This past week was a wonderful reunion, and an inspiring start to a new year. We started our geography unit, exploring the North American continent, and its three countries. While exploring the US we played games, did (and re-did) puzzles, and learned a song to help us memorize all 50 states (I can only imagine how many times you may have heard bits and pieces, or perhaps the entire song in your home:)
We told stories, sang songs, learned the national anthems for both Canada and the USA, and cooked. We used a cookbook, aptly titled The United Tastes of America, which features each state and a recipe that helps to represent that state. We chose the recipe for Massachusetts for our Thursday closing circle treat - turns out that chocolate chip cookies were first created by accident in an inn in Massachusetts!
Each child made a passport, which will help us explore the world over the next few weeks. At the end of the week they drew the flags from Mexico, Canada, and the US, as their “stamps” in their passport. It will be a wonderful keepsake for them as they reflect on this unit, and all of their newfound knowledge about their world.
We took trips to the library so that each child could have focused time to choose and then find books to help them research a country. They will spend the next few weeks reading and creating a final project that they will present at the end of our winter season. While unsurprising given their innate enthusiasm and immense curiosity, it was nonetheless incredible to observe their eager and passionate selves dive so immediately into this project. They are sharing information, inspiring each other as they come up with ideas for their final presentations, and meticulously studying their maps.
We studied the Peters Atlas, thanks to Scarlet and Georgie for sharing that resource, and talked about the creation of maps and our responsibility to understand the perspective of the mapmaker. We discussed why there are so many different versions of world maps, and why most maps represent Europe in a skewed and enlarged format. The Peters Atlas represents the continents and countries as they are in direct proportion to each other, based on their area. We will be using the Peters Atlas as the children draw their maps of their chosen countries as well. If anyone has access to more maps, feel free to bring them in. The more perspectives the better!
We baked our bread, visited the farm and worked in the greenhouse. With Laura we started listening to Peter and the Wolf, and enjoyed an activity as we tried to guess which instruments were representing each character. It is a wonderful opportunity to deepen our understanding of the vast array of instruments, and their diverse sounds.
We started a felting project with Rachael, which is perfect timing as I am guiding a group at the Aquinnah Library this coming Saturday at 11 am through the process of “sheep to shawl.” (This was meant to happen weeks ago but was postponed). If any of your children would like to join in, they would be welcome co-facilitators, able to teach others about carding, spinning, wet felting, needle felting and finger knitting. Just let me know, and I’d be happy to help with transportation to and from.
Also, if anyone is interested in Pam Benjamin’s art class continuing this winter, she is open to having us drop in on Fridays again. I may organize at least one class for those who did their ceramic project to finish and paint their pieces, but if you would like to do this more regularly do let me know and we can see how many others are interested as well.
This week our focus is South America! Feel free to bring in stories, recipes, and photos!
Thanks and see you tomorrow,
The Allen Farm program is for children ages six and older. Follow along our learning and exploration in the woods, on the farm, in our yurt, and across our island community, at the upper Woods School.