Harvesting in the Orchard!

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We have had so much fun this month with Mother Goose Time and our “Orchard Harvest” unit. After all of the learning we have done in the classrooms, it was time for an adventure. Being in Oregon, we are lucky enough to have real orchards nearby, so we loaded up all of our kiddos and went to Detering Orchards for some apple picking!45226713_10155949303476527_6650063250702467072_n

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While we were there, we got to show what we know about how apples grow and what they need. We learned a few new things too, like did you know that a single apple tree can produce up to 1500 apples per season?

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Next, it was time to do some picking!

We were picking Golden Delicious Apples and we learned that if they are green, they will be sour and if they are more golden yellow, they will be sweet. This orchard had over 30 varieties growing and we liked spotting all the different colors. We were instructed to pick apples from the tree and not the ground, but to look all the way around for bad spot before making our selections. Apples on the ground or with spots are better for cider making then eating fresh.

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After we enjoyed our apples, we went for a little hay ride around the farm and we got to pick out a pumpkin from the field.

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It was the most perfect Fall Day and it didn’t even rain!

We were able to bring back a big box of apples, so today our project was to process some into applesauce, because we all love applesauce and now we know how it is made!

First, we peeled/sliced/cored the apples. It was such a good challenge for our muscles and we loved tasting the apple slices. Then we added them to the crock pot with some cinnamon to simmer all morning. We are so excited to taste our homemade applesauce for snack later!45167698_10155949302251527_4092668890339868672_n

We still have a bunch of apples to use, so maybe we will make some cider or apple chips too. This has been such a fun way to round out our Orchard unit, but we are looking forward to “Transportation Station” coming soon!

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How Many Seeds are in a Pumpkin?

To go along with our “Orchard Harvest” unit (MGT October), our Pre-K class did a mini-lesson on pumpkins and we covered several content areas all at once. We covered reading, math, science and sensory with two pumpkins and a book!

20181024_104306.jpgWe read “How Many Seeds in a Pumpkin?” and then we got to do the same activity that was in the story. We brought in two pumpkins, cut the tops out, and split the class into two teams.

20181024_104224First we predicted how many seeds were going to be in each pumpkin.

Then we got into our teams and started scooping out the seeds. Some of the children used their hands while others wanted to use a spoon or tweezers. It was fun to see everyone working so well as a team to get all of the seeds out, and how they approached the task.


After we got all of the seeds out of the pumpkins, it was time to count how many we had. That seems like an overwhelming task, but we can all count to ten, so we worked together to make  One of our children is really into numbers, so he was very excited about this part. hm_collage_mini_magick20181024-4-p9yexz.jpgOnce we were finished counting all of the seeds for each pumpkin, we added those two totals together.

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We wanted to find out how many pumpkin seeds we had all together. The total ended up being 649 pumpkin seeds! They were all surprised that there were that many pumpkin seeds between the two pumpkins.

We observed how the children counted and what was retained from the story. They had a lot of fun with this activity. Sometimes a really exciting hands-on activity makes learning across the content areas so fun and easy to see what the children really know!

Authentic Assessment!

The children loved the ‘Counting Lemons’ math activity in Week 2, Lesson 8. 20181010_111209We first reviewed the numbers on the card and then passed them out so everyone had one. Our Pre-K class used fruit counters to review some of the fruit that grows on trees. Each student counted out the fruit and placed it on their grid, and then switched cards so that everyone had a turn with each card. Some of our classes used the playdoh to roll out lemons as they counted.

So much of authentic assessment is observing. How are they counting? Are they using one-to-one correspondence as they count? We learn a lot about our students just from observing them. This was a great activity to see if our students could count to four, using one-to-one correspondence. It also allowed our students to compare the written number to the amount of fruit on their grid.

hm_collage_mini_magick20181010-26-1pzidze.jpgThe ‘I Can Read’ book, ‘Big Pig,’ in Week 2, Lesson 8, provided a great opportunity to observe how they hold their pencil, if they could tell the difference between one word and one letter, and if they could recognize the words in the story that were on the pointers provided. I first read the story as they followed along in their own books, and then we talked about the three words we were going to keep an eye out for (I, have, and a). As we read the story a second time they asked to circle those three words every time they saw them come up. As they did this, I watched for how they held their pencil, if they could recognize the words they were supposed to circle, and if they circled each individual word or each individual letter. This lesson gave a good opportunity to talk about pencil grip, and how we hold our pencil down low so that we have more control over our writing. A couple of students started to circle every word on the page, while another student circled two of the words together instead of recognizing them as separate words and circling them individually. One student started circling every individual letter instead of the whole word. As we worked through their book, with a couple of reminders on how we hold our pencils, they started to get the hang of what they were supposed to do- also a good assessment of how they understood and followed directions.

There are plenty of opportunities with Mother Goose Time to use authentic assessment. By observing and noting things we see we are able to better teach our students because we have a better understanding on what they need help with and what, as a class, we need to work on.

E is for Elephant!

With Mother Goose Time, we learn about three letters each month and then review them all in our final unit in June. This month (Orchard Harvest- October 2018) began with introducing the Letter E. Our Pre-K class extended their learning on the letter E by doing a mini unit on elephants.43103023_10155894378386527_3007159908215816192_n.jpg

They learned some fun facts about them, one being that an Asian elephant’s trunk is 11 feet long! We got to see what this looked like by measuring out 11 feet of tape. We then took turns measuring ourselves to compare the sizes!43260403_325240904949966_6645808986811531264_n

“National Geographic Kids: Elephants” was one of our favorite books this week because it had a lot of fun facts!43151803_557898987982682_6788269697650393088_n.jpg

We reviewed what we learned at the end of the week and each child was able to tell us something different that they had learned. We painted an elephant with watercolors, and on the back wrote down what facts we learned, so they could take it home and share what they learned with their families.

We wrapped up our week on elephants by making elephant bread!43306411_470012640171167_4883593113672613888_n (1).jpg

We love the extra materials that Mother Goose Time has online, the letters are one of our
favorite materials to use! For the letter E each child was given five pictures: eel, eagle,
elephant, Earth, and egg. They colored the pictures, cut them out, and glued them onto the letter E. This was a great activity to practice scissor skills and word recognition.43134818_247382599455244_9085345042230411264_n We love the letter books that are come with each Mother Goose Time unit. They are having fun cutting the pages apart and making their own little books to read.

It is so fun to use Mother Goose Time and expand it to follow the interests of the children. These activities also give us a very tangible way to quickly assess what skills children have mastered, are developing, or what we need to practice more. Skills such as how we hold a writing utensil, how we use scissors, what we read/listen to and can remember, following simple directions, etc. When children are playing and learning at the same time, we get a better sense of where they really are in their development.