This year, St. James has introduce a new social studies curriculum for grades one through three. This program, Core Knowledge, has been very fun to teach. The children have already traveled to ancient Egypt and visited central American to see a few early American civilizations such as the Maya, Aztec, and Inca. To wrap up our study of the Maya and Aztec people the children had a group project to build temples. The project was designed for the students and their parents to come together, use the guidelines provided, and build realistic Aztec or Maya temples. I love being able to include parents in activities with the students. It’s so beneficial for the children to work one-on-one with their parents and develop those teamwork skills. It’s also a great way to make fun memories at school! This project could not have turned out any better. Everyone had fun, the temples were built using creativity, authenticity, and using our knowledge from our studies. I’ve never seen the children so proud of their work before, and the third graders and a fellow teachers were very impressed too.
One tradition at St. James that the children really look forward to is Book Character Day. It’s a way for first through third grade to still dress up on Halloween and include literature. It’s always so much fun for the children to choose one of their favorite books and create a costume that matches one of its characters. Lower school is buzzing about Book Character Day by October 1st. All of the students want to know who is going to dress up as whom and how to make themselves look as accurate to their character as possible. Aside from bringing literature into Halloween, the children have to present themselves in front of all of Lower School. For many of the first graders this is the first time for them to stand up in front of a group of their peers and present themselves. They have done it in years past, which gives them confidence, but it’s the first time this year and it’s a little different and in front of an older group of children. Having presentations similar to this helps build the children’s confidence in public speaking, presenting their thoughts clearly and articulately, and helps some jump over the hurdle of shyness. As a teacher, it’s neat to see the growth from the first to the second graders and the second graders to the third graders. I look forward to seeing my group of first graders grow each year. I love anything that gets children excited about books and reading! It is fun for the teachers to dress up and be a part of the fun on Halloween, too!
Looking forward to the holidays with this adventurous group of first graders! We are gearing up for Veterans Day Chapel, our Thanksgiving program, and many activities in December. Have a blessed day!