“What the Hail?” Authentic Observation with Mother Goose Time

I do apologize for the adult humor in this title, but I couldn’t resist (and the kids won’t be reading this anyway)! A whole day all about Hail? Our children have probably never even seen hail because it is so rare here in Oregon, but this might have been one of their favorite lessons of this unit.

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What is Hail, how is it formed, and what happens when it falls from the sky? These questions were the foundation of our lesson yesterday with Mother Goose Time.

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We love hanging the “Invitation to Create” at the center to guide our investigation. It is a good place to start our conversation with the children, but it also a good connection for the parents to see why we are doing the activity.

The children dipped the bouncy balls into bowls of paint and then dropped them onto the paper (in a tray). They had so much fun feeling the slippery paint on their fingers and the joy of the splat. It was interesting that some children were cautious about getting so much paint on their fingers while trying to get a hold of the slippery bouncy balls, while others dove right in. We were able to observe some large motor skills as they tried to move the tray and get the ball to roll across the paper. A few balls rolled right out because we shook a little too much.

A buzz word in education right now is STEAM stations and you will hear us use this term often because it is all over the Mother Goose Time curriculum. STEAM stands for Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Math. What that means is we offer children the opportunity to use critical thinking, problem solving, reasoning, and questioning throughout the activity.

The STEAM Station for Hail day involved a mallet hammer and ice- what could go wrong, right? Seriously, they loved this activity and it stemmed the best conversations in every classroom. In our Littles class (2-3 yr.) they focused on the sensory elements.big_457f3365-8280-412c-aa8a-edc0b2e74159.jpeg

How does the ice feel? Is it Hot or Cold? Is it Hard or Soft? After we smash it a little bit with the mallet, how does it feel? What if we smashed it more? What happens if we leave it in the sunny window?

These little ones loved playing with the hard ice and observing what happened to the ice over time.

Our preschool/Pre-k children were able to handle doing a bit of smashing themselves. They discussed what they thought would happen before it happened and then test their theory. “What do you think would happen if we hammered the ice? What is happening to the ice? What do you notice? What happens if we hold the ice in our hands?”

We love that Mother Goose Time plans these great activities to go with the theme, because I would not have thought to talk about Hail here in Oregon. The concept of the ice going from solid to liquid was such a fun process. The children loved using the mallet, which is so good for developing those upper body muscles that they will need for writing. We also love that the lesson plan has a book suggestion and we get so many great materials to support the theme. We really can open the box and be ready to teach!

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Whatever Would We Do Without Mother Goose Time?

After almost 8 years, we have become so accustomed to having the prepared lesson plans and materials that not only meet National and State Standards, but are also complete and fun. What would we ever do without this wonderful program? At the beginning of October, due to an ordering mix up, we were forced to find out!

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In the first week of our “Weather and Changing Seasons” unit, we had to get creative! We had a Curriculum box for 1 child, so we still had a copy of the lesson plan, but some of the activities weren’t possible without the proper materials for everyone. Our children still had loving care and great activities (of course), but what we found was it took so much more of our time and energy to come up with a plan and collect the materials. We ended up with more cotton balls than we actually needed and a whole box of fruit loops that we won’t actually eat. There was a sense of uncertainty each morning about what we were going to learn and how. We were able to make copies of some of the limited materials we had, but that took time, ink and paper.

Needless to say, it made us feel so grateful for Mother Goose Time! The plans, the counted materials, activities across the content areas that are backed by standards- AMAZING! Week #2 is going much smoother, our kiddos are loving it and our teachers are happy too!