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“Winter Week” is next!

Hello all,

“Letter I is for Instruments Week” was by far the most Invigorating week of the 2014-2015 school year yet!  The students entered school each day with what seemed like an Infinite amount of Letter I shares! Everything from Ice cubes to Ironman, Insects, and of course, Instruments were sent in and shared!  There were tons of Letter I books that came in as well!  To help explore the letter I, the students also learned all about Instruments!  Well, “Letter I is for Instruments Week” has come and gone.  Read on below to discover the learning that took place and fun that was had throughout the week!

The students spent both Monday and Tuesday morning working one on one with the teachers to complete their Letter I identification/fine motor activity sheets.  The teachers were so impressed with how easily the new students recognized the letter I and also how well the older students remembered all things “I” during their morning work!  In the afternoon on Monday and Tuesday, the students created the ninth letter list of the year!  As a whole group, the students took turns brainstorming and contributing words that begin with the letter I and also hunted around the classroom for letter I items!  Naturally, the letter I list was full of Interesting answers!  As was the case during letter E week, words such as eyes and eyeball were suggested for the I list which once again led to a discussion about how some letters, particularly the vowels, can be a little tricky!  Fortunately, the students trekked on and added many great I words to their list!


Letter I MW List Shares

How many I shares do you see?

Answer:  Instrument, I book, Ice cube, Ice cream, Letter I!

Wednesday began the students art exploration of the letter I as well as the theme of the week – Instruments!  For their morning work, the students created an instrument of their own – a multi-colored maraca/shaker!  First, they stuffed their maracas/shakers with some colored corn kernels.  Using tape, the teachers quickly sealed up the opposite end of the maraca/shaker.  Next, the students painted beautiful and colorful designs onto the outside of the instrument!  Take a look below to see how the maracas/shakers turned out!


Things really got shaking at PPA on Wednesday afternoon as the teachers read the story, Chicka Chicka Boom Boom, by Bill Martin Jr. and John Archambault.  As one could expect from the title of the book, Chicka Chicka Boom Boom is the perfect book to add some music to while reading!  The students had so much fun playing various instruments to add some sound to the story; they could not wait to do it again on Thursday!

Also on Wednesday afternoon, the students were visited by a PPA Daddy.  Seeing that it was Letter I Week, the Daddy featured below came in to read a story to the class about Israel and discuss the upcoming Jewish holiday, Hanukkah, which begins next week!  It was a very Informative and exciting afternoon!  The students were particularly excited to learn that the daddy and his daughter had prepared special treats for them!  The treats below are called sufganiyot!  The Daddy explained that at Hanukkah, Jewish people observe the custom of eating fried foods in commemoration of the miracle associated with the Temple oil lasting for eight days and eight nights.  A special PPA Thank You to this Daddy and daughter for teaching us about their culture and for spending the afternoon with us!


The instrument fun continued on Thursday as the students created another instrument – an xylophone!  The first step was to decorate the xylophone body with some paint on a sponge!  Next, the students glued on the xylophone bars.  Finally, the students were ready to play!


During the afternoon on Thursday, the students participated in a discussion about all the different types of instruments.  They analyzed the different types of instruments and the way they make the sounds that they make.  Here is what they came up with!

types of instruments2

Friday was a super exciting day at PPA that began with a technology presentation all about – you guessed it, Instruments!  The teachers began by asking the students if they had ever heard the word Orchestra before.  Hands flew into the air as the students expressed their familiarity with the word.  When asked what an orchestra is, the students noted a few features of orchestras.

1.  Orchestras make music.

2.  Orchestras are big!

3.  There is a person with a stick who moves his arms at an orchestra.

4.  Orchestras are loud!

The teachers were so impressed with the students’ replies.  They explained that an orchestra is a large instrumental ensemble (or group) that contains instruments from all categories – brass, woodwind, string, and percussion!  The person with a stick who moves his arms is called the conductor.  The teachers asked the students if they had ever heard the word “conductor” before?   Having ridden NYNJ Path, Hudson-Bergen Lightrail, and the NYC Subway, the students quickly replied that they had heard of train conductors before!  When asked about the role train conductors play, the students quickly discovered that orchestra conductors also help make sure that things happen the way they are supposed to happen.  The teachers expanded on that idea and explained that music has different tempos.  Tempo is the how fast or slow the music plays.  Some music has a fast tempo and some music has a slow tempo.  Some music, like orchestra music, can have both tempos at throughout!  This led to an exciting game of “What tempo is this?” where the teachers muted various video clips of conductors and the students were asked to guess.  Once they guessed, the mute button was turned off and the students enjoyed the music!  Be sure to watch and learn more about conductors in the following clip!

For their morning work, the students, using instruments of their choosing from PPA’s music center, performed and practiced identifying different tempos!  The classroom was really rocking!  Speaking of rocking, the students were paid a visit by a second PPA Daddy who happens to be a musician!  Watch below to see this Daddy as he teaches the students about an instrument in the brass family – the cornet!  A special PPA Thank You to our musical guest for coming in and performing for us!


Well, that is all for “Letter I is for Instrument Week”.  As always, thank you for reading.  Have a wonderful and safe weekend!



January Tuition is due on Thursday/Friday.

PPA Winter Holiday Party – Friday, December 19th

(2:00-3:00 p.m.)

Aftercare is not available.

Due to space, we kindly request that attendance is limited to PPA students and PPA parent(s).

Winter Recess 12/22– 1/2

School Resumes on Monday, January 5, 2015

Theme for Next Week: