"In this classroom, relationships are fostered, families are respected, and children are honored.
In this classroom, nature's gifts are valued and children's thoughts are captured.
In this classroom, learning is alive and aesthetic beauty is appreciated." -Unknown

Friday, February 17, 2012

Sure I Planned It...Not Really, But LOVE It When It Works That Way!!

Sometimes everything just goes right. I don't know if all the planets have aligned, I've been smiled upon by the early childhood gods, or just gotten lucky, but I'm so grateful when it happens. That kind of happened today in our class. 

Our current curriculum has been talking about life in the country, food grown there, animals that live there, and products derived from there. We had the discussion yesterday about the connection between sheep, yarn, and a sweater. We discussed shearing, carding wool, spinning it, dying it, and making it into yarn. We had a card for a visual. I didn't get a pic of it, but figured with these images from the web, you'd get the idea. It looked something like this.

Our favorite sub, Barbara, (since my name is Barbara, as well, the kids call her "the other Ms. Barbara") was helping out that day. She was planning to work with us again today and said she could bring in some of her knitting to show the kids. Cool beans! We had a plan.

She was able to show them the hat that's her current project, the yarn, and her special knitting needles. She placed the beginnings of the hat on a child's head so they would see how it would fit.

We then prepared to read our story. This is part of the "planets aligning" part. I had planned to read the book, Don't Worry, Douglas!, actually planned it the week before because I felt like it was a great story about worry and forgiveness, while being entertaining. We had met Douglas the bear last year in the story Hugless Douglas, so some of the children had a familiarity with him already. 

As we began the story, the children noticed that there were sheep in the story. Douglas' Dad gives him a gift of a red woolly hat. Douglas is so excited about showing his new hat to his friends that he doesn't hear Dad telling him to take good care of it. As he goes along the hat gets caught on a tree branch. Unbeknownst to him, he continues along doing cartwheels and the like, further unraveling his hat. His friends, the sheep have several ideas of how to make it better, but to no avail. At this point, the other Ms. Barbara let the kids pull the yarn she had been knitting to give them a visual of just how easily the yarn could unravel. Perfect!! What a great real life example.

The children learned a variety of concepts in the story: what happens when yarn unravels, the emotions of feeling like you disappointed someone, new vocabulary, and more. One word that really stood out to us was how "he trudged home". I asked if anyone knew what trudged meant. One child stated that it was walking. I then asked how was he walking if he trudged along. Another child said he was walking slowly. 

I just LOVE it when that happens!! Have you had a similar experience? I'd love to hear about it.

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