This week, Lightning asked the students if they could research what a change-maker was. Our friend Felicity the fairy told Lightning that if he wanted to see an example of a change-maker he should learn about Harriet Tubman. The students loved hearing stories about Harriet Tubman. We found out she was born into slavery in Maryland the 1820s. Even though it was dangerous, Harriet knew slavery was not right and she escaped to freedom on the Underground Railroad. The students said she had personal power because she was brave and listened to her heart. During her life, Harriet brought over 300 slaves to freedom. Even though there was a $40, 000 reward for her capture, Harriet made 19 trips back to the South to free as many people from slavery as she could.
After we had heard a couple of different versions of Harriet's life story, the students made Harriet Tubman puppets and used the puppet theatre to act out her story. They also helped illustrate and add material to a book about Harriet Tubman.
During sensory play, the students played with different symbols around the Underground Railroad. Our weekly batch of play dough also explored this theme. During our block play the student built a path of safe houses to represent the Underground Railroad.
Other books we explored this week included the Howard B. Wigglebottom series. This bouncy bunny really illustrates what personal power looks like. He is a brave character who listens to his heart even when he is scared. The students reflected on how this made him stronger. Another book we read was about Dr. Temple Grandin. Temple Granin has autism and as a girl was mistreated for not acting the same as her classmates. This amazing change-maker taught the students about how thinking differently is a gift. Her ability to see things in a new way made her an incredible inventor and make positive changes in the world. Another change-maker we studied was Misty Copeland who was the first African-American principal dancer for the American Ballet Theater.
To further explore how we can be change-makers, the students reflected on what they had done over the week to help others. We started working on the squares of our Kindness Quilt. Stay tuned for the finished product of this wonderful artwork.
Seeing how responsible the students were and how determined they were to help one another. We decided it was time to give the students official classroom jobs. The students rose to this occasion. The best part was that when they had each completed their jobs during tidy up time they looked to see if anyone else needed help. Another monumental event that took place was that this week each day the students all helped one another get their backpacks on. The kindergarten team stood back and watched as each student helped their friends get their backpacks off the fence and put it on their backs. We were so proud of them.
As a final positive contribution to our classroom community, the students continued to write Happy Monday Messages for one another. After having modeled this skill for them for the past 6 months, the students were ready to take this responsibility on themselves.