Friday, November 20, 2015

As the weather gets cooler, or as we refer to it in Texas, ‘less hot’, the leaves begin to turn brown and fall of the trees, and our first graders’ settle into the routines and daily life of first grade, we begin to turn our attentions to the holiday season. With Thanksgiving fast approaching and Christmas, Hanukkah, and Kwanza celebrations following, our Social Studies TEKS in first grade focus heavily upon holidays and their traditions.

In both my classroom and Ms. Hernandez’s, we have been discussing Thanksgiving and the things in our lives that we are thankful for. This type of open dialogue always brings such positive and heartwarming conversations. My students discussed how they are thankful they have basic needs like food, water, and shelter. Some shared they are thankful they have an older sister or younger brother to play with. One student expressed that she was thankful because she has ‘the best bus driver ever’. After our talks, I thought a great way to visually show how thankful we are was to create a thankful tree. To start, each student was given three leaves. On each, they were able to write something they were thankful for. Following our lesson I began assembling our tree. As I stapled my student’s leaves onto the tree, I read each, and reflected. It was amazing to read each of my student’s personal thanks. They were able to express in just a few words what they are grateful for and what makes them happy in their lives. This activity was not only a great precursor for all of our holiday discussions, but also a rewarding one.  So next time you have a spare moment, I invite you to come by the first grade hallway to view our thankful tree and read some of the things our first grade students, at OHE, are thankful for.