What We Did Last Week.... Cheetahs and Morning Kittens

Cheetahs are our Five Day/Full Day group and Morning Kittens are our Five Day/Half Day group.

Hello, Red Oak families!  This week was a short one, but still full of learning and exploration.  First thing last we,  we got to enjoy the iglu made by a ROCS family for a day before the rain dissolved its glue.  We were sad to see it go, but the students had fun playing in it and recycling the milk jugs the next day!

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We started collecting diaper packs for refugee families here in Columbus and money to send to buy diapers in refugee camps in Serbia, France, and Greece.  We also started making cards to include with the diaper packs.  Students wrote welcome messages and drew pictures for families new to Columbus.  

In writing we've gone from big picture thinking, like in the I Have A Dream writing, to smaller-scale, concrete examples of ways we can be helpers in our lives.  Students wrote about bringing diapers to school, clearing the table off at home, and playing with little siblings. 

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In reading we started with a biography of Nelson Mandela.  We discussed how he learned from Dr. King, compared and contrasted segregation in the US with apartheid in South Africa, and how Nelson educated his fellow prisoners while he was incarcerated.  One particular part of the book caught the attention of many students.  When Nelson went "underground", and had to wear disguises and sleep in a different place each night.  There was a discussion about what "going underground" really meant, and a few students made the book to book connection that there are three books in our classroom about the Underground Railroad.  They wondered if that was the same kind of thing that Nelson Mandela had to do, so we started exploring the Underground Railroad by reading Henry's Freedom Box, Moses: When Harriet Tubman Led Her People to Freedom, and Barefoot Escape on the Underground Railroad. 

Slavery is a very difficult topic to teach to young children.  In an effort to keep our exploration developmentally appropriate, we will only be reading about the Underground Railroad and the path to freedom it offered.  The students are interested in the helpers, or "stations" along the way, the quilt pattern signals used, and map songs such as Follow the Drinking Gourd. Other songs we have listened to are Swing Low, Sweet Chariot and Wade in the Water, which were instructional songs.  

http://www.harriet-tubman.org/songs-of-the-underground-railroad/

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pw6N_eTZP2U

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4lEV35LNGYc&list=PL7FF4BC2E230C93A0&index=2

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KNMpludVo6g&index=1&list=PL7FF4BC2E230C93A0

In math we continued working on telling time.  Our next focus will be on addition and subtraction number sentences, with multiplication and division for the older students. 

In science this week we enjoyed checking in on our bread mold experiment. Many of the groups have begun seeing some changes begin to show.  We enjoyed getting out the magnifying glasses to help in creating our detailed entries in our observation journals.

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This week in Material World we journeyed to South Africa. We discussed Nelson Mandela and his role in the country's history. Explorers had the chance to work on a kente cloth weaving, a textile that originated from the Ashanti people of Ghana. Cheetahs and Kittens had the opportunity to make a mbira, a African musical instrument, also known as a thumb piano.

Water Filtration

Water Filtration

It was exciting to see that many of our potato pals have begun to sprout roots and are looking and smelling stranger than ever.  We finished up the week by discussing how the continent of Africa is considered part of the developing world.  We learned about how people living in these countries do not have access to affordable clean drinking water.  Students put their engineering design skills to work in creating a device to help filter dirty water into something cleaner.  Student designed their purification system in a solo cup and had a table full of materials to choose from in creating their filter.  After their test was complete they had to think of how they could improve their design to make the water even clearer.  Some students had the chance to rebuild and test their new ideas several times.

The Cheetahs continued to explore Africa with some map skills work which had us identify some of the major biomes and animal life found on the continent. We also worked on strengthening our fine motor muscles with our upside down drawing of our African continent and playing Mancala using tweezers to move pom poms to the different egg carton compartments.