Thursday, 2 April 2015

A very fun, educative, and busy 4 day week!

The week started off with a Latvian tradition of decorating Easter eggs with various bits and pieces from the natural world around us, including: moss, grass, flowers, rice, oats and leaves. The eggs were decorated with these, wrapped in onion skins and material, and then bound with string. The eggs were boiled and the carefully unwrapped. Each egg unique and beautiful!

On Tuesday and Wednesday we enjoyed the International Days where we participated in the Parade of Nations and celebrated all 41 country flags that ISR students and staff represent! Students had experienced workshops which are outlined below. On Wednesday we inquired into the many country tables set up in the gym and identified flag colours, dress, and even tasted some lovely foods.  At the end of the day we also enjoyed the performance where several countries participated… even some of our preschool students!

The busy week concluded with a field trip to the Latvian Ethnographic Museum were we climbed a big hill and scared away the Winter Witch by calling out magic words. We even found some lovely shiny chocolate eggs that a bunny must have left behind for us to collect and enjoy!

Preschool International Activities:

The students were allocated to mixed age groups and each group rotated, and experienced, each of the four Preschool International Day activities!

Activity 1 – One of the activity groups started the Listen To Us theme by reflecting upon the Parade of Nations and the song ‘Listen To Us’ that all students and staff sang after they so proudly walked behind their flag.
What does this mean, listen to us?

What sounds do we hear around us?  What are the sounds that we hear in the nature (birds, rain, wind…). These are like instruments of nature. But what other instruments do you know? The students shared their prior knowledge regarding the instruments they know of and we discussed the different groups they belong to including: wind, string, percussion, and voice. Then we discussed what materials instruments can be made of. Some identified that instruments can be made of wood, metal (or gold!), leather, and plastic. But can we make an instrument out of paper, cardboard, rice and beans? Let’s try!!!

Students made their very own colourful shakers of exactly these materials! We played a game Go (green), Stop (red) and played and kept silent our shakers. Finally, we recorded our handmade instruments and then played back our recordings! We could really hear our own efforts!!!

Activity 2
This activity had the focus of sound and voice recognition.  Blind folded students had to follow a sound made in the room made by tapping two spoons together. Another was to recognize pre-recorded sentences of teachers. Some teachers were easy to guess, however, some were quite hard! Then one of the teachers hid behind the curtain and made various sounds for us and we had to guess how these sounds were being made. That was so interesting! Do you know how a bouncing ball sounds? And what sound does a marker make when you take it’s lid/top off and press it back on? Through these activities we learned that listening carefully is very important!

Activity 3
During this activity we learned to recognize how basic emotions like: happy, sad, angry/mad, and scared sound like. Then we watched two very good bunny friends play together and suddenly getting mad at each other because they were not able to share a toy. How can we help? Luckily we noticed the 5-step Penguin anger control instructions on the wall: 

1)      Recognizing that we are losing control
2)      Stop!
3)      (deeply) breathe in – Breathe out
4)      Stay cool (shake hands, move around a little to help oneself calm down)
5)      Yes! I am cool and ready to play again!

We practiced all 5 steps and taught them to the bunnies.
Then we sang a song about emotions (“If you’re happy and you know it…”)
It was fun to learn about emotions! J

Activity 4
The fourth activity was a story time The Bear in the Cave by Micheael Rosen and illustrated by Adrian Reynolds. This book opened the door to exploring the Active Listening strategy that the school applies during SFA, and other, daily activities. When we practice active listening then we: 

1)      Sit still
2)      Keep our hands on our lap
3)      Look at the speaker, and
4)      Don’t talk

All important things to remember when we are the active listeners. These strategies help us focus and open our ears, eyes, and minds to learning.

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