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Today was another memorable day for me as an educator and as a member of the CLC community. Our gift exchange project was a wonderful learning experience for all of us. I was so touched by their homemade gifts and words of kindness that I had to hold back a few tears when they shared how it felt to give and receive their gifts.
A few years ago I read an article about what it means to give and receive a gift, and every December I am reminded of this article as we enter the season of gift giving. It discussed how difficult it is for children to understand what it means to give and receive gifts when we live in a society filled with materialism and mass advertising. There was a quote in the article by Winston Churchill “We make a living by what we get. We make a life by what we give.” These simple words have always stayed with me.
Today as I watched the children exchanging their gifts I thought to myself that they learned a wonderful life lesson and it filled my heart with so much love. I wish you could have heard and seen all that they shared and said to one another. We all sat in a circle and one at a time they got up to give their gift to their classmate, and then they each opened their gift one at a time. It was precious to watch the faces of the children as they opened their gifts and also to see the face of the child who had made the gift for that particular friend. We spent 45 minutes on the rug opening their gifts together as a class. When we finished I gave them the opportunity to share what is was like to give and receive a gift. I was deeply moved by what they each shared and said to one another. As they were sharing I was thinking to myself they had learned a lesson that many adults never experience in their whole lives. In closing I want to thank all of you for your support with this project. I know we never could have had this experience without all of your dedication to this project at home.
The Santa Lucia procession at the Winter Celebration was wonderful. I am always so proud of how seriously they take on this performance. They were absolutely precious! A special thank you to Amy for truly capturing the winter celebration with her photos!
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This morning we had our first Santa Lucia rehearsal. Our first practice went really well. The first graders were excited to share with the kinders about this special tradition and celebration. I took a few photos of our rehearsal this morning and they are attached.
I also read the book “Lucia Morning in Sweden” before the kinders went home. It is a lovely story about this special holiday that is celebrated in Sweden each year on December 13.
We are busy writing our small moments during writers workshop. This morning we had a fun mini-lesson on editing / revising our stories.
The learners are making steady progress with their personal narratives. All of them have chosen their small moment topic and have completed the touch, tell, and sketch part of the process. Several of them have also begun the next step of writing their story.
This week we finished up our study of shapes, ending our unit by looking at 3D shapes. We compared cubes, cones, cylinders and spheres. We examined which of these shapes slide, roll and stack and came up with common properties among the shapes. We also did a shape sort looking at pictures of different 3D objects (drums, cans, party hats, dice, etc…) and made our own 2D and 3D shapes with toothpicks and marshmallows. Last week we explored geoboards to make various shapes with elastic bands and talked about the various sides and vertices in various polygon shapes.
In art we started a very ambitious painting project using perspective. We learned about foreground, middleground and background and talked about different techniques to represent things that share a space (overlapping, less detail farther away, bigger up close). Then we started our snowy forest scenes complete with shadows, another big concept for K/1 art! I was really proud of how hard they worked on this complicated project. We will finish these winter trees on Tuesday so be on the lookout for the final projects on the walls of Room 10.
In Language Arts, first graders have been focusing on sight words and guided reading, and have enjoyed a few more learning apps on the ipads.
A few housekeeping notes: I’m looking for a volunteer to clean up the watercolor paints. It could be a take-home job or done in the classroom. Basically you wipe down the inside and outside of the watercolor sets.
Also, our Reduce/Reuse/Recycle unit is coming up after break. Please consider setting aside the following: plastic containers pint-size and smaller, small plastic lids, bits and bobs like string, buttons and bottlecaps and toilet paper rolls. I will set up a bin in the classroom after break for donations. (Please quickly rinse items before sending them in.)
Lastly, I’d like to wish you all a very happy holiday break. This coming Tuesday will be my last day in 2015 with the class! Colleen works for me the last day before break so she can lead the St. Lucia parade and I can attend my children’s Winter Celebration. I hope you all have a peaceful and relaxing time off from school and I look forward to seeing you all in 2016.
I wanted to give you all a heart felt thank you for your support with our holiday celebration this morning. I really appreciate everyone for taking time out of your busy lives to spend your lunch hour with us. I know it means so much to your children to share their love of music with all of you. Thank you also for the delicious potluck lunch.
I also wanted to give a special appreciation to Amy for putting together the very special photo albums for each learner. I know they are truly a treasured gift!
This evening Ron and I will be driving up to Oregon to pack-up his parents home. His mom and dad recently moved into an assisted care facility and the time has come to sell his parents home. I will be back home late on Sunday night.
I am looking forward to a busy and fun-filled week with your precious children.
with love and gratitude,
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