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What’s going on this month at Mapleridge?

March Blog Post: "A good teacher can inspire hope, ignite the imagination, and instill a love of learning." - Brad Henry

arch was a short and snowy month for us. The children were absolutely bursting with energy! It was hard to know who was more in need of spring most days, the children or the parents! As always, lots of great learning and play happened in our classroom this month!
This month we explored the topic of “life on a farm”. We had many interesting discussions about the various jobs that people may have on farms. The children had endless great ideas about the sorts of jobs that they would like to have on a farm such as shearing the sheep, collecting eggs from the hens, milking the cows, tending to the crops and, my personal favourite, washing the muddy pigs! We also discussed some of the jobs that the animals may have. Again the children thought of many excellent examples, such as, the cows’ job is to make milk for the farmer and his or her family to drink as well as to sell at the grocery store and the horses’ job is to take the kids on the farm for hayrides!
Our “life on a farm” theme was carried through to our playtime activities with farm duplo at the duplo table, farm animals hidden under shredded paper in the water table (no water of course) as well as farm themed puzzles, crafts and books.
This month, I made a concerted effort to work early math skills into our play and circletime activities. Numeral recognition, counting and early math concepts such as simple addition and subtraction, more and less and subitizing (this is an ability that you will see emerge more as your child enters kindergarten/grade one and beyond - it is the ability to recognize small amount of objects by sight rather than needing to stop and count them) are worked into our day to day activities in the classroom on a regular basis. However this month I aimed to target these skills specifically in a number of ways. In terms of circletime activities, the calendar is an excellent resource in our classroom for building early math skills as it essentially functions as a large graph in which we can track how many Mondays we had this month so far, how many Tuesdays… It is also great for rote counting, numeral recognition and predicting what number comes next. During circletime this month, we also learned a fun fingerplay about pigs:
2 Mommy pigs, in a pig pen (show 2 thumbs)
Each has 4 babies (show 4 fingers on each hand)
And that makes 10 (show all 10 fingers)
These 4 babies are soft and pink (show 4 fingers on one hand)
And these for babies are black as ink (show 4 fingers on other hand)
All the piggies love to play and roll around in the mud all day (roll hands over one another)
During playtime, we used a number of board games and tabletop activities to work on math skills such as the weigh scales and counting bears, farm animals counters and barns for sorting as well as the cupcake game pictured below. Block play is also a great way to work on early math concepts such as more/less, relative units of measurement (one of our long blocks is equal to 4 of our short blocks in length), fractions and sorting. This month we also used the small colored blocks for creating letters (pictured below).
The children enjoyed celebrating St. Patricks Day in the classroom by wearing green and creating a shamrock for good luck. A tricky leprechaun even left us a small tin of gold chocolate coins! We also enjoyed a chocolate egg hunt (the Easter Bunny was kind enough to visit our classroom early this year) as well as Easter crafts, feltboard rhymes/games and books as we lead up to Spring break and Easter.

The 4 year old class continued to work on writing a letter each week. This month we tackled U, V & W. Their printing has come a long way! I'm very proud!
April will fly by with a couple special events planned: a visit to Bow Habitat Station fish hatchery as well as a special evening class at the preschool, to which the children are welcome to bring their Dads or another special adult who may not typically have a chance to visit our classroom.
Happy spring break and see you all in April!

Deborah Teppler