Friday, November 25, 2011

Thankful for Thanksgiving

Happy Thanksgiving!  We had a great week learning about the first Thanksgiving.  Here's a peek of some of the fun we've had:

We read The Story of Thanksgiving by Nancy Skarmeas which is a fantastic, simple telling of the first Thanksgiving in a way that is understandable for little ones.  To help us remember the story we made retelling bracelets, an idea borrowed from Little Giraffes.  One change I made was to use a pipe cleaner instead of string.  It makes all the difference and you won't have any beads come off while the kiddos are still working.
We needed:
A brown bead representing the Pilgrims leaving England for religious freedom
One white bead representing the sails on their ship, the Mayflower
Three blue beads to remind us of the long trip over the ocean
One green bead for the land they finally saw
Three white beads for the long winter they endured
A green bead representing the spring that finally came
One tan bead for the Native American friends who helped them
4 beads representing the foods at the first Thanksgiving feast - red for cranberries, orange for pumpkins, brown for turkey, and yellow for corn

Scholastic had some amazing videos that we used to further learn about and understand the Pilgrims and Wampanoag Indians.  Check them out and save them for next year!

We made a fun snack to help us remember Squanto's method of planting corn.
Our ingredients:  Oreos (yes, I'm cheap), Goldfish graham fish (I thought the cheesy ones would make a less-than-appetizing combination), and candy corn

First we crunched up the Oreos to be our dirt
Then we dug a hole to plant our corn

Next we put in two fish

And then we enjoyed the fruits of our labor:  we ate!

Our biggest adventure was getting ready for our feast with the other five Kindergartens.  All of us dressed up as the Native Americans which meant we had lots of preparations to make!  First, each child brought an old, white pillowcase to school which each teacher dyed with Rit dye so that each Kindergarten "tribe" was a different color.  We were supposed to be purple, but we actually ended up a bit magenta.  Sorry, boys!

I cut out head and arm holes for each child (AFTER dyeing) and they each decorated with Native American symbols using permanent markers.

We reviewed patterns by stringing necklaces.  Being the cheapskate that I am, we didn't use actual beads which would make this an expensive project.  Instead, I dyed rigatoni noodles.  Simply dump the noodles into gallon baggie with a splash of rubbing alcohol and a several drops of food coloring.  Shake, shake, shake and spread out on newspapers or paper towels to dry overnight.  I used five boxes and colors and it looks like I'll have enough for next year - which will be year three of this project! :)

See the string on the far right?  Tape one end to the basket or table to prevent spills!  I also prefer a plastic-y string.
Avoid mixed-up necklaces by typing names on a piece of paper that is then hole punched and strung on first.

We also reviewed patterns when we made our headbands.  First we zigzaged, then we colored a pattern.  Later we added numbered construction paper feathers to practice number order and recognition, but I forgot to take a picture.

We strengthened our fine motor skills when we made papooses and quivers.  The boys made quivers to hold their arrows
and the girls made papooses

Aren't they cute?

All of the Native Americans sat in a circle in our cafeteria and shared Thanksgiving songs and poems and enjoyed a snack.  Easy-peasy!

Before sending them off for a Thanksgiving break we read my favorite Thanksgiving story,  'Twas the Night Before Thanksgiving by Dav Pilkey and give them a little gift, The Legend of the Five Kernels.  Once again, it's tweaked from Little Giraffes and I absolutely love it.

We had a great Thanksgiving!

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