Thursday, June 3, 2010

As Busy As...

From May 28, 2010

A beehive is a finely orchestrated organic system in which every bee has a job that contributes to the overall sustainability of the entire community. Our pre-kindergarten class is also an organic system, in which all of the people have many responsibilities for taking care of themselves, each other, and the space they share. During their study of bees over the past two weeks, the children have found many ways of connecting their knowledge of communities with the information they have been learning about these fascinating insects.

“Bees are hard workers, and we are too!” exclaimed one student. During a recent morning meeting, the children sorted through a series of photo cards that Mrs. Zamore had made to illustrate many of their daily experiences. The teachers helped the children recognize the importance of following a specific sequence in their schedule, as well as the necessary tasks related to the activities. For each card, the children discussed the relevant “helper jobs” that contribute to that portion of the day. Taking attendance, putting away writing and drawing materials, distributing snack, storing clothes in their cubbies, and holding the door for classmates were some of the jobs they named. Earlier in the week, the class had learned about the jobs that bees have within the hive. Collecting nectar and pollen, feeding the queen, protecting the hive, and keeping the hive cool by beating their wings were some of the behaviors that the children investigated. Did you know that the buzzing you hear around a beehive is the sound of thousands of bees’ wings beating to reduce the temperature by fanning?

As the bee unit progresses, the idea of caring for the community has taken on a new look in the classroom. A large pocket chart lists the various responsibilities held by pre-K students. Photographs of the students, wearing special bee hats, are inserted into the pockets of the chart to show which person is assigned to each task. The children are very excited about the visual “hive” on their wall!

A final element of the class study of bees emphasizes the connection between bees and people. The children are finding out about ways that people can take care of bees by planting flowers and not hurting bees who fly near them. They are even learning about the jobs of beekeepers, who raise bees to produce honey and beeswax. The theme of working together is an idea that connects all of the lessons in this colorful and busy unit.

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