Signs of Spring

Spring is in full swing and the Hoot Owls and Owlets in Ms. Jessica’s class are seeing signs of it everywhere! They’ve been learning all about the parts of nature they’re seeing more of as the world comes alive.

For almost a month, students have been tending to and observing the radish seeds they planted back on Earth Day. To further their plant learning, the Owls created and labeled the parts of a plant. They’ve taken the opportunity to observe and interact with many different types of plants by using magnifying glasses, dissecting flowers, and creating collages with plants as well! As a class, students planted bean sprout and pea plant seeds in a transparent planter so they could observe the seed coat softening and the roots growing down into the soil. The Owls made their own plant life cycle wheels while observing the bean and pea plants, and noticed which plants were in different parts of the cycle.

Beyond plants, spring also brings new bugs! The class has been using nets and bug catchers to collect and observe bugs from the play yard! They learned that all insects have certain feature: six legs, three body sections, and antennae.

The Owls will bring their learning to life with a special performance at next week’s Friday Flag, so tune in on May 28!

#SaklanHandsOn

Learning About Famous Authors

The Owls in Ms. Jessica’s class are bringing classic children’s books to life by learning about famous authors in a hands-on way! First, the Owls read books written by children’s author Laura Numeroff, including If You Give a Mouse a Cookie and If You Give a Cat a Cupcake. To further engage with the book, they used messy foam paint to “frost” giant cupcakes of their own, complete with sparkly sprinkles!

Next, the Owls learned about Mo Willems, who wrote and illustrated books like Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus, as well as various books featuring the characters Gerald and Piggy. After watching a video of Mo Willems and his friends acting out one of his books, they created Gerald and Piggy art of their own.

As the Owls continuing learning about famous authors, they will also begin writing and illustrating books of their own. We can’t wait to see what stories they will share!

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Owls on the Move

To wrap up their transportation unit, the Saklan Owls turned their sights skyward, learning about airplanes and helicopters. They incorporated math learning and built fine motor skills by cutting and assembling different shapes like a puzzle to make a helicopter.

They also tapped into their inner artists by doing marble painting on airplane shapes, creating unique lines and patterns. The tracks that the marbles made across the paper were reminiscent of the condensation trails planes make when they move across the sky!

The Owls closed out their transportation unit with a fun celebration! Each student brought in their own method of transportation from home, and had a blast zooming around the parking lot on their bikes and scooters!

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Studying Modes of Transportation

The Hoot Owls and Owlets in Ms. Jessica’s class have been learning about different types of transportation. First the class took a vote to see what the students were most interested in learning about. The Owls love practicing voting and making their own choices! Cars and space travel tied as the top choices to explore first.

Some unfortunate but serendipitous car troubles for Ms. Jessica kicked off a conversation about tires, how they work, what happens when you get a flat tire, and how tow trucks carry other cars!

The Owls enjoyed some messy collaborative painting with cars and trucks, observing how different tires made different tracks.

The Owls also made their own traffic lights to go along with a song they learned called “Twinkle Twinkle Traffic Light,” which they were excited to share at Friday Flag this morning!

#SaklanEmergent

Holiday Traditions Around the World

The Owls in Ms. Jessica’s class enjoyed learning about holiday traditions from different countries and cultures. The children love to look at the globe and map together! During December, they located Russia, Sweden, Norway, Mexico and Africa. With winter growing nearer, the Owls first took a look at the Russian Winter Festival: colorful lights, decorations, costumes, horse-drawn sleighs (called “troikas”), ice skating, and music are just a few of the ways the season is celebrated. After seeing the impressive ice sculpture display at the Moscow festival, the Owls got the opportunity to work hands-on with different shaped ice cubes to try and create their own sculptures! 

Next the Owls learned about St. Lucia Day, a holiday celebrated in Sweden, Norway, and other European countries. One of the traditions is to celebrate light overcoming darkness in the winter season by lighting many candles and singing songs. The class watched a short clip of children dressed as St. Lucia singing together. The Owls then got to make their own woven heart, a traditional holiday decoration from Sweden. It was a little tricky, but with practice everyone was able to make a beautiful heart!

Ms. Jessica’s class then learned about a Christmas tradition originating from Mexico called Las Posadas. It is a nine-day celebration during which families reenact the story of Mary and Joseph searching for a place to stay. Large groups of people, often in costumes and carrying candles, travel throughout their neighborhoods singing carols and knocking on doors looking for las posadas (the inns). On the ninth day everyone comes together to share food and drinks and the children break open a star shaped piñata. Of course the Owls couldn’t pass up the opportunity to celebrate with a piñata of their own!

The final holiday the class learned about was Kwanzaa. The Owls learned that much like Hanukkah, a candle is lit for each of the seven nights of Kwanzaa. For each night, a different principle is celebrated: unity, self-determination, collective work and responsibility, cooperative economics, purpose, creativity and faith. They learned that many of the traditions of Kwanzaa are based on customs from parts of Africa, used to celebrate their heritage.

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Dinosaur Research

For the Owls in Ms. Jessica’s class, December has been a month of dinosaurs! After seeing how interested the Hoot Owls and Owlets were in dinosaurs the class decided to learn a little more about them. The students learned that dinosaurs are reptiles and hatch from eggs. They did a fun activity using eyedroppers and warm water to free toy dinosaurs from their icy eggs! 

The Owls learned the words carnivoreherbivore, and omnivore and played a game matching dinosaurs with their diets. They also discovered that everyone in our class is an omnivore! The children had some messy fun making dinosaur footprints with paint after finding out that scientists learn a lot about dinosaurs from fossilized footprints.

The Owls have been having a blast researching and pretending to be their favorite dinosaurs, including the Tyrannosaurus Rex, Stegosaurus, Triceratops, Ankylosaurus, Spinosaurus, and Pachycephalosaurus! 

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Otsaliheliga

Before the Thanksgiving break, the Hoot Owls and Owlets in Ms. Jessica’s class considered some of the things they are grateful for. They read the book We Are Grateful: Otsaliheliga, by Traci Sorrel. “Otsaliheliga” is the Cherokee word for expressing gratitude. The book taught the students many other Cherokee words, and showed some of the traditions and celebrations that members of the Cherokee Nation experience throughout the year.

After reading the story, the Owls made their own handprint Thanksgiving turkeys while sharing what they are grateful for.

#SaklanGrateful

Marble Tracks

The Hoot Owls and Owlets in Ms. Jessica’s class have been showing a lot of interest in building marble tracks.

This became such a popular classroom toy that they decided to try creating their own marble tracks. Instead of plastic pieces that fit together, the Owls used peg boards, foam tubing, and brass fasteners to create unique paths for their marbles. The class was able to cut the foam tubes into different shapes and lengths to get the exact pieces they wanted. The Owls noticed how fast and far the marbles traveled depending on how they placed their tubes. It was an exciting new way to do one of their favorite activities, and to introduce basic physics concepts!

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Collaborative Owls

Student’s in Ms. Jessica’s class have been learning about collaboration, which is their social and emotional learning theme for October. The Owls learned that collaborating means working together to make or do something. It also means using teamwork and listening to each other’s ideas. The students tried out their collaborative skills with a few activities. The first collaborative activity was to build a structure together during circle time. Each student took turns adding one or two blocks to the structure until it was complete. Sometimes pieces fell when they tried to add them, but they encouraged each other to try again!

The children also made a multi-step, collaborative art piece to celebrate fall. First, the Owls used eyedroppers to drip red, orange, brown, and yellow watercolor paint onto giant coffee filter paper. They were surprised to see the color spread quickly over the paper and blend together! Next, each Owl helped cut out leaf shapes from the painted paper. They chose whether they wanted to cut out pre-drawn leaf shapes, or create their own unique shapes.

Finally, the leaves were attached to the tree bulletin board in their classroom. The Owls were proud to see how their individual contributions helped create one big masterpiece!

#SaklanCollaboration

Wind Research

The Hoot Owls and Owlets in Ms. Jessica’s class noticed that it has started to get windier outside. The call decided to do some research after one Hoot Owl asked “Where does wind come from?” They learned that research is a good way to learn more about something, and that there are many different ways to do research. The class found a book from the library about weather, as well as a video from the internet featuring an expert. Both resources were helpful in teaching the students that wind is a result of air changing temperatures combined with the way the Earth rotates.

After finishing their research, the class made windsocks. Using paper and streamers each student created a tool to help them see which direction the wind is blowing. The Hoot Owls and Owlets enjoyed testing out their windsocks on the play yard!

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