Eye Of The … Beaver

The Beavers fascination with the Underworld has sustained. On Monday, we began to transform our Dramatic Play area to truly reflect the Beavers’ visions and hypotheses about the Underworld.  Looking at our notes of the children’s conversations, as well as or observations of their outdoor play in Garden, we gathered that the Beavers envision the Underworld to be a dark place, full of places to hide, magic, treasures and rainbows.  Using the collaborative murals we created last week, we covered the walls of Dramatic Play.  We then created a tent with a few pieces of fabric, and gave the children flashlights to investigate and explore.  As it is also the first week of our Conserve-A-Thon, we serendipitously have had the lights off for most of the day, so the Underworld was truly a dark space.  During Garden on Wednesday, many friends discovered they could draw rainbows on large rocks with chalk, creating the “rainbow rocks” and “rainbow treasures” they imagined they might discover by continuing to dig and dig and dig.  After many friends volunteered to scavenge for rocks, we set up a center at Choice Time complete with an array of paint colors. As they painted, a dialogue emerged about the powers of these rainbow rocks.  

Steelo: [My rainbow rock] can grant any wish you make. It came from the Underworld.

My next one has all different powers and all the elements -like fire, water …

Ezra: Look at how the colors mix! Mine has the elements too. They’re really great.

Alex: My rainbow rock has a yellow sunflower and the pink is lava.

Téa: My rainbow rocks have special powers -they turn into fairies.

Harper: Mine turn into cats.

Vivian: Mine have volcanoes.

Arjun: Mine has all the special powers in the world.

Ruby: Mine has special powers. It gives people colors like rainbow eyes and skin. It’s from Mexico.

Ezra at sensory table: I’m doing an antidote to help worms.

Cate: It comes from New York. It has special rainbow powers.

Jake: Erica, every time you say rainbow rocks, I think of the My Little Pony movies.

Charlotte: Whenever you look at my rainbow rock, it looks back at you and then you fall asleep.

Harry: It has powers to turn everyone into a lamb.

Ava: Mine is from Long Island and it has special vinegar powers which we have in our body.

Asher: I’m painting my hands first then painting my rock with my hands to give it powers.

Once dry, the Beavers arranged the rainbow rocks in Dramatic Play and the fantasy continued.  With this transformation, Dramatic Play has become a place of discovery and magic, reflecting the Beavers’ own ideas about the Underworld.

Over the course of the year, the Beavers have been lucky to build relationships with our neighboring classrooms in the Garden House.  To provide the children an opportunity to spend more time with the greater school community, we decided to co-host a shared Choice Time with Mrs. Montero and Ms. Copeland’s class, the Kindergarten Trains.  On Tuesday and Wednesday, the Beavers had a choice of activities throughout the two classroom spaces.  Each center included friends from each of the classes to ensure all children an opportunity to mix with new friends. New activities included sensory play with the compost and the sensory bin, paper-making, the light table, puzzles & games, and building with Hollow Blocks and Unit Blocks.  Over the course of the two days, everyone had a chance to explore each space.  New friendships were made, and it provided an excellent opportunity for the Beavers to work alongside new friends (in anticipation of next year!)  As always, the Beavers proved to be open, inclusive and enthusiastic.  We know they will be so successful in their new classrooms with new friends!

Another fun exchange between the Beavers and the Trains came when the Trains new compost bin arrived!  We felt great pride knowing that our composting initiative had officially impacted a classroom to join our environmental efforts!  Given the learning curve, the Beavers knew that there was lots of knowledge that they could share with the Trains.  After seeing their new wormies and helping them as they set up their bin, at Choice Time, many friends decided to make an “instruction” book for the Trains.   They worked together to decide the most important composting facts and got to work! Next week, we hope to finish and present their guide to the Trains.

On Thursday morning, the Beaver teachers and the teachers of our Buddy Class coordinated a surprise date for the two classes.  Our Fourth Grade buddies met us in the Garden for some quality time running, playing, and some “Scatterball” – a new game that the fourth graders taught us that has quickly become a class favorite!  The Beavers loved the extra time outside and always enjoy an opportunity to play with their Buddies.

As we approach the end of the year, a sense of nostalgia is all around.  The children have started to reflect on their dwindling days in the Beaver Lodge and this realization has brought up many questions about some favorite traditions. After finishing another round of Teacher of the Day, the Beavers wondered: Is there enough time left for us to start another cycle? Always concerned with fairness, they thought:  Will everyone to have a turn?  As a class, we looked at our calendar and assessed how many days really are left in school.  After talking about the need to eliminate the last week of school and our field trip days, we counted the remaining number of days that were possible for a Teacher of the Day turn: 12 days is all we have….. Sigh!  Given that there are 21 Beavers, we posed the question: How can we proceed with Teacher of the Day to ensure that everyone has a turn and there are the same number of teachers on each day?  In order to figure out this problem, we turned the issue over to the Beavers.  Highly motivated to determine a solution, the Beavers were given a bag of twenty one manipulatives (dinosaurs or bears) and a partner to help them problem solve.  We gave the Beavers the following challenge: make groups of bears or dinosaurs so that every group has the same number of manipulatives.  After experimenting with different groupings and different organization methods, we regrouped on the rug to share our discoveries.  The class quickly noticed that the only way to divide the 21 manipulatives evenly was either in 3 groups of 7, or 7 groups of 3.  We voted on which Teacher of the Day scenario they preferred, and will officially launch our new round next Tuesday.  On Monday we will discuss what this beloved tradition will look like with 3 friends sharing the duties!  Watch the videos of the Beavers in full counting and dividing action in the “Videos” folder on our Google Photos page!  When posed with an authentic math problem, it is amazing how far children can stretch their thinking.  

Much of the week was dedicated to continued work on our *mystery project*.  In half groups on Wednesday, we listened to lyrics, sharing ideas of what they mean.  We then listened to music and did some interpretive dance.  The Beavers danced as a group, and also had the opportunity to show their solo dance moves in the middle of the circle.  In Dance class today, they choreographed whole group movements to certain parts of the song.  Make sure to check Google Photos for documentation of their killer moves!  And stay tuned for more!  But, shhhhh – not a peep out of you!

Lastly, we had our first summer birthday celebration!  We enjoyed cupcakes and a read aloud for this Beaver’s 4 year and 11 month birthday.

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Check Google Photos for many more photos from the week, as well as some amazing videos!  Have a great weekend!

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