As we come to the end of October, it is time to think about the many things we can be thankful for. We are blessed to live in a country where freedom is available for everyone. This is huge and we need to always remember that there are many places where this is not true.
I have been retired for 2 years now, but I still volunteer at the school and I like to be able to participate in the Remembrance Day assembly and some of the activities leading up to it in the classrooms. It is so heartwarming to see that the teachers are still spending a significant amount of time sharing this important message with children.
In Canada, we celebrate Remembrance Day, and in the USA, they celebrate Veterans Day. Our celebrations may differ slightly, but they are similar in one respect. They are a day to give thanks and remember. We have freedom because of the actions taken by our veterans. We would not have that luxury if it wasn't for their sacrifices both many years ago and still today.
War is a reality in many countries and it is important that our students understand this. War is not a glamorized video game or action movie, it is a dangerous and painful situation that many children live with every day. They also need to see that they are able to do something to help make a difference even as children.
I love using videos to help kids to see what peace can be. Here is a link to a former post that I wrote that has several videos on it that we would watch the week before Remembrance Day. They led to many very important discussions.
Below is one of my favourites.
I hope that these thoughts will be helpful for you as you prepare to share this important time with you classes. If you would like some more materials to use in your classroom, check out the Remembrance Day/Veterans Day category in my TPT store for several free products.
As we approach November 11, we focus on peace around the world. Children often feel that they can't do much to make a difference in the world. This is where we can help them to understand that they are the key to peace.
In the movie Pay It Forward, a class was challenged to come up with a change they could make in the world. This is when the idea of paying it forward was made popular. One boy's idea had the potential to change the world and make it a better place for many people.
Doing acts of kindness is a perfect way for children to help make positive changes in the world. Friendship is one way of sharing peace and spreading positive feelings. What better way to remember those who fought to give us peace than to spread peace to others through friendship.
As we get closer to Christmas, thinking about giving instead of getting is another way that we can spread goodwill and cheer to others around us. We have been blessed with many things. Here is hoping that we can help to bless others by sharing peace and kindness.
On November 11th, Canadians took time out to remember our veterans. Here is the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier and the National War Memorial in our nation's capital. This was just one of the places where ceremonies took place. Ceremonies of remembrance also took place at towns and cities across the country.
This year I had the privilege of working in a classroom of a colleague prior to Remembrance Day. It was a special time to share ideas and discuss what Peace is all about. We began with a few videos and some discussion around them. If you would like to see them, click here to read about them in an earlier post.
The next day, we discussed what Remembrance Day was about and why we had it. Here are some of the ideas that we came up with.
After discussing war and who veterans were, we talked about Peace. We brainstormed what it is and then we shared examples of peace. We also talked about a kindness explosion. I showed them the following poster and we talked about how children can make a difference by spreading kindness and getting along with others. We tried to imagine what it would be like to have everyone in the gym create the model of paying it forward. This would be fun to do sometime.
After all of our brainstorming, the children wrote poems about peace. They were to come up with 4 things and then end it with "Let's all live in peace." Here is the template they used. If you right click on the image you can download a copy.
To encourage them to do their best writing and to help them with the concept of draft and good copy, they were given a colored copy after the draft was complete and edited. They then did the good copy on the colored template. This concept of having to rewrite the poem was difficult for some.
Here are the final copies of their poems. The colors pop and make for a great bulletin board display.
These pictures were hanging in the hotel that I stayed in on the weekend. I thought they were perfect for this time of the year, so I am sharing them with you.
Let's focus on what is right in the world and how we can work towards a world of peace, especially in light of what is happening around us right now.
In Canada, October means Fall, Thanksgiving, Gratitude, Halloween and Fun. It is a great time to use seasonal material to engage students in learning. When I began teaching, I did the basics for Fall and Thanksgiving, and then I spent lots of time with Halloween ideas. As time went on, this shifted. I began to focus more on Thanksgiving and gratitude and I kept Halloween activities for the end of the month.
Teaching about gratitude and kindness is so important. I believe that this is one of the most important things we can share with others. If people have an attitude of gratitude, and develop giving natures, the world will be a better place. This poster shows just how acts of kindness can cause an explosion if we all get involved.
I have created several products that focus on Fall and Thanksgiving. To see the details, click on the images below.
As Halloween approaches, the following activities will keep children engaged.
I wish everyone an exciting and fun-filled October and I look forward to seeing some of the blog posts of fall adventures.
Christmas is in the air and lights and decorations are springing up everywhere. The weather is getting brisk and snow is beginning to fall. The kids are getting excited and starting to talk about Santa and his reindeer. Elf on the shelf stories will soon start taking over sharing time, and school work will have a Christmas theme.
As we think about all of this hustle and bustle and we get caught up with the shopping and presents and parties, it is good to slow down for a moment and think about the giving and sharing and gratitude that are also a part of the season. Sometimes it is so easy to get focused on the commercialism of the season. Maybe we need to step back and think about why we are doing all of this.
Every year, I do something with my class to help them to focus on the random acts of kindness that they can do to make Christmas a more special time for others. I have noticed that many other teacher bloggers that I follow are doing the same thing. Maybe that is why these people are some of my favorites. We seem to have a similar philosophy for many things.
I want my students to understand that they can make a difference in other people's lives. It is so rewarding to hear the stories of some of the things they do with their families when they put the focus on giving and sharing instead of receiving.
I just created some writing papers to use for Christmas letters or other writing activities. I would like to share these with others. If you would like a copy, click here.
Happy December everyone! I hope you have many wonderful moments with your students.
,Remembrance Day is a special time for remembering our veterans and those whose are currently serving in the military to allow us to live in a country that is free from war. Many of us never had to experience times of war and it is a difficult concept for some children to understand. All they know is what is shown and dramatized on television and in movies and video games.
This year, we were given a glimpse of what it might have been like when a soldier was killed while standing guard at the tomb of the unknown soldier. It was a sober reminder that, although we are a country at peace, many others are not and we need to continue to protect our country and help others protect theirs.
During the last few years, I have spent several days prior to November 11 sharing information, stories, videos, and songs with my students. I feel that it is important that they understand that they can make a difference. I also focus on acts of kindness and bucket filling throughout this time. It is a natural thing to continue to discuss this as we begin talking about it right at the beginning of the year. We discuss being thankful and caring at Thanksgiving, and then we continue to focus on peaceful and caring things we can do during November. That makes it easy to think of others when it comes to Christmas time as well.
This is an important time for many others as well. In Canada we call it Remembrance Day, but in other places it may be call Veterans Day or Memorial Day. The message still rings true no matter what the name. We have freedom because of the selfless acts of our veterans and military. I created these products for my students with that in mind.
I love the symbolism of the poppy. It really helps us to remember our veterans and it is always connected to November 11. I think it is great to reflect on the fact that it is the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month that we celebrate this time.
I love helping my students to understand how acts of kindness can make a difference. This poster shows how dramatic this can be if one person shares 3 acts of kindness and they continue to do the same.
This is one of the first products I made. I did a version for the Smartboard and a pdf version. It is still one of my favourites because it uses some video clips that are very powerful and it helps in explaining what we are trying to remember.
This is an attendance activity for the Smartboard. It is a fun way to sign in when arriving in the morning. You can change the names to fit your class. There are 30 poppies. The poppies will fly off the page. Just click on the image to get your free copy.
I hope that you will find this time of remembrance to be thought provoking and special as you share with your students. I know it is always a special time of sharing and discussion in my classroom.
As November 11th approaches, I wish to say thank you to all the veterans in my community, as well as my country and beyond, for your selfless efforts to obtain and maintain peace around the world.
Wow! It is hard to believe that it is Christmas! It was so busy this last few weeks at school, I didn't even get a chance to do a recap on all that was happening in my classroom. It may be late, but I am going to do a quick glance back at what we were up to.
Let's start with our focus on Peace and Remembrance Day in November. My students wrote poems about Peace and they did many different activities to focus on what our world would be like if we all were kind to each other. We talked about doing random acts of kindness and paying it forward to others.
We continued with the focus on Peace during our student-led conferences. One of the activities that the children did with their parents was an acrostic poem about Peace. This was a great chance to discuss the importance of peace together.
Another activity that my parents did with their children was a baby block glyph activity. It was so much fun watching them share stories about when the kids were babies. The next day we looked at the glyphs and did some Math with them. There were so many different things to compare and contrast. See the list below of all the information we were able to find out about.
As we neared the end of November, it was time to begin thinking about Christmas. We continued with the theme of kindness and about focusing on giving rather than receiving. This began our quest to do Random Acts of Christmas Kindness. It was heartwarming to hear the stories of the different RACKs they did as they took this on.
It would not be Christmas without letters to Santa. To top it all off, they all received personal letters back from Santa. Our newspaper also posted Santa letters throughout the paper. Here are a few of them.
I love Christmas stories. I have so many books about Christmas, that I didn't need to sign them out from our school library. Here is one of my favorites. It is so beautifully illustrated and the story is so sweet.
After reading it, the children did before and after drawings.
Of course, we did many other holiday activities and the Christmas theme was evident in our Language Arts and Math lessons. There are too many to showcase here, but I am very grateful to my teacher friends for all of their wonderful products. They have really added to my lessons.
Well, there you have it. A brief synopsis of our last few weeks. I wish I had some pictures of some of the crafts and other activities to show you, but I have not been very good at remembering to take pictures during the activities.
Have a wonderful holiday break and enjoy the time with your family and friends. I look forward to sharing more with you in the new year.
This is just a quick post to let you know about a project I am doing with my class. Instead of the typical countdown calendar to Christmas, we are doing 24 Random Acts of Christmas Kindness (RACK).
This ties in well with our focus on paying it forward and creating a kindness explosion. You can read about that in my earlier post Paying It Forward.
I have created a product and posted it in my TpT store so that others may do the same if they wish. Just click on the image above to get your copy. It is available for free for this season.
This is a poster I created to show my students just how quickly we could create an explosion of kindness. I originally made one using poppies for my Remembrance Day/Veterans Day package, but I wanted to have one that could be used any time of the year, so I created this one using kids. It is available in my TpT store. Click here or on the image to get a copy.
Today is Remembrance Day in Canada and Veterans Day in the USA. Don't forget to honor our veterans by taking a moment to remember. Here is my poppy version of Paying It Forward. In honor of our veterans, let's start a kindness explosion.
What an incredibly busy and exciting end to January and beginning for February.
To start off with, I was home sick for three days last week and then I returned to madly prepare for Groundhog Day on Friday. We had a busy day doing activities that related to that furry fellow who was going to tell us if we were in for an early spring or a long winter.
Finally, but most exciting for me, is that my daughter had a little baby boy early Monday morning and I was able to take the time off work to come and be with her at this special time. Makaio, almost 5, is the big brother and Kalena, almost 3, is the big sister. They are very excited about their little baby brother. Makaio and Kalena received very special presents for this occasion. They each got a personalized alphabet book. They were so excited to get these books and see their own life pictures inside them.
About Me Charlene Sequeira
I am a wife, mother of 4, grandmother of 9, and a retired primary and music teacher. I love working with kids and continue to volunteer at school and teach ukulele.