Our theme on Community Helpers has been very exciting! The children have worked very hard to create a city in the construction learning center. We began the project a few weeks ago by listing all the buildings that a city would need. As each day passed by, students selected another building to begin construction on. Using legos to create our city has made the creation very detailed. A sample of the buildings in our city includes: vet’s office (“Animal World”), police station, The Glass Clothing Store (named because the walls of the building look like glass), hospital, school, bank, playground, water plant, hot dog stand, zoo, fire station, office building, and football stadium. After construction on the buildings was complete, the children added streets and a train. They have really enjoyed being able to play in the city, and visit each others buildings.

It amazes me how well the children play in this huge lego city. They have done a wonderful job respecting each others buildings and vehicles. They have taken turns and shared nicely. The children have created characters that work in each of the buildings, and they have been able to really internalize the idea that everyone in a city plays a role to help the city function.

As we approach our final week of the Community Helpers theme, we have set up a grocery store in dramatic play. We will use this center to take on different roles, such as cashier, customer, and bagger. This type of play situation will allow us to learn more about money. We have a working cash register in the center that scans items and identifies coin names and amounts. We will also be labeling the food in the grocery store with different price amounts. The students will have a wallet filled with money to work on paying with the correct amount.

MATH: In math this past week, the children were introduced to a subtraction game. The game is called “Build and Remove.” The child selects a card from a basket. The number on the card may be between 3-10. Let’s say that the child selected the number 7. They must write 7, and draw that amount in the grid. Then they roll a dice containing numbers 1, 2, or 3. That number tells them how much they must take away from their original number. Then they cross off that amount from their drawing, and write in the final answer. I introduced this game to a small group of students at a time. The children learned quickly and enjoyed the challenge.

In mathematics, we are also learning about the terms “more,” “less,” and “equal.” We have been playing a variety of games with the whole class to strengthen this concept. Math plays a key role in many aspects of our daily classroom routine. During morning meeting, the “attendance helper” writes down how many days we have been in school, writes the next calendar number, and counts how many children are present that day. We also have a question of the day that students answer with a tally mark. The children are experts at making 4 tally marks, and the fifth tally mark goes across the other 4. This strategy helps the students to learn to count in groups of 5.

EMERGENT READERS: During the school day, the children are exposed to all different types of literature. During buddy reading, they select a leveled reader to read to a partner. During “Big Book Work Stations,” the students are able to read familiar big books we have done with the whole class. We also do a daily nursery rhyme and student book reader at the end of the day. During guided reading small group instruction, I work with a small group of children at a similar reading level. Most groups right now are working on reading fluency, comprehension, sight words, and short vowel sounds.

UPCOMING EVENTS: Field trip to the Police and Fire Station this Friday, March 18. Then we are going to see Harold and the Purple Crayon next Friday, March 25 (PLEASE remember to bring your child to school promptly at 8:45 on this field trip day. We will be departing right away.)