The students, with varying amounts of excitement, decorated vests, put together necklaces of beads, finger-painted brightly colored turkeys and prepared a snack of homemade cornbread and hand-churned butter.
Under the direction of the young kindergarten teacher; her assistant Renalda Phillips; Phillips’ daughter, Meghan; and parent Kelly Reis, the young students stayed busy through a round-robin series of events.
Meghan has a degree in child education from Cleveland State Community College, and is now studying to be an emergency medical technician. She said working with the young kindergarten students has been helpful in her educational pursuits.
The students were asked what they are thankful for this holiday season, and most of the answers were predictable ... the cornbread and butter they were making, school, moms and dads, siblings and friends.
Young Will Brantley said, “I’m thankful for being alive.” Melanie Norris said she is thankful for being able to go to school, and Chloe Reis was thankful for her mom, who was assisting with a nearby bead project.
“That’s understandable,” said Chloe’s mom. “She’s always been a Mommy’s girl,” she said of her daughter.
Kayne Ayala said he was thankful his teacher had placed his name on the “blue sheet.” The kindergarten teacher puts the names of her students on five colored sheets which depict the most well behaved, and least cooperative. The sheets descend from blue to purple, orange, green and yellow. Kayne was happy he was at the top of the chart.
Cole, who formerly taught a first-grade class at Mayfield, said most of the kindergarten teachers have Thanksgiving events for the holidays — getting the young students prepared for the festivities they will encounter during the remainder of the week.
Some of the students enjoyed snacks of cornbread fried in a skillet, while others said they would prefer waiting on the traditional Thanksgiving goodies.
Mixing the batter, churning the butter and the cooking process provided an opportunity to teach the students about measurements. It also offered a way to teach the youngsters a polite way to turn down a snack: a “No, thank you,” rather than a “I don’t want any.”
Cole divided her students into four symbolic Indian tribes for the separate activities. These included the Cherokee, Apache, Navaho and Cree peoples.
The young students churned butter, which in this instance consisted of placing cream and other ingredients in a glass jar and shaking it until it turns to butter.
The symbolic Cherokee group, which included Heaven Neeley, MaKenna Woody, Aleasia Price, Juda Lombard, Miquel Tovar and Lillian Kirkpatrick, began with the cornbread-butter session.
Another tribe began with finger-painted turkeys. This group included Ashton Haddock, Sebastian Giraldo, Lucas Grady, Kingston Coleman and Emily Ledwell.
Decorating vests as their first activity were Jimmy Sellers, Melanie Norris, Will Brantley, Aaron David McCroskey and Chloe Reis.
The fourth tribe started out by making bead necklaces. This group included Kayne Ayala, Jason Cameron, Gracilyn Kersey, Makinzy Wilson and Bobbi-Ann Hicks.