Welcome To Mrs. Donovan's Pre-School Webpage!
Frank T. Wheeler School Room 4

Pre-K Class Days & Times    
Tuesday through Friday  
8:50am - 3:00pm
Please arrive 5 minutes before pick up

May 19 - Mystery Reader and School Assembly
May 24 - Shortened Day - 1:30 Release time
May 29 - No School for Memorial Day

May 15 - What a wonderful week this past week.  Our nature walk at the end of the day on Friday was fun. The children hardly got out the door when they say flowers, bugs, green grass, birds, worms and the glorious sunshine.  This week brings nice weather I hope and even more signs of spring.  We played outside last week and the group of children made a long car out of hula-hoops.  I could hear talk of the gas station being the other way and turn-taking to be the driver. It was fantastic to see such wonderful cooperative play.
Our week ahead will be fun, too! We're going to plant some paper whites and take another close look at bulbs.  We will read Tops and Bottoms and think more about how plants give us food.  In this fun story, the rabbit who works all the time to tend to the garden tricks the lazy bear by giving him the most desirable parts of the plant and the bear gets stuck with the least desirable. I hope the children get the humor.  We are starting to study bugs too.  We will learn how some bugs are good for the environment and some are harmful. The "build a bug" game will be set up in the block center and the creepy crawlers  will be in the water table. The kids can create a bug at the writing center and the play dough center. 
We will focus our afternoon on listening to alphabet stories, practicing letter formation, and writing our names. Toward the end of the week we will have a guest reader and a visit from Kelly's kids.  This group visits with different animals that the children can touch.  Can't wait to show some photos. 
Have a terrific week!

May 8 - Take a look at how big our plants are now. Some grow quickly, some grow slowly.  All of them have a sprout at least and one can almost see them growing! 

I'm so sorry that the photos are sideways!  We have a new ipad and I'm now using a different format for inserting pictures into my newsletter.  Technology just isn't my thing. In any case, the children's plants are looking great and they are all very happy to see what nature has done.   We've talked about the things necessary for a plant to grow and created a bulletin board with a ripped-paper sun, soil, wind and and rain. We took apart a tulip and looked closely at the bulb and roots. Our bulletin board has the plant parts, too. The children sure know a lot. We've sprouted some bean seeds in a bag and the children have enjoyed looking with their magnifying glasses at the seed coat that has popped open. One of the nicer days this week will include a nature walk around Wheeler School.  We are looking for signs of spring.
This week we will focus on Mother's Day a bit.  Our dress up area will be set up like a flower shop where the children can make cards and purchase flowers to bring home to mom.  We are doing some things to prepare a surprise for each mom, too!  We hope you love our special gift.
Have a great week!

 May 2 - Each child had a chance to plant a bean plant.  When I came in to the classroom this morning, they have all begun to sprout.  The children will be so excited.  We are keeping a weekly journal to document what is happening in our cups.  We've talked about how scientists use their eyes to see the colors and shapes of things.  Then we work to draw and write about that.  We've also sprouted some seeds in a bag on the window.  In this way we can see the things that are happening underground are also visible to us in the plastic bag. Together we are making a bulletin board in the dress up area.  The children cut out raindrops last week to add one of the elements needed for plants to grow.  We will add soil and sun this week and perhaps the children will have a great idea about how we can show wind on our bulletin board.
We have been getting outside in the beautiful weather and the children love to paint with water, run with ribbons and blow bubbles.  The large tree out back provides perfect shade for some cool down. Please dress your child for running and climbing.
We are currently planning our field day/end of the year event for our preschoolers.  Please keep an eye open for the invitation which includes details and a response request for you!

A big thank you to Mrs. Ballinger for being our guest reader this week.  We enjoyed each book. Thanks for taking time out to come in!    
Have a wonderful week everyone.

April 24 We are looking forward to planting this week.  Using plastic cups, soil, and bean seeds, each child will plant, care for, and observe his/her own plant.  We will use some simple non-fiction texts to learn about our bean plants.  The book Seed to Plant by Melvin and Gilda Berger has wonderful photos and simple text which will jump startour investigation of plants.  
We will learn that seeds come in lots of sizes and shapes.   There will be a tray full of different seeds for the children to examine using magnifying glasses.  I wonder what they will notice about the different seeds and what they predict each one will grow into. Vocabulary words such as root, sprout, leaves, and soil will soon be part of our scientific repertoire.  We show what we are learning when we use these words to describe what we see! Such smart cookies! 
If the weather cooperates this week, we will head outside for a nature walk in search of signs of spring.  The children have already noticed the daffodils, bugs, and new leaves.  What else will they notice around Wheeler School? We've had a long discussion about how the weather is warmer and short sleeves are a sure sign of spring.
Have a discussion with your child about the signs of spring you see around your house.
Your child may come home talking about our Ladybugs.  We have a small ladybug house in our room now.  The ladybug larva are small but we can see them crawling around inside their house.  We are excited to see the changes that occur.  Ask your child what he/she is noticing!
Have a wonderful week ahead!
April 17 Welcome back everyone!  I hope you all had a restful break.  The weather couldn't have been better and we are all rested and ready for the last leg of the school year. We will be learning about the change of seasons from winter to spring.  We will observe the changes we see outside. Taking pictures to document these changes and watching them over the course of time will be part of our science experiments.  We will plant seeds and think about the things our plants need to grow. 
Our centers all reflect this theme - from books in our class library to dirt and flowers in our sand table and shovels and pretend flowers.  I hope that the kids start to dive into learning about the spring time changes. 

April 4 - I was a little confused as I began planning for this week.  I thought, for sure, we had another week between now and our Spring Recess. Wrong!  I can't believe this is it before we have a hiatus!  Perhaps it is the snow, rain and cold temps that have me confused. I hope we are on the tail end of the chilly weather.  Last week was a real treat when we got out for two days.  It certainly does the children a world of good.  We will see what happens this week.  Doesn't look promising.  Hoping for the vacation week to be perfectly perfect! 
We have our last day of conferences this Wednesday and I look forward to meeting with parents.  Please remember that it is a 1:30 dismissal time.
This is our last week with the vet activities out.  I think the children had fun thinking about pets.  We made a graph about which pet each child would like to have.  Dogs were the big winner, followed by cats.  There were no votes for bunnies.  This week we will focus on living and non-living things.  We will spend some time creating a list of what makes something a living thing and what makes something non-living.  This will also be preparation for our next topic of study - Spring and how things grow.  This next unit will begin after the spring vacation.  Our understanding of the season of spring will be rather in depth - weather changes, changes in the earth, even changes in people's clothing.  Planting seeds and observing the changes in plants as well as experimenting with what a plants needs to grow will take us through much of April.  
Have a wonderful week!

March 28 - We had a great full week last week.  Kids enjoyed the different centers as you can see by the photos! 
One of the favorite toys to play with is the magnetic blocks.  The children make space ships, cars, buildings, garages and so many other things.  They love to put the little people or animals inside.  There is some good cooperative play happening.  Often one child asks another how he/she made something.  Offering step by step directions on "how to" is terrific language! 
The duplos and sand were fun this week.  The girls were scooping, building and sharing.  This week I've put good foods and not so good foods in the table.  
The girls took great care of the babies.  They've had bandages put on, temperatures taken, their teeth have been checked and cleaned.  This week we've switched to a vet's office.  All the animals will be well cared for. 
This pirate ship is out each day.  The children love to shoot cannonballs and sail to different islands and swing the pirates in the hammock.  I've added stuffed animals to the block center so the children can build dog houses and rabbit hutches for the pets. 
 Liam had just broken apart his cotton ball - tongue depressor bridge when I snapped this photo.  I was hoping to get a picture of it.  Oh well!  
Our third class book is coming home this week.  I'll read it to the children a few times and then send it home for families to enjoy.  Please send it back on the next school day so the next person can have a turn. Then it will become part of our classroom library.  The children love reading our class books.  We are sure you will love it!
Enjoy a wonderful week everyone!

March 20 - Happy First Day of Spring!  You've got to love New England where spring comes in while there is still a foot of snow. The children have still enjoyed the rakes and shovels we take out during recess time.  The scoop the snow, move it here and there, create snow castles using bucket molds, and make tracks with sticks.  It has been fun, for sure!
Last week, the children had a great time brushing the (duplo) teeth in the water table.  The whole room smelled minty-fresh.  Our doctor's office has been busy with dolls that need all kinds of treatment. Thank goodness for our fabulous preschoolers.  They really know what to do. We will continue working in our centers again this week.  We only had one day to explore last week.  I'm confident we will have a full week!
For those of you who haven't met her, Mrs. Jesudowich, is our new classroom para-professional.  She's a wonderful addition to our classroom and the children are getting to know her.  We welcome her to Room 4!  We also welcome our two new classmates, Ashton and Savino.  WELCOME!!  We will now have 16 students in our class - 10 boys and 6 girls.  It is busy and fun! 
Enjoy a good week everyone.

March 13 -  It is certainly not looking promising for a regular week of school!  I hope this is the last we hear from Old Man Winter. Everyone at Wheeler School is ready for milder weather, some outdoor fun, and some consistency.  Please remember that there is no school on Friday because of Teacher Inservice.  So, with our limited time together this week, the children will continue to learn about doctors and dentists.  We are rolling dice and counting out teeth to add to the big mouth at our game table.  The water table has tubes of toothpaste, floss, and plastic "teeth" (duplos) to scrub and take care of.  And the magnet board is the perfect place to put the funny face together and add lots of teeth to the mouth.  
We are reading Just Going to the Dentist by Mercer Mayer and a non-fiction story called A Day in the Life of a Dentist. The children loved to share their own dentist stories (text to self connections!) Using a pocket chart activity we will work on matching color words to the correct toothbrush.  This shared reading lesson will focus on the color and letter clues that help a reader figure out which color word is which.  We will share the reading by having the children take turns by pointing to the words in the pocket chart. The repeated reading, repetitive text, color clues, all support the emergent readers in preschool!  I'm going to try to snap more pictures so you can see the kids involved in their day!
Have a safe week!

March 6 - Gone are the Valentines and hearts.  The post office is put away and our classroom library is changing.  We are switching themes to Doctor/Dentist.  The dress up area will look like a doctors office and the baby dolls may need some bandages and medicine.  We have a receptionist's table and a telephone for accepting appointments.  The dress up clothes are ready for some fun pretending.  The theme is so familiar to the kids that their play is usually complex.  Play often includes several steps, lots of language, and more conversational turn taking.  This sense of organization, imagination, and language use is at the heart of the thinking in the dress up center.  This type of learning prepares them for story comprehension, creativity of their written work, and task sequence.  All skills which are necessary throughout their school career.  YES!  It all starts here in preschool!
At the writing center, the kids have a chance to fill a mouth with paper teeth.  They will need crayons, glue sticks and maybe some scissors to complete the task.  The water table has empty containers still.  The children were just beginning to create boats by the end of last week. I want to keep that going.  
We will use unifix cubes as teeth for a counting activity. The kids can roll the die and add that many teeth to the big mouth. The easel has white paint and some teeth to paint. We will use toothbrushes to paint the picture. Should be fun!
Our next class book will get underway.  I hope you enjoy this one.  At the moment it is just an idea.  As a class, we will need a title and author page. We'll take photos and add all our friends. Hang on to your hat, you're going to enjoy it!
Looking forward to some warm weather mid-week.  Please continue to dress for the cold...we can always take a coat off!

February 28 - It is hard to believe that March is already here.  The time sure is flying and your children are really growing! This time of year, they all really begin to take off socially, behaviorally, and academically.  I look forward to sharing some of that growth and the places of focus for the balance of the school year.

Prior to the break, we had a guest reader in.  Mrs. Sepko read some wonderful stories to us.  Thank you for coming in! 

This week we will focus on Dr. Seuss stories.  We will read all the classics - One Fish, Two Fish, Green Eggs and Ham, The Cat in the Hat.  The books make it so easy to think about rhyming words. For some children, rhyming can be difficult. Our focus is mostly on experiencing rhyming.  I will point out the rhyming words and add a few extras.  When you're driving along play some rhyming games and see if your child can tell you if two words rhyme.   "Phonemic awareness" (awareness that language is made up of small sounds) is important foundational skill for reading and writing.

We will also be working on cutting this week.  I have a rainbow project planned for the hall bulletin board.  Be sure to check it out at conferences!

We are getting outside in the gorgeous weather.  Our playscape is snow-free and the children have had so much fun running and climbing again.  We used rakes and shovels for a long time while the snow piles were high.  Now that the mud is here...we're putting those off to the side.  Bubbles, hula hoops and running in the field keeps us moving outside.
Have a great week everyone!

2/14/17  Last week didn't really unfold the way I'd hoped.  We had such a limited time playing in our new centers. We focused on whole body listening  and spent time working on a very important skill - going with the flow.  The weather certainly did a good job of helping us with that!  Hoping this week, though short because of the winter break, turns out to have some regular days of school. We will exchange Valentine's on Tuesday, finish our special parent gift, and celebrate our friendships! 
Our short week will be filled with the same centers.  I'll show a video of a trip to the Post Office and we will read a book about being a mail carrier.  So many of us don't go to the Post Office any more and many of the children don't know much about the process before the mail gets to the mailbox. I'm hoping the kids will enjoy learning about this!
I hope everyone has a nice week and you get to take a little bit of time during this upcoming winter break to enjoy your families!

2/7/17  Our classroom has been transformed and much of what is in different centers is related to Valentine's Day.  We've been working particularly hard on being kind and this time of year gives us plenty of opportunity to show how much we care for others.  Our dress up area is set up as a post office where children can mail packages and letters, write notes, buy stamps and mail letters to friends.  They can dress up as a mail-person and make deliveries as well. We will figure out how to draw a heart, learn that Hh starts the word heart and stamp hearts at the easel.  Our playdough candy factory contains heart shaped candy boxes, and some heart cutters. The sand table is filled with rice and scoops and the water table has heart shaped fish to catch.  I'm sure your child will come home speaking of his or her favorite place to play.
We've been learning about focusing our attention by using whole body listening, and focusing our eyes on the right things.  This week we will learn about self-talk and how telling yourself just what to do helps one stay focused. The children are really working hard to learn these skills!
We continue to get outside when the weather cooperates. Dress for the weather!  
Have a great week!

1/31/17 Our visit from Hungerford Nature Center was terrific.  Mr. Nick showed us many animals and we got to touch each one.  The chicken flew, the snake slithered, and the ferret sniffed all over. We learned that the ferret doesn't see very well, but has an excellent sense of smell.  We know now that a male chicken is a rooster and a female chicken is a hen.  Ask your child what else he/she learned. 

This week we will focus on finishing up some projects.  I'll work with children on positional words as they relate to writing letters.  We always start our letters from the top and write down.  Training small hands to begin letters here and teaching proper letter formation right from the get-go will make them more proficient writers as the task of writing becomes more complicated.  Before long, the children will need to think of something to write, think of the words that it requires to write a thought, decide what sounds they hear, put the pencil to paper to create the letters and remember to put spaces and punctuation in. WOW! That's a lot to concentrate on. If we can give them one less thing to think about by making proper letter formation an automatic skill, it makes it much easier to concentrate on the really important part of communicating your thought!
Another activity we will focus on this week is Book Look time.  Beginning to take an interest in reading books takes some explicit teaching.  I'll show the children how we choose a book, hold a book, and look at the pictures.  I've said it before, long before a child begins to decode words, they are doing some of the most important parts of reading...thinking about what is happening in the story, using pictures to support that understanding, and showing book knowledge.  One can't understand the story well if one reads from back to front!  Eddie and Nicholas are already showing that they know a lot about reading! 
Our next topic of study is Post Office and writing letters!  Getting ready for Valentine's Day! Have a wonderful week!

1/24/17 This is going to be a busy and exciting week.  We continue to study animals in winter which culminates with a visit from Hungerford Nature Center.  The nature center brings live animals to our classroom and the children get a chance to touch, look at, and listen to the different animals.  We will learn a lot about each animal including a hedgehog, a lizard, a chicken and many more.  This should be a really fun experience for the children.

We will read a different version of The Mitten this week.  This week's version is by Alvin Tresselt.  We will make some comparisons with Jan Brett's version and decide which story we enjoyed the most and why.  We are also going to make a graph of our preference of mittens or gloves.  It will be interesting to hear why the children feel the way they do.  Using a leather mitten and a knitted mitten, we will predict which one will hold more counting bears.  Then we will test it out.  Just like the mitten in the story, I'm hoping the children will recognize that the knitted mitten stretches.

The water table this week has strips of paper and several pairs of scissors.  The children will get a chance to snip and cut and make "snow" - a good chance to practice scissor handling.

Preschool students have started a new program called Second Step.  This social skills program is used throughout the district.  Our program begins with what listening is.  A hugely important skill for the rest of life!  
Have a wonderful week!

1/17/17 We are continuing our study of animals in winter. Last week we learned about the arctic using our "Clifford's My Big World" magazine.  The children used the word camouflage and blubber to describe what animals do to get through the winter.  What wonderful science vocabulary!
The children are having fun playing in the dress up area.  They love being inside the tent and dressing for the weather.
 They like pretending that the animals that live in the "tree" (just on the right edge of the photo) need some taking care of. They are very good care givers. 

We continue to get outside with this nice weather.  The kids are digging, running, and climbing. 
 Hoping that this good weather continues.  The fresh air is so good! 
Have a great week, everyone! 

1/10/17 Our new theme in Room 4 is Winter and Animals in Winter.  We will work to understand that humans and animals share the environment and when winter comes, animals and people do things to get ready and to manage the cold weather.  We will read Jan Brett's The Mitten. This classic tale is illustrated with boundless detail and tells the story of Nikki and his lost snow white mitten.  In order to make this book come alive, the dress up area is transformed into a winter scene.  Our igloo, trees, and snow make up the structure of the center. I've added character hats, forest animals, mittens and scarves to the center to help children be creative in their pretending.
The block center has snow blocks that are perfect for making a snow castle.  Winter books fill the classroom library and winter tracers, coloring pictures and line tracing activities are in the writing center.  The sand table has forest animals, snow and snowflakes, and a few small boxes perfect for sheltering the animals.  The children love the slime that is in the water table.  It's just cornstarch and water but the kids can squish it, smack it, and pull it apart.  Sometimes it feels like a liquid; sometimes it feels like a solid - cool stuff.
What will they do with the white play dough?  It's perfect for a snowman, snowballs, and a winter scene. But, they will come up with something even more inventive.
Each child can paint a mitten using various textured sponges. And pattern blocks are available on the magnet board to make a creation of one's own design.  We will be doing some color matching using pom poms and pinchers.  These pinchers are perfect for strengthening little hand muscles.  
There is a lot to do in Pre-K!  Ask your child what his favorite new center was!

1/3/17  Welcome back and Happy New Year! I hope everyone enjoyed a safe, healthy and happy holiday.  We return to Wheeler school still thinking about Gingerbread men.  This week we will graph whether or not we like gingerbread cookies, which Gingerbread Man story we liked the best, and we will do a science experiment using water and a gingerbread cookie.  Be sure to ask your child about it.  
We will concentrate mostly on remembering school activities and routines this week.  The children often return feeling rested and ready to go.  With some consistent weather and days at school, the children usually begin to take off during this time of year.  They know the routines and expectations of the classroom and are ready to learn some new and exciting things.  We have some fun things planned including an in-school field trip with Hungerford Nature Center and another visit from Miss Erica.  We will begin learning about animals in the winter time and what they do to get through the winter days.

Mrs. Brancifort was asked to help the children at Toffolon School and is no longer in room 4 at Wheeler.  We really appreciate all her wonderful help with our preschoolers!  Thank you, Mrs. Brancifort!
We welcome our new paraprofessional to our classroom - Mrs. Tsarkov!

12/20/16 I hope everyone had a nice weekend.  It is such a busy time, but I hope you've all taken a few minutes to just enjoy the joy of the season with your preschooler.  The children are definitely feeding off the energy of others.  They require some extra TLC, redirection, and support.  We have some fun things planned this week, but we will stick with our regular routine so as to keep everyone on the right track!

Last week we had our first Mystery Reader!  Thank you so much to Mrs. O'Dea who brought in some delightful stories for everyone to enjoy. 

We had a lot of fun this past week playing in our centers.  Check out the photos of the kids at work! 

Julia loves reading our class books!

Payton was creating with stencils.

Anaiah and Natalie are very busy at the writing center. They add lots of detail to their creations.

Nicholas and Liam were putting some tricky puzzles together.

This will be my last update until after the holidays.  I wish you all the best of the season!  Enjoy every moment!
See you in the New Year!

12/12/16 Another busy week ahead! We are finishing up our gifts for families on Tuesday.  The last step is wrapping it up and sealing it with a kiss!  We hope you love our special remembrance. We also plan to finish our PTO fundraiser.  Each child is coloring in his/her handprint and then you can choose to purchase different merchandise with your child's hand print on it.  I mention this for two reasons, first, any support you offer helps Wheeler School. And secondly, many of the children in my class last year didn't remember coloring their handprint and it created some confusion. So be aware, that this will be on its way before too long. You'll be getting more information through the PTO.
Our Gingerbread Man theme is a great vehicle for pretend play.  We acted out the different parts of the story and each child got to say some lines, chase the Gingerbread man and pretend to try and catch him. I'm hoping the kids will carry this "acting" into the dress up area.  This week we will hear a different version of the story and make some comparisons between the two.  We will learn the new vocabulary word "clever" to describe the crafty fox who catches the Gingerbread man in both versions.  If you head to the library, there are so many different retellings of this traditional tale. Perhaps you might explore them.
The colder weather keeps us inside a bit more.  We try to get to the gym when it is available and we frequently set up obstacle courses in the classroom just to get our bodies moving.  We will go out whenever we can, so send those warm coats, hats and mittens.  The fresh air does us a world of good.
Check out some of the fun things we've been working on:

Have a great week!

12/5/16  December is here and we are changing our classroom dramatically to go with our new piece of literature, The Gingerbread Man. The classic folktale provides a structure for generalizing the story concepts to different play centers in our classroom.  The dress up area will be set up like the Old Man and Old Woman's home where they baked the gingerbread man.  Rolling pins, a mixer, cookie sheets, a fireplace, and different character headbands are props the children can use to bring the story to life.  

Our block center has tiny gingerbread houses ready for imagination.  Perhaps the gingerbread man needs a block runway and an airplane...what will the children create? In the water table, the children can try to catch the gingerbread men with a fishing pole.  How many will they catch?  Does the gingerbread man need to be cooked more or is he ready to be put on the plate.  Plenty of props are available to help them plan their ideas.

The play dough table has cooking tools and a gingerbread mold.  The children can paint a gingerbread man, complete a gingerbread man puzzle, and use visual discrimination to match decorations on a gingerbread man. 
During our reading of The Gingerbread Man, we will make predictions, practice retelling, become familiar with the repeated phrase and filling in missing parts of the phrase (this is phonemic awareness).  I think the children are going to love this story!

Looking forward to seeing so many of you this Wednesday for conferences! Have a wonderful week!

11/29/16 Welcome back everyone. I hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving. I think the break from the regular routine and visits with family and friends helped everyone to feel revitalized! We will continue to think about Thanksgiving for another week at Wheeler.  Now that everyone has experienced their families traditions, we will share some of the special times during our conversations at play centers, story time, and snack. 
Some of the popular places to play have been the dress up area...set up like Gnazzo's. They love the shopping carts, and cash register. We made a grocery list that they can use to check items off as they put them in their carriage.

The children have had a lot of fun in the sand table as well. Although it isn't filled with sand, it has corn meal in it and some farm animals.
 The water table has food items from the story and dishes as well.
We've worked hard to encourage sharing, turn taking, and using your words while at these centers.

We tried finger painting this past week. Not everyone loves it, but it is fun to see who likes the squishy feel of the paint and how they use it to make hand prints, swirl it on the paper, or just use one finger to create. This week we are back to large paper, several color choices and brushes.  

At the writing center, children can continue to work with the different paper feathers, triangles, and stencils that are available. There are some "thankfulness papers" to use too.
Sorry those are upside down - this technology thing is a real work in progress.

Conferences begin this week.  I look forward to sharing the ways your child has grown since the start of the school year. The next 3 Wednesdays are early release days in order to meet. Please remember that it is a 1:30 dismissal time. For those parents who pick up their children, please park beyond the signs on the curve nearest our door.  The preschool bus has to park on the curve to allow for boarding of our bus friends.  Thank you!  Have a great week!

11/15/16  This newsletter will be information for this week and next week, too. Yes, it is almost here. Thanksgiving is around the corner and next week is only a day and a half for our preschoolers.  

We are having so much fun in the dress up area shopping, cooking and pretending to get ready for a feast.  Last week, I saw turn taking, multi-step play steps and I am beginning to hear the children using language with one another. 
We've had a Veteran's Day project, our Thanksgiving project, and our hallway bulletin board project we've been working on.  The children have had a lot of fun completing these projects. We will finish our special Thanksgiving project this week and send it home next week. We hope it is a treasure.

The children have learned some new vocabulary from our story, Feast for 10 by Cathryn Falwell. They now know what a feast, a platter and greens are. Last week we discussed the different characters in the story and this week we will make a connection to the people who we share meals within our own homes.  

During our group read, the children helped put the grocery items in the cart and we counted each group of things.  This week we will match up the numeral with the set of items. 
During our story time, we will begin getting to know the different shapes from our Handwriting Without Tears program.  A person can make so many things using big lines, little lines, big curves and little curves. Ask your child what he/she made with the different shapes.  We will do some music and movement activities with these shapes. 

We are learning 2 new songs: A Turkey is a Funny Bird and I'm a Nut.  We will complete another Scholastic magazine before the Thanksgiving holiday. We are working hard on coats and zippers! Busy, busy in pre-k.  I hope all of you enjoy a wonderful Thanksgiving!

11/9/16. Our Halloween decorations and activities are put away for another year and the classroom has been transformed and is ready for the Thanksgiving holiday. Our big idea for the next few weeks is: families work together. Starting with our new story Feast for Ten we will think about and discuss how families work together to get ready for the holiday. In the book, the family goes grocery shopping together. This story uses vocabulary such as "greens" and "platter". It is a rhyming book and a counting book and best of all it captures one family's Thanksgiving day together. We have a lot to think about as we delve into this book. 
Our dress up area is set up like a grocery store. Our kitchen has returned for all the cooking necessary for a feast. We will be working on multi step play schemes...go to the store, shop for food, pay for the food, take the food home and put it away, cook the food, serve it. WOW! That's a lot of thinking, planning and organizing. 
The doll house is a popular place to play lately.  I'm hoping to see children organizing the house and sitting dolls around the table for a holiday meal. The play dough table will have pie plates and leaf and turkey cutters. The turkeys on our playdough mats need feathers as does the large turkey for the hall bulletin board. We will use hand prints to make the feathers this week and next week we will add finger paints at the easel for a fun painting experience. 
The moon sand will be replaced by corn meal, Indian corn and loose kernels with a few farm animals mixed in and the water table will have funnels and water wheels set up for some interesting water play. 
Thank you to families who sent in bubbles, tissues, and bags! We really appreciate it all! 
Hope you have a great week. I'll see all my preschoolers on Wednesday this week! 

11/1/16 Now that the children have had the experience of Halloween, we will spend more time with it in the classroom.  This gives them the chance to revisit the language, colors, smells, sounds and ideas of Halloween on the heels of having been through the fun again.  We read Ten Timid Ghosts and Big Pumpkin last week.  We did some fun magnetic board activities that touched on sequencing, counting, and rhyming.  This week, I'll reread the stories and leave the magnets out for the children to retell the story.  
The goop and moon sand were popular places to be this past week.  There were also plenty of children who enjoyed playing with the puppet theater and the Halloween finger puppets.  They spent some time making spooky noises and having the finger puppets scare one another. It is interesting to see how much of the story language carries over into their puppet shows. 
The dress up area is a really fun place to play. The children are particularly fond of the banana costume.  They look so cute in it!
In your child's folder, you should have received the latest Scholastic Magazine.  The children love reading it, sharing what they know, and playing the videos and games.  I'm hoping you have had a chance to look at it with your child either online or the good old fashioned way...reading it while snuggling on the couch!
The awesome technology crew came to help me with my photo orientation.  They couldn't figure out why the photos aren't facing the right way no matter what we do.  So, they suggested that I save the photos some where else and then put them into my website.  What they don't realize is that I am of the generation that used film...actual rolls of film. 
I remember the invention of the Polaroid Instamatic...and not the new one - the original.  So it may take me a while and some more instruction for me to figure out how to save my photos some where else. I appreciate your patience, I will persevere!
Have a wonderful week!

10/25/16 The cold temperatures are upon us and I've sent home bags of extra clothes if they contained shorts.  If you would kindly make the change of weather switch and send them back, that would be super! 

I reached out to almost everyone yesterday and managed to speak to or email exchange with most. Please feel free to call or send an email with any questions you might have.  We will be meeting for conferences in November and December.  There is a new online sign-up coming out from the superintendent.  Be on the look-out for information about how to do this.  This will be the first time Plainville has tried this, so we will work out any kinks as we go. Let our office know your thoughts on the process when it is done. Your feedback will be important.

This week in Preschool, we will be reading Halloween books, dressing up in costume, playing with goop and moon sand and singing fun Halloween songs.  This time of year lends itself so well to rich language and all the centers encourage the development of vocabulary.  I'll be listening for and sharing synonyms for scary, descriptive words like sticky and gooey, stretchy and moldable. We will use feeling words like brave, timid, frightened!

We will continue to go outside to play.  The children love to run with the ribbons and hoops. They pretend that the hula hoops are cars or boats.  Chalk is a favorite as well.  For some, digging in the dirt occupies much of their time.  We gladly accept any contributions of bubbles!  The kids love bubbles, too!
Have a great week everyone!

10/18/16 What a great week we had!  Everyone was working hard in centers.  I'm still waiting for an answer to the side-ways orientation of photos but I hope you won't mind turning the paper.  There are just too many good things happening that I must share!  Check out some of the photos and thinking that is happening:

When children work at the writing center, they express their feelings and ideas, work on fine motor skills and, most importantly, they plan, organize, experiment, use language and problem solve.

At the dress up area,
children learn new vocabulary and use language to share ideas, recall events and even develop number concepts. They learn empathy, cooperation skills, and how to control their impulses.

At the sensory tables, children observe, measure, compare, classify and problem solve. They develop vocabulary and strengthen small muscles. It is also a wonderful place to regulate one's mood.

In the block center, children plan, revise, organize, problem solve and practice skills. They reenact experiences and develop vocabul
ary. It is always a good place to see cooperative play and imitation of play skills.

When playing outside, children develop a sense of curiosity. They use language to compare, describe, and notice changes.They develop gross motor skills, and grow in confidence! 

What a terrific week!  We will continue looking at the insides of our pumpkins.  We will cut an apple in various directions and see the insides. Finger painting is on the agenda, too.  The kids love it!

Many thanks to all the families who sent in bags, tissues and pumpkins! We are so happy to have all the goodies! Last week we compared the different sizes of the pumpkins and put them in order from smallest to largest.  We decided which was biggest between 2 pumpkins.  We used words like smallest, largest, biggest, tiny, heavy, light, medium, pulp, seams, orange, slippery, gooey and cold.

 10/11/16 Welcome Fall!  It certainly is starting to feel like it out there.  Please consider what the weather is like during all times of the day as we are out playing if the weather is good.  Layering is always a good idea since we can always shed one for the afternoon.  Also, I'll plan to look in "extra clothes" bags in the classroom and send them home for an exchange if there are shorts and tank tops in them. 
We are working extra hard to learn how to put on coats, fix inside-out sleeves, and zip coats with independence. Slowing waaaayyyy down and allowing the children to work at it develops perseverance.  They are getting better and better at this. Don't forget to practice at home.
We are concentrating on orange these next few weeks.  We are beginning our Handwriting without Tears program.  This developmental approach to prewriting focuses on breaking down complex tasks into smaller easier steps. The children will learn left and right, top and bottom, proper pencil grip and the readiness skill necessary to develop into a fluent writer. It is a playful and fun program!
Last week Ms. Erica from the Plainville Library came for a visit. She will come in several times during the year with new stories and activities for us to enjoy.  Don't forget to stop by and see Ms. Erica in her library! 

I can not, for the life of me, figure out how to turn the pictures. I've tried lots of different ways and will have to call the technology department.  This is the reason there haven't been photos here!  So sorry.  I'll keep trying to figure it out.
In any case, this week we have lots of fun things planned. Our centers remain the same for some in depth play, confidence and extension of skills.  I hope your child is telling you what he or she is enjoying at school.
Have a great week!

We are moving onto a new theme with the start of the new month.  Fall is here and, among many books in our classroom library, we will read a book called Picking Apples and Pumpkins. It is perfect for making connections to the experiences the children have had if they've gone to an orchard or pumpkin patch.  The family in the story eats apples, makes pie, and jack-o-lanterns - all things the children can relate to.  
Our dress up area will be set up like a farm stand where the children can buy and sell items items, pick apples off the tree, cook up some apple sauce, and rake up the leaves. While this seems like simple play, there's a lot going on when children pretend.  They converse with one another about common experiences; they demonstrate confidence and extend their ability to sustain their attention. Children improvise and demonstrate a creative use of materials as props. And, they express emotions they experience in different situations.

The water table will have apples and pumpkins floating.  The children will explore the concepts of sink and float, displacement, full and empty, cause and effect. Playing in the water is very calming for the children. It helps them discover strategies for self-soothing and develops an ability sustain their attention to a highly engaging task. The bean table has the same effect! The children will enjoy filling up different trucks and dumping out their loads.

The play dough table has pie plates, apple molds, and ice cream scoops. Nothing like apple pie and vanilla ice cream. We will see what inspires the children this week. There were a lot of snakes last week. Yikes!

The writing center will be filled with big and small triangles that the children can glue to make a triangle collage.  They can color some pictures of apples and pumpkins. But, the best work occurs when the preschoolers get their hands on blank paper, markers, crayons, scissors and glue. I can't wait to see what they do!

My apron has triangles on it this month. The children will have to attend to the letters on the name tag to identify theirs. This will work their cognitive flexibility. Each child will have to stop and consider what to do when the shape and color has changed and they have to find a new way to identify their name. Giving children time to think things through and problem solve is vital.  Even if the solution to the problem is to ask an adult for help, the child has worked it out. What a sense of confidence that promotes!
Have a wonderful week!

It was wonderful to have so many families at open house.  The children really possess the true feeling of ownership.  Each one came in with a big smile and a special confidence that comes from realizing that this place is theirs. And they proudly shared each part of it with the most special people in the world.  It was a pleasure to watch! Thank you all for coming.
We've read The Kissing Hand and tried to remember the important parts of the story. Retelling helps children comprehend what has been read.  Sequencing the story events and thinking in terms of a beginning, middle and end, encourages organization.  What an important life skill.
We accomplish this by using pictures of the important parts of the story.  The children love to share what they know.  We made our own kissing hand and hung them on the door of the classroom.

The sand table is filled with forest animals.
The kids love to bury them in the sand, walk them across the sand to "play" with other forest friends.  Modeling this pretend play and encouraging acting out the story is a large part of what my focus is when working with children at the sand table.  I look for play sequences that show me organization and planning.  We focus on sharing and cooperative play as well.  Cooperative play looks like: eye contact, turn taking, imitation, joining in, and back and forth of pretending.
We've been thinking about circles, too. We used different circle sponges and a cup in paint to make some fabulous artwork.  Does your child like to go to the easel? There are circles in the water table too.  This week we will make a circle collage.  The children are cutting and gluing circles and using circle bingo markers to color pictures at the art center. We've talked about a lot of circle shaped things that you can make with play dough.  There are round molds and cookie cutters for creating.
We encourage children to try out various activities and lately our listening center has been popular.  Pete the Cat - I Love My White Shoes is very popular. The children love to sing right along with Pete!
We will continue our exploration of circles, colors, and stories about the new school year.  Ask your child what he/she remembers about the day! Have a great week. 

Last week was busy and by Friday's rest time there were several children sleeping soundly.  It is a lot of newness and learning.  Keeping a consistent routine is helping the children adjust to the new school year. Predictability makes that easier. They learn school expectations and begin to branch out and explore their environment, their peers, and how they fit in to this puzzle!  It's very exciting...tiring and exciting.
Last week we spent some time concentrating on the color brown.  Brown painting and brown collages, brown sharing and a brown sensory bag were lots of fun.  This week, we will take a closer look at circles. Coloring, cutting, gluing, painting circles is part of the week ahead. Singing about circles and exploring them in centers will be fun! Be sure to ask your child about what he/she did.
We will read The Kissing Hand this week.  The main character, Chester the Raccoon, has to leave his mom and go to school. She kisses his hand so he can take her kiss with him.  This sweet story touches on some of the feelings our preschoolers experienced as they came to Wheeler for the first time. Ask your child what he/she remembers about the story. Go to the library and reread the book again and again!
Don't forget that open house is this Wednesday night.  I'm hoping you'll be able to come visit our classroom with your child!
What a great group!

9/13/16 What a wonderful first week of full day preschool!  Your children are delightful!  Everyone is transitioning easily, figuring out the routine, making new friends, and enjoying the day at Wheeler.
On our first day we had a lot of fun checking out the various activities in the classroom.  The children love the block center, play dough and sand.
 We went out to play several times.  The hula hoops are very popular! And everyone loves the slide!
On Wednesday each week we have P.E. with Mr. Turcotte.

The children had a great time running, walking and moving in the gym.  Mr. Turcotte knows how to have fun.
Lunch was delicious and everyone managed their lunch-boxes and food with a lot of independence.  We also have some time to rest.  
Some children sleep.       Some  do not.

Either way, everyone gets some time to rejuvenate for the last part of our day.  This usually includes snack, a brief activity and another trip out to play.  So far, so good!  I look forward to seeing everyone at Open House on the 21st. Until then, don't hesitate to contact me with any questions you may have! Have a wonderful week!

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