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Saturday, November 24, 2012

Its A Small World & Country Far Away; Same & Different 8

Food Connection
Food traditions experienced as children leave lasting impressions and connects us to our personal and cultural history.  Every person consumes food, and around the world their are many different treats to discover.   Tasting foods from other cultures is a fun and tasty experience.

It's a Small World
Make a passport.  Once time per week, have a food or dinner from a different country; classrooms may want to have one party.  Stamp the passport and write in what country your food was from.
Cut an 8-in by 5 1/2-in cover out of navy blue card stock.  Cut printer paper the same measurement for pages inside of the passport.  Fold the blue card stock in half like a book, and do the same with the white paper.  Place the folded line of the inside of the cover with the paper and staple paper to cover on the fold vertically.  Type or print the word, Passport, on white paper, cut out and glue on the front of the passport.  Use stickers or a stamp each time you “visit” another country and write what country your food was from.

A Country Far Away, by Nigel Gray
The story relates everyday activities in the life of two ordinary boys who live far away from each other in two different countries.  One lives in Africa and the other in Western Europe.

Copy the pieces on color copy paper or trace and cut out.  Cut a brown and green wave toward the bottom of brown and green copy or construction paper to use as ground or mountains.  Glue the wave at the bottom and middle of a piece of background paper.  Glue on the house and tree pieces.  Cut rectangles for the door and windows, and cut out a scrub. For young children enlarge the pieces, glue the house and roofs together, and use a full page for each setting.  

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Fairness; Character Education 11

Elbert Hubbard: A cheerful loser is a winner.
Arabic Proverb: Ask me what is my virtue, not what is the color of my skin.

The definition of fairness is, not favoring one above another.  The most basic description of fairness for young children is taking turns.  Fairness is to see things from the other side, or the other point of view.  Fairness is getting to know someone without pre-judging them.  It does not insure equality, but it tries to insure equal opportunity. Stereotypes and prejudice are not fair to anyone.  

Activity; The Egg
(Needed: clear drinking glass, 1 cup water, 1 fresh egg, 1/4 cup salt, and a tablespoon).
Place 1 cup water in the glass.  Name your egg; I am calling the egg Bob.  Do not use a name of anyone present or in the classroom/troop.  Carefully add Bob (the egg), to the glass.  Explain that Bob represents someone who is not being treated fairly, and the unfair treatment continues over and over.  Bob has sank to the bottom of the glass which represents how he feels.  He feels like someone who is sad, mistreated, depressed, and defeated.    

Remove the egg from the water.  Add salt 1 tablespoon at a time.  As you stir in every tablespoon of salt, explain that the salt represents all of the ways to show fairness toward other people.  (Give examples): Taking turns, being honest, treating others with respect, helping someone who is not being treated fairly.  

After all of the salt has been stirred in, carefully place Bob back into the water. Explain: If Bob has been treated fairly, he floats!  Now Bob feels supported with kindness, feels accepted by others, and is being treated fairly.

More Activities:
1. Playing fair is playing by the rules.  There are rules so that everyone has a fair chance to win.  Take a game everyone knows.  Brainstorm the rules of the game.  

2. Saying statements like, He's too big, she can't do it, or all children are mean, are pre-judging statements.  Brainstorm a list of comments that pre-judge.  Pre-judging is not treating someone fairly.  

3. A classroom has rules that students raise their hand before speaking.  Brainstorm what would happen if anyone could talk whenever they liked, what problems might come up, and why it isn't fair. 

4. Discuss: What if only people with green eyes could drive, or only people with blue eyes could vote?  Is it fair?  Does it pre-judge?  (Why or why not?)

Suggested Stories:
Berenstain Bears; The Trouble With Chores by Stan and Jan Berenstain; Younger
Papa Bear and the cubs don’t want to do chores! Is that fair to Mama Bear?  What will happen if Mama Bear stops cleaning up since no one will help her?

Harvesting Hope (The Cesar Chavez Story), by Kathleen Krull; Older
Cesar Chavez is one of America's greatest civil rights leaders.  He led a 340 mile peaceful protest march through California.  He brought to the forefront a cause, and improved the lives of thousands of migrant farm workers.  As a boy, Cesar was shy, teased at school and grew up very poor.  As an adult he cared enough to lead people to charge, and an entire country listened.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Thank you and Presents in Your Neighborhood; Self Esteem 8

Presents in Your Neighborhood
Every day there are little gifts we can find in our life and around our neighborhood.  Sometimes we do not even realize what the little gifts are without thinking about it.  What are the little gifts you enjoy?  Brainstorm ideas of what these every day gifts are.  Examples: Watching birds fly in the sky, the neighbors beautiful flowers, the warmth of the sun, the park where you play, your pet that comes to you for attention, the books at the library, the school where you learn...

Thank You Notes
Send a thank you note to someone who has brighten your day.  Send one for a gift you appreciate or even a note for an everyday gift you find in your life.  When we let people know we appreciate them, we feel good, too.  To make the flower Thank-you card, use cut card stock and fold in two, draw stems and leaves with color pencil, scrunch up little squares of striped tissue paper, and glue on for flowers.

Little Gifts Activity
Scroll to the bottom of the post and print out the Present outline.  Have the child/children write or draw, use stickers and/or magazine pictures to decorate the inside of the frame with some of the presents in their life and neighborhood.     

Story Suggestions
Gratitude Soup, by Olivia Rosewood; Younger
Violet the Purple Fairy learns how to make Gratitude Soup by thinking of all of the things, people, places, and experiences that she is grateful for. 

The Secret of Saying Thanks, by Douglas Wood; Up to 3rd Grade
The secret is saying thank you, if you haven’t discovered it yet.  It can be found in the sunrise that offer promises full for the day ahead, or on the rock that offers rest from a long walk. 

A Picture’s Worth…, by Christine James; Older   
A Cup of Chicken Soup for the Soul
A young woman does something nice for an elderly gentleman, and found a rewarding experience in it, herself.  (If using in a public school setting, one sentence needs to be changed).

  Present Outline

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Perseverance; Character Education 10

Author Unknown: If you get up one time more than you fall you will make it through.
Ralph Waldo Emerson: Every artist was once an amateur.

Perseverance is an opportunity to learn.  Think of all you have accomplished so far.  At one time you had just learned how to sit up, then crawl, eventually walk, and then run.  Another way to look at perseverance is to remember what you knew on your very first day of school, and what you know today; it took perseverance.  It is easy to stick with something we enjoy.  Perseverance helps us move forward when the task becomes difficult; this builds good character.  Persevering says: I Can, and I Will Keep Trying!  

A Girl Named Helen Keller, by Margo LundellYounger
This is a true and inspiring story on perseverance.  A wonderful way to introduce children to Helen Keller.  It covers Helen's struggles after becoming deaf and blind, and her eventual triumph of learning words with the help of her teacher, Anne Sullivan.

Art Activity: Water Drops
It was very inspiring when Helen Keller connected the concept of water with sign language.  Enlarge and print out Yes I Can coloring page.  Color water drops and add glitter.  Scroll to the bottom of perseverance for the outline.

Walt Disney, by Tom Zeleznock; Older
This is a great story for older students since most everyone has heard about Disneyland.  The story tells of Walt Disney's perseverance and his many failures before he was successful.  Your children/students will enjoy this short story.
(Story can be found at down to the last story)

Goal Activity:
If the goal setting is within a classroom, fill out a sample goal sheet so that students understand the steps, or fill the sheet out all together.  If this is being done at home, the parent can explain how to fill out the sheet as you go.

More Activities:
1. Write out the steps it takes to care for a pet, play a sport or musical instrument.

2. Discuss the perseverance it takes to overcome obstacles when you have a physical difficulty, such as blind, deaf, paralysis...  Or, think about if we would know who Helen Keller is today, had she not had obstacles to overcome and the perseverance it took.

3. Listen to music from a CD.  Brainstorm all of the people it must have taken to make this one CD.  

4. Research Thomas Edison: It is thought that Edison tried more than 5,000 materials for the filament in the light bulb, before he found tungsten.  He has been quoted as saying that the trials were not failures, because he now knew all the things that did not work. 

5. Research Beethoven who was deaf when he wrote some of his most glorious compositions. 

Helen Keller