Exploring American Symbols
Provocations for American Symbols
As President’s Day draws near, we expose young children to the role of the president as well as two of our most honored presidents, Abraham Lincoln, and George Washington. At this time of the year, we also think about exposing our children to the American Symbols. Our youngest learners are introduced to many universal symbols such as a STOP sign, logos for gender on bathroom doors, a handicap parking only sign, etc. that are required for good citizenship. Some symbols children learn through daily routines and experiences and some require more time along with intentional planning on the part of the teacher, such as the American symbols.
It is important for young children to begin to explore the American symbols to build patriotism and pride in their country, to provide a sense of belonging to a bigger place, and to communicate the ideals of the United States.
The American Symbols document provides pictures of the American symbols, USA flag, liberty bell, the statue of liberty, and bald eagle as well as other famous USA governmental buildings and memorials to be posted in the block/construction center and/or the art/creation center to encourage children to recreate them. Ideas of materials to include in the construction center, as well as extensions for literacy including two poems and math, are included.
note: Send an email to journeyintoearlychildhood.com letting me know that you have signed up to receive my bi-weekly to weekly blog post and I will send you the American Symbols document for free.
To be intentional means to act purposefully with a goal in mind and to have a plan for accomplishing it.
Intentional teachers set up experiences where they present information, model skills, and guide the learning toward a specific developmental standard or learning target.
BELLY BREATHING art: (teaching how to take deep breaths during a small group art project)
- Place a piece of paper in a tin cake pan.
- Squirt some paint on the paper.
- The student takes a deep breath in through their nose (pretending to smell a flower).
- The students blows out through their mouth and the straw blowing around the paint.
Social Studies: Sounds Around Us/ RULES FOR LISTENING
- After completing a lesson on how to sit at circle time- body calm by having a quiet voice, listening ears and eyes that are watching:
- Take children on a listening walk
- During the walk, cue children by saying, “Body Calm.”
- Students stop and hug their bodies.
- Point to your lips, the corner of your eye and cup your ears.
- Students remain quiet to listen.
- Call on a student to tell you what he/she hears.
- Ask, “Is it a noise made by people? A machine? Or an animal?”
Moving to the music/beat during gross motor/ HOW OUR BODIES FEEL with DIFFERENT EMOTIONS:
Following a lesson on how our bodies feel when we are feeling:
- Brainstorm ways our bodies would move to music that is sad (slow, 60bpm music such as Baroque), excited or worried (fast temp, lively), angry (hard beat) and ready to learn (classical, New Age or alphabet or number song)
- Play the different types of music in the gross motor room and move to the beat.
Nurture a Community of Kindness
KINDNESS CLASS PROJECT
When children give each other a compliment or perform an act of kindness, they can tie a ribbon, bead, or other objects on a heart, a dream catcher, or a big piece of cross fencing.
KINDNESS CHECK-OUT TICKET
At the end of the day have each student write or draw on a sticky note a compliment to another student. You can have the students give any compliment or have them focus on the specific social skill being taught that week.
The students can also share the compliment of another student during an end-of-the-day class meeting.
NUMBERS with NATURE
- Students into design of classroom and visuals on walls
- Classroom walls are a public statement about the educational values of the teacher.
- The challenge is to ponder how the walls can be used to enhance the educational objectives while including the students as a part of the learning.
- If the students are allowed to create or co-create the displays on the walls, they will refer to, look at and engage with them more often making them learning materials instead of visual noise.
- The walls should invite engagement, wonder and imagination; reflect the student’s learning, have an emotional or meaningful connection to the students and engage children in active interaction with the displays.
- Natural elements
- Classrooms should be filled with natural elements… not only are natural items great learning tools but they also enhance your space with beauty.
- Displays should be hung on a simple neutral or natural background with neutral border to decrease visual over-stimulation.
TEMPLATES FOR NUMBERS
The students measured the length of the stick needed using cubes.