December is unfolding into a very eventful and exciting month! By teaching your children about holidays and customs other than the ones they celebrate in their own families, we can help them to embrace diversity.
This past week we introduced the letter “Gg”. It was explained to the children that G is one of those letters that makes two distinctly different sounds. For now, they are going to learn about only one of the sounds. Examples of words with the hard G sound such as grapes, gorilla, guitar and green were given. To reinforce the letter we painted our pre-cut G’s with glitter paint. We also water colored guitars!
In “Story Time” we read Koko’s Story by Dr. Francine Patterson. The children loved this true story about a gentle gorilla that learned to communicate using sign language. Dr. Patterson has a few interesting, heartwarming and funny stories about Koko, and our Smart board allowed us to access them! On Friday, we also learned some gorilla facts about Africa’s most exciting residents. It is important that students take an interest in animals, especially since many, including gorillas, are becoming endangered. (Ask your child what that word means.) Young people with concern for animals are the hope for future protection of the world’s precious animal life.
In music we added the Letter G song to our musical alphabet. It goes like this:
Gg (to the tune Ta Ra Ra Boom Dee Ay)
Gert’s Grandpa Gregory
grew whiskers past his knee.
They grew around and round.
They grew down to the ground.
“Good golly” Gert declared,
“Gramps got a goofy beard”
So Grandma Gwendolyn
shaved Grandpa’s chin.
In math we introduced the “diamond shape” and the number “five”. Our color focus was “grey”.
This week we will learn the letter “Hh”, work on holiday projects and designate Thursday 12/8 as “Crazy Hat” day! I can’t wait to see all those wacky, imaginative hats!!! Let’s show our Red Robin school spirit and creativity on that day!
We’re celebrating diversity by introducing the children to new holiday celebrations, customs and traditions through reading, language and art.
We have already begun assembling our Hanukkah Menorahs. The eight day “Festival of Light” begins in the evening of December 24th and ends on January 1st. This past week we read Kevin’s Kwanzaa by Lisa Bullard, and the children learned about the seven day African American holiday that begins on December 26th. Kwanzaa which means “fresh fruits” commemorates traditional African harvest festivals. The celebrations include daily parties with gifts. What I like most about this holiday is that the gifts are either homegrown or homemade!!!
Another book we had some fun with this week was Green Eggs and Ham by Dr. Seuss. Since we have a class of mostly picky eaters, I was hopeful that just maybe Dr. Seuss was able to teach them the benefits of trying new things! Normally before I go to lunch, I remind the children that Super-Hero’s and Princesses, always eat their lunch! When I came back, and as the children played, I got into a casual conversation with Vihaan. Here’s how it went….
Vihaan: “Miss Joanne, what did you have for lunch?”
Me: “I had frog’s legs with dipping sauce and chocolate covered ants for dessert.”
Vihaan: (looking at me in horror) “No you didn’t.”
Me: “I sure did and it was delicious!” “Have you ever tried it?”
Vihaan: “NO!” (very emphatically!)
Me: “Would you like to?” “I’ll tell you what, tomorrow, we’ll switch lunches.” “I’ll eat yours and you can try my frog’s legs!” “Come on Vihaan, life would be incredibly dull if we never tried anything new!” “Maybe you’ll love them and want to eat them “on a train, in the rain, in a box or with a fox.” “What do you say??”
Vihaan: “I’m a VEGETARIAN!”
Hahahahahahahahahaha! That’s one for the books!!!!
Another favorite this past week was Go Away Big GREEN Monster by Ed Emberley. The children LOVED to slowly create and then disassemble a big, green monster! It would make a great stocking stuffer or Hanukkah gift!
This week our color focus will change to “brown” and in math we will introduce the number “six” and the “oval” shape.
Our nursery class is getting fired up for a blazing hot Wednesday! The children are very excited about the Westbury Fire Dept. coming to visit our school! Every child is fascinated by the fun and excitement of a real firetruck!!
Looking ahead…on Wednesday, December 14th, we will be going to the Arbor House for Older Adults for our annual sing-along! The children are practicing for their performance. Some of the songs they’ll be singing are: “America” (My Country Tis of Thee), “Jingle Bells”, “Frosty the Snowman”, “Santa Claus is Coming to Town”, “Eight Little Lights of Mine”, “I Have a Little Dreidel”, “Auld Lang Syne” and “We Wish You a Merry Christmas.” This visit to the Arbor’s is also a great opportunity for us to talk about the pleasure that comes from sharing and once again …..giving to others!
As you know, to help make the season more fun and special, we’ve adopted the “Elf on a Shelf” tradition. It’s a great way to let the children know that Santa really does know when they’re naughty or nice!” Santa has sent his pixie elf to watch the children and then reports back to Santa every night. Each time he comes back, he goes to a new spot in the classroom. One rule is that the children cannot touch him or he will lose his magic. Elf can listen to what the children tell him, but cannot talk back. That’s Santa’s law. After welcoming elf into our classroom this week, we were tasked with naming her. We all got our creative juices flowing and put our class suggestions into a container. Jackson, who evidently is still lingering in some warm Thanksgiving memories, got the privilege and wanted to name our elf “Little Pilgrim”. With a bit of coaxing, we convinced him that Jingles, Snowflake, Sparkles, Chippy and Ruby (after Rudolph) were also adorable names. After contemplating it for a bit, Jackson proudly chose Ruby! We search for Ruby every morning! One afternoon, Donovan came up to me and asked if he could talk to Ruby. “I told him to go right ahead because the elf is ALWAYS listening!” Assuming he wanted to tell Ruby what kind of toy he would like from Santa this year, I listened intently. What I actually heard was….. “Elf, could you tell Santa to put one of his classmates on the naughty list for not sharing the silver phone with another classmate!” Naturally I seized the opportunity to talk about tattling! I told Donovan that I was so happy he understands that friends must learn to share but that tattling won’t gain favor in Santa’s eyes! I brought to his attention that the classmate was not at all upset by the friend playing with the silver phone and that if he didn’t like someone else playing with a certain toy, he should simply ask them if he could have it when they’re done. I told Donovan that it’s important that he share concerns about friends if they are doing something dangerous but that the adults in the class will happily do the policing!!! At that point, he returned to the scene of the crime and solved his own problem! You gotta love them!!! Knowing Ruby is watching has definitely motivated the children to behave. I like to call it my magical December classroom management trick! If only someone could come up with an idea like this for the rest of the year!!
This week we will introduce the “Mensch on a Bench.” Oy vey, the Elf on the Shelf has competition! In the end our goal is to increase active participation in Hanukkah and make the celebration of the holiday even more fun! We also want to show the children what it is to be a true Mensch. Our mitten tree is one way we can teach them to make a positive difference!
Enjoy the week!!!
Miss Joanne and Miss Sam
Birthdays in December:
Erica – 12/19
Dates to Remember:
December 1st – 16th Project Mitten Tree!
December 7th A Visit from the Westbury Fire Dept.!
December 8th Crazy Hat Day!
December 14th Arbor House for Older Adults – (Sing Along)