The trimming of a tree is a tradition in many households around the world in December. There are different views about food, family and gift giving depending on the culture. The tree sticky board allows students to decorate a tree and choose for themselves colors and items to be placed on the tree. This freedom allows not only creativity to grow, it also helps critical thinking skills to develop. Sharing and cooperation go hand and hand when several students participate in this activity together.
A fingerplay acted out on the sticky board helps children to visualize what their fingers are representing. As they hold up fingers to count the candles they can take turns putting candles on the tree:
FIVE LITTLE CANDLES
Five little candles twinkling on the tree.
The first one said, “What do you see?”
The second one said, “I see Santa big and jolly.”
The third one said, “I see Christmas wreathes or holly.”
The fourth one said, “What do you hear?”
The fifth one said, “Children singing loud and clear,”
A very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.”
Theme for December- Traditions
Traditions play a major role in every family. Traditions tell stories about a family, help individuals discover where they come from, and help them to remember their culture. The family bond is strengthened through traditions by providing a chance to do something that is special. Children love traditions because they offer comfort and security when other things change around them. December is a month of traditional activity. There are many holidays, family gatherings, and time off from regular schedules to lend to having time to do special activities that will long remain in the memory of a child!
Cookie baking is a winter activity I remember as a child. I turned the sensory area into a cookie making area using gingerbread playdough, cookie cutters and rolling pins.
½ cup salt
1 cup plain flour
2 tablespoons cream of tartar
1 cup water
1 tablespoon oil (coconut oil works great)
What you do
Mix dry ingredients together in a medium sized saucepan.
Add food coloring to the water to get a tan color.
Add colored water and coconut oil to dry ingredients.
Stir over heat until dough is pliable.
Once playdough is cool enough, kneed in:
2 teaspoon of ginger
1 teaspoon of cinnamon
1 teaspoon of allspice
This week is Computer Science Education Week (December 9-15, 2013). It is an annual program dedicated to inspiring K-12 students to take an interest in computer science. Students, parents and teachers can participate and promote interest in learning more about the computer world and the people who work in it.
“Learning to write programs stretches your mind, and helps you think better, creates a way of thinking about things that I think is helpful in all domains.“ – Bill Gates Chairman, Microsoft
As the decorations around the house are changing, there is one item that makes an interesting science experiment: Ornamental Corn.
Corn is a domesticated grass. Corn is not found in the wild, but was developed from a wild grass called teosinte and grown by American natives. They planted it and made various corn dishes including corn bread, corn pudding, corn soup, and fried corn cakes. Voyagers traveling to and from the “new world” brought corn back to Europe.
Native Americans in North America introduced corn to early settlers, and saved them from starvation by trading with them, and taught them how to plant, and cultivate corn using fish for fertilizer. WOW!
Modern Ornamental Corn can be examined by the students. Take it apart to see the individual hard kernels. Soak the husks in water and fashion a doll. The bare cob is rough and could be used to wash things.
Soak a piece of the corn in water and watch it sprout. Chart its growth.
Ask the children what they think it needs to survive. This activity is a good one to use when teaching children how to journal. Write down what happens each day!
Leaves are interesting to collect and inspect. A classic activity in the autumn is leaf rubbing. Leaves are easier to handle if collected before they are dry. Thin paper and bare crayons or chalk are the basic tools needed. Taping paper to an art try can keep it from slipping around. Place leaves under the paper and use chalk or crayons to make a rubbing.
This different motion of the hand helps students to gain better control of their fine motor skills. Leaves can be cut out and used to decorate the room. Displaying art is very important to young children. It helps them to know their hard work is honored and respected.
Trace leaves on felt and use them at the Feltboard while reading stories or just for fun. This is another activity that can lead to dictation and artwork to be sent home. It opens communication between teachers, parents and the students.