Welcome to Pre-K 204 at Peck Slip School!
Dear Incoming Pre-K 204 Families,
I am so excited for the new school year and getting know all the new faces entering Pre-K; I cannot wait to see you! I have been working diligently putting together the classroom and planning activities for the upcoming year. We are going to have a wonderful time growing, exploring, and socializing together as a Pre-K family and school community.
First, let me introduce myself. My name is Melysa and this is my second year teaching in room 204, but I will be starting my 12th year in the field of early childhood education. I have held numerous positions working with children aged two to six as a teacher, therapist, and SEIT. I live in Queens with my husband, 2-year-old son, and two rescue doggies. I’ve spent my summer taking professional development classes, going to local beaches, and spending time with family. When not working, a few of my favorite things to do are going running, baking yummy treats, and going to Mets games.
Next, while in room 204 we will focus on social emotional learning through building relationships, creating and negotiating play, and through the many other multifaceted layers of this developmental domain. We will strive for independence, abstract thinking, and building a love of learning all through varieties of play. Children will have opportunities to engage in open play through sensory table (sand, water, beans and more), playdough, clay, blocks, drawing, light table, and imagination play (dramatic play). They will also have opportunities to engage in more structured play like beading, sewing, woodworking, legos, magnatiles, cars, trains, dinosaurs, and so much more. Learning will be anchored in projects, block play, and loose parts exploration to boost the children’s deep thinking and creativity. All this wonderful play will be driven by the interests of the children facilitated and expanded with help by me. The goal is to come together as a classroom family and help to build the Peck Slip community. Children will get to experience this community through specials (art, library, big blocks, gym, recess), reading buddies, and inter classroom visitation. Pre-K will be an exciting and busy time for young learners.
I am so excited to meet you and to begin a fresh new school year!
- Please sign up for the meet & greet with visits on either 8/29 or 8/30
- A more detailed note with everything you will need to know about Pre-K will be sent the last week of August
School starts September 5th
After starting April with a lovely break we dove right into creating our Big Cat habitat and working on our sewing skills.
Big Cat Habitats
We refreshed our knowledge about which big cat lives where. Then our brains were ready to look further into the details of these big cat living places. First we started with a jungle. We looked closely at different pictures of jungles and then talked about its features. We described a jungle as having A LOT of tree close together covered with leaves and vines. We discussed how it was difficult to see a Tiger in the jungle because of all the big leaves. This set us on the path of cutting out leaves. Melysa showed us as a class one way to make jungle like leaves. We learned to fold a paper in half long ways like a hot dog then flip it to hold it like a hamburger. Then we cut an arch shape like a turtle’s back and opened up the paper to see a leaf shape. Then we cut the sides. We learned what happens when the fold is on top and when the fold is top – you make one leaf or two! After this we explored some more and created our own versions of jungle leaves.Then we worked on rolling tape to place on the back so we could place the leaves all over the imagination play area. Melysa hung some rope to be a vine and made a tree trunk and we placed all the leaves on the top of the tree and Melysa hung the leaves on the vines.
After we worked on the jungle we studied the details of a grasslands. We noticed that the grass can be green, yellow, or brown and that it is very tall. We noticed that there are only a few trees and Lions can camouflage themselves very well. We worked on mixing paint to make yellowish brown and yellowish green. Once we were satisfied with our colors, we painted specific strokes on a large piece of brown paper, to look tall long grass. To add depth to our grass we cute brown, green, and yellow strips then glued them to our painted grass. Once this was done Melysa hung it low on the other side of the imagination play area. Then voila! We had the two major big cat habitats in out classroom to play in!
Sewing Our Stufty
Melysa introduced us to the ideas of sewing. A few of our friends have already learned to sew, so they shared their knowledge as an expert in the classroom. We started by talking about all the things needed for sewing, the needle, thread, and fabric. We practiced for a few days on a plastic grid with yarn and plastic needle. We also created a list of the steps of creating a stufty.
- Learn and practice sewing stitches
- Draw our animal pattern
- Draw on fabric and cut
- Sew fabric together
Once we got to step two, we learned what a pattern is and the role of a pattern as well as specifics in drawing one to ensure our sewing will be easier. This was a tough concept to grasp and we are still working on it. Melysa helped us cut our patterns to ensure we didn’t cut any legs or ears off and then we helped he staple it to the appropriate fabric color. Once we did that Melysa helped us cut the fabric piece off the larger piece to make it easier to work with. We noticed while working with the fabric for the first time that is is so soft (fleece). We are working on finishing our stufties and can’t wait to bring them home when they are complete. We are on the cutting part of step three and will move on to step four and five this week.
While we finish our stufties we will wrap up our big cat study by going over the questions we had and seeing if they were answered as well as recalling what we learned. We have decided we want to move on to learning about snakes which we will start diving deeper into at the end of the week and starting next week.
Happy May! Can’t wait to celebrate birthdays again.
Don’t forget to sign up for Mystery Readers if you haven’t already!
BIG CAT STUDY
We have spent much of our March studying Big Cats. We have been learning many facts and details about Lions, Tigers, Leopards, Jaguars and will be finishing the week by learning about Cheetahs and Pumas. We have been studying the same basic facts about each big cat. We have been learning the following: details about fur and markings, habitat, size, food, babies, live alone or together, endangered status, sounds (meow, purr, roar), and any other important interesting facts about each animal. We are comparing what makes the animals the same and different. All the information we are learning is posted in the hallway on the bulletin board.
We have learned many vocabulary words based around this study. Some of the words we have learned are: endangered, vulnerable threatened, prey, nocturnal, carnivore, pride, male, female, mammal, wild, and domestic. This study lends itself to discussions about many topics. Some popular and ongoing discussions are: hunting and what it means to eat different animals and survive in the wild, human and animal interactions and effects, caring for young, and what makes up different habitats (forest, grassland, wetlands). This often lends itself to social emotional concepts of how we take care of one another and relationships.
While studying the big cats we have been working quite a bit on our math skills. We have been measuring, comparing, counting, and understanding the concept of size. We have been helping Melysa use a yardstick to measure the length of a cat. We then represented the length with a string. After measuring the string we compared how many children long and how many unifix cubes long. We counted above 100 for every cat so far. Check out our work on the wall opposite the classroom in the hallway. We have also been playing a simple game of lining up pictures of big cats in order from smallest to largest or largest to smallest. We learned about where ½ numbers fall (4, 4.5, 5). We are now able to compare the sizes of each animal when discussing which are the biggest and smallest.
As well as math skills we are working on our drawing skills, especially noticing details and presenting those details on paper. We are working on more accuracy in our drawings.After studying and discussing a real life picture of the cat, we worked together as a class to draw an animal together each taking turns to draw a feature. Then we worked with Melysa or Valira in small groups to draw our own interpretation of the big cat. This has also begun to make its way into our painting with watercolor and tempera paint. Our drawings have been posted on the bulletin board.
We have been learning how non-fiction books work by reading different books about the big cats. Melysa will read parts of the book to us first, then we have chances to explore further. We have learned about table of contents and how to use captions. When we see an interesting picture we look to see if there is a caption to be read and ask Melysa to read it. We have also started writing the names of big cats and used the first letter of the name to help us recognize the animal. We are also using M and F to represent male and female respectively. All of the information we are learning has been posted on a chart and we are learning to read the chart and using pictures to help us recognize words and subjects. We have also touched on and are still talking about myths. There are a few tales and myths about how tigers got their stripes. We have talked about what a myth is and how it is carried on through time. We have also enjoyed picture books with big cats as the main character.
In imagination play we have been acting out roles as big cats. We have been pretending to be different animals and have played mommy and baby cats. This lends itself to talk about social emotional concepts like caring, turn taking, and negotiation. We have pretended to hunt prey by hiding different toy animals around the room and hunted them. We also spend many transitions roaring or moving like the cats we are studying. Some friends have also brought big cat stufties and we have used them in our pretend play. We sing songs about the animals and change words to already known song to base them on the subject.
The next part of our study will be learning to sew and designing and crafting a big cat stuffed animal. We will also draw and design big cat habitats. We will take our designs and drawings and turn our imagination play area into the grasslands/wetlands/forest.
We cannot wait to show you the culmination of our study during April’s Family Friday scheduled for the 27th at 8:25am.
For the entire month of February (and some of January) Pre-K 204 studied the school. The school study comprised of many different parts with the bulk of the learning coming from walking tours of the school and interviews with a teachers and other staff.
We started by walking each floor of the school and learning how the school layout works and the functions of the rooms and spaces that make up our beautiful school. We also paid close attention to the signs around the school and learned how to read them. We learned that each room, door, & space has a plaque with the name of the space and the number. We put what we learned into practice as we walked around. We also learned that the first number of the space corresponds to the floor in which it is located. We learned that if the number starts with a 3 that it means that it is on the 3rd floor. As we walked around we noticed artwork on the wall and asked questions about rooms we do not normally see. We learned that there is a teacher’s lounge where teachers take a break and eat lunch. This sparked a favorite interview question of “Where do you eat lunch?” While touring each floor Melysa showed us a card with a picture of a teacher and we wrote down the room number of the teacher and the grade he/she teaches. We then took these cards and created a floor chart of our school so we know where all the classroom and other important rooms (like the nurse and office) are located.
From here we moved on to starting teacher and staff interviews. We interviewed Mike and Alouie the custodians, Nesha the Nurse, Principal Maggie, Ashley the Science teacher, Lesley in K, Judy in 1st, Gretchen and Thea in 2nd, Bent and Alison in 3rd, Sarah and Jessica in 4th, and Lauren and 3 students in 5th. We asked various questions that we had prepared and that we came up with once we observed the classroom. We learned a little about each teacher and lots about each grade and classroom routines. A few of the frequently asked questions were: “Where do you eat lunch?” “Where do you live?” “What is your job?” “Why do you have _____?” Many of the siblings in our class asked about where their sibling sits in his/her respective classroom. After each interview we responded to the interview by drawing a picture and saying a few words about it. We noticed many classrooms have line spots like us and some classrooms have pets like snakes and chinchillas. We are hoping to get a pet to care for one day.
We also continue work on spreading love around the school. At the beginning of the study we spread hearts to different classrooms and places around the school to show that being kind and showing love can help to make our school a better and happy place. We tried hard to fill the school’s bucket.
Also during our study we studied the outside of the school and drew several drafts of our school building. We started by talking about the shapes and details we see on the outside by looking at pictures. Our first draft we worked on by drawing our version from a black and white picture. We talked about how to make it better and on the second draft we improved greatly. We sat outside across the street from our school and drew our interpretation of the building. After we did our drawings we used recycled materials build a school sculpture which we put together with tape. We then decorated it with our families for Family Friday.
We ended the study with mapping our classroom. We learned about “Birds eye view” which is a tricky concept but we started to grasp with basic ideas of it. We learned what we use maps for and we decided to draw a map to help any visitors to our classroom. We started by looking around the room and talking about the parts and pieces that make up the classroom. We made a map using pictures and then graduated to tracing predrawn details on a large map taking turns. Once we made out large map we labeled it and then created our own map. We worked in a partnership and created a map of the room with pencil. Once we finished that we made adjustments and traced the map with marker for the final draft. We just touched the tip of the iceberg with mapping, but learned some great basic concepts like POV, how it works, its uses, and how to make our own. We also enjoyed looking at satellite street views of our homes and neighborhood on google maps. We learned about the breakdown of location from Earth all the way down to our neighborhood. We are still learning about NYC and its five boroughs and various neighborhoods.
Concurrent to our school study we did a small investigation into igloos. We learned how they were built and did many sensory activities and drawing about igloos. We learned that they are build with ice blocks and that even though the snow is cold and igloo can keep you warm. We also worked hard to collected milk jugs and build a half igloo wall. We helped Melysa hot glue the jugs together and had a big structure to play in for a few weeks.
Now that our school and igloo study has come to finish we will be moving on to learning about Big Cats: A Study of Same and Different.
We are excited to start Mystery Readers and sharing again soon.
We also can’t wait to celebrate March birthdays: Zoe, Quinn, and Eric!
Our Learning This Week
This week made more “snow” out of conditioner and baking soda. We used the snow, cups, applesauce cups, and spoons to make different snow shapes including igloos, ice cream, and skating ponds. We discussed and explored the shape of an igloo using the applesauce cups. We tired to build snow around it and we also packed snow inside it and flipped it to make the dome shape. To also continue exploration of igloo building we wrapped the small square blocks in white paper to represent the ice blocks used for real igloos. Later in the week we used mini marshmallows to explore igloo shape and building. Some friends discovered that if you squeezed them all in your hand you can make a sticky circular shape like the dome of an igloo. Other friends tried to build up but when they had trouble they decided to make the shape flat on the table. Other friends worked carefully and diligently to build up and make a round wall. We did a wonderful job only eating 1-2 marshmallows and saving most of them for our work.
After we were done with the marshmallows, we used a new bag to make Rice Krispy treats. To keep the idea of spreading love and community we made enough for our friends in Pre-K 202 as well. This was a fun Friday treat.
We have also been exploring out school and the people within it. We toured the different floor (2-6) and discovered how to read the room plaques with room number and teacher name. We recorded what grade each teacher teaches and placed this information on a large chart with each floor of our school. We also visited the custodians in the cafeteria after lunch while they cleaned up. We interviewed them learning lots of new information about who they are and their job. We will continue interviewing different people around the school and learning where they are located and about how everyone comes together as a community to make the school run.
We read the book What a Wonderful World based on the song. After reading and discussing the pictures we listened to several versions of the song at various times throughout the day with and without the book.
Our favored version is by IZ;
Coming Up Next Week
Monday – Rafael
Tuesday – Lyla
Wednesday – Olivia
Thursday – Tsubasa
Friday – Desmond
Jan 23 & 24 – August
Jan 25 & 26 – Matteo
Mystery Readers – 9am – Shhhhh its a surprise!
Tuesday 1/23 – Lily
Wednesday 1/24 – Stephanie
Thursday 1/25 – Kazuma
Pre-K non attendance day Wednesday 2/7/18
Please return all sleep items on Monday
Please help us build an igloo by bringing in gallon and half gallon milk/water/juice jugs
Our Learning This Week
This week we packed our brains full of new learning! We began speaking about our school community and making the idea of community more of a focus. It is always an ongoing base idea for many of our rules and routines, but now we are broadening the idea outside of our classroom walls in a deeper meaningful way. We discussed the people in our school who are a part of the greater community and a learned a bit about each person’s roles. Next week we will visit and do interviews of some of these people. As many of our Pre-K friends have siblings in other grades making the connection to outside of the classroom strong. We even had a few siblings join us as Mystery Readers this week. We have really enjoyed making guesses and learning to narrow down these guesses with clues about the upcoming reader. It is always a great surprise when someone walks through the door.
We learned more specific details, answering our questions, about igloos. We learned why they tend to have lines and how the lines get there. We learned this when watching a short video of an igloo being built. We learned how and why people and animals use them – as shelter to stay warm. We learned that igloos can actually keep you warm, because snow can act like a jacket, or an insulator. We used the pictures of igloos in our room to inspire building with hallow blocks and unit blocks. We also dreamt about our perfect igloo and drew a first round of plans with pencil on paper. We also took this a step further and created an igloo out of white materials using glue and scissors. Please remember to bring us gallon and half gallon milk/water/juice jugs to help us build a classroom igloo!
We also connected our school study and previous learning with the teachings of Martin Luther King Jr. We learned that he championed for all people to be able to go to any school, eat at any restaurant, and drink out of any water fountain. He did this by wanting to spread love to make the world a better place. We spoke about how we can make our school a better place by spreading love. We out this into action by writing/drawing these ideas or just the word LOVE on hearts and delivered them to classrooms and posted them on walls and in the elevators and stairs. Pre-K 202 did this also so by the end of the week there were many hearts and much Pre-K love all over the school.
We also made avocado toast this week. While Melysa was eating an Avocado during breakfast Oscar declared, “you can make avocado toast with that!” Then many other friends chimed in with, “yum” and “I love avocado toast.” We discussed how to make it, wrote out a recipe including different agreed upon toppings to try, then put it all to practice and made it as a team.
We will dive deeper into our school study by interviewing and visiting people and classrooms.
We will begin to explore more and map out the school.
We will discuss igloo building and begin to think about materials and steps needed to build our own.
We will explore the shapes of igloos in the sensory table with “snow” and fruit cups.
Songs this Week
We listened to a song about Martin Luther King Jr.
We have also really enjoyed dancing to Halloween Baby Shark when we need a break (started as a request by a child)
Coming Up Next Week
No School on Monday 1.15.18
- Tuesday – Matteo
- Wednesday – Dahlia
- Thursday – Gibson
- Friday – Alissa
16th – Dahlia
17th & 18th – Roman
19th & 22nd – Asha
Mystery Readers – 9am – shhhh remember it’s a surprise!
16th – Devin
17th – Josh
18th – Maggie
Please label all of your children’s personal items.
Only soft stuffed animal lovies in school. No hard toys or trinkets please.
HAPPY NEW YEAR!
Our Learning This Week
We had a wonderful (short) week back to school. It was a great way to start 2018 and we are ready to dive into a long stretch of time to dig deep into some studies. We continued our discussion around winter. We read My First Snow by Peter McCarty and Snow by Roy McKie and P.D. Eastman. We talked about all of the things we know about winter and we were inspired to start studying igloos with the idea to build our own in the classroom. We began by asking a simple question – What is an igloo? – and looking up pictures. We talked about what we know so far about the subject and discussed questions we want to know more about. After this discussion, some friends built igloos in the block area for their lovey to live in. Melysa also printed pictures of igloos, including the inspiration for building our own classroom igloo, and hung them up for us to see. We are excited to continue this study.
Today a Pre-K friend came up with the idea of acting out The Three Little Pigs (we have been reading different versions). Four friends volunteered to play the three pigs and the wolf. As Melysa read the story the children acted out their parts. This is something we previously tried to work on, but we were not very interested. Now we love the idea! Melysa made story cards for the characters in the story so that we can take the idea further on a more independent level during choice time.
We also started our quiet time journals this week. We are using these journals to work on writing and reading, as well as participation in the school wide practice of quiet time. Sometimes Melysa writes words or letters or shapes to help inspire us, but we can draw and write whatever we want in our journals. These journals are for our eyes and Melysa’s only, unless we choose to share.
Today we celebrated Carr’s 5th birthday – it was a super fun afternoon!
This Week’s Song
We learned the song Mi Cuerpo and it was an instant hit. We sing it in both Spanish and English.
Creating a Reader
We have been doing lots of talking about the parts of a book and how books work. It’s time for children to begin understanding that they themselves can create stories. We have been reading many different winter stories, those listed above and in previous newsletters, as well as The Mitten and The Hat both by Jan Brett and Red Sled by Lita Judge. Based on the winter theme provide time for your child to create his our her own winter story, inspire him or her be the author.
Learning for Next Week
We will be researching and answering our igloo questions.
We will begin discussing a plan for building our own igloo by drawing plans, building small scale igloos, creating materials lists, and writing directions.
We will begin talking about school community and incorporating Dr. Martin Luther King Jr’s words and ideas into this by spreading love through out the school.
Coming Up Next Week
Sharing starts again on Monday
- Monday Jan 8 – Roman
- Tuesday Jan 9 – Carr
- Wednesday Jan 10 – Asha
- Thursday Jan 11 – August
- Friday Jan 12 – Oscar
Parent provided snack starts again on Monday
- Jan 8 & 9 – Zoe
- Jan 10 & 11 – Carr
- Jan 12 & 16 – Dahlia
Mystery Readers – 9am – Shhh! Remember to keep it a surprise!
- Jan 10 – Crystal
- Jan 11 – Luciana
No School on Monday Jan 15th
Please bring in a milk/juice jug or carton
There are still Mystery Reader spots for Jan 9th, Jan 24th and 25th – please sign up at least 24hr ahead
Any library books still at home, please bring back this Monday
Our Learning This Week
This week we buttoned up our study on light. We discussed everything we have learned. We completed the study by building a kaleidoscope. Melysa provided us all of the parts and we colored our own designs to place on the end. We put all the parts together and had fun looking through them to see what we made! We also completed our collaborative classroom decoration, and it is beautiful!
We also talked about winter ideas. We shared what we are going to do over break and the holidays we are celebrating. We started reading books based on winter like Polar Bear Night by Lauren Thompson, The Hat by Jan Brett, Bear Snores On by Karma Wilson, Snowy Day by Ezra Jack Keats.
We have also been showing interest in The Three Little Pigs so we began reading different versions of the story to go along with other fairytales we have already read. This is something that will be continuing into the next year. We will also start the new year with our in depth school community study.
I hope everyone enjoys their 10 home days celebrating different holidays, the new year, and family time!
Coming Up in 2018
Look out for an email at the start of the week back for information on:
Who needs new extra clothes
Mystery Reader Sign Ups
Parent Interest Survey
Our Learning This Week
This week shifted our focus from rainbows to light. There were many questions about light as light is the main ingredient in making a rainbow. We learned and tested the difference between translucent and opaque items. We made a chart documents out tested items such as: colored cellophane, glass beads, tree cookies, paper, aluminum foil, wax paper and more. After discussing this we used flashlights and a mini light table to further explore these properties within the classroom environment. We also watched a portion of a video where we learned how reflection works and helped cement our learning about refraction. We used mirrors to reflect light and to see the classroom reflecting back at us. We are hoping to explore other ideas about reflection next week. Finally at the end of the week we discussed and charted the difference between artificial light and natural light. Our definition of the two is: artificial is people made light or light that comes from the earth or space.
A few of the books we enjoyed the most this week were The Thank You Book by Mo Willems (a Piggie and Elephant book), Honda & Fabian by Peter McCarty, and The Dark by Lemony Snicket. A couple of these were new books picked from the book fair – thank you for the donations!
Thank you the family members who came to Family Friday we had so much fun decorating out paper towel tubes and cannot wait to make a beautiful decorative piece for our classroom. The children also loved getting Magnatiles and thoroughly enjoyed them all day! Thank you so much for the amazing class gifts.
Creating a Reader
Every child picked 1-2 new books this week at the book fair – read them to your child! Take all the strategies we have talked about before and implement them in these wonderful new books. The children should be very interested in them as they are new and they were 100% chosen by them – which we all know (to them) is always the best!
Coming Up Next Week
Monday – Quinn
Tuesday – Zoe
Wednesday – Nathan
Thursday – Gibson
Last day of school before holiday break 12/22
Please return library books Monday
Please label all winter items
Snack Schedule will start again January 2nd
Share schedule will start over on ½
Look out for information on Mystery Readers