In the month of November, Room 2 has expanded the scope of our projects. At this time of the year, after all the children have acclimated to our daily routine, our school rules, and they can begin to work together as a community, we begin doing larger projects or activities. By this I mean projects or activities that last for more than one or two days. These projects are often something that has many parts or layers to it and some of those parts have to be prepared by the children before they can be added. For instance, in November, we began this change by introducing the children to the concept of their bodies and its real life size. The children’s bodies were traced on full length paper. Next they had to cut it out (with assistance) - lots of hard work! After this, using scraps of material that have already been cut, the children use glue to put on their “clothes”. Next, they work on their facial features using yarn, fiber-like hair, glue, sticky eyes, and markers. At the end, they may choose to work on their shoes. This is all their choice. The children really like this activity, become very involved and focused. In December our longer projects will involve monitoring our classroom weather station where we observe and document, temperature, snow or rain levels, wind, and other interesting concepts. All of these bigger projects involve the development of math, science, language, literacy, self-confidence and social skills that are so important to the growth of the young child.
Another highlight of our month here in Room 2 was the successful and different way of recognizing and defining what Thanksgiving is all about. Taking into account that everything had to be in words that the children could identify with and understand. The children themselves helped solve this puzzle by repeatedly asking about the globe in our classroom. To assist in this concept of the world, a small deck of laminated cards was made. Each card had a country listed at the top with three pictures of things this country is famous for. This was done in a small group setting. Each child got to choose a card. In the middle of the table was a set of letters that matched the first letter of each country. The children took turns going around the table and with assistance talked about the country name, letters, sounds of letters, and the photos. At the end they had to find the letter in the middle of the table and match it to the first letter of the country on their card.
In conjunction with this, at large group time, the children were formally introduced to the globe and what it represented, while also showing a picture of the solar system and our position there. What earth looks like from space- all blue and green- the blue is all our water, was also discussed. Then each child was called up to put a small sticky star on one of the countries in our game. Next, we read a book called the Peace Book. It is a very colorful, simple, yet bold kind of book and the children really sat still for this large group activity. The book talks about the definition of peace in terms that a young child can understand (also an adult). According to this book it is many things, such as, learning different languages, helping your friends, giving someone a hug, making sure the ocean stays blue, respecting the different clothes people wear, taking a nap, and listening to different kinds of instruments (this tied into Miss Betsy. That same day she came to school with a big assortment of instruments from around the world. These instruments were shared with the children). This is my favorite new book! This book offered many instances of peace that we are currently practicing in Room 2 which we will be exploring in the following month. This was such an exciting month!