Around the World with the Big Bear Cubs

Last Week’s Recap

Hi everyone, welcome back to the Big Bear Cubs Blog! I have really enjoyed giving you all a deeper insight as to what goes on in my classroom and it has been a pleasure watching all of my students grow and mature! Last in the big bear classroom the theme of the week was rainbows. Throughout the week with this engaging theme my students learned all about colors, and even learned some colors in Spanish! They also loved color mixing, playing with rainbow playdough and watching colorful eruptions in our science experiment. If you want to read a detailed overview of the week read my previous blog here! Now onto a new week with the big bear cubs where we traveled the world, and learned all about the different cultures and people that make up the earth. Join me and my class on a journey around the world!

Around the World: An Overview of the week

During the last couple of weeks my students have had a great time taking a trip around the world. This global theme promotes a sense of adventure, and I was able to teach my students about the big world there is to explore beyond their homes and backyard. It was so much fun learning about various cultures and how others lived. I have found that giving young students an insight into the way that other people live around the world helps them to be more curious, accepting, and interested in different cultures and people!

Our first trip was to Spain. Each morning I would invite my students to sit in a cardboard box which represented their airplane. This was the plane that we took to each of the countries that we visited and my students had a great time decorating their own individual planes. After we landed, my students were able to go to the time table, where I had clocks set to the time in different parts of the world. While a bit confusing at first, this was a great introduction to how timezones work and helped the Big Bear Cubs understand that the “time” changes as you go around the world. In addition to the time table, I also included maps, cultural foods and music, flags and puzzles that we related to the theme. The more that young students can see and interact with something the better their learning and comprehension of that subject. I try to make sure that I include as many interactive activities as possible that are related to our week's theme so that my students are more engaged and interested in learning than they otherwise would be.

Walking into the classroom all of the Big Bear Cubs eyes lit up after seeing all the cool cultural items on the displayed table. Throughout the week some students decided to take pictures with some of the items, while others really enjoyed dancing to the cultural music. The different flags of the world were also a great hit and everyone was fascinated at the different ways that countries represent themselves across the world. I think Spain’s flag might have been the class favorite because of the coat of arms and bright colors. My student’s were tourists for the week and they had so much fun taking part in all of the activities I set up, learning about different cultures, and seeing how people from across the globe lived. Here are some of the students' favorite activities for the week!

Circle Time

Circle time is an activity I try to incorporate into every week’s theme. It is a great way for my students to practice their social skills while at the same time improving their public speaking ability. This is such an important skill to have and in my experience, the more students practice when they are young the less nervous they are in situations as they grow older. The big bear class students are all so encouraging and supportive of their classmates. I am always so impressed with how polite, respectful, and encouraging they are of other students when they are speaking.

This week during circle time we practiced saying hello to each other in a different language. We also talked about packing a suitcase for a trip. I asked my students “what would you bring in your suitcase?” and we went around the room, with each student talking about what they would bring. One shouted, “Ms Sandra it depends on the weather and location”, after that we all agreed it should be a trip to the beach with beautiful sunny weather. Some students wanted to bring their bikes, a favorite toy, toothbrushes, pets, and even bedtime stories. Others wanted to bring a picture of their families, their brothers and sisters, and parents. Overall circle time was a great experience this week and my students loved talking about what they would bring on a trip as well as listening to what their classmates would do differently.

Where in the world?

This was a fun activity for the Big Bear Cubs where they had to look at labels of things around the classroom and find out where they were made. After that, they went to their maps and put a sticker on the country that their item was made in. My students got to learn the names of many different countries and used their deductive reasoning skills to figure out where that country was located.

World Wide Art

Art is an important aspect of every preschool classroom and mine is no different. My students love being creative and I love coming up with artistic activities that help push and challenge their artistic sides. This week one of our art activities was making suitcases! I had my students cut out handles and then use construction paper to make their own travel suitcase. We also put together passports, and added a stamp each time we did an activity from another country.

Japanese Music and Tea

Here is a picture of my students trying some tea while listening to traditional Japanese music. I found Japanese music to be quite soothing and relaxing, the perfect combination to a nice cup of tea. This was a week somewhat light on science, but I tried to incorporate some scientific information into the tea drinking. Before putting the tea bag in their cups I asked the the Big Bear Cubs, “will the tea bag sink or float?”, “what will the tea smell like?”, “what will it taste like?”, “what will happen to the water?”. I challenged my students to think critically about what might happen and verbally express their thoughts before they made their tea. Learning to express their ideas is a big part of what I am emphasizing for my students and the more opportunities they have to talk about what they are thinking and feeling, the better their communication and critical thinking skill will become. My students also got to practice they motor skills and dexterity by practicing writing some Japanese characters!

Cultural Cooking

This was a huge hit, and one of my students' absolute favorites! Food is an important part of a person’s culture, and can provide a deep connection to family or country. By exposing the big bear cubs to diverse cooking, my students gained knowledge about food from around the world. In addition, they learned why certain cultures eat certain types of food and what those foods meant to different groups of people. We picked fun and easy recipes, and some of their favorites were churros, sushi and sandwiches. During cooking and eating I asked my students to try and detect the different smells and flavors of what we were making.

We also talked about how foods are grown and produced, and how a country's location can have a big impact on the food they grow and eat. In addition, we learned a little bit about how food is prepared, served, and handled safely. On our last day of around the world theme we had a food challenge. I had my students try different cultural foods while wearing a blindfold, and they had to guess what part of the country that food was from. We had so much fun trying all types of foods and some of the guesses turned out to be very accurate!

Cameras and Pictures

Throughout the week I gave the big bear cubs cameras so that they could take pretend pictures to remember the activities they enjoy the most. Having students slow down, and remember which activities they enjoyed the most is a great way to subtly encourage students to reflect on what they have learned, helping to cement the knowledge that otherwise might be forgotten quickly.

Next week’s theme (feeling and emotions)

Upcoming next week is a theme that I think is extremely important: feelings and emotions. Throughout each day, children experience a wide range of feelings, sometimes changing hour to hour or sometimes changing from one minute to the next. As a teacher, my goal is not just to teach academics but to teach skills that help my students recognize and manage their own emotions and treat others with compassion and respect. Next week my students will learn to understand their emotions, express what they are feeling, and recognize when they might need to ask for help. Get ready for a fun and important week!

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