We’d like to start by saying “Thank You!” to all of the parents who made it out for conferences. It was so nice to see all of you and share your child’s progress!

Exploration and Discovery during our Polar Region Theme:
During our final week of learning about Polar Regions, the children were ready for a challenge! Since we had spent quite a bit of time discussing and exploring polar animals, ice, and icebergs in the Arctic and Antarctic, we decided to incorporate these ideas into our sensory table. First, several plastic polar animals were placed in bowls full of water and then the bowls were left in the freezer over-night. The resulting ice chunks were then taken out of the bowls and placed in the sensory table. Upon the children’s arrival to school, they quickly noticed the large pieces of ice with animals frozen inside. Their collective, natural reaction was “Quick, we have to help free the polar animals from the icebergs!” They tried many techniques and used many objects from around the room to help them in their mission. Some children tried to melt the ice with the warmth from their hands, some tried to hammer the ice into smaller pieces with blocks and magnifying glasses, and still others tried to simply pull the visible animals from the iceberg. After working at the sensory table for a bit, a few of the children got the idea to bring cups of water over from the sink to help melt the iceberg. They found this worked wonderfully and were extremely excited to see the ice melting away from the animals trapped inside. They worked for a long time and celebrated their hard work when their mission to free the animals was complete! This activity proved to be an excellent opportunity for the children to work cooperatively, think creatively, and practice their problem solving skills!

Language Arts during our Transportation Theme:
During our Transportation unit, we asked families to bring in pictures to of various types of transportation for a class book we were making. The response was overwhelming and very much appreciated! (Thank you!!) We were able to make an enormous book of many, many types of transportation. The book’s pages ranged from very familiar modes of transportation to modes less often seen by the children. The children found this way of learning extremely meaningful and personal, and therefore very exciting! They were eager to glue the pictures onto pages of the book, to help decide what words should be written on the pages, and to read it again and again. Our Transportation class book has quickly become one of the children’s favorites!
Also, while learning about modes of transportation, we worked on rhyming. We practiced rhyming the words “train” and “car”. We made Rhyming Word Families by changing the first letter (or more) in these words. For example, as the children thought of rhyming words for “car”, we filled in the letters before “__ar”. If the child thought of the word “star”, they were encourages to hear the /s/ and /t/ sound and then write those letters to create the word “star”. The children did really well at this activity creating simple words such as “far”, nonsense words such as “rar”, and even multiple-syllable words such as “racecar” and “avatar”. This Word Family activity not only helped the children work on rhyming, hearing letter sounds, and writing letters, but it also helped to build up their foundations of reading and writing.

Reminders:
**We will be celebrating Valentine’s Day all this week. The children may bring in their Valentines to pass out to their friends on Tuesday and/or Wednesday. (Please do not fill in the “To:” portion of the Valentine cards. This makes it much easier to pass them out!) We’d also like to thank all of the families who signed up to bring in various Valentine’s goodies or read a book on Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday!
**Please bring outdoor gear EVERYDAY. Snow pants, snow boots, waterproof gloves, and hats are a MUST this time of year. Please assume we will be going outside each day. We will check the weather at 11:00am and if the temperature (with the wind chill) is above 20 degrees in our area, we will be going outside to play.

Looking Ahead:
In the next few weeks, our themes will be–
**Zoo
**Author Study