The Iditarod Trail As a part of the Alaska study, Group Three took on an extended exploration of the geography of Alaska. They examined the southwest section of the state, focusing on the Iditarod Trail route which runs from Anchorage to Nome. In Science they worked to build scale models of the mountain ranges in this area of Alaska, including the tallest peak in North America, Denali. This was a great extension of their explorations of scale begun in the City study where they used their clothespin people to gauge the scale of their city businesses. First, Group Three learned to make grids with equal cells. Partners had to plan and organize which tools they would use and how they would create their grid. Afterwards, they spent time finding locations on grids. They drew cards and built the unifix towers indicated in the location on the grid. They also found locations in a large grid on the science room floor. Next, Group Three divided into committees and moved into the auditorium. Each committee was responsible for recreating a mountain range to scale. The scale was 2 blocks for every 1,000 feet.
What is a Refugee? Today, nearly 60 million people around the world have been forced to leave their countries and homes, searching for safety. Many men, women, and children are living in temporary shelters and camps. These are Refugees. Refugees are people who live in countries experiencing poverty and war. Because of these life threatening issues they are forced to flee their homeland. Some of the countries that are fled most are Syria, Myanmar, the Dominican Republic of Congo, Somalia, Iraq, and Afghanistan. Most refugees are forced to flee on foot, traveling hundreds of miles. Some have fled to neighboring countries, and many have even made the trek across many thousands of miles, like from Syria to Germany. Our Read-Aloud Book, Home of the Brave: Connections and Thoughts Group 6 read a book called Home of the Brave by Katherine Applegate. This book is about a brave refugee named Kek from Sudan. He was forced to flee to the United States of America without his mother who got lost in a raid. After we read the book, we read articles about current Syrian refugees who were able to escape the war in Syria and move to the U.S. Some are still waiting to flee their countries, but cannot. The articles inspired Group 6 to start brainstorming how to help these people. One of the articles we read was about a Syrian family whose children's school was destroyed in a series of attacks. The family left Syria, and now the family found refuge in the U.S. We connected the stories we read in the articles with Kek’s story. We understood that when there is a war, there is no other choice but to flee and leave
From California Native Plants, to Gecky, to Sea Jellies, and Medieval Legends, a survey of some of this year’s Print Shop activities
By: Madeleine Zygarewicz This school year has ushered a flurry of a print activity both in the Print Shop and Art studio with students from Groups 1, 3, 5 and 6 working with Madeleine Zygarewicz. Here are some fun highlights from some of the projects they've created. Fun fact: students who sit at the end of the press are nicknamed “pluckers” as they help their classmate “pluck” the sheet of paper they’ve just printed. This name was coined by the 2015 Group 6! Group 1: Gecky , the Group 1 class Gecko, served as our figure model to create a mixed media print using watercolor, wax resist and printmaking techniques. Gecky was excited by the attention and was scampering about in her terrarium throughout the session, which proved to be fun and challenging to draw! Group 1 will be working on creating some fun upcoming projects for their trees study. Group 3: From sea jellies, to abstract shapes and cities—Group 3 has explored some interesting printmaking techniques including use of handset type, digital printing plates and handmade glue and paper plates. Group 3 continues its printing projects this spring with some Inuit inspired prints of animals from their Alaska study. Group 5: From Fiesta sign making to an elaborate book of California native medicinal plants used by the Tongva Trive, Group 5 has been busy cranking the presses, binding books and making decorations for the study of California. Be on the look out for some hand printed fruit crate labels and t-shirts later this spring! Group 6: Group 6 continues to create art as well as promotional prints for the school, such as the recent Theatricum flyers posted around school. In the fall, Group 6
In 1959, a Los Angeles physician sued a private school after it refused to admit his six year-old daughter. But the Superior Court quickly dismissed the lawsuit, concluding that Dr. A. Palmer Reed had accused the Hollywood Professional School of doing something that wasn't legally prohibited. Even if the school had denied admission to Cynthia Denice Reed because she was black, the court concluded, "the anti-discrimination statutes were never designed for the purpose of regulating what strictly private groups shall do." In Los Angeles, as in the rest of the country, private schools had every right to offer admission only to white students. They would maintain that legal right until 1976. In the year that Dr. Palmer filed his unsuccessful lawsuit, the Westland School was ten years old – and it had prohibited racial discrimination since the moment of its founding. In a December 19, 1949 meeting, making their first rules for the operation of a new school, the Westland board of trustees considered and passed Article IX of their original bylaws: "It was moved by John McTernan that there shall be no discrimination in the administration of any of the affairs of this corporation against any student, prospective student, member, prospective member, or any other person on account of race, creed, color, national origin or political belief." The measure passed, decades before the trustees had any legal obligation to pass it. From the first moments that Westland existed, the founders of the school knew what the institutional culture would be: open, diverse, pluralistic. It was a decision – and a culture – that they passed down to the generations of parents, teachers, and students who have followed. Our history is who we are.
Out of Group Four’s geography curriculum, the class started discussing the distribution of population, wealth, and food around the world. In an activity shared by Group 1 teacher, Kailea Switzer, the class was given 100 bingo pieces, 100 pennies, and 100 paper clips. The bingo pieces represented people, the pennies wealth, and the paper clips food. The children worked together, distributing items on each continent to represent their guess of how the world’s population, wealth, and food access was globally distributed. After they shared their guesses, we rearranged the pieces to accurately represent this distribution. The students were shocked to see the disproportionation of wealth and food available to countries with larger populations compared to the excess of resources for smaller ones. We discussed how the world got this way and what we felt we could do to help. Some of the ideas were to send money to people in need. However, with the guidance of Nnenna Nwachuku, the class engaged in discussions regarding the cycle of poverty and what can be done to break it. The class was very interested in access to clean water. They were upset to learn that many children their age spent their days collecting water rather than going to school. After brainstorming, they decided to raise money for a hand pump that would provide clean water to a village. As Valentine’s Day approached the class chose to celebrate the day by hosting a bake sale to raise money for the pump. As part of this service learning activity, the homework assignments that week included baking items for the sale and determining a reasonable price for their goods. On the day of sale, the children were in charge
Midway through its third year, we’re strengthening Westland’s Human Development Program by enhancing the inclusivity and welcoming nature of the community and focusing on gender diversity. We’ve developed a multi-layered approach to learning that offers students accurate information and opportunities to discuss issues pertinent to their experience, that are in sync with their cognitive, social, and emotional development. The framework includes a focus on: Bodies, Birth, Families, Friendships, Safety and Gender Development. This year, the children are talking about… • The power they have to make rules for their community that support each individual, without limits set by rigid gender roles. • The courage it takes to stand up to someone who says you can’t do something because of gender. • How we can help others when support is needed. • How to take on the role of courageous bystander in the face of hurtful teasing. • What makes a good friendship? How to resolve differences within friendships. The Westland Library has books on each topic to help start conversations at home. The photo above includes four of them. Idalee and the classroom teachers and I can all make recommendations. I welcome the opportunity to hear from you at firstname.lastname@example.org Ellen Sanchez Human Development Specialist
Group Two had the opportunity to visit a cookie factory as they explore the question, “How does food get to the table?” This visit provided a rich study of the different kinds of work necessary to produce and package cookies, as well as the interdependence of one job on another. Before their visit, the children investigated packaged foods in their lunches and determined how the food traveled from the farm to the grocery store as well as what happened to the food on its journey. Six and seven year olds are very proud of their knowledge and tend to be reluctant to say what they do not know, so they were full of predictions about factories. Following this process, they prepared questions for the owner of the cookie factory. After their field trip, Group Two worked in small groups to determine the most important areas of the cookie factory. They came together as one group to graph their ideas, observing which areas were noted the most. Graphing gave a visual representation to the children’s thinking and provided a springboard for more ideas, drawings and discussion. The concept of sequencing underlies all of this study. Asking “What must happen before this can happen?” provides an example of how basic mathematical concepts are given context in the realm of social studies and internalized through experience. Group Two began to observe ‘sequences’ throughout their daily lives. After much discussion and some adjustments, the children pinned their factory drawings along a clothesline where they believed the drawings belonged in the cookie factory sequence. This was the process that led to Group Two’s reconstruction of the cookie factory with large blocks, and illustrates the children’s understanding and appreciation of the