One of the best things about Kindergarten is the children's first Christmas concert and no matter how the children perform, they are so darned cute up on the stage in their fancy clothes it just doesn't matter. And boy was Team Awesome cute today! So cute, in fact, that I thought I would give you a preview of what you are in for tomorrow.
Enter any kindergarten classroom, and you'll hear the sounds of children freely interacting with one another as their circle of play expands and contracts. While kindergartners are relaxed about making friends, and frequently change friends, their friendships are very important to them. They worry and think about whom they'll play with the next day – and whom they play with can become more important than what they play. Throughout the year, it is not uncommon to notice more and more emphasis placed on friendships and sometimes even the development of cliques that exclude other children.
Team Awesome has spent quite a bit of time recently learning about friendship and how to be a good friend. During interactions with friends, children have the opportunity to practice important socioemotional skills such as cooperation, conflict resolution, emotion regulation, and perspective-taking but none of these things comes easily to a 5 year old who thinks the world is all about them so the skills often have to be modeled and taught repeatedly.
We role-played and discussed what ‘Being a Good Friend’ looks like/ sounds like/ feels like and focused on sharing and caring. One of the activities we did was to read the book "Chrysanthemum" by Kevin Henkes twice. The first time to discuss the specialness of each of our names. The second time we talked about how words can hurt as much as hands. We started the story with a paper heart and every time the children in the story made fun of Chrysanthemum's name, a Team Awesome member would crumple a part of the heart. When the story was finished and the heart was very squished, we debated what should be done to repair the heart. Someone suggested saying "I'm sorry" so we all took turns and smoothed out a section of the disheveled heart. The children began to realize that even saying "I'm sorry" doesn't fully repair the damage made when mean words are said to one another. Words hurt and we must think before saying them because we can never fully fix the harm they cause.
We also used the "Bucket Filler" series by Carol McCloud. These books encourage positive behaviour as children see how very easy and rewarding it is to express kindness, appreciation and love on a daily basis. A person can be a bucket filler or a bucket dipper. The way to fill a bucket is to be kind to someone. A person can dip into your bucket by being unkind and then you feel sad- but he feels sad too. He not only dipped into your bucket, but emptied his as well.
Throughout the rest of the year, we will return to these lessons repeatedly, with the ultimate goal being sharing, caring, turn-taking, and peaceful ends to squabbles with limited adult intervention.
The Week In Photos
Every year in December I think I am holding up well. I seem to have plenty of energy and things are zipping along smoothly (mostly) and I feel I could continue in the same vein for at least three weeks more before I need a break. And, for the most part, I often think the children feel the same way..... until that last week before holidays. That last week with the performances and extra activities and excitement and demands on our attention really takes it out of us. The busyness gradually takes its toll and we (both the children and I) are completely spent by the end of Thursday and have one more day to go. I cannot tell you how grateful I will be that I do not have to get up and get dressed next Friday but can arrive at school in my PJs and collapse on my couch at the end of the day (to remain there for the following 2 days) wearing the same thing. I am fairly certain many Team Awesome members will feel the same way.
Mrs. Bowden Cooties
Did Team Awesome come home last week and tell you they were covered in cooties? Mrs. Bowden's cooties to be more specific. For children germs are invisible things that cause them to get sick. Remembering to do things like washing their hands or covering a cough may not come easily. With the sneezing and sniffles that seem rampant in our classroom right now, using a visual tool that demonstrates how germs spread and the effectiveness of different hand washing and cleaning methods seemed like a smart idea. Enter the Glo Germ Classroom Kit! Secretly I applied the 'fake germ' powder from the kit to my hands then carrried on with a normal afternoon but made sure to touch each child at least once and handle a few things in the classroom. We then discussed how germs spread and used the black light, which causes the powder to glow, to track where my germs had dispersed. We were amazed at how many things I touch in our classroom and how far the germs had spread! Some of the children even had some in their hair. I then washed my hands and we looked at them under the black light again. Unfortunately, I did not wash my hands well enough to get rid of most of the germs. So we watched a video from Clarence The Cat on how to wash our hands properly and another one on when we should wash our hands and then I washed them a second time. Team Awesome made a committment to try and wash their hands a bit more often as well as a bit more thoroughly- probably due to their slight disgust at the thought of all the germs in our classroom.
BLSC Dino Lab
BLSC Hands On Lab
The Week In Photos
Mrs. Bowden &