Thursday, February 28, 2013

Celebration of cultural treasures

 For the past five or six weeks, Abigail's class has been doing a unit on foreign countries (Neil went in and spoke one day about his two years in the Philippines; happily, it was a day that Luke and I were also volunteering in the class, so we got to catch the last few minutes of his presentation!)

Each child chose a country and then they've been doing a wide variety of research-based assignments about the country.  The very first assignment was that they choose a name and create a name placard (Abigail's is hung over the top of her Eiffel Tower model in the photo above).  Next, they researched historic and current clothing from the country, then found a recipe that they liked (more about that later) and submitted it as part of a class cookbook.  The capstone assignment was to choose two of six projects that required more hands-on time.  Abigail chose to make an illustrated French-English dictionary and a 3-D model of the Eiffel Tower.

Neil and Abigail spent a couple of Saturdays scaling down the tower, tracing it onto cardboard, then taping and painting (and glittering!).  Abigail wanted it to look like the tower was lit up at night, and she was thrilled with the result:

She also wrote up an explanatory report to accompany her display that read as follows:

The person who designed it was Gustave Eiffel. It was built in 1889 for the World’s Fair. It is in Paris, France. It is 1,050 feet tall without the spike, which is 13 feet tall. You ride the elevator or take the stairs to the 1st or 2nd level, climb the staircase, and you’re on the 3rd level. The public can only go to the 2nd level, not the 3rd. There are 1665 steps to the top of the Eiffel Tower. 

For the dictionary, Abigail and I made a list of 28 words or phrases that she wanted to use.  She translated them all into French using Google Translator (sidenote:  doing things like this always makes me realize how different the world is for my children than it was for me at their age.  I got on Wikipedia to check some facts about the Tower and Abigail was like, "Mom, Ms. X (her teacher) says that Wikipedia isn't always a reputable source.  Maybe you should look somewhere else."  If only my students--who are seniors graduating from college!!!--would go by that same rule!).

Anyway, once we had the list of words, we took photos of Abigail acting them all out (wearing my beret in most of the shots), printed out the photos, and glued them in one of those nifty little hard-backed books.  I was really happy with how the project came together.  Some of my favorites below (I'll spare you all 28).

This one is my absolute favorite.  Oh, their little faces are all so funny!  The kids were SO into this whole photo shoot and had such a blast.

 Another great one...

This evening, all of the parents & siblings were invited to come see all of the projects on display.  We also all made the recipe (from the earlier project), so each country was represented by a native food or two (we, of course, brought baguettes).  Since there are two high-ability classes, it worked out to just short of 50 different foods and 100 awesome projects.  It was so cool to try all of the foods and see all of the awesome things that the kids had created!  I took only one photo of the other projects (most of the time it was super packed; this was at the very end), but it was awesome.  Some of our favorites:  the Great Wall of China, a Berlin cathedral made out of Rice Krispie treats (my kids wanted to eat that one so. much.), Stonehenge, a video of a kid doing an Irish dance (when that came on every single kid in the room went crazy trying to dance along), several models of canyons/enormous rivers, etc.

And last but not least, 32 weeks pregnant!  My favorite thing about this photo is Luke busily splashing away in the sink next to me.  :-)  I have to say that I'm actually feeling a lot better these days than I was during my first or even second trimester.  No more horrible pain from the ovarian cyst, and the baby is so low that weirdly enough it's way more comfortable.  Because of the baby's positioning, I'm running more more slowly than I did at this point in my pregnancy with Luke, but I don't have the grinding horrible back pain that I did with Lukey (plus the prenatal massage that I had earlier this week--Neil's Valentine's Day gift--was amazing and I could totally go for that oh, every day).


Malinda Crow said...

So, I just have to say that I am incredibly jealous because I'm two months behind you and I swear I'm bigger than you. Not. Fair. :D

Anonymous said...

Wonderful post & pictures!
Love, Aunt Pam

Anonymous said...

"C'est manifique ca. Abagail, Petêtre un jour nous pouvons-allez en France nous deux"

Spell check and 32 years make writing in French tough. Very, very cool Abagail. Love you sweetheart.

Melanie said...

My heart is swelling with pride at that little cutie! I love this- what a fun sounding family project! :) You're looking fabulous, too!

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