Thursday, November 26, 2015

T Is For Turkey

I try to write down the "quotable quotes" my students say on a regular basis, I'm sure I will have acquired enough for a book in no time. This week's quote came from a 4 year old in response to previewing Mother Goose Time's special Thanksgiving activity guide.

"Kairu sensei, a brown peacock!"
The funnier part is that other teachers asked multiple ages of Japanese students what animal this picture represents, and they ALL said,"Peacock!" As Americans, we take for granted things that are ingrained in our cultural celebrations that other countries have no familiarity with. Case it point, turkeys! Since they are native to North America it's completely understandable that people on the other side of the world would mistake them for their frilly feathered cousins.

Being in Japan, where there are no turkeys (or goldfish crackers), necessitated a few modifications to the Thanksgiving activities provided by MGT. It was still a fun-filled day with lots of opportunities to learn and practice new words and ideas. 

We read The THANKFUL Book by Todd Parr (my favorite children's book author) and talked about the many things we're thankful for. Sadly, we ran out of time to add our colorful feathers to our "I am thankful" turkey poster. 

For centers, they used bubble wrap and ink pads to make "fancy" corn prints. Nine out of ten children managed to NOT get ink all over their  hands in the process. Woohoo! The kids were a bit perplexed when I told them that Indian corn is not generally used for eating at Thanksgiving, but mostly for decoration. They were satisfied with the edible corn options used later in the turkey snack. 

 In the math center, they counted and added turkey manipulatives and "fancy" foam corn beads. 

Instead of "turkey bowling", as suggested in the activity guide, I cut out the 10 turkeys and let each child choose what number they wanted to tape on the letter "T" page of their little journals. I differentiated the journal activity for the varying skill levels. The results were totally adorable! Number 9 "ran away" so I copied the #6 turkey and turned it upside down. OOPS! 

Finally, we made a very Japanese version of the turkey snack, with dried edemame, and fall shaped crackers (the Japanese equivalent of goldfish crackers) for the feathers. Japan loves their popcorn, so the kids had plenty of options. They got to choose between regular, cheesy, or "apple pie" flavored popcorn to fill up the rest of the turkey glove. I discovered that teaching them the turkey call actually turned out to be quite a tongue twister for preschoolers. They kept saying,"Gobble, bobble!" It was too cute! 

Although I am missing celebrating my favorite holiday with family on the other side of the world, I am thankful for the opportunity I have to teach these wonderful students about turkeys...and all the other important stuff!

Happy Thanksgiving!!

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