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Monday
Mar262012

Around the world in Susan and Mary Heyward's Class

 

February 2012

Since school resumed after the holidays, Susan and Mary Heyward’s  primary classroom has been abuzz with activity. The students have been making educational discoveries every day. The class has grown in size by two. January and February were fairly busy birthday months. February 14 brought an enthusiastic turnout of loved ones who came to see their little stars shine. And two parent presenters visited the classroom to broaden students' cultural understanding.

Janet Lee, Jackson’s mom, visited the class in late January to talk about the unique customs of the Chinese New Year and to share some good books on the subject. The students passed around a beautifully decorated red paper envelope. During the Chinese New Year festivities, envelopes like this are traditionally given to children (with money inside) in celebration of the new year and signifying prosperity. The class got to determine in what year of the Chinese calendar each student was born. The students were excited about the fact that this is the year of the Dragon, because, hey... dragons are pretty cool. The class kept with the one traditional Chinese New Year custom by having oranges (well, clementines) for snack that day. Students learned that the festivities celebrating the arrival of a new year begin with a new moon and end with a full moon. In the classroom, students were invited to create fun red Chinese lanterns to hang in the classroom as reminders that the new year is celebrated in different ways around the world. Kung Hei Fat Choi!

Next, Amy Moran came to talk about Antarctica. Since the class had been focusing on Antarctica, Amy's visit was a big hit and a timely one. The students learned that Amy is a scientist who has lived and studied (and scuba dived!) in Antarctica. She gave a presentation including photos, audio recordings and video recordings from her time there. The class was able to hear the sound of the wind which ceaselessly whips across the barren frozen face of the southernmost continent. They saw pictures of the large laboratory complex where scientists go to discover more about this fascinating part of the planet. The students learned that scientists are limited to one-year-long stints at the outpost due to temperatures and isolation. Another highlight of Amy's presentation was the animals! The students learned that the incredible underwater song of the seal is starkly different from the raucous bark normally associated with seals. They saw photos of whales and videos of baby seals and penguins. The students wanted to see many of the slides again and again and their enthusiasm was evident in their questions and on their faces. Overseeing the excitement in the classroom that day was a real (stuffed) Adelie penguin on loan from the CU museum! The beautiful bird definitely had a commanding presence in the classroom even though it was only 2 feet tall and has been dead since 1959. If you wonder whether your child was paying attention during Amy's presentation, ask him/her what scientists look for when trying to identify penguin populations in satellite photos! Amy's visit definitely offered a fresh perspective and renewed enthusiasm for the wonders of Antarctica.

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