Group 1 (2-4 year olds)
THE OBJECTIVES OF THIS CYCLE ARE:
That students are able to establish correct interpretations of pronouns with the help of visual representations.
That students are able to understand the minimum amount of words necessary to comprehend a specific context or situation.
That students begin to make significant contributions to the class’ atmosphere.
WE SUGGEST YOU CHECK THE EVIDENCES WITH WHICH YOU WILL OBSERVE IF YOUR STUDENTS HAVE ACHIEVED THESE OBJECTIVES
My class is 25 to 30 minutes long!
Remember that if your periods are shorter than 50 minutes, you can try out these shorter plans!
1. STARTING SONG
As usual, we will begin the class with the starting song.
We suggest you let the kids start this activity by themselves, even with a bit more autonomy than in previous cycles. Once you see they’ve started singing and dancing, you can join the fun.
If the kids are concentrated, we propose a few activities that will help you manage the energy of the group.
If the kids are euphoric, we propose a few activities that will help you manage the energy of the group.
Ask the children to get in pairs.
One of them will be the dancer and the other will be the mirror.
The idea is that the dancer moves freely to the rhythm of the starting song and the mirror has to imitate the dancer’s moves.
You can tell the children to switch roles halfway through the song so that they all get to act as dancers and as mirrors.
Open your hand and raise it as high as you can. While your hand is up and the starting song is playing, sing the lyrics in a loud volume and encourage the kids to do the same.
Then, as your hand goes down, slowly lower the volume making them understand they should lower the volume too. Once they understood the game, play with the volume of the kids singing of the starting song with the use of your hand.
*you can use this resource anytime to adjust the volume of the class by raising or lowering your hand.
Choose a few of the words that are repeated during the starting song, for example “room” “English” and “Vivadí”.
When the children listen to these words they should switch places with another student or just move to another place in the classroom.
This activity will require an active listening of the song, which will help with the general concentration of the group.
Tell the children to sit in four separate groups. During the starting song, you will be an orchestra director. This means that you decide which group has to sing in different parts of the song.
So, you will point at the group that has to sing and the others will have to remain silent until they are pointed at.
In the first class of Kapok Tree cycle, the common thread should be introduced after popcorn time. In the classes to follow, it should be carried out as soon as the class begins.
In this stage, we will “call out” a character who will guide the children through the rest of the activities of Kapok Tree. This way, the children will be able to relate with the character, and the cycle itself will become more meaningful to them.
*This character should be selected from the Popcorn Time video “cast”.
The “calling of the character” should be a fun event for students. We suggest you create expectations and generate intrigue in the students to know who is coming. This way, the children will be more engaged with the class activities.
So, for this activity you should first choose a character or let the children pick their favourite one.
Then, you have three options:
If you feel comfortable improvising, act as if you were the character.
*For this option we suggest you wear some kind of costume or object to assist you with the interpretation of the character.
Print the character and use it as a puppet to guide the class.
*You will find all the characters in color or black & white version.
You also have the option of using the video playlist of the chosen character to guide the class.
*These are the four characters you can choose to guide the class in video format:
*Tip: use this opportunity to emphasize on the pronouns when you call or refer to the different characters.
For example, if the chosen character is the female football player, make sure to emphasize when you use “SHE” or “HER”
After the starting song you will guide a brief harmony exercise based on breathing movements.
This exercise will help the children gain awareness of their body and concentrate in the present moment.
BEFORE YOU BEGIN
Divide the students into groups of four and tell them to form small circles.
They should remain standing throughout the exercise
To set the mood, begin with this guided meditation with the following video playing in the background. Let the video play until the Harmony phase is finished.
*It is important that you focus on the gestures you use so that the children can follow the exercise and repeat it themselves.
“Breathe. Breath again, and again. And while you do so, gently put one hand on your chest and the other hand on your belly. Feel how they move when you breathe. Focus on your respiration.”
After 4 or 5 respirations of this exercicse, continue with the blooming flower exercise:
“Pay attention to the rhythm of your breath.
When you inhale, open your arms very slowly and bring them up along the side of your body, like a blooming flower. Imagine that you are a beautiful flower that is growing, expanding and becoming more and more beautiful.
When you exhale, bring your arms to your chest like a flower that is closing. When you finish exhaling, your forearms should be crossed in front of your chest and your hands on your shoulders.”
You will first tell the children to focus on their own respiration and do the blooming flower exercise. Show them how the movement is done as you guide them through it.
*We suggest you watch this video before the class to be able to explain the exercise more clearly to the students. The kids should breathe 5 to 10 times and repeat this movement in every respiration.
Now, the children should do the same exercise but trying to maintain a breathing rhythm in their groups of 4. The idea is that all four students do the inhaling and exhaling movements at the same time.
Whole class breathing
Finally, you will do the blooming exercise trying to maintain the same rythm with the rest of the class. This means that every student should try and inhale and exhale at the same time.
Benefits of the activity
The rhythmic movements and the synchronization favors a calm atmosphere of the group.
This exercise clears the mind and sharpens thinking by increasing the flow of oxygen throughout the body, particularly the brain.
Interpersonal relationship is favored when paying attention to the group’s breathing and seeking a single rhythm.
3. POPCORN TIME
The characters of Kapok Tree will have a main role throughout the cycle. To meet these characters, we suggest that the children watch the videos where each one of them introduce themselves.
*It is important that children watch this video as it will help them understand the context of the story and the characters which they will have to embody in the later on in the next activities.
We provide a PDF document to print out. With these cards you will form a deck with the main characters of the video.
*Remember to print enough cards so that every student receives one.
Before you play the video, randomly give out the cards so that every child has one during the video.
*This means that, depending on the amount of students in the group, there might be repeated characters.
Tell the kids to raise their card whenever their character appears during the video!
This will help them to be more concentrated on the activity
CLEANING THE HOUSE
This exercise consists of making different movements with your feet and hands. Use this harmony phase to get the attention of the kids back to themselves by doing the short movement exercises.
This means moving your feet 5 times clockwise, and 5 times counterclockwise. To help the children imagine the movement, tell them to draw circles in the air with their feet.
FLEXION AND EXTENSION
This exercise consists of extending your feet to the floor and then flexing it back pointing towards your body. Repeat this movement 5 times with each foot. You can tell the kids to press the floor downwards with their toes and then raise their toes to the sky.
PASSIN THE BALL
Alternatively, open your hands and then close them back again. Tell your students that they have to pass an imaginary ball from hand to hand.
Make five clockwise rotations with your wrists and five rotations counterclockwise.