Happy Friday Folks!
We wanted to take a few minutes to let you know more about our peace education work.
From January through March, we focus a great deal on different African-American Peace Keepers - people who were brave enough to change the world, peacefully. Over the course of several months, students are introduced to Martin Luther King Jr. and why we celebrate his life every year. We then look at his ideas, their importance, and how we can still use them today. We talk about how his words inspired changes and watch a video of his famous “I Have a Dream Speech.” We continue at our peace lessons with stories about inspiration, with historical people like Ruby Bridges, Harriet Tubman, and others. We also look at famous artists like Jacob Lawrence and folk tales and stories told by slaves in America.
We use literature and group discussions in the classroom to celebrate great African American people of the past and present. We try to avoid much of the extreme violence and focus on more on the people who risked everything to make the world a better place. We give students a glimpse of history and have them begin to understand the long and multifaceted history of African Americans. We continue through March and bring all the information learned about African-American Peace Keepers and tie it in with our celebration with another Peace Keeper, Maria Montessori.
Some books we read together as a class:
Introduced by Happy Birthday, Martin Luther King – by Jean Marzollo
Martin’s Big Words – By Doreen Rappaport
Duke Ellington – Andrea Davis Pinkney
The Story of Ruby Bridges – Robert Coles
Virgie Goes to School with Us Boys
When Harriet met Sojurner – Catherine Clinton
Show Way – Jacqueline Woodson
We also address peace education from the inside. This year we are having weekly Mindfulness lessons with Ms. Jessica. To give you a glimpse of the kind of work she’s been doing with us, here is her overview of their work in the right now. Here is what she says:
“…We are working on "Nature Meditation" in mindfulness right now. This will be a series of 4 sessions. The intention of this practice is to help children identify and connect with elements in nature as a reconnection to self. For each lesson they will learn the intent and purpose of the element being introduced, and a simple breathing exercise that goes with it. Last week we learned about our "inner mountain". We brainstormed what makes a mountain significant and then reflected on when we feel our inner mountain the most. Students talked about sitting in a tree, reading a book, swimming, or spending time with mom. Next, they selected a stone or shell from my box and drew a picture of a mountain on it. Next, we practiced the breathing exercise - "Breathing in I see myself as a mountain, breathing out I am solid and calm, nothing can move or distract me." This week we will learn about our "inner flower" and how it helps us stay fresh, joyful, and beautiful. Each student received a small colored mesh bag which will hold their nature elements. The nature meditation bags will remain in the classroom through the end of the year.”
To bring mindfulness into our everyday classroom lives, we are introducing mindfulness tables to the classrooms where students can go to practice mindfulness, make wishes for love or peace, give thanks to the earth, or just quietly reconnect with themselves. This table sits someplace quiet and free from traffic and distractions. It is covered with a simple cloth with space to add a basket for the nature mediation bags and other elements of mindfulness, peace, and nature. Students can use the table in many ways, including "mindfully" selecting items from outdoors to add to the table each week and return the previous items back to nature.
We hope you have a peaceful week!
Mr. Ben with Ms. Carol and Ms. Khavitha
With our return from mid-winter break, students had a short time this week and lots to work on. A lot of students have been asking for more challenges in their Math Meetings and are getting introduced to new materials and skills. They also had some lessons this week practicing Fraction and Telling Time. In Geography, students were introduced to the compass rose and how to use the Cardinal Directions. They also made their own compass rose and practiced following instructions while using a compass to move around the room. In Physical Science, we have finished up our Chemistry lessons and moving into lessons around building Simple Machines that humans have used for hundreds of years, and the science behind them.
Our new Secret Pals gift exchange was a big success and a great addition to our Friendship Day celebrations. It was great to see the great gift ideas students brought for their Pals and the outstanding feelings both giver and receiver felt together. Also, on the same day, we were finally able to use our new playground. Students have had an absolute blast playing games and discovering all the great things they can now do in our new outside space.
Next week, which is already the last week of the month of February, we will have a Field Trip to the Sammamish library on Thursday. Students can also bring in an item for Sharing on Friday. Remember, it needs to be able to fit in their MCH bag and not an electronic.
Have a good weekend,
Ben & Carol
Thanks to everyone who made it to Parent/Teacher conferences on Friday. It is always great to talk to parents about how everyone is doing at school.
We had such a great time this past week working hard in just 4 days. Students were busy solving new and more challenging math lessons and fun fraction lessons and follow-ups.
We also had a great art lesson with Ms. Michelle talked about the "Book of Kells" and the early Celtic art in it. Students created designs in that art style using color pencils.
Tuesday, February 17th will be our annual Friendship Day to celebrate Valentines Day. Students can bring in Valentines or card for every student, please no candy or treats. Students will put their cards in a bag with each student's name on it. A list of students' names is attached to this email. This year we are doing "Secret Pals" with the upper elementary class. Students will draw another students name randomly and make or get a gift for them. They will wrap it without their name on it and bring it in on Tuesday, February 17th. Students will then take turns and hand their gifts out to each other. Students will fill out a form next week that gives their likes and ideas on what to get them from their "Secret Pal." Gifts should be hand made or less than $5. It should be really fun but is not mandatory at all.
Keep practicing spelling words and Rocket Math sheets. Remember that school is closed from Thursday, February 12th through Monday, February 16th. We will have our next spelling post-test on Thursday, February 19th. Students have 2 weeks to practice their spelling words.
We are also looking for drivers for our library trip on February 26th. We will be leaving around 10:00 are returning at around 12:30. Please let us know as soon as possible if you are able to drive.
Have a great weekend,
Ben & Carol
Mr. Ben, Ms. Mary and Mr. Robin
El Salon Morado Lead Teachers