A Message from Gerry Ghanooni: BORN A HERO Creative Director
When I was studying to become an Art teacher, my professor had all his students fill out a card about the lessons we planned. He asked us to tell him about the values we were reflecting in our lessons. I think of this often as my team and I are creating our presentations.
We believe that people learn to be kind, to appreciate diversity, to like and believe in themselves when they are very young. BORN A HERO decided we needed to take lessons to pre-school children and started our program with four Head Start Classes. We carry these themes in our presentations by reading books, singing songs, and doing art activities that reinforce these important values. In these lessons, the children see beautiful illustrations and/or photos in the books we read. They hear, read, and sing words that reinforce the important messages of Appreciating diversity, Believing in oneself and Choosing kind/treating others with kindness. We end the presentations with an art activity that relates to the story we read and the song we sing/listen
BORN A HERO recognizes that the above A, B, C,s are important for all people. Believing in oneself, in one’s own value, is instrumental in valuing others — treating others with kindness and in appreciating diversity, and it is instrumental in facing those who do not “Choose Kind”.
Books: The book titles chosen for our presentations may have a multitude of themes, but all reflect one or more of the values listed above. The lessons were created for Pre-school, K-1. Part of the lessons could work well in a Second Grade Class, but adaptions would need to be made with songs and art activities. Songs and art activities could be eliminated. Different literacy activities could also be incorporated into the lessons—maybe writing activities. There are also many titles and activities that are more age appropriate for upper grades.
Art Activities: Simple art/craft activities were chosen or created to reinforce the values. Thought was put into pre-schoolers’ developing fine motor skills and into the time element.
Songs: Reflect the themes in the chosen book titles. Many songs were downloaded from ITunes. https://www.apple.com/itunes/ As children listen to and sing the words, the values are being reinforced. Sometimes the children sing only the chorus and listen to the rest of the words.
Though instruction of early literacy is not one of our main goals, it is naturally integrated when books are read to children and when children are learning the words to the songs. We have incorporated some extra literacy activities through the printed songs. Teachers of these lessons can decide if they would like to incorporate these activities into presentations.
The Print contains the message: We printed the words to songs on Poster Board, but teachers can use their computers and SMART boards
One to one matching. Teacher points to the word with pointer as words are read. We usually model this two times. Then we invite a child to come and point to the words as we read it again or/ and while we sing it.
Letter Identification and Sound: Sometimes song lyrics will repeat many of the same uppercase and lower case letters. Children are invited to come and point to a letter. We discuss the sound that the letter makes and may discuss how to make the letter, and the difference between the uppercase and lower case letter.
Sight Words: Common sight words are also often repeated in the lyrics of children’s songs. Children are invited to either come up to the poster to point to the word or highlight the word with highlighter tape.
We understand the importance of the school curriculum, but believe that these books and lessons can be incorporated or compliment the early literacy curriculum as well as instill in children important values and social skills. We know that it takes more than books, songs, and art activities for children to Appreciate Diversity, to Believe in themselves, and to Choose kind. Early social skills are as important as early literacy and should not be an either/or in the curriculum.