A great way of sharing information about holiday traditions is through the use of class surveys. It’s fun, engaging, and provides opportunities for learning across the curriculum.
Here are some of the benefits:
- Children feel valued when they have opportunities to share information about themselves and their families.
- Children’s social skills develop when they interact to find out interesting information about each other.
- Children become more aware of their similarities and differences. This helps to develop feelings of acceptance and appreciation for the diversity represented in the class.
- Children’s language skills develop as they talk to each other, asking questions and clarifying information.
- Children learn to be organised and methodical in the collection, recording, interpretation, and reporting of data.
- Children are fully engaged in the learning when they are asking questions they have raised and to which they are interested in finding the answers.
- Because learning occurs in meaningful contexts and is integrated across subject areas, children can transfer learning to other situations.
- Children enjoy learning about their classmates and the classroom community is strengthened.
This week I have uploaded three new resources to support early childhood teachers’ use of Yes or No class surveys, and a quick and easy recipe for entertaining at home or to contribute to a “bring a plate” function.
Yes or No class surveys provides teachers with six pages of teaching ideas; including:
- Teach children to recognise, answer, and generate Yes or No questions through the use of flipsticks and games like Who am I?
At Christmas Who am I? games could be played using the Christmas character descriptions cards.
- Use picturegraphs to record class responses to Yes or No survey questions.
- Introduce students to the Yes or No – Class survey form and giving them the opportunity to conduct their own surveys.
The form can be personalised with names of children in the class. Displayed on the Interactive Whiteboard (IWB), it can be used to model data collection using Yes or No questions; such as,
- Do you have a pet at home?
- Can you ride a bike?
- Do you like ice cream?
When students are familiar with the form, they can generate their own questions, and use it to conduct, record, interpret, and report on their own surveys.
At this time of the year, children are keen to talk about their holidays traditions. Yes or No surveys provide an additional way of supporting children’s sharing.
The Do you celebrate Christmas? – class survey could be used to get the discussion started; for example:
- How many people celebrate Christmas?
- How many don’t celebrate Christmas?
- What is the difference in number between those who celebrate Christmas and those who don’t?
Whether any, some, all, or no children celebrate Christmas may vary from year to year and class to class.
Even if all children celebrate Christmas, children may be surprised to find that the traditions of each individual family may differ. To find out, they could ask questions like:
- Do you have a Christmas tree?
- Does Santa bring you presents?
- Do you leave out cookies for Santa?
- Do you have a chimney?
- Do you put lights on your Christmas tree?
- Do you like candy canes?
Not all questions need be about Christmas and children who don’t celebrate Christmas need not be left out. Surveys provide a wonderful opportunity for discussing different family, and different cultural, traditions; for example:
- Do you go away for the holidays?
- Do you like going to the beach?
- Do you have a pool at home?
- Do you like to play snowball fights?
I’m sure the children will come up with many more interesting questions of their own,
Of course, if no one celebrates Christmas, other more appropriate surveys can be conducted using the Yes or No – Class survey form.
This week I have also uploaded How to make Pinwheel Sandwiches. While this free resource is not one for the children, I have included it in Cooking and under Miscellaneous in Classroom Management. It provides step-by-step instructions for making these delicate sandwiches which are as delightful to look at as they are delicious to eat.
I hope you and your children enjoy using these resources. I’ll see you next week with an Author Spotlight on Jane Jolly and her delightful picture book Tea and Sugar Christmas.
In the meantime, enjoy the weekend.
Today is the last day of term for schools in Queensland. Other states in Australia continue until the end of next week, some into the week after. Many overseas colleagues have a shorter break over the Christmas and New Year period.
I wish all a happy, safe, and relaxing holiday, whenever it is.
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