Tuesday, 10 December 2013

Preschool 2 ~ 2nd Quarter Reflections

Keefe's Preschool 2 class started their "Community Helpers" Unit of Inquiry on 22nd October 2013.

Keefe had his portfolio sharing session today where he shared the activities they had learnt for the past six weeks.  This is Keefe's favourite Unit of Inquiry and he often comes home role-playing fireman, policeman (and robber!), mechanic... 

Here's a peek at some of the photos inside his portfolio:
(Dressing up as a nurse during a visit from Miss Cheryl - a teaching assistant who is also a pediatric nurse on 4th November 2013; riding in a police car during a visit from the Aesch police officers on 14th November 2013; dressing up as a fireman during a surprise visit to the Aesch fire station on 18th November 2013; dressing up as a fireman during the Preschool 2 Community Helpers Parade on 29th November 2013)

He has been picking up a number of German words from his German class, although he can't hold a conversation in German.  He likes singing the German songs: Räbeliechtli Umzug (a song sang where Swiss children carries lanterns during a parade) and Schnell, Schnell, Fahr das Feuerwehrauto.  
(Some of the German vocabulary cards inside his portfolio - words relating to community helpers roles and tools)

Keefe's class performed a "fire ballet" during music class.  The "fire ballet" is a movement activity depicting the outbreak of a fire and its extinguishing, with some children portraying the fire and some the fire fighters.

Jolly Phonics
The international school adopts Jolly Phonics for preschool and kindergarten.  Keefe already knows all his letter sounds even before moving to Basel so Jolly Phonics was a good review for him.  They have so far only covered 8 letter sounds (s, a, t, i, p, n, e, ck) since the beginning of the year!  What is new to Keefe is learning how to form and write cursive letters (following the Read Write Inc program).

Each child maintains a sound book where they learn how to write their cursive letters, and for them to draw objects that begin with the letter sound taught for the week.  Each letter sound has an action and a corresponding handwriting rhyme to help the child with writing letters. Here's a look at Keefe's sound book:
S - Scoop up and over the head, then slide back down the snake.
A - Scoop up and over a bit, back on the apple and down the leaf.
T - Scoop up to the top, then down the tower and across the tower.

I - Scoop up, down the insect's body, dot for the head.
P - Scoop up, down the plait, up and over the pirate's face.
N - Scoop up, down Nobby and over the net.
(Love the /n/ is for nothing!)

E - Scoop up, slice through the egg, go over the top, then under the egg.
(Love the /e/ is for explosion!)
C - Scoop up, curl back around the caterpillar.

K - Scoop up, down the kangaroo's body to the toe, loop around the tail and down the leg.
(I am amazed that Keefe can come up with ketchup, kettle, kennel... and even Miss Katy (a preschool teacher), Kaili, Karen (Maximiliano's mom)!)

Monday, 9 December 2013

St. Nicholas Day

On the sixth day of Christmas,
we celebrated St. Nicholas' Day, which to the Swiss, is more important than Christmas Day itself.

We had a simple dinner of cheese sausages and pizzas for the kids, and Chinese cabbage rice for the adults.  Keefe had the grattimaa beside him because he insisted it's for St. Nicholas.  On this day, each child in the international school receives a grattimaa, which is basically the Swiss version of the gingerbread man!

Dinner wouldn't be complete without dessert, which consisted of winter ice cream (Advent star ~ banana flavour, St. Nicholas ~ strawberry & vanilla flavour, and a Christmas tree ~ almond flavour).

In Switzerland, parents book St. Nicholas (months in advance!) to come to their houses to personally give the presents.  On the evening of December 5th, Swiss kids leave their shoes/boots in front of the chimney with a carrot (for St. Nicholas' donkey!) so that St. Nicholas can put small presents in the shoes/boots.  I told the kids that St. Nicholas already came the night before and had placed their presents in their Christmas stockings.  Excitement grew as they run to their stockings to find presents supposedly left by St. Nicholas. :)  The kids had a late night from playing with their presents...

...and a little boy who couldn't get enough of his St. Nicholas chocolate.

Sunday, 8 December 2013

Letters to Santa

On the fifth day of Christmas,
the kids wrote their letter to Santa.  I read that the Swiss Post responds to kids' letters to Santa with a story and present.  How true that is, I'm not sure, but surely there is no harm trying! 

So on the seventh day of Christmas,
the kids dropped off their letters to Santa in the mailbox, with the postal address of "North Pole".  Belle asked for a fleece jacket and a My Melody notebook; Keefe asked for a Disney planes; and Kai asked for a Smurf.

Here's hoping that the Swiss Post delivers letters from Santa soon!

Wednesday, 4 December 2013

TpT Cyber Shopping!

So...I am not a teacher by profession but I do teach my own kids.  TpT is my go-to place for finding resources, especially for my 4-year old.  I actually had two rounds of cyber shopping and kept putting things in and out of my cart!  Here's what I bought:

Marsha's word families packs have been on my wish list for the longest time ever since I saw her blog post back in June!  We will be working on the short "i" word families next year so this looks like the perfect pack (not to mention adorbs graphics!).

This was a last-minute purchase while looking for a CVC pack for my 4-year old.  Truly a MEGA pack with over 500 pages at a wonderful price (bought it at 50% off)!  Amazing range of activities and I love that it covers all the short vowels.  

This pack was from the same TpT seller and again, a last-minute purchase while searching for an ending sounds pack.  My 4-year old struggles with ending sounds so hopefully, this pack would be fun (and educational!) for him at this time of the year!  The pack has again, over 500 pages that covers literacy, math and writing with adorable graphics!

And lastly, I snagged up these doodle borders to be used on my own "creative" creations! :)

Sunday, 1 December 2013

Les Marchés de Noël de Colmar

On the first day of Christmas,
we visited the charming village of Colmar,
where the facades of the houses were all decked out in red, gold, white and lovely decors.  (Surely they must hire professional designers for this!)
The kids had fun riding the merry-go-round (ladder truck) in Grand Rue and the "galloping" mechanical horse in La Petite Venise.
 We skipped dinner as we had a 3pm lunch at the popular Brasserie Schwendi Bier und Winstub.  We had Alsatian pizza (tarte flambee), chicken pie with salad (supposedly a house specialty!), rosti (grated potatoes served in a hot skillet with sliced roasted pork and hollandaise sauce) and a junior place consisting of pork sausage and fries for the boys.  My cappuccino came with a huge whopping of whipped cream which the boys devoured, thinking it was ice cream!
Hooray for a fun-filled day!  See you next year, Colmar!