Editor’s Note: Luanne Howe, an early learning specialist with the Manatee County School District, is participating in the Suncoast Summer Book Challenge.
Soar in 4 families at Ballard Elementary began our second family event by making their own dinner! The purpose of the dinner was for parents to model how to go through a cafeteria line and make choices. The expectation was that children would be able to verbalize their name, make a choice, and carry their own dinner. Cooking is a great way for kids to learn. We introduced new vocabulary words in context and talked about shapes and colors. Our families were learning as they were touching, tasting, seeing, feeling, and listening. This cooking activity was ideal for our four-year-olds because all their senses were stimulated. While they were making dinner together, the families were having conversations as they progressed through the line. Dinner was all about talking, making, and having fun together!
Reading logs were collected and bracelets were given out. Families were encouraged to continue to read every day.
After dinner we learned about our final unit of study, Let There Be Light! We explored light we encounter on an everyday basis and discovered how these different light sources work, how they change, and why light is so important. We put into practice scientific and inquiry skills and investigated the concepts of light, shadows, and reflections. We began to understand how light comes from different sources, how it changes in our environment, and why it is an essential resource.
Cathy Mattei, a pre-kindergarten teacher, was a guest facilitator and demonstrated a read aloud using a unit story. Our families then went to explore stations to investigate light and shadows. We used shadow puppets identifying morning and night activities, we manipulated prisms to refract a beam of visible light into its basic colors and used flashlights to create our own shadows.
At the conclusion of the evening, families all received books to take home to read together and a homework assignment. They will conduct their own at home science experiment and catch a rainbow in a jar.