Mt. Rushmore Presidents

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After learning about American symbols, we began a unit on the Mt. Rushmore Presidents. We started with George Washington – the first president of the United States. We read several books about his life and made tri-corner hats that included three facts about him. We read¬†George Washington’s Teeth, which¬†tells about the struggle George had with rotten teeth. When he became president, he only had two teeth left. He wore false teeth made from a combination of human teeth, animal teeth, and ivory. The kindergartners wrote number sentences guessing how many he had when he was inaugurated.

Next, we learned about America’s third president – Thomas Jefferson. He was an avid reader and donated thousands of books to the Library of Congress. He was a brilliant man who designed his own house and invented a number of things, including a swivel chair and dumb waiter. He was the writer of the Declaration of Independence. The kindergartners used quill pens and “ink” to trace over some of the famous words for this important document. Jefferson spent five years in France and returned home to introduce several new foods to America – French fries, macaroni and cheese, tomatoes, and ice cream. We had our own Jefferson feast!

Abraham Lincoln was the next president that we learned about. He was born in a log cabin and helped his dad build one as well. He loved to read and would walk several miles to borrow books. He was known for his honesty, which earned him the nickname Honest Abe. He wore a tall, black hat where he put important letters and papers. We also read the book, Mr. Lincoln’s Whiskers, which is the story of a young girl who wrote to President Lincoln suggesting that he grow whiskers. In the book are copies of her letter to him and his response to her. The kindergartners crafted Lincoln’s face and added paper-torn whiskers. They added a tall, black hat with a letter inside.

Theodore Roosevelt was the final president we discussed. During the Spanish-American war, he organized a volunteer calvary called the Rough Riders. He was also instrumental in making National Parks around the country. The kindergartners used colored pencils and watercolor paints to complete a picture of Roosevelt as a Rough Rider. Then to remind us of his role in setting aside land, they painted forest scenes using paint brushes and their fingertips.

We also learned that the teddy bear was named after Teddy Roosevelt. To celebrate that fact we had an indoor teddy bear picnic. The kindergartners brought teddy bears to school and we ate bear shaped sandwiches, a forest of vegetables, pretzel sticks, “bear”ies, and ice cream made to look like a bear’s face.

The kindergartners researched one of the four presidents and wrote about his life. They presented the reports in the class and then made paper dolls to go with them.

Happy Birthday Dr. Seuss!

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We spent the day celebrating Dr. Seuss birthday. We began by dressing up as Things and taking class pictures with The Cat in the Hat. Duck even joined in the fun!

We read the book, I Can Read With My Eyes Shut and made some fun “reading glasses.”

We had a special guest come to read our next book. The Cat in the Hat joined us and read about “his” fun with Thing 1 and Thing 1. After the book, we played an entertaining game called, I Can Do That.

We read, Wacky Wednesday. The kindergartners came back from p.e. to find twenty wacky things in the classroom. They explored the room trying find all the things wrong.

We read, Yertle the Turtle and talked about being kind to others. The kids also enjoyed hearing the tongue twisting book, Fox in Socks.

We ended the day watching an old version of Horton Hears a Who and making a Cat in the Hat snack out of bagels, cream cheese, pretzels, raisins, strawberries and bananas. Yum!

 

American Symbols

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We learned about the Statue of Liberty when we talked about North America. It is a well known American Symbol that represents freedom. We recently spent some time learning about other American symbols. We began this unit learning about the flag. We talked about its colors, nicknames, and what the stars and stripes represent. The kindergartners made construction paper flags and wrote a description about it.

We learned that the National bird is the bald eagle. Benjamin Franklin wanted the wild turkey, but we’re glad the bald eagle was chosen instead. It is only found in North America, has incredible eyesight, and represents strength and freedom. In class, we made a life-sized one. It was fun to see just how large these majestic birds can be. The kindergartners also wrote some interesting facts about them.

We discussed The White House and learned that George Washington picked the location to build this special house. It took eight years to build and has 132 rooms and 32 bathrooms.

Finally, we learned about Mt. Rushmore. This famous mountain carving is found in the Black Hills of South Dakota. There were 400 men who worked on this monumental sculpture that took 14 years to make. The kindergartners “sculpted” things out of Play-Doh and found that to be an easy medium. I gave them a rock and told them to sculpt something out of that too. That helped them realize that sculpting Mt. Rushmore was not an easy job.

100th Day of School!

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January 27th was our 100th day of school, so we had a celebration of this milestone!

The kindergartners dressed as 100 year olds and arrived to a room decorated for the occasion, including 10 balloons hanging from the ceiling. Throughout the day we popped them to discover notes inside. Each note gave us an exercise to do 10 times. By the time the day was over, we had completed 100 exercises.

The kindergartners completed a poem about turning 100 years old. We added pictures that showed what each kindergartner might look like at that age. It was quite a shocking transformation.

We read the book, I’ll Teach My Dog 100 Words. Each kindergartner was given a stack of popcorn words to trace and make into a chain. Adding all the words together give us 100.

We also read the book, Hetty’s 100 Hats and made 100th day hats. The students put 100 things on their hats including, dots, stickers, thumb prints, numbers and letters.

To end the day we made a special snack. The kindergartners counted out 10 pieces of 10 different snack foods which gave them 100 items to eat at home. We combined the leftover pieces and ate some of that in class. Each kindergartner was given 1/4 cup of the 100 day snack to count, tally and graph. What a great way to end the day!

Only 80 days of learning left!

Seasons

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While we were on our holiday break the season changed, so we began our new year learning about seasons. We learned how the tilt of the art, as it orbits the sun, affects the seasons. The kindergartners painted the sun using red, yellow, and orange paint under plastic wrap.

After discussing the temperature, how animals behave, clothes we wear, and activities from each season, the kindergartners painted seasonal pictures.

We read the book, How Will We Get to the Beach? while learning about summer activities. The kindergartners wrote their own version of the book on paper beach balls.

Fun with Duck

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The kindergartners have taken Duck on some great adventures so far this year. He has been apple picking, hiking, biking, done some baking, played video games, chased a dog, did homework, and watched a movie. He went to dance, gymnastics, a soccer game, the pool, a military museum, and Dollywood. He ate pizza, popcorn and ice cream. Whew! I wonder what he will do next.

Native Americans and Pilgrims

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We learned about some of the Native American Culture Regions within the United States. We learned about the Plains regions and discovered that the tribes typically lived in tipis. Because they followed bison herds, this group had to be able to move their homes. Bison was a source of food, shelter, clothing, tools, etc. There was no waste. The kindergartners made tipis to remember how this culture group lived.

We also talked about the Southwest Culture Regions and learned that they did not move around like the Plains Natives. The Southwest people often lived in adobe or pueblo homes – dwellings made from mud and straw bricks. Many of the Southwest region were farmers and also had goats and sheep. The Navajo wove beautiful rugs and blankets out of the sheep’s wool. The kindergartners wove bookmarks and made pueblo houses.

The Southeast Culture Region includes South Carolina, so I thought that would be a good one to discuss. We learned about a festival that they have – Green Corn Festival. It is a time of cleaning out and starting fresh. Home fires are put out and then restarted from the hot coals of the community fire that the tribe elders start. The kindergartners “reenacted” this event using grapes, pretzels, and red, yellow, and orange m&ms.

The final culture regions we discussed was the Eastern Woodlands. This region includes the Wampanoags, who helped the pilgrims. Part of the year they lived in homes called wetus. They were domed shaped homes covered in birchbark sheets. The kindergartners made wetus by glueing torn pieces of construction paper on a domed frame. They also learned about the game of hubbub, which was a game that the Wampanoag children would have played.

Learning about the Wampanoag was a natural lead-in to learning about the Pilgrims. We talked about their perilous journey over on the Mayflower, their first difficult winter, and what life was like for them. We gathered information about the Mayflower journey from books and videos and talked about some of the interesting things we learned. Then the kindergartners made a Mayflower shaped book that included three facts about the journey from England to Plymouth.

To help the kindergartners understand that the Pilgrims had to make nearly everything they had, we made homemade bread, churned some butter and talked about some of the chores that the children had to do.

 

 

 

 

Exploring South America

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South America was the next stop in our journey around the world. We learned about the world’s largest tropical rainforest – the Amazon. We talked about its layers and some of the animals found there.

We watched a Magic School Bus video about a cocoa tree in the rainforest. The kindergartners got a chance to taste cocoa powder. The excitement ended very quickly as soon as the powder touched their tongues. To make the experience better, I made brownies from the cocoa powder and brought them to school the next day. It’s amazing how much better it tastes when you add a little sweetness.

We talked about an ancient Incan city in Peru. Machu Picchu was discovered high in the Andes Mountains in 1911. It has become a famous South American landmark and many tourists visit each year. The kindergartners painted a paint by number picture of the ruins.