Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Buddy Class Visit–Quilting Fun



Our class has a buddy class this year.  We meet with our buddies about once a month for a planned activity, but we see them in the hallways, at all-school gatherings, and outside on a regular basis.

This month, the whole school worked on a fun project.  The project began as a collaboration between the art teacher and the librarian.  They thought it would be great to have another school-wide literacy project.  (Last year every class in the school read the book Granny Torelli Makes Soup.   This year’s project was called “Rethink, Remember, Renew.”  The teachers wanted something with the theme of renewal and creating new things from old.  We connected literacy to the project by reading books about weaving or quilts—books that focused on creating, diversity, and connecting to family and friends.  The weaving part of our project connected our Care for Kids initiative as we focused on sharing and friendship with our older buddies.





Here we have selected some of our favorite books from our quilting project.



Happy Reading!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Social Studies Culture Study–India

This week we completed our study about cultures.  Essential Questions guided our study.  We asked: “What is a culture?”  “How are people alike and different?” and “How are cultures alike and different?”

We learned that there are many elements in every culture.  Some of those elements are clothing, language, food, celebrations, and traditions.  To connect all of these elements, our class studied the culture of India.  We presented our knowledge to the other kindergarten classes in a cultural fair.

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The first group of students welcomed visitors with a HIndi greeting.  DS said “namaste” and told us that this means hello.  DB, DD, and LL told us where we can find India on the map and showed us the flag.

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Moving on to the next group, VC, AG, and KK shared information about Indian clothing.  We learned that, while many Indian people wear clothes like us for day-to-day activities, when it’s time for a big celebrations, many women wear sarees.  These are fancy silk dresses that are draped around a person.  We saw many pictures of beautiful sarees.



  At the language station, AW, LC, and DM talked about the Hindi language (it’s not the only language spoken in India, but it’s spoken by many people) and taught visitors to count to 10 in Hindi.  Take a look at the poster they made and practice counting to 10 yourself!  You will notice that some of the words are spelled different in the poster and in the list.  We added the list because we found many variations in the spellings of the pronunciations, so here you can see two that we looked at.


100_4248Counting to 10

Ek - 1
Dho - 2
Theen -3
Chaar - 4
chah - 6
Saath -7
Aat- 8
Nau- 9
Das –10


Watch this video to hear the numbers pronounced.  We found this video on YouTube.  


100_4255-1At the celebrations station, RR, BJ, KW, JP, and MS told people about celebrations in India.  Our favorite celebration is Diwali – the festival of lights.  It is one of the biggest Hindu festivals.  People light diyas and small candles during this time.  There are also many fireworks.  We learned about Lakshmi, the goddess of wealth and prosperity.  Tiny footprints show that Lakshmi has visited a house, so we made footprints for our classroom.

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Continuing to learn about celebrations, our visitors talked with JT, CD, and AI, who talked about Mehndi, a special decoration painted on hands and arms.  This is usually done for celebrations. 

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The final station visitors saw was the food station.  Here, GF, CR, and LJ talked about some of the food eaten in India.  As a special treat, the girls served mango juice and chapati to the visitors.  One thing our class noted about chapati is that it looks a lot like tortillas, which we have all eaten at lunch and which many of our students eat at home!


Here are some final images from our work.  Visitors are creating their own Mehndi patterns on hand papers, AW and DM are helping visitors practice counting to 10, DS is working on a mandala project by filling in a design with colored sand, and students are creating their Lakshmi footprints to decorate the room.

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Here is a photo of our hallway bulletin board.  You can see a recap of all we learned and presented. The picture on the right shows AW’s final thoughts on the presentations.  “We are learning to tell others about what we are learning.” 

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Read along with us!  In the carousel below is a variety of books about India.  Our favorites are “Count Your Way Through India” and “I is for India.”

Thanks for learning about Indian culture with us.

Happy reading!

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Reading Strategy ~ Creating Images From All Senses

One of the reading strategies that our district asks us to teach is “Creating Images From All Senses.”  We have been talking about senses a lot this year.  We use our senses to DESCRIBE objects as we talk about properties in science, and we use our senses to learn about the world around us.

When talking about using senses as a reading strategy, students learned that just like we use use our senses to learn about the world around us, we can use our senses to understand what is happening in a story.

Ms. S, the ESL teacher, and I collaborated to find the best ways to help students practice using their senses.  Ms. S. is a baker.  She loves to bake bread, and she has talked about it many times when she has been working with us.  We decided that helping Ms. S. bake some bread would be a great way to practice using our senses – and students would gain experience making something most of them do not make at home.

100_4107 Ms. S. is showing students the bucket that will go in the bread machine.  She explains that there is a paddle at the bottom that will mix the ingredients when the machine is turned on. 


Here, Ms. S is showing students the contents of the bucket.  We used our SIGHT to tell that the contents was dry and powdery.  We knew (but we didn’t touch) that the flour was soft.






We added yeast to the bucket so the dough would rise.  We SMELLED the yeast and decided it was a smell we wouldn’t like to smell often.  Students noted that baked bread doesn’t smell like yeast.  Some wondered what happens to that smell as the bread is baking.  Do you know?






100_4110-1Ms. S. has put the bucket in the bread maker and is closing the lid.  Students are making predictions about what will happen to the ingredients.  As the machine turns on, they use their HEARING to know the machine is working.  They can hear the paddle turning around.  They are using their SIGHT to watch the dry ingredients mix with the wet water.  Some students think the dough is becoming sticky because it is stretching a little and some is stuck to the side of the bucket.


Students waited very patiently until the bread finished baking.  They used their sense of TOUCH to know it was baking because when they went close to the bread machine, they could feel the heat.  All students were careful to not touch the machine, and they reminded their friends throughout the morning to walk carefully in that area.


  The bread was finally finished!  We looked and smelled and decided we needed to eat it!  After washing hands, students were able to knock on the loaf—they noticed that the crust was hard.  Students predicted that when they tasted the bread, t100_4124his part would be crunchy.  Watching as I cut into the loaf, students said that the inside seemed ‘squishy.’  They determined that this part would not be crunchy when they tasted it.  Every student tasted the bread and described it to a partner.  Luckily for Ms. S., she came down to visit us before the last piece was eaten.  She said she knew it was time to come back to our room because she could SMELL bread all the way down the hall.  The students thought it would be fun to take Ms. M, the principal, a piece of bread also, so we all went down to the office.  Ms. M. asked us many questions about how we used our senses as we made the bread.



  Our kids LOVED making bread.  They compared and contrasted this bread with bread they eat at home (that bread comes in a plastic bag and is already sliced Winking smile).  Both kinds of bread are squishy and soft on the inside.  To thank Ms. S. for helping us make bread, the students wrote her a letter.  Is says,

“Dear Ms. S. – Thank you for the things.  One part was crunchy and one part was soft.  The chocolate tasted yummy (we also tried a crunchy candy bar and examined a packet of mayonnaise with her).  The mayonnaise was smooth.  The bread smelled tasty.  We are excited to learn!  Love, (all student names)”



100_4116This was not our only lesson about using our senses!  Students enjoyed playing Sounds at Home Listening Lotto.  They listened to a CD and matched the sound they heard with pictures on their lotto boards.  A few of the sounds gave us opportunities to talk about the details in sounds—we learned that we need to listen very carefully to hear the details and differences so we know what ‘object’ we are listening to.  We heard doors shutting, a soda bottle being opened, a toilet flushing, a doorbell, a clock chiming, and many others.





One last activity that some of the students participated in was a guided reading group that focused on creating images from all senses.  We read the book Making Salsa.  Students noted that they have all eaten salsa, but no one has ever made it.  I brought in the ingredients (as listed in the book we read). 

Students examined the whole fruits and vegetables.  They touched, smelled, and looked.


Then students added the cut up ingredients to a bowl.  We talked about how strong the smells of the peppers and onions were.  Some students noticed that the cut up vegetables were juicy, too.


Once all ingredients were added, students stirred the mixture together.


Finally, they ate their creation!


Working with our senses in these ways helped us understand how our senses help us see and participate in the world around us.  We are translating this knowledge to our reading by talking about the illustrations and the text in terms of our senses.  For example, we might talk about:

* what the wind feels like on our faces and in our hair when we read about a character flying a kite

* the taste of the pancakes that are made in one of our ‘how to’ books

* what we might hear from the instruments or radio in a book about music

Using our senses is very important to understanding just about everything in our world.  How do you use your senses at home?


Happy Learning!