Monday, October 13, 2014

The Texture Table

So much learning can happen in a texture table: scooping, pouring, filling, measuring, volume, textures, small muscle development, social skills, responsibility, and on and on. Here a child uses an interesting tool to pick up gems from the rice and put them in a bowl. This tool requires him to squeeze the prongs in order to pinch the gem, and then maintain that pressure until time to release the gem into the bowl. This strengthens little hand muscles, a necessary step in pre-writing.

Here the rice is being scooped up and poured into a funnel which is filling a bottle. It's tricky when you also scoop up gems or buttons that plug the funnel.

Then, once the bottle is full, it is poured back into the funnel to fill a bowl. Brooms and dust pans are right there so children can take responsibility for sweeping up any spills.

Learning in the Penguin class

This little guy is fascinated with trucks.

This day he also discovered the front door to the dollhouse.

The trucks went through the door, over and over.

Daddy helped to build a different kind of door. Now the trucks can go through the door, around the door, and even on the door.

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Farmer's MArket tomatoes made into pasta sauce

When we were at the farmer's market we picked out these colorful cherry tomatoes for a cooking project. Will we have more red, more yellow, or more orange tomatoes? We had so many red and orange tomatoes that we ran out of space for them on our graph. We also graphed whether or not we liked tomatoes. More people like them than do not. I wonder if they will like them when they are cooked in our pasta sauce?

The tomatoes were washed and the stems taken off. The little green stems looked like little green spiders.

We cut up the tomatoes.

A sawing motion with our knives worked better than pressing down on our knives.

We chopped garlic,

and basil,

and fresh oregano from a friend's garden.

We put the ingredients into the food processor and pushed the button. It whirled them around and chopped them up small.

Then we cooked it all together in a hot pan.

With whole grain pasta and Parmesan cheese it's ready for eating!

Will we like it? Just look at these faces!

It's fun to slurp up the noodles!

A hearty two thumbs up for our pasta with fresh tomato sauce!

First day at farm school, Fall 2014

This week we had our first day at Farm School through the Educulture Project. We met our new farm teachers, Teacher Leslee and Teacher Spring.

We took a tour of the farm. Everything on the farm has a purpose. These flowers are to bring in the pollinators to help the plants grow.

Some of the flowers are edible. We tasted the borage.

Look! There are feathers on the ground! We learned that the turkeys used to be in this spot. That's why there are feathers on the ground. Also, there is not as much green grass because the turkeys dig in the grass and dirt to find bugs to eat.

We walked slowly and quietly up to the turkeys so we wouldn't scare them.

They were big! The boy turkeys have blue faces. These turkeys will be on someone's table for Thanksgiving.

Farm Teacher Spring taught us about the pumpkins.

We found all of the parts of the pumpkins: the vine, a leaf, some flowers, a small green pumpkin, and an orange pumpkin.

There were red Cinderella pumpkins, sugar pumpkins, and Jack-Be-Little pumpkins. We each picked out a sugar pumpkin to harvest. We will cook some in school, and the rest we will take to Helpline House to share with our neighbors.

Farmer Brian and the farm interns built this awesome bean tunnel. It had scarlet runner beans and cucumbers growing on it. It started out big at one end,

and ended up small at the other end.

The tunnel led to a sunflower house where we had snack and wrote in our Nature Journals. It was orange day, and we wore orange and ate an orange whole food snack: carrots and oranges.

Wow! Just look at this sunflower!

We all got "bean badges" for going through the tunnel (made from bean leaves that stuck to our clothes).

In one greenhouse there were lots of different things drying.

Look at this cool gourd!

These beans were drying. The seeds inside are purple.

These flowers are drying so that the seeds can be collected. The the flowers will be used to make natural dyes.

Farm Teacher Leslee, who is also a restaurant owner and chef, cooked up some sugar pumpkin with sugar and cinnamon. It was yummy!

When we went home we all got a flower to take with us.

Here are the pumpkins we harvested from the farm, waiting for more learning in the preschool classroom.

We played farmer's market at school.

There were lots of delicious things to buy at our school farmer's market.

Then the goodies were taken home, cooked,

and eaten!

Even dogs visited our farmer's market.

The busy kids went back shopping again and again.

A farm feast was set up,

and everyone enjoyed the bounty!