Extending our idea of domestic vs wild animals the classes were introduced to a happy medium: farm animals. Both cohorts of  students are naturally very inclined towards music so this weekly focus also provided  us with the opportunity to learn the popular English language children`s song `Old MacDonald Had a Farm.` The goals of becoming aquainted with this song were distinctly different between Kindergarten and Pre-K students. 

For our Kindergarten cohort singing this song allowed them to master the vocabulary e.g `ducklings,` goats` etc in a non-pressure, fun way; it also allowed them to draw upon prior knowledge that was gained in the `C is for Cows` portion of the food and drink unit of study. As always we avoided any tendency towards rote memorization amongst pupils and instead focused on a progressive, patient approach. It is interesting to note that as an educator I was not necessarily expecting students to make an immediate connection that some animals are assigned a different word in their youth than when they are grown, but the students brillant and observant did just that using previously learned family vocabulary; noting that  a duck was a `mother duck` and duckling `baby` or `brother/sister` duck. Good work kids!

Our Pre-K students mastered less total vocabulary than their older counterparts but what they did learn was meaningful to them. This particular set of students, alleign with their peers in the same proximal zone of development has more of tendency to use phonetic sounds associated with animals e.g `Baaaa` for a sheep or `Mew mewww` for cats--this as well as identifying vocabulary first in Russian/Tatar when desired is encouraged.

We experienced a major milestone this week when students via the example of one particular peer began confidently asking and responding to our circle time question* `How are you?` in English. This should not be
underestimated as it marks not only an advancement in academic but also the critical social development students will need to thrive in the English speaking world in the future

Few families are complete without the addition of one or two furry, four-legged or otherwise non-human family members. The focus of week nine took it`s inspiration from the overt enthusiasm of our students towards the pets featured on eachother`s family tree project. Our theme of this week focused on pets domestic and wild. For our older Kindergarten cohort particular attention was also paid towards mastering the verb `to live` in English and making the distinction of domestic dwellings and wild habitats thus fullfilling a crosscurricular focus towards the natural sciences.

As is always the intention in both classes students were naturally introduced to the topic through the popularchildren`s story `The Rainbow Fish` by Macus Pfister. This story tells of a fish living in the sea blessed with extrodinary scales of colourful silver. The other fish plead with him to share his beautiful scales but when he does not he is ostricised. This is until the wise old Octopus confides in him that if only he
will share his depression from being so isolated and feelings of hapiness because of sharing with others come to him.

This story was told to both Kindergarten and Pre-K students both with distinctly different motivations and planned for outcomes. Our pre-K cohort at this junction needed a refresher in the English language colours, fine motor skills and decsion making practice as well as a solid understanding of fish as living in the sea (wild) and as potential pets. 

For our older Kindergarten cohort time was taken to explicitly seperate the notion of a domesticated pet from wild creature---also the need to share as a part of life. To say the very least this is a continuing stuggle for
Kindergarten students....sharing is not always easy but necessary for a conflict free functional classroom..

Throughout the week we practiced our verb of the week `to live.` As simple as this might seem students in the older cohort stuggled a bit with creating sentences such as `I live in Kazan` or `Turtles live in the sea.` However, it was pleasing to see the students generalise their understanding of have to include their pets in full and intricate sentences like: `I have two hamsters at my home.` or `My Grandmother has a dog.` We will continue to work on this in the upcoming weeks.

Crosscurricular and learning for  meaning is always important to both groups of students and when the opportunity presents itself we combine topics and other points of learning to generalize knowledge and represent the world around us. This week we combined our primary topic pets and other animals with shapes. Shapes as a subject of study sounds deciptively simple but studying them we also go to the very heart
of Kindergarten!

 Friedrich Froebel, the originator of Kindergarten in 19th century Germany used educational toys or `Froebelgaben` to encouage children to understand their world in geometic/shape forms from mathematical, practical and estethic points of view. A further detailed explanation of this can be found in our current display
flyer at school and that which was sent home with every Kindergarten student.

Welcome to the class journal for weeks seven and eight! Over the last fortnight we have poured our energy into the Mother`s Day show so most of this blog wil be dedicated to that topic.

Both cohorts of students learned for the gala two pieces of English language work: a poem dedicated to their Mother and the popular American folk song `You are my Sunshine.` As an educator I was particularly pleased with the dedication both groups of students paid to the song. The Pre-K crowd was only expected to learn the movements and body language to the song but most had aquired the lyrics by show time. The Kindergarten group being the natural leaders and dedicated students that they are sang well above expecatation and were a great example to their younger peers.

In addition to English language material students learned a considerable amount of Russian language and Tatar language poetry and music! For their dedication and energy they should be praised. The show concluded our formal teaching unit on `The Family.` The Kindergarten cohort also finished their family trees just in time to have them displayed for all to see as part of the show. All students pained lovely portraits of their Mother's to give to them at show time.

 As upcoming journal entries and lesson plans will indicate all students will continue exploring the world around them through English, our next topic: pets and other domesticated animals.

Class note: we also welcomed two new students this week! Brother and Sister: Malika Z and Kareem! Welcome Malika and Kareem...you two make  a lovely addition to our class :)

Please enjoy some pictures from our rehearsals and Mother’s Day Gala on March 6, 2012: