Sunday, December 30, 2007

Wondering what the sky may display for us to view in 2008

Here it is the last day of 2007 and as I sit here writing I am distracted by random ideas for presenting a lesson on learning the calendar when I return to school mid-week. I have put together a collection of poems and songs but am yearning for some Aztec like activity to have them measure increments of time. I have done this with the small five bead chain. I presented a link between skip counting and the time increments on the face of a clock - counting by fives. The children seemed to readily grasp that concept. But what about days? One of my five year olds looked out the window after the days grew shorter and said that there is yellow in a sunrise and gold in a sunset. So a lesson on the color of light? Perhaps I will ask them what announces the beginning of a day besides the sun? Roosters for one; bells for another. Each child's day begins in my classroom with a simple welcoming greeting. The day ends when I ring a bell and we gather for circle time. Perhaps ritual and social habits could be discussed. Oh, I will simply ask at circle time for the children to share how their days begins. Does one parent wake them while the other prepares breakfast and lunch to go? I will make a booklet of what they say for display...

I am now remembering a lesson I did years ago on measuring a half an hour. I took two identical tapered candles and placed them in identical candle holders so that their height would be exactly the same. Next, I lit one candle and set a 30 minute cooking timer. When the timer sounded I immediately blew out the lit candle. I then placed the now slightly shorter candle next to the one that was not lit and made a mark completely around the second candle which was level to the lit candle's current height. The fine line which ran around the never lit candle represented a half an hour. I repeated these acts until the first candle was only a small stub and the second had several rings which denoted 30 minute increments. The next step was to wait for another day (so as not to overwhelm the children) and then light the marked candle and see if the markings were correct. My five year olds wanted to watch it the entire time. Yes, they did match - candle and clock. What a great memory of a successful presentation.

So, I still am wondering about day. Books, more books and more books. That is where I shall look. I do have some wonderful classification cards that I put together over several years of paintings by famous artists that show either the sun rising or setting. Well, I have gathered a small collection of possibilities now. Oh, but what will the sky display for us to view - seasonal constellations. And what will the children ask when the days grow longer and they want to know if a day can really grow...oh, what will just be time to learn again all about seeds and yes, seeds grow.

Winter Constellations

New Year

This night
of all the nights
is the year's last.
All, all
the other nights
are gone, are past...
the evening, with
its fading light,
put the lid
on the hour
and close it tight.
Close up
your tinavy eye;
close up the day.
Bid the old year
and come away.

- Jean Kenward


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