Thursday, September 29, 2011

Integrating Seasons: Cycles-Apples

In September, apples are the ripest. It is also the best time to visit Apple Farms, make pies, sauce, cider.....don't you just love this time of year?

Once your done reading these books, you know what you can do, right? Make some of the items together as a family and then eat them. Don't forget the cinnamon!

For a writing activity, have your kids write a poem about apples. Whatever you do, enjoy Fall!

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Integrating History: Patriot Day

This year will be the 10th Anniversary of 9-11. It is hard to think it has been that long. Many adults can remember the exact place they were when this historic moment that changed Americans lives occured. For many of our children, however, they were not born or cannot remember the events. Older students I talked to remember it as the "day that the planes crashed into the big buildings."

We all know this day marks the start of a very long war and lives were changed. As parents, we need to know how to appropriately educate our children without them thinking it is a Holiday.

Here are a few websites you can go to for resources:
9/11 Anniversary Websites

Memorial Website

Most importantly, we need to talk with our children about the recent death of Osama Bin Laden, and how we should never be happy when someone dies, but we are relieved that the main culprit for starting the attacks was taken care of. We can talk about the meaning of justice, grief, and forgiveness.

This day is not a day to focus on the evil that occurred, point fingers, or stereotype. It is a day to focus on the survivors, deaths, and how people's lives have changed. It is a day of compassion and education.

The Discovery channel has had an interesting series:
Rebuilding Ground Zero
They will have one more episode on Sunday, 9-11.

After all of this education, you can have your children of all ages do a reflective writing piece:
Ages 0-5- they can draw a flag, flower, or something pretty for the children survivors.
Ages 6-8- can write a letter to the children with an illustration
Ages 9-13- can write a letter, note, or question to children that lost a loved one.
Ages 14-above - Can write a speech on what a survivor stands for or anything related to what they learned.

Remember to have them brainstorm these ideas before they just dive into writing.

In my town, I visit a Healing Field every year. There is something moving, beautiful, and reflective about the amount of flags in one area. You can go to the Healing Field website to see about Flag Displays in your area.

Finally, here are some books you can use to guide your way through the discussion. With it being so soon, I think there will be a waiting list at your local library, but since this is a part of our American History, you can always come back to the stories.

Here is another link for more books:
Apples for teacher

May you all take this time to refocus, be grateful, and recognize all of the heroes that played a part in this historic day. Thank you Patriots of 9-11.

Friday, September 2, 2011

Integrating Holidays: Labor Day

We all associate Labor Day with the ending of summer. The end of BBQ's, picnics, warm weather, and freedom from school. For many Americans, it marks the start of football season. How are parents, can we really explain to our children why we celebrate Labor Day?

Many teachers tie this to their community unit to get small children to understand workers and how they help the community. This can be extended at home so that children undersand that all the things workers do, sometimes they just need a day of rest and to be honored.

For the older children, there are books that can tie the day to a definition.

Plan on being in the car for a while? Here are some short stories you can print for the car ride camping or to grandma's house:
Short Stories: Apples for the teacher

Also, to give some hands on time to connect the stories, students can make a collage of workers on paper. Enchanted learning has a great craft for that.

However you celebrate this long weekend, make sure your child understands why they are having it. Give the name meaning and enjoy your day off. Thank you for all of your hard work!