Pre-K: Water, Watercolors and Andy Warhol
"Ww" week was full of water, watercolors and Andy Warhol!
Language and Literacy
In addition to making new watercolor bookmarks, we spent a lot of time talking about the water cycle, which the class not only loved, but wanted to take even farther than we had originally planned. Martine introduced the children to the chemical alum and mixed it with water and dirt from the playground. Over the course of 3 days, the class filled out a Water Observation Journal and watched as the water became clean by Friday! On each page, we asked children to write the day of the week (by referencing our calendar), to check off clear, cloudy or brown, and to write down (either on their own phonetically or with our help) a few extra words about what they observed. We also practiced making the letters we’ve learned so far out of waxy wiki stix, which was a useful way to strengthen fine motor skills while reviewing letters and sounds.
The first half of our week was devoted to exploring the weight of various objects. First, we put out 2 different scales with their own weights and asked children to use different combinations to balance the sides and make them equal. The next day, we added various items from around the room and were so proud of the math experimentation and language that followed. At the end of our week, we constructed teen numbers using Unifix cubes: each child started with 10 of the same color and then added the appropriate number of individually colored cubes to make a teen number.
One of our questions to the class this week was “What is your favorite number and why?” Here are their answers:
Hazel, 8: It’s Annabelle’s age.
Ashwin, 100: It’s less than infinity.
Lucas, 10: I like to count to it.
James, 11: I like the sound.
Nate, 4: I like the dots on the die.
Emersyn, 7: I like the sound it makes.
‘Rowen, 12: I like how it sounds.
Martin, 1: I’m done counting early.
Story, a million billion: It’s long.
Hope, 5: I’m 5.
Zafi, infinity: I can have that many friends.
Madeline, 6: I like counting to it.
Connor, infinity: It never stops.
Much of our work around math and science this week revolved around the water cycle. In addition to our water observation journals, the children painted a giant mural of the water cycle, which is on view in the big room. They also painted individual elements of it (rain drops, clouds, the sun, the earth, water vapor and, of course, a rainbow), and then helped to lay the entire system out on the floor of the big room. This led to a discussion about how we might keep the earth clean and our water pure.
Zafi was our guest science teacher, and he led the class in a discussion about muscles! He shared facts about our muscles with the group, and then everyone had a chance to demonstrate which muscles they use when singing Popcorn on the Train. Thanks, Zafi!
At the beginning of the week, we experimented with white wax; using white crayons, we made designs on white paper, which were invisible until covered with watercolor. We talked about how the paint couldn’t get through the wax, but was absorbed by the paper.
We strengthened our fine motor skills even more this week by using small screwdrivers to screw and unscrew screws (Jeez, Louise!) into blocks of wood. Many Pre-K children then painted the wood and created woodblock prints by laying paper on top and then peeling it off.
We tried a new artistic experiment this week that would be easy to replicate at home; children painted a design on black construction paper, sprinkled salt on the paint and let it dry overnight. The next day, they used eyedroppers to drizzle small amounts of watercolor on their designs. They learned that the liquid followed the path of the salt and glue, and ended up with slightly psychedelic images to take home! Apologies in advance for the extra salt that may end up in your car…
On Friday, we looked at parts of a book of Andy Warhol’s portraits. Each child then used watercolors again to paint 4 black and white printouts of their own face. Each printout was the same until they added the watercolors. They’re now mounted on our bulletin board in the hallway, and even the children haven’t seen the final version yet! Make sure you take a look when you come back on Monday. They will be up in our classroom the following week as our second March self portraits.
One final note: I have started to introduce children to what their Kindergarten screenings might look like, and they are doing beautifully! Neither they nor you should have any concerns.
Have a wonderful weekend, and we will see you on Monday.
Emily and Martine
Questions to ask your child:
How does alum clean dirty water? (Hint: binding is involved)
What part of the water cycle did you paint?
How can you help a friend who is worrying?
What colors did you use in your Andy Warhol portraits?