Saturday, November 23, 2019

Gratitude Projects

Having my students complete rigorous activities regularly is very important to me. I believe the way you can make an activity more challenging is to ask them to dig deeper. We talk a lot about gratitude in our class. I asked them to create a poster detailing 8 things they were grateful for. Everyone is grateful for their parents and family-I asked them to thing more deeply about everyday things they maybe did not consider-but that you were glad to have in your life. We did a rough draft and then they drew/sounded out their words to create their posters.

Tuesday, November 19, 2019

Teachers Are Grateful For.....

I like to use the concept of Multiple Perspectives from Depth and Complexity with my Kinder students. One way I do that this time of year is to imagine what a character or person is grateful for. I asked my students to imagine they were teachers. What would you be thankful for?

Saturday, November 16, 2019

Culturally Sensitive Native American Units

I have always been fascinated by Native American culture. There are so many things about the traditions of tribes that I admire. The way they cared about the Earth and did not waste anything. The way they passed down stories from elders generation after generation.

Today, it bothers me to see their culture reduced to crafts with feather headbands and grocery bag vests. There is so much more to teaching about these groups of people.

Some literature I recommend:

One of my new favorites. A story about how traditional foods can help families remember the past and make future memories.

A sweet story about an Inuit newborn and the gifts the Arctic animals bring to welcome him into the world.

Her uncle takes her to a local powwow and she sees the traditional dress, listens to the traditional music of her tribe.

This is an older book, but I think a classic. The girl loved the wild horses and works to set them free.

Scholastic has this book for $1. I bought a copy for each student. We talk a lot about gratitude in my class and this fits right into that theme.

Thunder Boy Jr. is named after his Dad and wishes he had a cooler name. They end up coming up with the coolest name of all for him.

So many Native Americans have made so many contributions to our society. This goes into detail about just a few.

There are many crafts you can do with your kiddos that will help them learn about Native American traditions that don't just help perpetuate stereotypes. We painted with mud like they used to use in their cave paintings. There were activities about all the different kinds of structures they would build-adobe, wigwams, tipis--then the students designed their own homes using materials from nature. You can make rainsticks or decorate patterns using shapes like the indigenous people did. There are many activities we can do that respect the culture of these fascinating people.

Monday, November 11, 2019

Community Service Project Idea for the Holidays

Teaching Kindergarten the students pretty much believe the world revolves around them. :) They don't have a lot of experiences beyond their own yards and are often not aware of the diversity in different kinds of families out there. To them, thinking about someone spending the holidays alone is unheard of. I ask them to put themselves in the shoes of recipients of Meals on Wheels.

We make placemats that will be delivered with their meals for the holidays. I give them freedom in what they will draw but ask that they try to do something that would make someone smile.

No matter how little we have, there are things we can give!

Thursday, November 7, 2019

Multiple Perspectives-If I Lived in a Van Gogh Painting....

Even though technically I have stretch objectives to do it, I feel like it's important to include art in our daily curriculum. Students need to learn how to apply their creativity and there are many ways to do this-one is to study the greats. We learned all about Van Gogh's life and analyzed some of his paintings. It's cliche, I know-but Starry Starry Night is one of my favorite paintings. I grew up out in the country and spent many nights sleeping outside looking at those stars. 

The students painted their own version of the classic painting and then wrote about what it would be like to live in a painting by Van Gogh. An extension for this would then be to learn about another artist and compare.

If I lived in a Van Gogh painting I would walk around and look at everything.

...I would see paint

I would climb up the mountains

I would like to smell the fruit from the trees.

I would be happy because they are beautiful.

I see a mountain.

I would feel extraordinary. (One of our vocabulary words!)

I would feel good.