Kindergarten and 1st Grade on December 14.
This is the book I read to our Kindergarten classes this week. We practiced “W” words from the story – winter, warm, wood, and whoa. Then they made gingerbread houses in their classrooms and carried them home, carefully, balloon-like, in oversized plastic bags.
Kindergarteners are very small. They are five or six years old. Some are quiet and shy. Many are rambunctious. Most are not quite sure how to handle the whole school thing.
I also read this book to our first grade students. These classes are a little more aware. They know how school works. They can check out two books from the library instead of one. They know their letters, alphabet and corresponding phonics. What we focused on was “Then and Now.” We compared the clothing, the chores, the daily life of Almanzo to theirs. Little girls were shocked that they would have had to wear a dress every day. The boys weren’t too impressed by Almanzo’s vest and woodshed chores, but everyone liked that he didn’t have to go to school on his birthday.
These first graders went home with self-colored animal masks, a focus on science in their classrooms. The winter break celebrations will start next week. I can’t help but think the first graders in Connecticut were also waiting for the week before winter break, dutifully completing their class assignments before the excitement of the holidays took over on the following Monday.
I’m guessing this is similar to most Kindergarten and first grade classes across our country, and in Connecticut. Kindergarten diligently repeat letters and sounds so that they soon know the difference between the W of Winter and the O in Once. First graders tackle the more complex task of past and present comparisons. Little Santa Claus hats appear on buttons and headbands. Each day in the classroom is a new activity leading up to the winter break. The build up to Christmas, Santa Claus, and Hanukkah begins its trajectory – the gingerbread house make it so.