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!


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  2. Favorite site. Love your holiday ideas. Very creative. Looks like children have fun learning about world celebrations. Small correction however. It is Las Posadas. (Word is feminine)