A very special little girl in senior kindergarten has lived with her foster family since birth, and one day this spring she announced that she had exciting news. I quieted the class and asked her to share it with everyone. My heart burst with happiness when she told us that her mom and dad were adopting her! All of the students were eager to know what adoption meant. Before I launched into a long complicated explanation, I asked my little girl if she could explain it to the class. "Yes, " she answered confidently, "It means that I get to live with my mom and my dad and my sister and my brother forever and ever."
I explained to the class that this was a big deal and asked them if they would like to help my student and her family celebrate. "Yes!" they said enthusiastically, "Let's have a party!" And so began another interdisciplinary project-based learning experience in Mrs. Caldwell's kindergarten classroom!
Here's what we did:
1) through shared writing on our SMART Board, we wrote a letter to Mrs. Masson (our principal) asking for permission to have a party.
2) used shared writing to write another letter to our custodian asking if he would help us set up our party.
3) once we got approval, we made a to-do list. Our lists basically serve as my lesson plan and guide the project. We refer to it several times a day to stay on track. Based on the list, I design learning experiences based on K curricula to give my students the skills they need to successfully complete the project.
4) we used shared writing to print a guest list. We included school board members, senior administration, all families, all staff members, the student's bus driver, and Child and Family Services workers. We decided to collect donations at the door for Child and Family Services Foundation to help kids and families in care.
5) we used a hundred chart on the SMART Board to track how many people were invited and how many people replied that they were coming. We printed numbers from 1-100 as we tracked attendance.
6) we designed invitations using Microsoft Publisher. We focused on ethical and responsible use as we created our own images rather than use someone else's work. The students decided on a dress code: pink for the girls and handsome clothes for the boys.
9) we wrote a post on our classroom Facebook page requesting that families send pink food and pink drinks for the party as it was my little girl's favourite colour.
10) we folded invitations in half (great math connection) and addressed envelopes (visual-motor coordination was strengthened as we copied off the SMART Board).
11) we made decorations for the classroom, all in pink of course, and a huge B for the door with pictures of our special student.
12) we selected two songs to perform: Skinnamarink and I Love You, You Love Me (from Barney)
13) we wrote a classroom Facebook post asking parents to send a family picture to Mrs. Caldwell
14) we used Animoto to make a movie of all our families. We wanted our party to celebrate ALL families!
15) we designed a special framed picture of our student for everyone to sign as a guest book.
Here's what the big day looked like! It was a huge success and we raised $113 for Child and Family Services Foundation. My student and her family were honoured, and it was so emotional and touching to celebrate such an important event.