Penguins in the Deep Freeze

How quickly 10 days off flew by, and before you knew it, happy, cheerful children were bounding through the front door!  All were excited to share the details of their holiday break with the others.  Stories of a new guitar, doll, super hero this or that, and art supplies filled our morning conversation.  The first few days back had a gentle, comfortable feel to them, new work tickets were introduced and the January theme of penguins and snow was unveiled!  Our monthly poem reminded us that it truly was "A whole new start, to a whole new year."

These are pictures from our second week back, the first full week (we only get two full weeks before the holiday week!) as everyone finds their very smart groove again!

This child is practicing addition facts with the addition strip board.  A few Christmas things can still be found on the shelves.  December was such a busy time of crafting and learning about traditions around the world, that many children didn't get to all of the works set out.  No one seems to mind holding Christmas over a bit.

This child is hard at work with alphabetizing.  Each penguin has a winter word printed on it. The children need to put the words in order.  This work can be differentiated in so many ways.  Children, who cannot read yet, can recognize the beginning letters and put the cards in 'abc' order.  The act of copying the words down has fine motor benefits, for readers and non readers.  Concentration is also needed for this work - something all children can benefit from.  Of course, telling the children how smart they are for doing this work is a huge motivator!

Everything ebbs and flows.  This work had not seen a lot of action in the last few weeks before vacation, but has come off the shelf a few times this week!  Handwriting practice and letter formation is always a good choice!

The children's new work tickets are basically a new and improved version of the old one. 


The top section remains the same as the previous tickets, but the bottom section will change from week to week as our topics change.  This is simply a record keeping device, so that at the end of the week I am sure that everyone has at least tried some of the new works.  The work ticket system works well for our classroom.  It gives the children a huge degree of choice in their work.  They have a dozen choices for each section, but gives me the structure I desire, knowing that each child has done something from all the areas each day.  It seems to be a good balance that works for us!