Author Archive

Holly Gilbert

Pre K LeadTeacher

Chicken Soup with Rice

Written by Holly Gilbert. Posted in PreK

We spend about five minutes a few times a week reading and discussing our poem of the month. The poem of the month comes from a book written by Maurice Sendak, also the author of Where the Wild Things Are. In Chicken Soup with Rice, Sendak describes the monthly adventures of a little boy. This is the February poem.




Throughout the year, we explicitly teach the following literacy skills:

  • rhyme
  • alliteration (the ability to notice words that begin in the same way)
  • smaller and smaller units of sound (the ability to hear sounds in different parts of the word)
  • letter sound knowledge

Chicken Soup with Rice allows us to practice these skills every day. The first week of the month we spend getting to know the ideas in the poem. We discuss what students notice in the picture, any new vocabulary, and practice reciting the poem. Once students are familiar with the content, we can notice the rhymes. This month, we will focus our practice on hearing the rhyming words. The skill of rhyme trains the child´s ear to notice a specific sound in the word. We will then discuss the letter sounds that students hear in the poem.

You can also work with your child to notice sounds in words! Music is great to notice and hear rhyming words. Or, use the names of people in your family to talk about the sounds you hear. For example, my brother´s name is Peter. Peter has the same first sound as Pablo! Have fun and please let us know if you have questions!

Plants and Seeds celebration of learning

Written by Holly Gilbert. Posted in PreK

Pre-Kindergarten recently finished a study of Plants and Seeds. The study included opportunities for observations, planting, painting, drawing, writing, talking and moving!

During the study, Pre-K students each planted a sunflower seed in our garden. Students also visited the garden to water and observe the sunflowers. Students each had a journal to draw and write about their observations as the sunflowers grew.

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Each classroom also had a plant shop. The plant shop included seeds, dirt, magnifying glasses, and other garden tools. Students created many garden scenarios to play in.



As the unit continued, students learned about the life cycle of seeds. They used their observations of the sunflowers, books, and other resources to create a collage about a seed´s life style. Students painted paper, ripped and cut it up, drew a picture, and glued the pieces of paper together to create the collage. This was a group project. You can see each classes´ creations on our hallway!


During the unit, we also discussed where food comes from… for example, different gardens around the world! The last week of the unit students brought in healthy snack from home to share with their class. The students enjoyed the opportunity to try types of food they may not have tried before. Everyone enjoyed the time to try new foods together. We hope to have another special healthy snack day in the future.


Thank you for all your support throughout our study. Pre-Kindergarten was able to start a garden, and we hope to continue to nurture it throughout the year. As one student observed in our garden, ¨the flower is growing so tall!¨

Up next… goo and more green things

Written by Holly Gilbert. Posted in PreK

The next group of sounds we will explore includes g, o, u, l, f, and b. This week, we will work with g and o. For example, girl, grape, green. The o is the “short 0” sound, as heard in on, hot, mom. We will make “goo” to explore letter formation in a new way. Goo is sticky and a bit icky, but will be a great sensory experience! It is a very easy recipe of cornstarch, water, and of course a bit of color.

Here is a link to the songs for this group: g, o, u, l, f, b

Happy singing!

In the next few weeks, we will celebrate what we have learned about Plants and Seeds. This will include a special healthy snack (we will ask for your help with this!) and a few more adventures in our very own garden.

Please, continue to check our blog for updates about our learning.

Workshop practices

Written by Holly Gilbert. Posted in PreK

Pre-Kindergarten uses the month of September to establish routines and a school family environment. This includes setting up routines for a workshop model of learning. This model begins with a teacher sharing a mini-lesson designed engage students in learning. Students then go to explore in a specifically planned space. Last, all students and teachers return to the carpet to share and reflect on the learning that occurred. We will use this model throughout the entire year.

Pre-K uses the workshop model in September to establish guidelines for a loving, safe, and happy school family classroom.


Written by Holly Gilbert. Posted in PreK

An important part of the Jolly Phonics program is music. Music helps students to remember the sound and actions because it uses another part of their brain at the same time. The more connections a student can make, the more permanent the learning will be. In Jolly Phonics, each sound has a simple song to go with it. The words are unique to Jolly Phonics, but the song is to the tune of a traditional nursery rhyme. For example,  ¨p¨ has a song with the tune to The Wheels on the Bus . You can find the songs and words in youtube if you search ¨jolly phonics.¨ We have included the links below to sing at home with your child!

s, a, t, p, i , n

Ck, e, h, r, m, d


Count with me

Written by Holly Gilbert. Posted in PreK

In our first few math blocks, we learned to match like objects. We used a variety of concrete objects, including leaves we collected on a ¨nature walk.¨ By observing an object’s attributes, children can begin to explore similarity between two objects.  Then, children learned to sort by a given attribute. For example, color, size, or shape. This lays the foundation for our current focus of ¨How many?¨ Students practice sorting objects and counting to 3 as they learn to answer the question ¨How many?¨ We teach students to touch each object as they say the number (one to one correspondence) and that the last number is how many in all.

Now, we are practicing counting objects up to 5 accurately using one number name for each object.  We count throughout the day… during calendar time, line up time, at a center… And you can count with your child throughout the day also! For example, you could count the number of plates, cups, forks at the table. When finished, ask your child, ¨How many?¨

We use chants to practice rote counting. For example, ¨Count to 3.¨

1, 2, 3. 

Count with me. 

1, 2, 3

Tap with me.

1, 2, 3

Clap with me

1, 2, 3, 

Jump with me

1, 2, 3

Count with me.