The Little Saints Polar Express arrived in the 2’s classroom at the beginning of December!
All of the children were showing a great deal of interest and enthusiasm about our train table. The children were playing with and talking about trains. Their play involved connecting trains together, “fixing” pieces of railroad tracks, and identifying certain trains. Based on these observations, the teachers decided to bring the Polar Express to the classroom! We began by adding a snowy train scene to the block area. The scene included: trains, tracks, trees, mirrors, and little people. We added books about both trains and Christmas. The Little Saints helped paint all of the pieces and parts of the train so we could convert a piece of the classroom furniture into the Polar Express! The children really enjoyed sitting on the train with “hot chocolate” and stuffed animals. We also added conductor hats to our costume collection and train puzzles to our fine motor area, and we worked with train counters throughout the room.
During our meetings we played many fun games involving the Polar Express. The children identified items to take on the train. They counted “money” to buy tickets, and they identified letters on tickets and matched the letter to a letter on their seat. We identified colored trains by placing them on a track, and the children added a certain number of marshmallows to “hot chocolate” to drink on the Polar Express. We even had the children deliver “tickets” to their friends using the name symbols. The teachers added a ticket booth by the Polar Express along with a cash register, play money, and golden tickets. The Little Saints had so much fun buying and selling tickets for a ride on the Polar Express! We incorporated trains into our songs, and we sang “Going on a Train Ride” and “Wheels on the Train.”
Other classroom activities included adding marshmallows to cups with tweezers and making edible trains with graham crackers, gum drops, and icing. These trains were a special treat! We listened to the book The Polar Express, and we enjoyed watching a short video of the ride on the Polar Express. At the end of our investigation the children all arrived to school in their pajamas!! Each child waited in line to purchase a ticket to board our classroom train. After receiving a ticket, they each took their seat. Hot chocolate, marshmallows, and graham crackers were served as they “rode the train.” What a special day!
The teachers noticed the students were very interested in several space books in the class library. As a result, they decided to have a group discussion to talk about what the class wanted to learn and what the class already knew about our solar system. After the discussion, it seemed like many of the little saints were interested in the planets as well as space travel.
The class recycled some old pieces of cardboard by painting them white. The teachers helped the children tape them together into the shape of a rocket ship. They then covered part of it with foil to make it shiny, and they added NASA stickers. The rocket ship lives in the dramatic play area, and the little saints have had so much fun pretending to take trips to the moon and other planets!
In the studio, everyone mixed flour and paint together to make a textured material. They practiced painting (using this material) inside of a circle as they created moons. They added craters by stamping with a cork. Each child told their teacher how they thought the moon got its craters. “Someone took a log thing and poked some holes in it,” said Emmaline. You can see all of their explanations along with their moons hanging in the hallway outside of the three-year old classroom.
They have also been learning about the different planets in our solar system and what makes each one special. “My favorite planet is Jupiter because it is the biggest,” said Ford. They even played a game where they each got a picture of a planet and had to place them in order from the sun.
After reading Mouse Paint by Ellen Stoll Walsh, both classrooms extended the story throughout different areas of the classroom.
In the two-year room, the little saints identified primary colors. They then worked in the studio to mix the primary colors using a variety of materials. They combined shaving cream and water color, water and food coloring, and different shades of paint. They even worked with partners to combine colors. During meeting time, the two-year old class placed little mice (from the story) in different colored paint. They did a great job!! During story time, the little saints LOVED listening to the story using props. Many of the children used the props to retell the story during our project time.
In the three-year classroom, the little saints acted out the story in the studio! They pretended to be the little mice and danced in paint! They created yellow, green, and even purple! Their work is displayed all around their classroom. Many of the children extended their play to the discovery area. They used light table materials to create different colors. They also worked with the props from the story and retold Mouse Paint in small groups. They then read Little Blue and Little Yellow by Leo Lionni. This story involved both color mixing and friendship.
Please come by any time and mix colors with our Little Saints!
A HUGE airplane has landed in our Little Saints classroom, and the children have been flying all over the world! Their favorite places to travel have been Disney World, the beach, and the North Pole. The children have loved serving food on their plane as well as checking their passengers’ tickets. The teachers have planned a variety of games around this interest. They have also led projects in the studio involving airplanes and changed materials around the room to reflect air travel.
During one meeting time game, the children were asked to “board the airplane.” Each child received a ticket with a number and letter on it. After identifying the number and letter, the children matched their tickets to their seats on the airplane. During another game, the children were asked to pack their suitcases. Each Little Saint was given a description of an item to pack. For example, a teacher asked, “Please pack something you will wear to swim at the beach.”
In the studio, the class has LOVED flying tiny airplanes through blue fluffy clouds made out of shaving cream and blue food coloring. They have also enjoyed making “biplanes” using Popsicle sticks, bright colored paint, and glue.
A shelf in our block area was converted into a runway, and our sensory table was filled with blue rice (to represent the sky), cotton balls (to represent the clouds), and small airplanes. All of the airplane materials around the classroom have enhanced the play among the children! Our next step will be to help our Little Saints name their airline.
If you are interested in taking a trip…please come visit our Little Saints!
The Little Saints three-year-old class is so excited that it is spring because that means it is time for Each One, Teach One! During Each One, Teach One, every student has an opportunity to give a short presentation on their favorite topic. They are encouraged to bring in props, posters, or even use our Aquos Board to show pictures or videos to enhance their lesson!
After the lesson, the rest of the class is encouraged to ask questions about what they just learned. We have had some wonderful lessons so far with topics varying from: crabs, planting a seed, how to make granola, and worms! Each One, Teach One is an important part of the three-year-old curriculum, and it creates important, meaningful conversation and play between the children in the class.
If you would like to see one of our Each One, Teach One lessons, please feel free to drop by the three-year-old classroom to find out when the next lesson will be!
Dinosaurs have taken over the Little Saints two-year-old classroom!
After observing a group of children roaring and chasing on the playground, the teachers asked the group about their play. The response was, “We are playing Dinosaur!” The teachers therefore added a few dinosaurs to the discovery area to see if there was a shared interest among all of the children in the class. …and there was!
As a result, dinosaurs took over the classroom. Tree blocks and dinosaurs were added to the block area, dinosaur costumes were added to the house area, and the sensory table was filled with sand, rocks, and baby dinosaurs.
The class made dinosaur fossils in the studio using salt dough and water color paint. They also combined various shapes to create a stegosaurus! The children’s favorite part of the investigation was turning a piece of furniture in the classroom into a “DINO CAVE!” They loved collecting food around the room to “feed” their dinosaurs in the cave!
The class discussed the different types of food that dinosaurs ate. They even used the outdoor culinary center and gardens to make two different types of dinosaur food: food for the plant eaters and food for the meat eaters. After sampling both types of food, the children voted on their favorite using their name symbols. We have a lot of meat eaters in our two-year old classroom!
Each year at St. Paul’s, our Little Saints kick off the Mardi Gras season with their annual parade. This parade has become one of the many special traditions at St. Paul’s!
Our Little Saint families donate beads as well as decorate “floats” prior to the parade. The St. Paul’s 7th and 8th grade students also “work” with us behind the scenes to make sure everything is ready for the big day!
We pair our Little Saints with a 7th or 8th grade buddy to sort beads by color and number. After sorting, they load the floats with their throws. The 7th and 8th graders also help by pulling the floats in our parade and making sure our riders are supplied with endless beads for throwing.
Our first Little Saints king and queen reigned this year! This is an auction item at the St. Paul’s Gala reserved for parents of our three-year old class. Special cups with the pictures of the reigning King and Queens (we had twin queens this year!) were provided for the royalty to throw to the St. Paul’s crowds!
It was a beautiful day for a parade, and all of our riders enjoyed themselves. One of our Little Saints riders declared after climbing off of his “float,” “I want to do it again!”
Little Saints 2’s are learning about community helpers!
Our Little Saints 2’s have been playing in our house area, and they have really enjoyed dressing up in the fireman and policeman uniforms. Because of their play, the teachers decided it would be fun to explore several different community helpers in the classroom. We started by introducing the different roles of a policeman, a fireman, a doctor, a mailman, and a construction worker. The teachers also asked the children what they thought a doctor and a fireman do. We got some great answers! Each of the children voted on their favorite helper during one of our meetings, and then in the studio, they created a hat for their favorite community helper. The majority of our Little Saints voted for the fireman as their favorite so we have been focusing on firemen, firetrucks, and “putting out fires!” The teachers added a play fire station to our block area, and we are in the process of creating a big, red firetruck out of large boxes! The children have been enjoying putting on the fire hats and playing in the fire station. We have counted fires and matched firetrucks. The teachers photographed each child in a fireman’s costume holding a pretend firehose. The children then made “fires” using red, yellow, and orange tissue and glue. These adorable pictures are hanging in our hallway right outside of our classroom! We will be talking about policemen next so look for a big police car in our classroom soon!
– Little Saints 2’s Teachers
The Little Saints 3s had a wonderful first quarter investigating pirates! As soon as we noticed a strong student interest in swashbuckling, the teachers decided we would begin our first investigation of the year! We started with a whole group discussion about what pirates say, what they wear, and the things they do! We added lots of new pirate costumes into our dramatic play area, which turned from a kitchen into a full-blown pirate ship! Using cardboard boxes and a really big sail, we had our ship ready to sail the high seas. The students also picked their own pirate names, which was one of our favorite activities of the unit! Using two jars, one filled with adjectives (smelly, tiny, hairy, etc.) and the other filled with body parts (head, toe, nose, etc.), each child picked a word out of each jar and yo-ho: they had their very own pirate name! Some examples were “Cracklin’ Nose Drew,” and “Tiny Beard Ryan!” We copied treasure maps in our message center, dug for “booty” in our sensory table, and of course, practiced walking the plank!! It was such a great way to spend the beginning of the year, and we are so excited to see what’s next!
– Little Saints 3s Teachers
During the months of October and November, pumpkins have been a hot topic among our Little Saints! Both our two-year old and three-year old classes took a trip to our St. Paul’s Pumpkin Patch. The children LOVED hearing a Halloween story in the patch and then picking out their very own pumpkin to take home!
In our two-year old classroom, Mrs. Barbara has been helping the children make a connection between the pumpkins in the patch and the pumpkin muffins you find in the grocery store. She began by carving a BIG pumpkin with the class. Every child had the opportunity to hold a big piece of the pumpkin. They used their senses to describe how it felt, how it smelled, and how it looked. They each carried their pumpkin piece to the oven to bake. As the pumpkin cooked, they added all of the ingredients for the muffins into a bowl. Once the pumpkin was ready, they again felt it, smelled it, and described it before adding it to the mixture. Once the muffins were ready, the class LOVED eating them! They were delicious!
In our three-year old classroom, the teachers also carved a pumpkin with the class. They first voted on the type of pumpkin they would carve: a pirate pumpkin, a ghost pumpkin, or a witch pumpkin. Each child used their name symbol to indicate their preference. The witch pumpkin was the winner! Every child had a turn to work with Ms. Edie. They helped scoop the seeds out as well as carve the witch face…it was really spooky!! The three-year old class also LOVED using pumpkins to discuss the concept of distance. The teachers set up a ramp with a pumpkin on the top and a long piece of white paper. The children each placed their name symbol on the paper. Their symbols indicated the distance each child estimated that the pumpkin would travel. They then had the chance to roll the pumpkin down the ramp. It was so fun to watch the pumpkins travel. Some of their estimates were right on target!
Please stop by our classrooms anytime and see the Little Saints with their pumpkins, pumpkins, and more pumpkins!