California Educator

August 2014

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Page 21 of 73

Campground classroom for s'more fun Andrea Kanazeh loves camping with her husband and two young children. So she brought the Great Outdoors into her Union City prekindergarten classroom to create a rustic campground feeling. The library is simple: A small picnic table with red checked tablecloth, a couple of mini Adiron- dack chairs, a small tent, overhanging tiki lights — and voilà! It's a calm and cozy setting for youngsters to camp out with a good book and the tent's resident teddy bear. (Most supplies are from Target.) The New Haven Teachers Association member added ambiance with a toy barbecue, a boom box, an ice chest, a checkered basket, and lots of great books about nature. Kanazeh used green paper on the walls for a woodsy look with blue paper representing sky, and constructed her own tree out of paper and lanterns. Pencil holders ( jelly jars covered in burlap and checkered paper) serve as table centerpieces. On the bulletin board, children's names appear on paper marshmallows next to their showcased Feature "I want to teach in a setting that I want to spend time in," says Andrea Kanazeh, pictured here with her children Owen and Amber. At left: A toy grill adds ambiance. Before work. The schedule posted for the day's activities, in addi- tion to math, science and literacy, includes "Chow Time" and "Campfi re Stories." Another corner, named the Happy Campers Store, offers lots of manipulatives. The Alvarado Elementary School teacher likes chang- ing themes throughout the year. But no matter what the look, her goal is always the same — to create a welcoming environment so students feel excited about learning. Creativity puts K anazeh in her happy place, too. "I want to teach in a setting that I also want to spend time in. Decorating keeps me motivated and wanting to do more." 20

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