Tuesday, 21 January 2014

Chinese New Year

Many of the students in room 109 will celebrate the Chinese New Year on January 31st this year.  We have started an inquiry into what this celebration means and how different parts of China celebrate this day.

To begin our inquiry we brainstormed things the children know about this day and the traditions associated with it. Many of the students talked about the special lanterns hung everywhere. We did a little research to find that these lanterns have several mythical stories behind there meaning.

Lanterns, Fans, and a Dragon.
Another popular icon of the Chinese New Year is the Dragon Dance. Upon further examining the Chinese have 2 dances - one for the dragon where several people help to make the dragon dance using poles to move the dragon to the music, and the second is the Lion Dance where 2 people are the lion (inside the head) and they create a very artistic and acrobatic dance. We decided to create our own version of the dragon and lion to put on our January tree. The students take pride in showing this to their parents and grandparents at the end of the day during pick up time.

The Lion's head is complete. Love all the textures. 

Many of the students associate the red fans with Chinese New Year. After some research the teachers realized that the fans aren't really associated with New Year's, however the children love making them so we included them as part of our decorations.

We have talked about the different kinds of foods found at the Chinese New Year table. This will surely lead to dumpling making next week.

As many celebrations vary throughout the different parts of China, over the next week we will try to find out the exact locations our students come from. Stay tuned for more discoveries.

Sunday, 5 January 2014

The Gingerbread Girl

Last year many of our kiddos experienced the Gingerbread Man running away from our students after we baked him.

Again this year, we read several of the "Gingerbread" character stories and chanted the various refrain during the rereading of each book.

As we read, some of our Butterfly kiddos questioned whether this year's cookie would also run away to the library as in the past year. This sparked several stories amoung  the kiddos during playtime.

On the Wednesday before the holiday break, I brought in all the ingredients needed to make a gingerbread cookie. The kiddos were intrigued by the various ingredients and several of the measuring tools needed to create our cookie mixture.
Ingredients to make a Gingerbread Cookie.
Mixing the butter, sugar, eggs.

We had lots of oral talk around words like: dough, mixing, stirring, teaspoon and tablespoon, cup and 1/2 cup. Many of the kiddos were really intrigued by the molasses. (Honey from black bees????)

First we washed our hands
and talked about the ingredients.

Adding the eggs.
 Together we took turns adding ingredients, and mixing the dough. Finally it was time to shape the gingerbread cookie. After a brief conversation, it was decided that we should make a Gingerbread Girl as the Man ran away last year and maybe if we made a Girl she wouldn't run.
Mixing the flour to make dough.

Using the teaspoon to add the
baking powder.

Adding the candy decorations.
She tasted good!
In she went, and to our surprise, she too ran away. Many of the kiddos, thought to check out the library where the Man had run last year. No such luck - she wasn't there. We searched and searched the school and asked several teachers to no avail. Then upon entering the office to talk to the Principal, low and behold there she was reading the book about the Gingerbread Girl.

We took her back to our classroom and each had a piece to taste. YUM! She was delicious.

A week of shapes

For the weeks leading up to the holiday break we began to learn the names and different characteristics for some basic shapes. The kiddos had a great time working through all our Math Bins and exploring during "math tub time".

Here is a highlight of some of their learning.

Playing a shape board game.

Shapes on the light table.

Making pictures using pattern blocks.

How to build with magnetic shapes?

Shape Bingo! Our favourite.

Experimenting on the light table.