Saturday, November 11, 2017

Unit on Homes

This is kind of an awkward time of year to teach for me. I realize Thanksgiving is a national holiday and everything-most Kinder classes are dressing up like Pilgrims and Native Americans but I want to be very careful not to continue stereotypes that may be hurtful. So we do talk about Native Americans-not only their past traditions but also how they are just like you and me today. I know a lot of teachers also focus on turkeys but that also feels weird to me-have the kids write a persuasive essay on why they shouldn't be eaten? Maybe it's the vegetarian in me, but I can't bring myself to do that either. So I teach about the origins of the holiday and we focus on other things in our big unit activities.

One of my favorite units to do is about homes. There are lots of great stories about different kinds of houses:

My students were so surprised and intrigued with the homes on the water and in caves!

This is a great way to get those creative juices going. When we designed our own houses after reading the story one of my students suggest a Ball Pit House--now who would not want to live there! :) 

This is a great story for some of the vocabulary like foundation and carpenter. I skipped around a bit because it's a bit wordy for my little ones-but they did not realize the work that goes into building a house!

After talking about houses all week, we built our own. We talked about what is was to be an architect and what things would be mandatory to include-like a door. My goal was to put out a bunch of different materials and have them just go to town. But when I opened the box of squares that I thought were going to be tissue paper-they were textures of all kinds. They had brick and stucco and mud-looking prints so we just used those. A student asked to use yarn-so her table of houses had that added. They worked with such focus and concentration-it was amazing to watch. They begged to take them home even though they weren't entirely dry yet.

If I did it again I'd probably let them use sticks or something to actually make a foundation themselves-but I think they got the concept and I know they had fun creating!

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