Greetings and welcome to week six! In continued preparation for the Mother’s Day gala on March 8th  2012 both cohorts continued their focus on the Family Unit  and mastering the vocabulary and ways of personally expressing oneself about this subject. Major focus was placed this week on learning by heart our Mother’s Day Poem and selected song “You are my Sunshine.”

Our week was somewhat abbreviated by the “Defenders of the Fatherland” holiday on Thursday, but even that celebration when focused on the importance of male family members was integrated into our current unit of study. Due to the holiday and following Friday on which there were excessive absences (we had four students total!) some of the lesson plans and planned for activities had to be amended and will be carried into next week accordingly.

Many of our Kindergarten cohort students were ill and/or on holiday for this week, for those in attendance (and those who brought pictures) we began our personalized family trees! As is the case with many of our more elaborate projects I always do a demo first to help students understand through visual means what an ‘ideal’ outcome to their work might be. It is critical that as much as possible for both cohorts of students what they learn is personally and practically meaningful for them---this project proved perfect for that.

Given the family tree project requires a student to cognitively understand family hierarchies and sequences it was not carried forth to our pre-k cohort but they did enjoy creating a paper doll family. Asked personally about how many brothers, sisters and parents they have as a group we then created a customized paper doll family. This proved to be a great opportunity for cross-curricular/multiple subject learning as students practiced counting, memory recall, fine motor skills and creativity.

While it was initially planned to have students expand their family vocabulary to include more distant relatives like aunts, uncles and cousins the absences of this week, overall linguistic needs and need to review kept both cohorts firmly grounded in the nuclear family and grandparents. It has tentatively been decided that next week will focus on other (non-human!) family members e.g pets! This is being carried out as response to student’s interests and larger need to generalize their knowledge base.

Also this week saw slightly higher temperatures----we got to go back outside to play! There's nothing like a Russian winter.

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