Handwriting Without Tears incorporates a variety of important readiness skills into their program to help children learn to write (form their letters) more easily. These include size recognition, placement, and sequence skills. The program uses a character named “Mat Man” to teach these skills and also promote body awareness, drawing and counting skills. It uses a blue mat and large and small curved and straight wooden pieces to form the parts of his body. These wooden pieces are eventually used to form the alphabet letters. We had the children work in teams to take the wood pieces and build Mat Man. They enjoyed adding the pieces to complete Mat Man. Following this activity, we gave the children paper and crayons and asked them to draw Mat Man. They were able to refer to a template of Mat Man. This presented the children with the opportunity to acknowledge the necessary number of eyes, nose, mouth, ears, arms, hands, legs, and feet and the placement of these body parts or features. All the children were able to capably draw the figure. Their drawings are hanging in our classroom.
This week we presented the children with a second array of vegetables, which included a potato, a sweet potato, an onion, an eggplant, a beet, radishes, multi-colored peppers, and carrots and tomatoes from our garden. We washed and checked each vegetable for bugs. We reviewed what type of plant each vegetable came from. The tomatoes, eggplant, zucchini, yellow squash, acorn squash, cucumber, and peppers are all the fruits of the vines on which they grow; radishes, carrots, sweet potatoes, and beets are the roots of the plant; potatoes grow underground but they are actually the stem of the plant (known as tubors); the onion is a bulb plant and is also the compressed stem of the plant; and cabbage and brussels sprouts are considered the buds of the plant. The children were again very curious about the vegetables displayed on the table and asked interesting questions. Ezra wanted to know, “what’s inside the pepper?” Lieba answered,”the seeds”. We cut open several peppers because the children thought the different colors (red, yellow, and orange) meant that the insides and the seeds would look different from each other. The children then wondered what was inside of the eggplant? Uriel thought, “nothing”; Lauren said, “black”; Leiba and Simon said, “big seeds”. Uriel guessed the beet was a radish. When asked about the inside of the radishes, Uriel said, “red”; Emily guessed, “black”; Simon and Lieba thought, “pink”; Lia said, “purple”; Lauren said,”white”; and Ezra opined, “rainbow”!
Lieba was the only one to taste the raw brussels sprouts. She thought it “tastes a little spicy”. Simon also thought that the radish tasted, “spicy” and that the zucchini has a “different flavor than the cucumber”. Not wanting the vegetables to be wasted, we decided to saute them. The children used their plastic knives to cut up the vegetables. They cut up the zucchini, yellow squash, sweet potato, potato, and carrots. We also added the eggplant, corn, and brussels sprouts. They then carefully tossed the cut-up vegetables into the electric frying pan. Uriel exclaimed that, “it smells really delicious!” Lieba claimed that, “the eggplant tastes like roasted potatoes”. She added, “I liked everything!” Ella said, “I liked eating the corn and potatoes.’ Uriel said, “I liked the corn, potato and carrots.” Lia said, “I liked the corn and carrots.” Emily said, “I liked the potato, corn and carrots.” It was wonderful to see and hear the children enjoying their vegetables!
We decided to check our garden and see if anything was growing. The onion that we planted still has green shoots coming up. We wonder if we’ll see any new onion bulbs?