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Monday, December 12, 2011

Day 79- Kwanzaa

Last week we studied Christmas around the world, this week we are studying Kwanzaa. When I introduced the topic, one of my students got very excited. As it turns out, he had checked out a book about Kwanzaa from the library this past week, and he knew all about the subject!

Of course we started out making a KWL chart.

If you read through what my students "know" about Kwanzaa, you'll notice that I think they got Kwanzaa, Christmas, and Thanksgiving all mixed up. They "knew" that Kwanzaa involved food, music, dancing, and candles, but they were also convinced that people hunted for their food for this celebration.

When it came to the "I Wonder" part of the chart, it took a lot of reminding that we were talking about a celebration, not a place or a person. Quite a few of the statements sounded like questions they had asked about other countries when we were studying geography. *sigh*

After filling out the "k" and "w" sections, we read 2 books. One was an alphabet book on Kwanzaa.

Here are some of the things we learned about Kwanzaa:

1. It is celebrated for 7 days
2. It is a harvest celebration that comes from Africa, but is also celebrated by African Americans
3. On the last day of Kwanzaa, families come together to eat, share stories, and exchange gifts
4. Kwanzaa starts on December 26 and ends January 1
5. Each one of the 7 days of Kwanzaa centers around one of the 7 Principles
6. Kwanzaa was 'created' in 1966 by Dr. Maulana Karenga

To learn more, check out {THIS} website! I found lots of helpful information! From what I understand, the main African tribal language spoken during Kwanzaa is Swahili. As it turns out, I know a song in Swahili! I feel a song coming on! (but it will be later, since I am going to be absent tomorrow.) Wednesday we are going to be bilingual!

The History Channel has {THIS} video on Kwanzaa, and Sesame Street has also done some children's videos. You can check them out at

I can't wait to do more with this holiday!

Change of topic- In math today we took our BIG TEST. This test is one that all first grade students in Hamilton County have to take. To tell you the truth, I'm not sure why we had to take it. I chalk it up to "things- I- do- for- my- job." We will have to take another test at the end of the year.

The good news, I think my students did fairly well! Even though the test covered material that our math curriculum has not taught yet, my students stayed focused on the task at hand, and did their best! They were rewarded at the end of the day with Skittles. :)

Instead of pictures of literacy centers, today I have pictures of some of the Christmas cards my students will be sending to Parkridge Medical Center. I've mentioned before that Parkridge is a major sponsor to our school. Well, they requested that the school have our students make some Christmas cards to help cheer up the patients, and our kids were eager to help!

As a class, we came up with some phrases that were appropriate for the season and the situation. My students wanted to wish everyone a Merry Christmas, or Happy Holidays, as well as letting the patients know that we wish them a speedy recovery. 

 Wonderful job, Soldiers!

* REMINDERS* Tomorrow night is the Christmas Pageant! Students in 1st, 4th, and 5th grades will be performing songs that they have worked on with Ms. Harris. Students need to be at school by 4:30, the show begins at 5. Students need to wear khaki pants and a polo style shirt. (just like what they wear for their uniforms) I hope to see everyone there!

** Tomorrow I will be out, but I have already prepared my students. My sub is Mrs. Watson and the kids are excited! We haven't seen Mrs. Watson in a while and I can tell my students are looking forward to it!

Yea, Mrs. Watson!

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