Tuesday, July 5, 2011

A Growing Family Tree

A few years back a child in one of my classes was awaiting the arrival of a baby brother.  The classroom teacher of this preschooler asked me to create a lesson to address this upcoming event.  My challenge was to create a lesson  that was not too literal, could be univeral to all the children in the class as well as address the needs of this particular student.  This is what I came up with:

Music For The Lesson

I used Tom Paxton's Family Tree song for this lesson.  If you do not know who Tom Paxton is check out is website:  http://www.tomchapin.com/index.html  He is one of the best folk singers of his era and is an incredible song writer. 

Here is the excerpt of the song:

Before the days of Jello
Lived a prehistoric fellow,
Who loved a maid and courted her
Beneath the banyan tree.
And they had lots of children.
And their children all had children.
And they kept on having children
Until one of them had me!

We're a family and we're a tree.
Our roots go deep down in history
From my great-great-granddaddy reaching up to me,
We're a green and growing family tree.

To listen to the song or to download it check out:  http://www.tomchapin.com/docs/listen.html
Dance Activity
Walk in a circle holding hands and sing the chorus of the song.  Invite a child to dance in the center of the circle as everyone keeps moving counterclockwise.  Invite another child in and have them dance together.  Keep adding children until the entire class is dancing together.  Then direct them back to the circle.  Do this a few times.  Have them talk about the activity. 
  1.  How did they feel when they were dancing and other children joined in? 
  2.  What does the song mean to them? 
  3.  What happens when a family grows?
  4. Is there room for everybody? 
  5. Was it fun to dance with many people?
There is no right or wrong answer.  Do no lead the children to an answer.  Let them explore their feelings. 
Have fun exploring what an expanding family tree means to you and the children in your life!

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