Thursday, November 21, 2013

Multi-culturalism is a real hands-on experience in my classroom.

 
This is one of the most fun months at school for the children. It gets  a bit chaotic and noisy during free play as they take the toy bow and arrow and go on bear and buffalo and turkey hunts.

We make our very own tee-pee. Two children can sit inside and look at the pictorial display of the Native American doll and her accessories on the inner walls, or read a book, or view real photos of Native Americans.

First, we lay out a large roll of paper so the children can draw symbols. Prior to the activity I ask them if they can read. They all say NO, and then I show them bags from McDonalds, Taco Bell etc. and they "read" the words. I explain that they are symbol reading. Together we read a symbol story with pictures/words for water, mountain, tree, fish, deer etc. We learn that it required 12 buffalo skins or more to make one tee pee and the dads went hunting and the moms chewed the buffalo hide to soften it so they could sew the hides together. The kids are amazed to learn that Native American children had only one room in their home. Their first question is, "Where did they go to the bathroom?" They "Eww" when I say, "Out in the woods."


We converted an old vacuum cleaner box into a canoe and made paddles. The children dress in costumes and row down river to trade or see what they can see. I love to listen to their conversation and see how much information they have absorbed.

The week ends with a surprise. Ms. Amy borrows a box of animal pelts from The Department of Conservation. The children sit spellbound when they see the buffalo, bear and deer hides. We tell them how the Native Americans used all parts of the animals...every single part. They are amazed when I tell them that there were no stores to buy what you needed. If the Plains Indians needed food, clothing, shoes, a coat, blanket, or household items they had to go hunting for a large animal.
 In addition to these pelts, we also had a box of hides from small animal fur bearers. The children enjoyed guessing which animal it was. They have so much fun playing with the items I have collected over the years. It is times like these when I so enjoy teaching preschoolers. This is a month filled with active learning activities. The children think they are just playing, but play is a child's learning tool.

We have followed dot-to-dot paths, laced paper canoes, decorated paper tee pees, played listening games, learned songs, told individual stories and done so much more. Kids learn best by DOING. The back of the brain (sensory motor area) develops first, so giving children experiential learning activities enables them to hold on to the information better than doing table/pencil-paper work. If it's in the hand first it gets to the brain faster!

Now, to leave you with the best funny I have heard during the month of November. I told a class one year that my dad and grandma were Native American. A little girl raised her hand and said, "My daddy is a NAKED American, too." I kept a straight face and nodded, but I could not look at that father ever again with out laughing.

22 comments:

Kim said...

We all start out as naked Americans!

Love the activities you do, and how eager the kids are to absorb all of it!

I understand why your students come back later to thank you!

Shelly said...

Oh, those naked Americans....

Your classroom sounds like so much fun!

sparkle100-havealook.blogspot.com said...

Oh that was funny. Art Linkletter was right.

Kids say that funniest things.

Oh I think what your class learned was a great experience and so crafty your ideas to make it exciting your show and tell post here.

Your a great teacher and the other teachers or helpers. Must tell my oldest granddaughter who is wanting to be a school teacher and now is in third year at University.

She teaches in second semester twice a week at close area school.

She tells me funny things also with the smaller children. She loves the children she is 20.

I could just see you trying to keep a straight face. Naked American. If only her daddy knew.
I think his face color would soon match his bareness his girl describes out loud. Yikes!

Daisy said...

Your classroom sounds like so much fun. I think those kids are so lucky to have you as a teacher.

Karen Lange said...

This looks like fun! It would be great fun to have you as a teacher! :)

Joanne Noragon said...

How good to see the little ones so involved. Hypnotized when they reached the awesome surprise, the real pelts.

Debra Mayhew said...

Linda, you have so many great ideas as a teacher and I love it when you share them! My children would have so much fun in your classroom. Thanks for the reminder that our younger ones learn through play. Sometimes I think that is too easily cast aside, but it's so important for those early years! You are a wonderful teacher!!!

Bookie said...

Interesting post with a great story ending! We retired teachers were just talking at exercise this morning, remembering the GOOD old days...so much fun in good classrooms!

Janet, said...

What fun. Can I attend class in your room?

Lynn said...

What fun learning about "naked" Americans. Ha. In kindergarten during this time, my teacher rolled out a big piece of brown paper and one child was selected and she traced around the child, then everyone else got to decorate that "naked" American.

Val said...

I want to see the furs! All I ever had was the mountain goat rug my uncle from Alaska gave my grandma. I used to lay on the floor in front of the TV and pet that old goat during The Wonderful World of Disney.

Sioux said...

You are so gifted in the way you connect with your students, Linda. They're lucky to have you as their teacher.

River said...

Your class looks like so much fun!
I hope that naked American is only naked in the summer.

K9friend said...

You are so right about learning. Even adults learn better by doing. I can listen to someone explain how to do something on the computer all day long, but I don't truly "get" it until I do it.

Pat
Critter Alley

thisisme said...

That looks like such fun in the classroom. I am sure that the children really enjoy those sessions. Oh, that poor naked American!!

Mary Horner said...

Your class sounds like so much fun, what a great time these kids must have, and they will remember these lessons much longer than many of those that involve only paper and pencil!

Tammy said...

I agree with Pat. And I find myself wishing I could hang out in your classroom. You really should put together a book, Linda!

Lisa Ricard Claro said...

This looks like such fun. I always say I wish I had a teacher like you when I was little, and I always mean it. *sigh* Tammy's right. You should write a book!

Susan said...

How wonderful you introduce cultural activities in your classroom, Linda. Susan

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