Today in school when my kindergardeners arrived they were bubbling over with excitement when they came to circle time.
"We have a new President. Obama"
"It's Barack Obama and he's the color of Cora."
"The color of Navaeh, too."
"He's Martin Luther King's brother."
"No he isn't. Just because he's brown he's not his brother."
"Isn't he his brother, Mrs. Evans."
"Well, let me see. On one hand, he is not Martin's brother. They didn't have the same Mom and Dad. Martin lived long ago and right now if he ......"
"He was killed, huh. Martin was."
"Yes, he was assassinated."
"That means he was shot with a gun and that's why you don't like guns."
"You are right. I do not like guns and in this class we do not even pretend we are using one. But let's get back to yesterday. How many of you at home saw Barack Obama become our President?" Most hands went up. We continued to discuss what they had seen on television.
I think circle time is probably the most important part of our day. We have what I call "Grand Conversations". We discuss all kinds of things including why teeth fall out, where doggies go when they die, and how come Moms and Dads get divorced. It's a time where they can share their stories...their fears...their questions. Everything is open to discussion. Last week when we were learning about Martin Luther King, the question of skin color came up and we spent some time comparing eye color, hair texture, etc. In the end we discovered that we all are different but we are all the same in many ways.
After circle time, we had our reading lesson and then it was time for journals. Each day my children are asked to "write" in a journal. Although I do not give prompts, the children know the journal entry has to be about themselves. In September, they mostly illustrate an idea. By the beginning of November, when they have some letters and sounds under their belt, they might start writing beginning and ending sounds ( I cv pmkin [I carved a pumpkin]. By December, they are feeling pretty confident about their ability to write and so I explain how I now want them to "write a sentence". Last week the stakes went up and I talked about "expanding their thoughts". What more can you say? Yes, you built a snowman. Can you tell me how you did it? What did you use for his nose? As a teacher, you know each individual child. You know how far to push in their writing.
Today I was totally blown away with Cara's entry. What detail she included in her illustration. One can certainly tell she watched the Inauguration of Obama yesterday.
(Translation: I saw Barack Obama. He was "gottin" watched by people. The people watched him be President.)
Knowing Cara's parents, I am sure they will save this journal for her....she recorded a special moment in history!