Sunday, July 13, 2014

"Around the World" Theme Begins

Theme: Around the World
Need I explain why an "Around the World" unit is awesome?  We are going -in our imaginations- to nine countries around the world, enjoying them each and learning a ton.  The children have learned about cultures and nature around the world, as well as developing their self concept by comparison and acceptance of differences. 

 Airplane Rides in the Classroom

 We begin every new adventure with a pretend airplane ride in the corner of our classroom, set up to look like an airport.  It didn't take much, just a large world map, signs with pictures marking different sections of an airport, and some airport worker badges added to dress up.  There is also a section to display a flag and pictures of the country we were currently focusing on.

 To begin our travels to each destination, we set up chairs in rows, act out a dramatic takeoff and landing, and enjoy books about our destination during our "flight time." 

 Before boarding the airplane, each child writes their name on a ticket, to be presented to me and a "flight attendant"- a great reward job for a special kiddo- as we boarded.  This was an easy way to practice and observe full name writing and handwriting skills, and also get their imaginations ready!

Travel Introduction Craft

 We also had fun with clothespin airplanes in the beginning.  Easy, inexpensive, fun!

Here we go....

Rainforest, here we come!

  The BEST book to have is The Great Kapok Tree by Lynne Cherry. It teaches about animals native to Brazil, conservation of the rainforest, and respect for all living creatures.  The story can bring tears to your eyes when you see the kids understand the message.


Their favorite animal from the book was a sloth.  We read additional books about sloths, and then a really fun "game." They chose to be either a two toed or three toed sloth, and we used manipulatives to measure out 6inch construction paper claws (that's what sloths have!) and wore them.  They loved it and understood why a sloth wouldn't be able to crawl well- and, of course, what 6 inches is.

We also studied this unit at the time of the World Cup in Brazil, and put some emphasis on the love of the sport in South America.  We played a soccer match against another class, and made a soccer ball craft to reinforce the shape of a pentagon.

+ Brazil Theme Show and Tell was a hit! We had lots of jungle animal stuffed animals to share :)
  • Science- observe Venus fly traps to learn about carnivorous plants in the Rainforest. A great book is Hungry Plants by Mary Batten
  • Sensory- Taste different foods that come from the rainforest (chocolate, mango, banana, etc)
  • Dramatic Play- Rubber snakes swimming through the Amazon river and crawling through the jungle
  • Literature- Tell rainforest stories with themed felt board pieces
  • Construction/math/science: build snakes with geometric blocks to have patterned tails
We loved our study of food and art.
Art Activities
  • Crawl under a table with a butcher paper covering underneath to paint upside down, gaining perspective on Michelangelo creating the ceiling
  • Create a copy of Michelangelo's cherubs from the Sistine Chapel.  Their drawings were so sweet, I highly regret not taking pictures before sending them home.
  • Describe a famous painting in your own words. Very cute answers as their little minds saw different things happening in scenes familiar to us, but new to them. 

Food Centers
  • Writing: Writing sight words in pizza sauce on a trey
  • Art table: Pasta noodle collages
  • Manipulatives: Pizza Math- Roll dice and add felt pizza toppings until "pizza" is full
  • Dramatic Play: Work an Italian ice cream store and buy/sell ice cream with friends. We used floam in cups for ice cream.
  • Sensory: yarn spaghetti and rubber ball meatballs.
And Italian Themed Show and Tell was easy as spaghetti!

So much busy fun ahead! More soon :)




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