Saturday, February 22, 2014

Celebrating the region of the Silk Road!

Hello Families!

Because I feel strongly that students should experience a well rounded education, I like to include a Classics 4 Kids performance in our school year.  The group does such a thoughtful job creating the concert, and it also gives the children a chance to feel a day at the theater.  This year, we chose the performance entitled, The Silk Road!

The class has been studying the history and stories behind the region and traders of the Silk Road.  We read a book with great illustrations and maps.  The kids liked how the inside of the front cover had one map, and the back had another map- both of the same region, but with the names from now and from the time of the book.

The story, set in the 9th century, was intriguing for the students for many reasons.  Check out my coming reflection page for more info!  One element that they thought was different was that there was a pirate character that seemed bad, who turned out to be a father who brought a gift to his son.  This duality of being not bad or good, but both, seemed to challenge the students' thinking and understanding of pirates in particular, but people in general.

Next we reenacted the way the goods could be traded and get across to different countries without the traders having to go the whole way.  This was fun, because it felt similar to how we have recently "been traveling" to different places, through photo, personal stories and the internet.  In this case, Patrick, who was from Italy, never left his country, but was able to send his Italian glass all the way to Bridey in China.

Next we began to study the instruments from the region, as Jennifer knew they would be highlighted on stage at the concert.  We watched videos that allowed us to look closely at how the instruments were played.  The class found similarities and differences between the zither, sitar and qanun.  (From China or Japan, India and the middle east)  Check out the videos here!

Please check your child's journal to see more on the instrument that intrigued them the most.

Finally, in the days before our field trip to the Balboa Theater, the class watched how the traditional lion dance is performed.  Many of the students were excited to try out working in partnership to be able to walk and act like these lion dancers!  Here is the video we watched- have fun finding more, too!

We also discussed how to make the field trip successful, safe and fun.  We read through the concert rules and talked about how to be ambassadors of our school, as we were off campus.

Then the big day arrived!!!

We ate at the top of Horton Plaza, and had a little sing along to pass the extra time until our seats were ready.  We couldn't take photos during the performance, but I hope your child shared lots about it!

The day after the concert, we reflected on what was so special about the experience.  Here are their words!

February 21, 2014 What was interesting about the concert?
Kirana: What was interesting to me was on the Kanun, it was the little things that you could twist and stuff.
Liam: What was interesting to me is all the different kinds of music.
Rachel: What was interesting to me was the drums because one was taller and one was shorter.
Jack: What's interesting is, how do they actually make those different sounds of the instruments that, I don't know how they make the different noises.
Landon: What's interesting is the sitar because I thought there was only one string.
Evelyn: What was interesting to me was the lion dance.
Sierra: What was interesting to me is the drums because they did not sound like real drums.
Lucy: What was interesting to me was how the guys told us about the Chinese dresses like the bridal dress and the other ones.
Demetri: What I was interested in is that one that they had to balance on their lap. (Sitar)
Mykenah: What was interesting to me was the drums 'cuz each one of them made different sounds.
Saul: What was interesting to me was how they went to different places and were ever, coming back.
Jennifer: So much was interesting to me, but I guess the most interesting was learning how many strings were on each instrument and the difference, one had thirteen, while another had around 74!
Gabby: What was interesting to me was the drums because I didn't know that they were two instead of one.
Patrick: What was interesting  to me was the sitar because it had so much strings.
William: What was interesting to me is how when they played different music the curtains behind the musicians were changing different colours.
Bridey: What was interesting about the string instruments that you can make the noise change.
Noah: What's interesting to me is how come the people that are making the Chinese song- how can they do the song together.
Here we talked about what the students noticed they had so that the symphony could work together.  The students remembered the papers on the small shelf stands, that the Kanun player had a tablet instead of paper, and that the conductors movements seemed to tell the orchestra to be louder or quieter.

What was interesting about the lion dancing?
Rachel: What was interesting to me was that there was two lions and not one, and they were purple and red.
Noah: What's interesting to me is how did they jump on the other person's legs?
Gabby: What was interesting to me was that one was sparkly and I didn't know why there was a girl in there.
Demetri: What was interesting to me was two people were walking at the same time and rolling over.
Mikey: What was interesting to me the lions.
Brett: What was interesting to me about the lion dance is that they walking down at the same time.

Thank you to Cate, Matt, Myriah, Sandy, Shari, Aaron, Dawn, Mercedez and Rick for making this trip a great one.  It was really nice to share this special day with you.  I want to also thank Katrin for coordinating all of our field trips and for all the emails and communication this requires!

Have a beautiful weekend!  Love, Jennifer

Friday, February 21, 2014

100 Love Parade and Party!!!

Hello Kindergarten Families!

This week was so special!  Lots of beautiful memories, which remind me of how lucky I am to know such caring, friendly and dedicated families.  Thank you so much to all the families who helped by sharing supplies, by joining and helping the party, by being the audience at our parade, and by making sure our field trip was fun, safe and successful!

The parade!

The parade was an idea contributed by our new student, Mikey.  It was neat to see the class go with an idea and get it ready pretty quickly.  They thought it would work well with their plan to recite the 100 poem to their families.  The class had only been learning the poem, 100 Is A Lot!, by Meish Goldish, for two weeks, so it was pretty brave of them to recite these in front of so many people!  I think the class accomplished the goal of spreading love that morning!

This party was a great compromise because even though many friends didn't have ideas for a Valentines party, they wanted to celebrate.  Once it was suggested to combine the Valentines and 100 Day celebration, the students came up with lots of cool ideas.  One was spreading love by creating and sending out 100 notes.  Here is us starting!

We invite all families and the lower grades to help with our campaign to send out 100 love notes!  So far we have 22 made on the party date, and Jen's class emailed us that they have created 5!  EMAIL JENNIFER IF YOU HAVE WRITTEN SOME, TO ADD TO OUR CLASS COUNT!

Our card game was simple, but friends really seemed to like it!  This is easily made at home: cut card stock into uniform card pieces.  Ask your child to write different number quantities under 100, on each card.  Print out the 100 chart.  Use a sheet protector and a wipe board pen to play.  Each player takes a turn to pull a card.  Cross of that many squares.  Each time you pull a card you cross off more squares, adding your new quantity to your old one.  All players' goal is to get to 100!

Two of the stations were similar: creating a 100 piece structure, and a 100 piece mosaic.  The groups took turns keeping track of the tallies so that they could ensure that they did, indeed, meet their goal number.  A few times the friends had to go back and check the count.  Often the groups decided to put their count on the list before they put their few pieces on, which was a strategy that helped the groups stay organized.

We also finished a 100 piece puzzle.  This was a special feat because the puzzle was a close up of the frosting of cupcakes, and also because so many students and parents worked on the puzzle throughout the party!

The students were so excited about the salad they made in gardening class, with Beth, that this was on the list for food.  Each party the class tries to choose a balance of types of foods so that the snack isn't too unhealthy.  For this party, the class decided to make the kale salad, to ask for apple slices and heart cookies.  It was tasty, and many families asked for the salad recipe!

As you can see it was a fun day.  I will leave you with some of the artifacts from our brainstorms and party planning.  It took a lot of thinking and discussion to agree what would be do-able and what sounded like it would work.  Thanks for a great week!  Love, Jennifer

PS I am working on a reflection page about the party planning process, so stay tuned!