Learning About Chinese Culture

As part of their study of continents, cultures and global art, the Junior Kindergartners worked on a month long mini project about Chinese New Year. Much that the children had learned about Chinese music, art, dance and culture was evident in exploring last Friday. Yi Chen, an Upper Division student from China, came to visit and told the children more about the cultural practices of this major Chinese holiday and its customs, including that the Chinese dragon dance ushers in the new year and that Chinese dumplings are one of the major foods eaten throughout the Chinese New Year.

Yi Chen was happy to see that for snack that morning, the students each dipped a dumpling in boiling water and watched for 4 minutes as it cooked. The wait was well worth it as they discovered that these Chinese dumplings were absolutely delicious!

On preceding exploring days, the students had made a long, red and gold dragon tail and transformed a cardboard box into a dragon's head, using the iPads to research images of Chinese dragons in art. They designed their head to look similar: big round eyes, sharp teeth, hair and even eyebrows. They added colorful dragon scales and even trimmed and shaped the dragon's hair to make their work of art more elaborate. A highlight of this special morning was donning their dragon and dancing through campus with Yi Chen in the lead, all the while singing a song they had learned in music class, “Gong xi fa cai!” (Mandarin)

It was a busy morning that was not limited to cooking and dragon dancing though! The students made banners of peace and hope by painting the Chinese pictographs on red paper for luck since paper-making was first developed by the Chinese, the children made paper by creating paper pulp by blending their recycling scraps with water then straining the water out using screens.

Mrs. Carson also introduced the children to tangrams, another activity of Chinese origin. The students chose seven tangram pieces and used them to create a picture. Mrs. Carson then used an iPad to tape the children telling a story about the image they had created.  These stories will be incorporated into a slide show to be shown during the upcoming JK Activity Day.

While researching this holiday, the children watched videos of different parades held in China. They were captivated by all the small details and intricate beadwork that went into these beautiful dragon costumes. After making their large dragon, the students wanted to continue to make additional dragons to display around the building. This time they decided to use plastic cups, and painted and strung them together to make the dragon body. One child volunteered to draw the dragon's face to tape on the front to complete their project. Collaboration and cooperation are key elements in Early Childhood!

Delving into Dinosaurs

The students in Alpha have been very enthusiastic as they explore the "dinosaur world!" They can't wait to learn more each day and have become skilled at comparing and contrasting the different characteristics of the many types of dinosaurs that they have encountered. Using their knowledge of these unique characteristics, they love to group the dinosaurs according to those that have horns, plates, frills, and sails and also into larger categories such as carnivores and herbivores.

At exploring on Friday, the students looked at a dimetrodon and measured it with Dr. Drew blocks. It measured two blocks in length. The children added water to the dinosaur using medicine droppers, then the dimetrodon was placed in a tub of water for the weekend. The children looked at the dinosaur again on Monday and saw it had grown to be four blocks in length. The classes had a discussion about absorption using the example of a sponge soaking up water and relating it to their “growing” dinosaur.

Ms. Fenech helped the children mix Plaster of Paris. Each child chose a miniature dinosaur and placed it in a small cup. The children spooned the plaster into the cup and covered the dinosaur. This week they used tools to chip away the hardened plaster  and were thrilled to discover that they had made their own dinosaur fossils.

Hedgehog Habits

Having "Hedgie," the hedgehog, as a classroom pet has been a great experience for Ms. Bowen's class. He has provided the teachers with the opportunity to teach the children about being responsible as well as empathetic, learning how to take care of their pet by cleaning, feeding, and making sure she gets enough sleep. By observing Hedgie and doing related research, the students have learned all about nocturnal animals, including that they sleep during the day and "play" at night. The children have been very respectful throughout the year, keeping their voices low and quiet because "Hedgie is sleeping," and they are always asking when she needs to take her monthly bath. Last week they were very excited to find out that it was finally bath time for Hedgie! They placed her in the bathtub and gave her a good clean scrub with a toothbrush and baby shampoo. Afterwards, one of the children said "Ms. Bowen, we need to give her her favorite treat, tuna fish!" They loved watching as Hedgie sniffed around their fingers and ate her special treat. She let them know she was sleepy again by snuggling under her blanket, and the children quietly told her goodnight. 

Apple Pie, the Final Step!

As follow up to their apple project, Mrs. Samuel's class measured and mixed sugar, flour, and spices in a bowl with the help of Mrs. Jones. They cut apples and placed them in a pie crust. They added another crust on top to make an apple pie, which had been one of their original web ideas. The next day they ate the apple pie for snack!! Jackson exclaimed, "This is the best apple pie I have ever eaten!!"

Shades of Purple

The Alpha students have continued to experiment with color mixing. They have been exploring the answers to questions such as, "What happens when you mix blue with red?" or "Now if we add a little more of just one color, what color might we make?" After processing their thoughts and looking at the two colors in front of them, the children made predictions and often were able to explain their reasoning. The children dug right in with their hands in the paint to discover if their predictions had been correct while others explored squeezing droppers to add varying amounts of blue and red watercolor in to a bowl, resulting in many shades of purple and transferring varying amounts of blue and red into test tubes, using pipettes. Not only did students use critical thinking skills, but they also practiced eye hand coordination and strengthened their fine motor skills.

Pre-Relay For Life Cookout

Over 500 all beef and tofu hot dogs were prepared by grillmaster Mike Murphy, while administrators handed out potato chips, Rice Krispy Treats and bottles of water for the Early Childhood and Lower Division Cookout on Thursday, February 28.

Parents and grandparents enjoyed picnicking with their children while supporting a worthy cause. All net proceeds will benefit the American Cancer Society's Relay For Life.

Shorecrest's Relay For Life will be held on April 5 from 5:00pm - midnight.

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Colleen McGrath Lilley, Director
You and Me & Music Together
(813) 409-4244

A New Semester of Music Together!

Music Together's Spring Term begins the first week of April, and you won't want to miss it! You and Me & Music Together offers early childhood music classes for children 0-5 and the grownups who love them. We're excited to bring another term of new music to Shorecrest's parent morning out program! We've added a Thursday 10am class to our schedule this term with Miss Jen.  Jennifer Logan, professional singer, piano and voice teacher and owner of Bay Street Studios joined our team of talented music makers this year!  She has charmed many of our classrooms already and is looking forward to playing with you and your children this spring term on Thursdays. Colleen McGrath Lilley, owner of You and Me & Music Together and former opera singer, will continue to teach Tuesday and Saturday mornings at 9 and 10am. Registration is open online at www.youandmeandmt.com.  All our classes wait-listed this winter, so register early for your preferred class time. Never tried a class before?  Call (813) 409-4244 or email us at youandmeandmt@hotmail.com to schedule a preview class before winter term ends and find out what all the singing is about!

Gift Drive Thank you

As a follow up to our December Guardian Ad Litem Gift Drive program, we have received a very gracious note of thanks with heartfelt messages from some people involved with Guardian Ad Litem. You can read it here.

Class picture order forms will be accepted through Tuesday. For more information and to place an order, click here.

Spring After School Programs

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