Friday, December 29, 2017

Celebrations Around the World and More: Part 2

After we explored Diwali, as seen in the last post, we displayed what we did and learned.

Another holiday celebrated by friends in our room was Ramadan! You can see what we learned about each celebration in the pictures.

We also had a friend who celebrated Kwanzaa.

While I pulled out children to test for report cards, our substitute teacher had family members who celebrated Hanukkah!   I had him teach the kids all about it!

He taught them The Dreidel  Song which they sung over and over for the next week!  He also taught them how to play dreidel!  They LOVED this game and it had so many math concepts connected to it!  Addition, subtraction, and the concept of half.

Next we looked at how the holiday of Christmas was celebrated in different areas around the world.  We learned about Los Posados in Mexico and read "The Legend of the Poinsettia by Tomi DePaola.

They were able to use art mediums to show what they noticed about a poinsettia and created beautiful still life paintings!  Unfortunately, I did not get photos of their beautiful art.

 We learned about some Christmas traditions in Italy!

We learned that because we have a population from so many countries here in the United States, many of our traditions have come from all over the world!

As we recorded what we learned, the kids either helped read it and highlight sight words, or as you saw in the photos above, they helped spell some of the words by either filling in missing sight words or missing sounds and blends within words.

Here is our finished display showing celebrations around the world!  Kwanzaa actually originated in the United States, but I pointed it to Africa as they are celebrating their African heritage.  The rest of the kids projects were displayed all over our room!

 A group of kids wanted to turn our Dramatic Play Area into Santa's Workshop.  Since I was testing for report cards, they had to do this without much help from me!  I was really proud of how well they did independently! Below you can see them brainstorming and creating a list of what they need to create a Santa's Workshop.  Now THIS is writing for a reason!  It does not get more authentic than this.  Play is when kids get to practice the skills they are learning!

I found them a box as they told me Santa needed a sleigh to deliver toys to everyone!  A wonderful friend of mine supervised this for me!

The kids took a spare piece of cardboard we cut off of the box to make Santa's sleigh and made it into a door for the workshop.  I love the writing on the door!  Again, authentic use of a skill!

The kids then loaded up the sleigh with toys and a globe so that they knew where to deliver the toys!  Some kids acted as reindeer, pretending to pull the sleigh.  They quickly learned that is was much easier to push the sleigh!  They had to explore with the force of pushing and pulling for a while!  There was much problem solving as they had to figure out how many could travel around the room in the sleigh and how full of toys it could be!  They had to organize who could go and who had to wait.  They had to problem solve how to maneuver the sleigh around the obstacles all over out room such as chairs and tables.  They were very perseverant!  The 21st Century Learning Skills that took place with this little side project amazed me!  Creative and critical thinking, leadership skills, collaboration, problem solving and handling disappointment gracefully were the ones I saw the most of!  This is why play and projects are so important, not only in education but at home!  Look at all of the skills that they used, not to mention the pride they felt in what they created and accomplished independently with just a bit of guidance and encouragement from me!

All of the celebrations we studied centered around good deeds, helping others, lights, spending time with those you love and giving.  The kids painted self portraits as a gift to their families.  They can be used as a Christmas ornament or can be displayed as a beautiful piece of art!

They made these adorable gift bags to put the gifts in!

Here are some other holiday experiences put out in our room to explore!  A loom with ribbon and bead necklaces and a christmas tree with beads and wire were set out for the kids to use to create some beauty! Both of these experiences focused on developing the kid's fine motor skills.  The more the kids play with tablets rather than coloring, drawing, playing with play dough, etc,  the harder time they have with holding a pencil, paint brush, or crayon which really affects their abilities to write, color, draw and create!  Because of this, providing experiences to develop these muscles and improve their pincher grasp are so important!

As you can see below, the concept of weaving the ribbons in and out of the holes was very difficult for them!  I will provide more weaving experiences to see if we can remedy this!

Another fine motor experience that I put out was crushing holiday spices!  They had to work hard to grind them up!  Here they had to write a recipe showing how many of each spice they used, crush the spice, and then they could walk around the room and let everyone smell their spice mix! Again, you can see the purposeful writing as they wrote directions and labels for this area.

When we were done grinding spices, I used them as a science invitation to look closer and document what they noticed.

I set up a STEM (Science/Technology/Engineering/Math) Challenge in our building area!  

The tallest tree ended up being 49 inches!

When the challenge was over, they still loved using the cups to create!

Our Math Challenge: How many bows long is your friend?

Another Math Challenge was on our Engineering Table.  What 3-D Shapes can you make with the cranberries and toothpicks!  Only one was able to figure out how!  Many could create 2-D, but 3-D was pretty difficult!

Another friend found directions to follow with one of our engineering tools and created a cube!

In our Literacy Area, the kids are working on handwriting skills. With the experience below, they had to create the letters by making the lines the correct way and then also put the beads on going the correct way.

The kids created sight words using these materials.

We took a picture of the sight words they made and put them on the promethium board. Whoever made the sight words would point to them and see if the others could read them.  It was almost like a word search puzzle with some being backwards and upside down!  They did it on purpose as a challenge!

Another favorite game is called "Stack-It."  The kids pick a cup. If they can read the word, they can add it to the building.  If they can't read the word, they put it aside.  Our next step is to have them record some of the words they don't know to practice with a friend.

I loved the experience below.  It was such a perfect example of how learning happens and is shown through play!  This friend brought up these velcro hair rollers that they had been building with and said, "Look Mrs. Myers!  3 and 3 and 3 make 9!

I have also been noticing that their structures in our engineering and building areas have been getting more complex!  They are working in teams and collaborating together on their own projects as they work in these areas!

The two friends who worked on the structure below pointed out how they added an AB pattern to their design.

Look how proud they are!!!

We also had an amazing Christmas Program because we have the best Music Teacher ever!  She poured her heart and soul into this and it showed!  The kids loved it and performed beautifully!

I hope that you all have had an amazing holiday season!  Happy New Year to you all!

Monday, December 18, 2017

Maps and Mandalas: Celebrations Around the World Part 1

To begin our inquiry into celebrations around the world, we looked at maps and globes to see how big the world is.  We found Ohio on world, maps, maps of the United States and on globes. We read books to show how people live and do things in different parts of the world.  We learned that people speak in different languages, eat different foods, have different homes, and different schools.  Yet we all love, have friends, families, and have the same needs such as food, water and shelter.  

I set up an area where they could explore globes, world maps, maps of the United States, and different types of Ohio maps showing cities and lakes, roads and counties.  Paper was available to show what they notice and create maps that they see.  They were very interested in the compass rose and how it showed what direction North, South, East and West is.

I also set up an area where they could explore continents through clay. Some tried to put the continents together to show the world!

The kids practiced reading and creating treasure maps in our sand box by hiding "golden nuggets" and creating a map using the pieces in the sand and also on paper.

After studying the maps and learning about how people live around the world, we started discussing different celebrations that the kids in our class celebrate.  We have friends who celebrate Christmas Diwali, Ramadan, and Kwanzaa so I decided to focus on those traditions most.

We started with Diwali.  It is a beautiful celebration of light!  One tradition was creating Rangolies out of colored salt and sand.  We watch some videos of some being created and the kids were enthralled! Since I did not have colored salt or sand, the kids made mandalas inspired by the Rangolies we saw!  I set up an area for them to explore and create their own mandalas using different loose parts.  I added a book about mandalas for inspiration. I was amazed at the beauty they created as they used the math concepts of growing patterns and symmetry to create them.  I love when art and math come together!

They also crated mandalas using our pattern blocks.

 They even started using the same math concepts at the easel as they started painting mandalas.

I let those who were interested create rangolies out of clay and beans.  Many created lovely growing patterns on these also!

Mandalas started showing up outside! Some friends collaborated to create the largest one they could with the long grasses drying in our garden!

We watched a video that inspired the kids to try to create "Human Mandalas!"  They had so much fun with this!

Light plays an important part of Diwali.  It is a celebration of light defeating darkness.  One tradition is lighting small lamps called Diyas.  Children who were interested, created diyas of their own using air dry clay and beautiful beads.

Another tradition is to create beautiful henna art on their hands.  We watched a video showing the use of henna to draw these beautiful designs on a hand and wrist.  We have seen henna on some of the hands of our friends in the past. The kids thought it was absolutely beautiful and loved watching this!

Inspired by the video, the kids created their own henna hands.

I found an old map created by a previous class that was so faded the water had turned pink!  We decided to freshen it up and use it to create a display that shows these different celebrations and traditions we are learning about and where they originated.

We documented what we had learned about Diwali on the computer together and highlighted sight words we had learned. We noticed "they" popped up a lot so we are focussing on that word right now!  It is one of the harder ones for them to remember.  I then put out samples of our art to show some of the traditions.

This was only the beginning of learning about different traditions and celebrations.  We learned about Diwali, but have many more to learn about!  We will show you what else we learn in our next post!