Daily Schedule

Friday, November 9, 2012

Discovering Our New Theme

Yesterday I promised the students that they would learn November's theme. Many already knew that it was "ancient civilizations", either by asking their parents, looking at the blog, or figuring it out due to this week's spelling words. But what ancient civilization(s)?

I thought it would be more meaningful if the children discovered for themselves. To this end, I prepared four identical boxes full of "artifacts". Each table received a tissue box with the following items: a toy wheelbarrow, a compass, a match, a piece of silk, a tea bag, a piece of porcelain, a section of toilet paper, and a kite.
Group discussion and decision making in action
We then talked about all the possibilities, and I asked the students to name some ancient civilizations. The ones they came up with were Greece, Rome, China, and Egypt. As groups of children pulled each item out of their box, they put it into one of these categories (I left this method up to them - one group decided on one member to write down what they thought, one group devised a chart and used check marks, etc.)

After about 5 minutes of discussion, I told the kids that I played a tiny bit of a trick. ALL of the items were actually developed by the same ancient peoples. We will be learning about Ancient China this month - their discoveries and innovations (this will be a good lead-in to next month's theme), what childhood looked like, foods and festivals, and as much as we can pack into the next couple weeks. As usual, the emphasis will be on hands-on activities as we play games, cook, and make crafts.

We will also be reading many chinese myths and stories. I read two yesterday, from this book:

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