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.
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!