Friday, November 14, 2014

Oh what tangled webs we weave.....

 Kindergartners had Edison and his Mom Jessica as our special guest teachers for Math class this morning!  Edison desired to share with his class his newly acquired skill of making "friendship bracelets."

First,  Ks were allowed to select three colors of embroidery string from a vast array of hues.  We then used  a "non-standard measurement" of our arm's length to determine how long the floss needed to be.

Next, Kindergartners were able to apply their knowledge of "line of symmetry" (our other Math lesson this week) to evenly fold and knot the string in two places.   Then came the tricky part.

Patience (the whole class did a remarkable job at this, by the way) was the next order of business.

We either opted to tape the string to the table top  or loop it over one of our toes-really tricky business.  Each waited in turn as the "under, over, through" weaving technique that applied a version of "ABC patterning" was modeled by both Edison and Mom simultaneously.

(Their teacher was absolutely no help.  I just didn't get it.)  Some of the kids, however,  chose to do a simple braid approach with pretty good results.

Perseverance, however,  was displayed all around and we vowed to return to the weaving task later on or at another time.  The experience was challenging but fun and what a good friend we have in Edison (and Mom) for sharing this idea with us!

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

The "Day of the Dead" Alive and Well!

Dayna, our multi- talented Administrator and on sight Computer Technician (among other roles) stopped by one day to share a beautiful childhood memory.  She read the story El Dia de los Muertos:  A Bilingual Celebration  and told us about one of her own family's special celebrations.  She explained that while some families would be celebrating Halloween on October 31st, others would be preparing for "All Saints Day" also known as "The Day of the Dead" on November 1st.


Dayna stated that this holiday is celebrated in Mexico and other places and is a way of honoring ancestors that have passed away.

Special altars displaying pictures, candles, and other memorabilia are erected in some homes in a loved one's honor.

Intricate hand made die- cut decorations are also hung from the ceilings and walls in homes.  Additionally, festive party-like celebrations may take place at the grave site of a deceased family member.

Our own festive event began, however, when Kindergartners were able to have their own "Day of the Dead" celebration that included a lesson in bread decorating.

Ks, with scrubbed  hands and donning chef's hats, were generous with applying a wide variety of both savory and sweet toppings to hunks of dough.

Afterward, they  waited with great expectation for their creations to bake and cool.  The senses of everyone else in the building were teased with the scent of baking bread and deliciousness.

                          Kindergartners even shared samples with arriving family members.

Shared traditions are a wonderful way for children to expand their thinking, learn about differences (and similarities) in cultures and hopefully to gain respect and appreciation of themselves and others.  Kindergartners will hopefully keep this Day of the Dead tradition alive for years to come!

Sunday, November 9, 2014

A Grand Trip to India with Anika's Grand Mom!

Anika's Grandmother, Mrs. Sudha Marwah, came in to treat us to an afternoon of  exciting Indian culture, a lesson in Geography and a traditional Indian treat for snack!  Mrs. Marwah, a teacher in her own right,  shared her expertise by filtering our many, many questions and comments and gathered the children's impressive knowledge of the 7 continents.   She and her grand daughter Anika assisted us with locating India on the globe and explained how, just like we have a capital that is our central place for government, India' s capital is New Delhi.  She also explained how we could find India on the continent of Asia. 

Kindergartners also eagerly shared their own travels to various places around the world, including India!  Grandmom Marwah then co-read us a delightful story titled  The Little Flute Player in Hindi, the native language spoken in India, while Anika beautifully translated the words for us in English!  Mrs. Marwah also recited two delightful poems about "a fish" and another about "the rain."  

Next, we worked hard at remembering our own number while counting round robin in Hindi,  and attempted to count to twelve with good success.  Some children recognized the similarities of the sound of words in Hindi to the English and Spanish languages.

Kindergartners inspected Indian currency and noted the presence of Spiritual Leader, Mahatma Gandhi depicted on the paper money.  The children also noticed the use of two metals on its coin currency.  This will come in handy during their current study of the periodic table! They also appeared to enjoy the sight (and smell) of a peacock feather, the national bird of India!
Lastly, we were able to sample a traditional Indian treat, "sooji" Semolina pudding with raspberry topping still warm from the oven!  We were so grateful for Mrs. Marwah's visit and to  Anika's Family) for enriching our class! 

Three generations of beautiful Marwah women!