Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Fire Safety Is What I'm Talking About!

Our kindergarteners were taught about fire safety today when three local firefighters came in and did a "demo" lesson for them in the cafeteria. They were dressed from head-to-toe in their fire gear and explained the dangers of fire and what to do if they see or are involved in one. A fog machine was set up and pumping out "smoke" as the firefighters came in to rescue Mrs. Harbour while she was "sleeping." Afterwards, children were given a tour of the fire engine and they were able ask questions about all of the "stuff" on it. It was a wonderful opportunity for our kindergarten students and they really enjoyed learning about fire safety. Thank you to our fantastic firefighters for all you do and for giving the children such a great experience.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Preparing for Pow Wow

Kindergarten classes are getting ready for our biggest event of the year. We are fast approaching our Pow Wow. Each Kindergarten class (there are eight) is representing a Native American tribe from various regions of the United States. Our tribe is the Lenape which means "Original People." The Lenape are from New York, Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Delaware. They were a peaceful tribe that helped early settlers learn how to hunt and fish in the new world. Students will learn how the Lenape children lived, what they ate, and what their homes were like. As they learn more about our tribe, they will see that they were not much different than we are today. They had chores to do, played games, and even ate popcorn!!

One of the ways we prepare for our Pow Wow is to integrate homework with what we are doing in class. The book, "Knots on a Counting Rope" will be read a few times this week. As the story goes... a Native American boy requests his favorite story from his grandfather --- the story of the special night when the boy came into the world. Though he was born blind, the boy has learned from his grandfather many ways to see without needing his eyes. Each time Grandfather tells the boy's tale, he adds another knot to the counting rope. Once the rope is full, the boy will know the wonderful story by heart, able to tell it himself.

For homework, a piece of twine will be sent home and each time a story is told, another knot will be tied in the rope. Each time the child is told a story, hears a story read to him/her, or reads a story, a knot will be tied. Children will love hearing stories about their childhood and about other family members.

Our Pow Wow is on Friday, November 16th. I can't wait to share our many activities leading up to this wonderful day during the next few weeks.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Making Kindergarten Memories

Today was a very exciting day for our Kindergarten students. It was the Fall Literacy Parade. Students were invited to wear a costume and bring the book that represented their costume to school today. This morning we were buzzing once again, sharing our books and outfits. After parading around the first floor of the school with other Kindergarten and first grade students, we came back to the classroom and had some great activities to work on. Parents were busy at each station, assisting the children with the crafts. The children decorated sugar cookies, made Halloween magnets, designed picture frames (which they got to take home today with their picture in it), and made "creepy fingers" - a pen wrapped in modeling clay with nail polish on the nail. That was a very popular center. We read books, played bingo, danced and sang. It was a great day to be in Kindergarten.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Homework Can Be So Much Fun

Last week was one of my favorite homework activities so far this year. Students were invited to choose their favorite nursery rhyme and make stick, bag, or hand puppets to go with the rhyme. They also had to be able to retell the nursery rhyme using their props. On Friday morning, the classroom was buzzing with excitement as children unloaded their backpacks and shared their creations. We enjoyed retellings of Humpty Dumpty, Hickory Dickory Dock, Five Green and Speckled Frogs, Baa Baa Black Sheep, and There Was a Crooked Man (featured in the picture). The children loved directing their friends in helping with the characters - placing them just right for the audience. I received a lot of positive feedback on this homework assignment and I'm looking forward to see how creative my students and parents can be on their next project!!

Monday, October 15, 2007

Native American Wisdom

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"We must protect the forests for our children, grandchildren and children yet to be born. We must protect the forests for those who can't speak for themselves such as the birds, animals, fish and trees." (Nuxalk Nation)

As our Kindergarten classes are preparing for our annual Pow Wow celebration, we should acknowledge the Native American wisdom of understanding and preserving our finite resources. The Nuxalk Nation, and other Native American tribes, understood what very few modern Americans can comprehend -- that once our forests, lakes, and streams are gone, they are gone forever. It is our responsibility to be the caretakers of this precious planet, Earth, so future generations can share it's wonder and magnificent beauty. As we study the culture of our particular Native American tribe, we will learn of the reverence for Mother Earth and its' creatures held by the aboriginal people of our country.

"Listen to the voice of nature, for it holds treasures for you." (Huron Tribe)

Friday, October 12, 2007

Writer's Sharing Writing

We had a grand time in Writer's Workshop today. Students were sitting down in anticipation of the new mini-lesson when I told them that today was a very special day. "Today for Writer's Workshop, you will have the opportunity to share your favorite stories with a partner." Children were paired off and scattered throughout the room anxious to share their stories with a friend. Students admired each others writing and asked, "How did you know how to write that?" or "That picture looks great - Can you teach me how to draw it?" Pencils were coming out and children were "editing" their work as they were reading it. It was fascinating to watch!Afterwards, the pairs shared what they liked about their partner's writing with the rest of class. This led to a marvelous burst of enthusiasm and confidence in these young writers who were then excited to write a new story.