I read a new story every week and it didn’t take long for some children to start creating books with their own story versions or to tell the stories again using materials.
The stories became very popular and an area was set up to help the children further explore the Aboriginal stories.
Open and natural materials, along with small plastic and plasticine forest animals, were designed to offer a variety of ways that children can use the materials to express their learning and story telling.
The children chose to work independently, with a partner, or in a small group to tell a story of their choice.
Every time a story was shared with peers, the children improved their public speaking skills and were better prepared by taking the time to practice their story.
Stories are not just entertaining. They help us learn. Stories were the primary teaching aid for many First Nation people, and storytelling is still very important today. There was a story for every event, natural feature or animal.
As we studied the stories more closely and compared their similarities and differences, the children learned more about the characters and lessons that some of the stories provided. Some of the stories related to joking, bullying, fear and deception, while others illustrated courage and bravery, friendship and kindness.
During the sketching time, I decided to show the children some Aboriginal art on the northwest coast and in Ojibwa.
At the beginning of the sketch session, I modeled sketching a hummingbird. I noticed the lines, shapes, colors, and designs found in my hummingbird artwork as well as in the many other artworks that you could choose from. I let the children experiment with snipers and oil pastels. I have to admit I had a little change of heart when I started modeling the hummingbird sketch. I found it pretty difficult and worried about how the kids would mess around. I didn’t want them to get frustrated, but I wanted them to at least try. But I was pleasantly surprised at how much they enjoyed the experience and in their connection with the animal they outlined.
The children wondered why animals were used to tell many of the stories. I was so happy when I found the book “Sometimes I feel like a fox”.
The stories of the Aborigines that we read are full of life lessons that highlight many character traits through the use of animal protagonists. As we learned more about the meaning of the stories, we also learned about the meaning that each of the animal characters had.
Totem animals serve as guides and their importance teaches positive lessons for life. While discussing the importance of some totem animals, we also took the time to think about our own strengths. Through these discussions about building knowledge, the children were able to choose a totem animal with which they identified best.
Acts of kindness …
At the same time, the children learned what it means to be and do kind things. During a discussion, KC suggested that maybe we could do a number of friendly things in our classroom.
The children liked this idea and took up the idea of SF. Use sticky notes to write down the kind acts you noticed from your peers and put the sticky notes in the “Kindness Jar”.
Growth of an idea …
When our school toy trip came to an end, the children looked pretty sad one morning because they could no longer donate toys. I said if they wanted we could make a donation in the classroom ourselves. The children seemed to be enthusiastic about the idea and suggested what could be donated!
- Money – EB
- Books – CT
- Clothing – KC
- Colored pencils – TH
- Paper – JB
- Cat food – DF
- Dog food – WC and CW
Ella had a wonderful suggestion that everyone seemed to really like. She wanted all children to make cards for animals. But a few kids wanted to know how the cards would help animals since they couldn’t read? After some discussion, SF suggested selling the tickets and donating the money to an animal shelter.
The card creations …
One day on the way to the gym, EB told me that she had a great idea what the kids could sketch on the cards for the animals. She suggested that the children sketch and paint their totem animal!
Below are the cards that appear on our bulletin board outside of our classroom. DF suggested selling them for $ 10, which I thought was appropriate given the effort involved in creating the maps. Under each card is an explanation that explains why they chose the totem animal that best represents their own character.
After the cards were ready, PMC asked if he could talk to Mr. Nigro (Headmaster) about whether he could make an announcement about our card fundraiser. DF then suggested that the class put some posters on the school so other classes and teachers know we are selling the Toronto Humane Society and Toronto Wildlife Center tickets!
KC and DF write their announcement speech.
EB sorts the money we have collected so far from some of the cards sold.
Use pearls to count how much money we got from selling some of our cards!
The cards have only been available for a few days. We have already raised $ 270! We are excited to see how much more we collect in another week!
Thank you to everyone who supported our fundraiser. I couldn’t be more proud of the children who have a friendly idea to help animals in need.
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