What’s In A Name?

Our 2 year olds have been very interested in creating words lately. They are fascinated with the alphabet song. The letters on our handwriting poster are of constant interest so I felt it was time to set up another letter provocation.

It’s been happening with some of my older kids for over a year when they first started here at Salt Meadow Academy. When we were talking about the alphabet it always seemed to be tied to their names. J is for Jill. M is for Murphy (our cat). Etc Etc. They loved to pick out their first letter in their first name when they saw it on a sign or in a book. Neat stuff. 

 We have glass beads with letters written on them that have been in constant use on the light box.

The provocation was simple. A list of classmates names written on a piece of construction paper, glass letter beads and the light box. I wasn’t sure which children would approach the activity and was surprised it was a pair of children just about in the middle of our programs mixed age group (we have children aged 2-9 currently).

“M” (age 6.2) and “S” (age 4.11) approached the table. I was able to sit and quietly observe and record the conversation. [Apologies for not snapping any pictures].

 M: It’s our names! I’ll read it to you. You find the letters. 

 S: Okay. I’ll find them. [leans over the big pile of letters]
(M read each letter of a name and pauses between each letter while S located the letter in the pile)
[M hands S the paper] 

M: You read me letters. 

S: D.E.C. 

M: Wait wait C…..where’s C?? I found it!

 S: L. A. N.
S: Okay, let’s do Finn! 

M: F 

S: Lemme find f. F f f easy! 

M: I. N. N 

S: Two N’s?! What?? 

M: Yup. See. [shows S the list of names] 

S: I.V. 

M: I’m looking for a V. 

 The dialog continued until the girls decided they did enough of the name list. They completed appropriately 8 names on the list.

Their letter recognition was very impressive and also notable was that they recognized everyone’s name on the list based on the first letter and the sound it makes.

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Tissue Paper Color Theory

M (age 5.10) experimented with the light box and colored tissue paper today! Her process was amazing and I’m so happy that I was here to document it. We had never used colored tissue in this way so all of her ideas were novel to her.

First, she lay individual sheets on the light box to see what they looked like.

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Then, after she was satisfied with how each color looked, she spoke out loud.
“I wonder if I put this one on top of this one if it will change color.”

When the colors didn’t blend as she thought they would she reacted with “Hmmm very interesting.” She swapped the papers she was using for lighter colors and declared, “The light yellow and the light blue make a sort of spotted green. But it’s not light green all the way. But the dark blue was to dark. I couldn’t see the yellow.”

M is pretty experienced in mixing paint colors to create a new shade, she she has a good understanding of what colors to combine, but she was surprised when the colors on the tissue paper didn’t blend as she was familiar with.

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She layered more and more sheets of color on and began to notice something different.

“It’s to dark, the light isn’t showing through.”

I asked her why she thought that was happening. M thought for a moment and responded “I have to many papers.” She moved a few off the large pile on the light box.

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The experience lasted approximately 40 minutes until dismissal. We put her materials in a basket to continue the exploration tomorrow.

Twisted Strands™: New Beginnings in Indiana Create New Connections in Connecticut

We were very excited to get another Twisted Strands™ contribution! This time the contribution came from New Beginnings Preschool and Day Care in Milford, Indiana. Your ribbons were our very first from the state of Indiana. As of this posting we’ve received ribbons from the following states: Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and now Indiana. The children have decided that it’s now a goal to get at least 1 ribbon from every United State which means we have 45 more states to hope for contributions from! Please consider sending a ribbon our way!

New Beginnings Preschool included a wonderful letter from their children and a photograph of a weaving project that they had done. It was so colorful and they must have worked very hard on it. Our students thought the little girl in the picture was actually one of their classmates. It was very cute that they thought they looked alike. We had to reassure our littlest that “No, S is here for school. She is not in the picture.” It made for some interesting morning conversation.

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We located Indiana on the map and tried to place a bright orange pin as close as we could to Milford! We have a town in Connecticut called Milford too. Some of us have been there but none of us could ever remember going to Indiana.

An orange pins marks Milford, Indiana on our map!

An orange pins marks Milford, Indiana on our map!

It was Declan’s turn to weave the ribbon in the tree and he did so quite well despite only having one arm to use! Luckily, he’s a lefty! He wove the colorful ribbons in and out and around the tree and at one point had to stand on a chair to reach the highest branches.

Declan adding the ribbons from New Beginnings Preschool and Day Care to Twisted Strands!

Declan adding the ribbons from New Beginnings Preschool and Day Care to Twisted Strands!

In their letter, New Beginnings mentioned that they tried to count all of the ribbons on our tree! We tried too! It was very tricky. What makes it even trickier is that some schools sent us tons of ribbons. We weren’t sure if we needed to count each ribbon singularly or the one long ribbon it made when we tied them together. Some of our children were inspired to make an educated guess about the quantity.

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Other children decided that they wanted to draw some pictures and write a poem to send to the children at New Beginnings Preschool!

A poem written by Finn age 6.5 about strings to New Beginnings Preschool.

A poem written by Finn age 6.5 about strings to New Beginnings Preschool.

Hard at work on a drawing for the children at New Beginnings.

Hard at work on a drawing for the children at New Beginnings.

Another drawing being created to send in our package to New Beginnings Preschool.

Another drawing being created to send in our package to New Beginnings Preschool.

Here is a look at our Twisted Strands™ tree now with the beautiful ribbons from the children at New Beginnings Preschool and Day Care in Milford, Indiana!

Twisted Strands with the newest ribbons from New Beginnings Preschool and Day Care in Milford, Indiana.

Twisted Strands with the newest ribbons from New Beginnings Preschool and Day Care in Milford, Indiana.

Thank you so much for participating in the Twisted Strands™ Project! Watch your mailbox because we are sending a big envelope your way including a certificate of participation along with another surprise!

To have your school, program or family participate in the Twisted Strands™ Project to demonstrate that “We are all connected”, please mail your contribution to:
Twisted Strands™ Project
Salt Meadow Academy
15 Bluff Avenue
Clinton, CT 06413 USA

Twisted Strands™: Learning Branches

Our Twisted Strands™ project is not only demonstrating to our students that children around the world are connected. Our students are creating pictures with complex thoughts and descriptions, writing poetry independently and making educated guesses! The project is crossing all subjects and creating wonderful “learning branches”.

Apparently, I’ve been doing documentation in a more difficult way that was necessary. I was introduced to Snipping Tool last night, which has been on my computer this entire time! It made me feel so silly to have never used it. Boy has it already made my life so much easier by eliminating 4-5 steps in what I had been doing earlier!!

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To have your school, program or family participate in Twisted Strands™ please mail your contribution to:

Twisted Strands™ Project

Salt Meadow Academy

15 Bluff Avenue

Clinton, CT 06413

Dialogue With A Lightbox

I love having a mixed age group because the littles learn from the bigs and the bigs reinforce their skills from teaching the littles. It’s a very interesting symbiotic relationship. Today’s light box work started with S age 4.8 trying some tracing, followed by exploring fall leaves. She was joined by I age 2.8 and M age 2.0 for some hand tracing instigated by I and later alphabet stones. There was lovely interaction between them and it was truly special to watch each contribute their knowledge to the process.

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Twisted Strands™: Who’s Viewing Our Work?

We keep a regular eye on the stats that WordPress keeps for this blog.

One of the stats is country views. This particular stat is logged every time a new person logs into our blog.

For the year so far, and we’ve only been blogging since August, we are pretty impressed with all of the different countries! Viewers from 36 different countries around the world have logged onto the Salt Meadow Academy blog to view the work that our children are doing! Scroll to the bottom of this post to view all of the countries!

We attribute many of the views to the exposure that our ongoing collaborative project, Twisted Strands,™ has and continues to receive.

We’ve received Twisted Strands™ submissions from the United States, Canada, the UK and Australia already and have just received an email from a Kindergarten in Iceland that was creating us a ribbon! The children continue to check the mailbox daily in anticipation of receiving more ribbons and strings.

Please consider sending a Twisted Strands™ submission from your school, program or family! We’d love to receive them from any country, but it would be really cool to have a few arrive from countries that we haven’t yet received one from!

Twisted Strands™Project

Salt Meadow Academy

15 Bluff Avenue

Clinton, CT 06413 USA

Country Views
United States 1,511
Canada 121
Australia 114
United Kingdom 45
Azerbaijan 24
New Zealand 21
Hong Kong 10
Thailand 9
Turkey 8
Oman 6
Viet Nam 6
Singapore 6
Spain 4
Serbia 4
Croatia 3
Brazil 3
Russian Federation 3
Chile 3
Lithuania 2
Italy 2
Bermuda 2
Slovenia 2
Bahamas 2
Argentina 2
Denmark 2
Romania 2
Bangladesh 1
India 1
Indonesia 1
Philippines 1
Belgium 1
Ireland 1
Austria 1
Sweden 1
France 1
Mexico 1

Stack Them, Count Them, Roll Them, Draw Them, Spin Them

Pumpkins have been on the minds of the kids at Salt Meadow Academy since the beginning of October and for good reason. There is so much that you can do with pumpkins as one of our 2 years olds single-handedly demonstrated this morning.  The following sequence occurred over the course of about 15 minutes. He moved with purpose around the room, bringing the pumpkins to different areas in our space while seeming to have an internal dialog out loud.

“On top, on top, on top. 1, 2, 3. 3 pumpkins.” (Demonstrating counting skills and possibly checking that all three of the pumpkins left in the classroom where still there since the last time he used them on Tuesday)

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“Roll it, roll it, roll it. I kick it. It rolls. Look. It rolls.” (He rolls it with his hands and then child seemed to have a theory about what would happen if he kicked a pumpkin. He tested the theory and was excited to prove himself correct.)

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“Mickey Mouse! Ears! Look ears!” (Using the smaller pumpkins as ears, he created a representation of Mickey Mouse that he remembered seeing elsewhere )

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“Paper please. Draw pumpkins. Where orange? That not orange.” (Child had a desire to create a permanent representation of the pumpkins he had carefully arranged in the table, after securing the needed materials from the shelf in the room he recognized that he wanted an orange crayon to recreate a pumpkin but was holding a crayon of a different color.)

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“Spin it, spin. Spin pumpkin. Spin me.” (Another theory that if the pumpkin can spin so can I.)

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Lovely interaction with our pumpkins! Our children are currently gearing up for continuations of their study of skeletons and we are branching out to scarecrows as well.

Funnybones: Them Bones, Them Bones…

For the past few weeks, our children have been reading our “spooky” books in preparation for Halloween. One of the favorites has been Funnybones by Janet and Allen Ahlberg.

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The book is an adorable and not so spooky tale of 3 skeletons and what they do for fun! After reading the book countless times, the children started developing an interest in skeletons. We printed off some drawings of skeletons and after studying them three of the children elected to create their own using recycled materials we had. The project spanned about 4 days.

The first part of the creation was the head. Several materials were discussed by the children including balloons, a bucket, and a ball, but ultimately they decided on the empty gallon jug we had. They created eyes. The jug did not have a piece suitable for the skeletons mouth so the children searched the recyclables and found a plastic tray that they cut in half and taped to the head. They drew lines for the teeth.

The finished skeleton head.

The finished skeleton head.

The children decided that our huge basket of cardboard tubes and cardboard would be best to create most of the bones on the skeleton. The neck was made from a short tube. There was difficulty attaching it to the mouth of the gallon jug, but once the ends were cut and flattened the masking tape seemed to hold much better. One child pulled the tape off the roll to the desired length and another cut the tape. Then one held the head and neck together while the other added tape all around. Despite a few unsuccessful attempts (the head was pretty top heavy and kept falling off of the neck), they finally added enough tape to make it stay.

The ribs and the spine were added next. The ribs took a long time because they decided to cut them from a thin piece of cardboard. Their hands kept getting tired so they kept swapping who would be the cutter. Once they were cut, they taped it all together.

Skeleton taking shape with a head, neck, spine and ribs.

Skeleton taking shape with a head, neck, spine and ribs.

The shoulders were added next. The children chose larger diameter tubes because “shoulders are big”. Makes sense to me!

Shoulders were added to the skeleton.

Shoulders were added to the skeleton.

They continued further down the spine, adding another section and a pelvis from cardboard. The pelvis was already conveniently cut on one side from another project that they had used it for so they were happy to avoid making lots of additional cuts. The skeleton also gained arms. The arms were a great debate on how to attach them properly. One child wanted to use the masking tape to make solid straight arms and another child wanted to use string. The child that wanted to use the tape thought that the tape would be easier and it was fun to cut it with scissors. The child that wanted to use string thought that the arms needed to be able to move. In the end, they were attached with string and the string was secured with tape. A win-win situation for both children.

The spine was lengthened, pelvis added and arms taking shape.

The spine was lengthened, pelvis added and arms taking shape.

When it was time to add the hands, one of the children volunteered to trace her own! Neat idea! She traced both hands and another child cut them out for her. She noted that it was very difficult to trace her dominant hand with her non-dominant.

Making a left hand for the skeleton.

Making a left hand for the skeleton.


Making a right hand for the skeleton.

Making a right hand for the skeleton.


The skeleton has hands!

The skeleton has hands!

The legs were created out of large tubes stuck inside one another to make them longer. They were taped with masking tape at the joint to create knees.

Putting the tubes together to make longer legs.

Putting the tubes together to make longer legs.

Finally, a student traced their feet to make the skeleton feet and they were also attached with strings.

The finished skeleton lovingly dubbed "Funnybones" by the children!

The finished skeleton lovingly dubbed “Funnybones” by the children!

We’ve had a request by a couple of other students to create a fish skeleton next! We have been studying many images and studying the fish in our tank in the classroom. I hope to be able to document this new branch of the study and post it soon!

Twisted Strands™: A Child’s Place School

We received a Twisted Strands™ submission last week from A Child’s Place School in Lincroft, NJ. They have a Facebook page too, so check them out and maybe give them a “like”! Visit their Facebook here!

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They sent us a letter, which described a gorgeous weaving project that their nursery class recently completed. They also included a photograph so that we could all see how amazing their project was! We are truly impressed with how stunning this collaborative initiative was! What material did you use as the weaving base?

The BEAUTIFUL weaving project that the nursery class at A Child's Place School in Lincroft, NJ created.

The BEAUTIFUL weaving project that the nursery class at A Child’s Place School in Lincroft, NJ created.

The ribbon included with the letter was wide and white and stamped with their logo. It was quite long so the kids had a good time snaking it around the tree and even THROUGH one of the “spiders” that Bookworm Preschool had sent.

A silky, wide, white ribbon from A Child's Place School in NJ.

A silky, wide, white ribbon from A Child’s Place School in NJ.

We added their pin to our world map! We’ve received quite the cluster from the NJ/NY area!

A cluster of pins from NY and NJ!

A cluster of pins from NY and NJ!

Watch your mail for a letter and a Certificate of Participation! Thank you so much for your participation!

To have your school, program or family participate in Twisted Strands, please mail your submission to:
Twisted Strands™
Salt Meadow Academy
15 Bluff Avenue
Clinton, CT 06413
USA