Last Tuesday was Election Day, and even though there was not much going on in our area, we still learned a little bit about voting. We read a couple of children’s books – My Teacher for President and Duck for President.
After reading about Duck, the kindergartners thought about who would be a good leader for the farm. Each student made a campaign poster for his or her candidate and presented it to the class.
We pretended our classroom was a polling place. The kindergartners made voter registration cards and presented them to the “poll worker.” I checked them off the list of registered voters and had them sign in. The kindergartners were given a ballot and cast their vote in our “voting booth.” It was a fun experience, and ended with Farmer Brown as the winner! (We did have to have Miss Whitfield break a tie vote.)
Spirit Week is always a little crazy, so we spent the week doing some fun things with pumpkins.
In class, we learned about the life cycle of a pumpkin. We also read a couple of books and completed a writing and sequencing activity on them.
We completed some pumpkin observation activities with small, medium, and large pumpkins. The kindergartens measured the diameter, measured the height in linking cubes, counted ribs, made guesses about the number of seeds inside and whether or not the pumpkins would float or sink. They also got to clean out the insides. It was a messy job!
I took the empty pumpkins home and cooked the flesh. The next day we made pumpkin pie in class. The kindergartners loved making the pie, but only three of the girls actually liked the pie.
We ended the week with a party and watched, It’s the Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown.
We continued our trip around the world with visits to Australia and Antarctica. In Australia, we learned about one of the oldest wind instruments known – the didgeridoo. We read a funny story about them, watched a video of an Australian making one, and listened to one being played. The instruments are typically made from small trees that have been hollowed out by terminates. In kindergarten, we made ours out of PVC pipe.
We also learned about the Great Barrier Reef which is found off Australia’s East Coast. The famous reef is home to many beautiful fish and other living things. The kindergartners used strips of tissue paper to make some colorful fish.
Australia’s Sydney Harbor is home to a very famous structure – the Sydney Opera House. After taking sixteen years to build, it opened in 1973. We talked about opera music and listened to some of the Barber of Seville.
The continent of Antarctica does not belong to one nation, but is shared by many. Scientists from a number of countries visit this cold desert to do research.
We discussed how blubber keeps some of the animals warm in Antarctica’s frigid temperatures. The kindergartners conducted a “blubber” experiment to see how warm their hands would be when put in ice. The hand that was surrounded by blubber (Crisco) stayed warmer than the hand without.
We also talked about some of the penguins that lived on or near Antarctica. The kindergartners made toilet paper roll models of the Adélie, Chinstrap, Emperor, Macaroni, Gentoo, Rockhopper and King penguins.
Our first kindergarten field trip is in the books. What a fun, beautiful day to explore Callaham Orchard! We took a wagon ride around the orchard, sung fun songs and learned about the life cycle of a pumpkin from Farmer Andy. He also introduced us to his alpaca and cow.
After the wagon ride, it was goat feeding time! Mrs. Holly, our guide, explained how to hold our hands and that feeding the goats would tickle. The goats left “kisses” all over the kindergartners hands, so they washed them in an interesting outdoor “sink.”
Games were our next activity. The kindergartners played a pollination game, walked through the snake and bug pit, had a water pump duck race and “milked” a cow.
We had a special snack, took pictures, and picked out a bumpy pumpkin for our classroom. We came back with a box full of “baby” pumpkins, so each student got to pick out two of them.
Our next stop around the world took us to Africa. We learned about the pyramids in Egypt. We discussed why they were built and that the face of a pyramid makes a triangle. The kindergartners colored a background and used cereal to make their own triangular shape.
We read several African folktales, including one about a spider named Anansi. The Anansi stories originated in Ghana among the Ashanti people. We read a story that told how Anansi’s six sons saved his life with their special strengths. The kindergartners used egg cartons and chenille sticks to make spiders. They also wrote sentences about their favorite son. We watched a video of the West African tale, Why Mosquitoes Buzz in People’s Ears and completed a sequencing activity about the story.
We played the African board game, Mancala. This game requires counting and strategy skills, which are both good things for kindergartners to practice.
We read books about some of the fascinating animals found in Africa. The kindergartners made an African sunset scene that included some of the animals from the Savanna.
The next stop on our trip around the world was a visit to Asia. Asia is the largest continent and also lays claim to the highest point in the world – Mt. Everest.
The Taj Mahal is India’s most famous building. The Indian ruler Shah Jahan had it built after the death of his wife. This symbol of love serves as her tomb and a monument to her. The kindergartners used water colors to paint the building’s reflecting pool. We added it to a cut-out of the Taj Mahal.
We also learned about The Great Wall of China. The kindergartners cut out words to make a sentence about the famous wall.
In Japan, Children’s Day is celebrated on May 5th. It is a day set aside to celebrate the healthy growth and happiness of children. Families hang colorful carp kites, called Koinobori, outside their houses. In Japanese culture, the carp (or koi) represent courage and perseverance. The kindergartners stenciled a couple of koi in a pond.
As part of our Continent Unit the kindergartners completed an at-home project and decorated an international paper doll to reflect different countries – Germany, Trinidad and Tobago, United States, Australia, Iceland, Kenya, Saudi Arabia, New Zealand, and Japan.