, and writing skills. If you’d like to extend our word wall activities at home, you might try helping your child to focus on the beginning sounds of words and linking these to the letters they represent. Helping children to “stretch out” words to hear all of the sounds in words is very helpful as well.

Lastly, during the first two weeks of February, we will begin focusing on Dinosaurs! Thanks again for all of your support!