Classroom Feature: Steller's Jays Classroom

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Here's this week's glimpse into what's happening in and out of our classrooms in the day school! These feature lessons, activities, centers, and saunters from a different classroom each week.

Today's feature: Steller’s Jays Explore Transportation and Infrastructure

This month in the Steller's Jay class, we are focusing on our Place-Based theme of transportation and infrastructure. Throughout the month we will explore the ideas of What is transportation? and How do we connect it to our lives? In our Dramatic Play center, children will take on pretend roles and situations while they explore our city bus. We will connect our Dramatic Play to the real world by watching the city bus go by outside our window, learning about the bus route maps, and going on a saunter to ride the city bus around the Lincolnwood loop. In the Block Center, children will share and respect the rights of others by using four long buses. Children will build buildings, arrange people and animals, and drive their buses around our Block Center. We will, at the end of the month, begin to explore sustainable transportation and connect all of the knowledge we have built to ways we can help our Earth.

We are exploring big thoughts for 2 and 3 year old children and will learn concepts such as: applying knowledge and experience to a new context, exploring cause and effect, and playing cooperatively with others, all while PLAYING  with various modes of transportation!

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Kids-Niche Feature: Fireweed Second Grade

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Here's this week's glimpse into what's happening in our Kids Niche Programs! These feature lessons, activities, and saunters from a different classroom each week.

Today’s Feature: Fireweed Learns About a New Culture

The Fireweed Second Grade Class has been learning about the indigenous people of Mexico. 

We focused on the writing system of the Maya civilization. After a brief discussion of what Chichen Itza was, the group learned about the language of the Mayan people. We looked at the details in their hieroglyphics and how each one represents a word or phase. Then each student created a language of their own with inspiration from the pictures. This turned into a tedious illustration of each of our names. Next, we will play a modern version of the ancient Maya ballgame called pitz. 

Classroom Feature: Meadowlark Preschool Classroom

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Here's this week's glimpse into what's happening in and out of our classrooms in the day school! These feature lessons, activities, centers, and saunters from a different classroom each week.

Today's feature: Meadowlarks Explore Teachings of Martin Luther King Jr.

Similarities and Differences

We started our week off by talking about similarities and differences. We looked at ourselves, other people around the classroom, various dolls we had, and even people in books. What makes each of us different? What about each of us is the same? What makes Teacher Jocelyn different than Teacher Michelle? Are there things about us that are the same too? The Meadowlarks quickly realized that EVERYONE is different in some way and we are all the same in some ways too. 

Discrimination

Our conversations about similarities and differences led to a conversation about discrimination. We talked about how discrimination is when you treat someone differently because they are not like you. Using dolls from our dollhouse, Teacher Jocelyn acted out different kinds of discrimination for the Meadowlarks. For example: A group of kids with only brown hair are sitting at a table. A girl with black hair walks up and asks to sit with them. Someone at the table says, “You can’t sit here. Only people with brown hair can sit at this table.” Another example: “You’re a boy and boys aren’t allowed to play this game.” The Meadowlarks all agreed that discrimination wasn’t fair and probably didn’t make people feel very good. 

Martin Luther King Jr: Spreading Kindness

After talking about similarities/differences and learning about discrimination, the Meadowlarks talked about Martin Luther King Jr. and the holiday we “celebrated” by staying home from school on Monday to celebrate his life. We talked about how MLK didn’t think that discrimination was okay and about how he thought that everyone should be kind to everyone else, even if they were different. We learned about how he peacefully worked to spread kindness and stop discrimination. After this conversation, the Meadowlarks each sat down at the Art Table, traced their hands, and had a teacher write down their answer to this question: What can we do to help people remember to treat everyone with kindness? These hands are hanging on the Parent Board outside the Meadowlark Room.

Learning Objectives

  • Demonstrate respect for similarities and differences

  • Recognize stereotypes that are culturally or linguistically unfair, as well as other biased behaviors 

  • Demonstrate respect

  • Show empathy for others and respond to another’s emotional reactions

  • Act with kindness

  • Demonstrate pro-social behavior, such as empathy, sharing, compassion, helping others, and compromise

  • Participate in experiences that appropriately push student thinking

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Kids-Niche Feature: Beargrass Third through Fifth Grade

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Here's this week's glimpse into what's happening in our Kids Niche Programs! These feature lessons, activities, and saunters from a different classroom each week.

Today’s Feature: Beargrass engages in STEM

Beargrass has been doing some STEM activities. First, we tried out flying "loop flyers" -- a straw with two loops of paper, one on each end. Students were challenged to consider which variables to include in the final ultimate hoop flyer.  We tested to see how the size of the paper strips affected the flight of the flyer. We also added weights, paperclips, to see if weight in the front or in the back of the flyers affected the length of the flight. We tested multiple times and took an average to come up with our distance for each type of flyer. Each group found the best flyers had both paperclips on the front loop! We also went to SpectrUM and got to explore all the different exhibits they have- experiments with sound, topography, momentum, gravity, and more. It was a fun trip! 

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Classroom Feature: Explorers Classroom

Here's this week's glimpse into what's happening in and out of our classrooms in the day school! These feature lessons, activities, centers, and saunters from a different classroom each week.

Today's feature: Explorers Examine Owl Pellets

The explorers invited parent and local owl expert Matt Larson to teach us about owls, their place in the food chain, what they like to eat, and where they live. We saw pictures of an owl roost, where long eared owls gather and then examined owl pellets to see what kinds of animal bones were inside! 

This hands on activity brings nature right into the classroom and will be followed by a saunter to find signs of owls close to our own school! Students are learning about animals in winter, the food chain, and interconnection as they realize that many animals share the same environment and depend on one another!

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Kids-Niche Feature: Shooting Stars Preschool Classroom

Here's this week's glimpse into what's happening in our Kids Niche Programs! These feature lessons, activities, and saunters from a different classroom each week.

Today’s Feature: Shooting Stars Use Natural Dyes

This month, the Shooting Stars have been exploring natural dyes using pomegranates, avocados, and black beans. We started by using our fine motor skills to separate the pomegranate seeds from the skin and the avocado skins and pits from the fruit. We also did some taste testing!

While our dyes were simmering, we asked questions and made predictions. What colors will the dyes turn our yarn? Will the yarn get darker the longer we leave it in the dye? Will it look different once it is dry?

Once our yarn had finished soaking in the dyes, we were surprised to find that the avocado dye turned our yarn pink, the pomegranate dye turned our yarn yellow, and the black bean dye turned our yarn blue!

Learning objectives:

  • Fine motor development

  • Working collaboratively

  • Creating hypotheses

  • Exploring the integration of art and nature

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