Thursday, July 21, 2011

American Symbols & Pre-Kinders

At the beginning of July, "A" and I decided to take a look at some American Symbols. I had recently picked up a used copy of Uncle Sam and Old Glory by Delno and Jean West for my classroom library, and thought it would be perfect for some quick home learning as well. I chose three of the symbols that are highlighted in the book and decided to do a craft for each one. The book has fifteen symbols that go into detail the history behind it, but with only one page and illustration for each it's not too boring for children. Some of the symbols in the book are obvious like the Statue of Liberty and the American Seal, and others were stranger like Smokey the Bear and Log Cabins. For my five year old I chose the American Flag, The Eagle, and Uncle Sam.
1. The American Flag: This craft was purposely super simple. I just found a free coloring page online of a flag and had "A" color it. I wanted him to really see that the colors and amount of things had meaning. We talked about that when we left England we wanted to not follow a King so far away that didn't understand us. We wanted to follow people we chose (the President). We fought the King and said we will be our own country now. When we won we had 13 states so we had 13 stripes and stars. We add stars for every state since then. We have 50 states. So now we have 50 stars and 13 stripes to remember how far we have come and to show honor to our country. "A" seemed to understand it even if he pronounces America-Hermerica! To make his flag a little more fun we used glitter paint for the stars. We added popsicle sticks for the pole.

2.) The Eagle: This was my favorite craft and page in the book. Did you know our national bird was almost a turkey? The craft idea came from Family Fun. I am a sucker for pictures using handprints. I think they are great for keepsakes, as a measure of growth. Family Fun has the craft done on T-Shirts which I think is super cute and will most likely do next year so the boys could have matching shirts (I'm sick-I know)!

3. Uncle Sam: This symbol "A" didn't truly understand why we had or the importance (truthfully neither do I). However, we made a cute little craft from Family Fun all the same. Family Fun has this being a pin using craft sticks. I couldn't find my craft stick (Argh) so I just used card-stock and made the face a little larger (not by much though). Other than that we followed the instructions. He turned out pretty cute.

We finished up this study with "A" playing President of the United States of "Hermerica". My 1st grade teacher friends do this with their students on President's Day and I wanted to try it with my little man. I made a silhouette of him by having him stand with his profile being against a white piece of paper tacked to the wall. Then by placing a lamp on him I was able to trace around his shadow. Then I cut the white paper and used it as a template to cut out his silhouette on black construction paper. It turned out really nice. I had wanted to do this for years but was afraid I couldn't do it properly. It always seemed too hard. Let me tell you, it was so super simple and I am kicking myself for not doing this years ago. Then I put the silhouette on card-stock and typed out "If I was President I would..." and made lines for printing. "A" first said he would help a person in a car accident. I then explained that the President is so busy and important that although he cares about people who are hurt he has to help large groups of people like older people (grandparents), women , children, etc. So then "A" decided he would "make sure all children have toys". Ha-something we discuss when we donate toys or talk about how lucky we are. "A" refuses to try to sound out words when spelling, even though he knows the phenomes. He is a perfectionist and can't stand the idea of words not being correct. So after I wrote the words he copied them in his own print on the page. What a great keepsake!

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