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Friday, February 21, 2014

{Presidents, Elections & Patriotism}

We started this week with an in-service day for our teachers, but school for us at the ECDC on President's Day. The theme of our week was "Could you be our next president?" Some concepts and themes are challenging to make relevant for our very young children and this was one of those. However, I've really wanted to use the PBL approach for one of our topics and this seemed like the perfect opportunity! Since most of our parents are teachers in the district, they know what PBL is, but for grandparents, friends and visitors, here's a brief explanation!
The first step in PBL is usually a driving question or questions that the children want to know the answers to. So we began our journey with a group discussion and shared what we know and thought about what we wanted to know.
From there we came up with some questions we really wanted to find out the answers to. Here are our driving questions:
The second step of PBL is critical thinking and research. With a good starting point I pulled out the ipads and set them to the Grapevine Public Library. We broke up into groups and searched using some keywords we had brainstormed.
Ms. Rachel picked them up for us and we had them by the next morning! The peas were thrilled to see the very books they had reserved. I think it peaked their interest even more. By the way, Duck for President is an adorable book!
Pre-K 2 started their week making these patriotic liberty wreaths. 
I love these guys, great work!
Another important component of PBL is collaboration. So Pre-K 1 continued our project by working collaboratively to make a class book about the president.
The girls started the project, but don't worry, the boys joined in soon after.

 Anyone could come over to contribute to the books which is why there is different handwriting on some of the same pages. Nine peas contributed to these six pages. There are even more pages, but I couldn't get them all in. Please come by our classroom and check them out! We are VERY proud of them! 
During our research about what it means to be president, we found this book:
This spurred a great interest in the White House so we began doing White House related activities.
We printed pictures to add to blocks so we could construct the White House in blocks.
We also experimented with shapes and made our own variations of the White House!
I love this because he was trying to recreate the columns. So smart!
Here's a few:
 Next, Ms. Amy gave us a fun book to color about President's Day.

Pre-K 2 discussed the presidents that appear on coins and did a coin activity that involved counting and sorting!
I love this concentration!
Amy and Rhonda found this book which we all highly recommend. It was perfect for our kids, simple and engaging. We loved it! This led Pre-K 2 into a discussion about the flag and the pledge.
They created their own flags in class.

They tore the paper for their flags for some bonus fine motor practice.
While they were discussing symbols of freedom and liberty, they also discussed the Bald Eagle and made these precious eagles in class.
Yes, those are a foot and two hands. Adorable!
Here's one majestic eagle completed. :)
Pre-K 1 continued to try and answer our question about what it means to be president by thinking about what qualities a president should have.
The peas came up with these on their own. Angela and I were really impressed. They say: caring, kind, honest, smart, and good listener.
After all this discussion we decided that now we knew about the president, we needed to learn about elections and voting. So we decided we needed to hold an election! We needed something to have an election about, so we brainstormed that, too.
After deciding, we all chose which party we were in-pizza or ice cream. Ms. Angela headed up the Ice Cream Campaign and I helped them Pizza Campaign. Next, we discussed speeches. We set up a podium so that we could give speeches convincing our friends why our ideas for a pizza (or ice cream) party were best!
We broke into groups and chose several people to represent our respective parties.
Then the speeches went underway.
Some of the speeches were very convincing!
After giving speeches, we made campaign posters. The groups separated and made their own posters.

The Ice Cream Campaign was very organized.
We asked what kinds of things they wanted on the posters, then we helped by telling them how to spell the words or writing them out to copy.
 Here's one finished poster for Ice Cream.
Here's one for hot yummy cheesy vote for pizza!
We also registered everyone to vote. You could only place a vote if you were in our class, and you had to show your voter id card to receive a ballot.
We used tri-fold display boards to make voting booths.
When the big day came, we set up everything like the pictures we had researched.
The beginning of the line for voting.
The booths and ballot box.
This girl was in charge of checking voter registration cards and issuing ballots. She took the job very seriously and was very committed!
The registration table.
And finally, here are some voters casting their votes.

After voting they received a sticker!
Here's a happy voter!
Later Ms. Angela counted the votes and one of our peas tallied them on the white board.
The winner was ICE CREAM!
So we wrapped up the week with the fruits of our labor, an ice cream party of course! It included all the toppings promised in the campaign because it's important to give your voters what you promise! ;)
 We ended the day making videos of what we learned using the Sock Puppet App. One of the awesome teachers I observed showed me this app and it's great for comprehension, sharing and retelling. It was our first time using it, so the ones I'm sharing aren't too lengthy but they're still really cute. They had fun making them with their friends and erasing and remaking them. Here's just a few:
That wraps up our PBL week at the ECDC. We had a ton of fun! And for even more fun, you can visit ECDC's Facebook page to check out Ms. Molly's pictures of our Inauguration Day and all of the Presidents and First Ladies. Have a wonderful weekend!