Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Yeh Shen: A Cinderella Story from China

Finn's first grade class, at the little arts-based charter school that he and Elizabeth attend, performed Yeh Shen: A Cinderella Story from China this month as part of their curriculum. Each of the first grade classes performed a Cinderella story from a different country as part of a larger study of fairy tales and their place in various cultures.

Finn's class began reading the book of Yeh Shen about 6 weeks before the play, then many times over, in different groups with different children playing the various parts, they would go over each facet of the story. Finn would come home almost nightly telling me of the part he practiced that day and who else was in his group and how much fun it was to be a guard one day and a king the next.

During dance class, Finn and his classmates learned out to be cattails, reaching high for the sun, and fireflies, twittering around the cattails, and frogs, jumping among the lily pads.

During art class, they practiced symmetry by drawing shapes, folding their papers, holding them up to the light, and copying the shape to the other side, eventually turning these shapes into Chinese paper dragons.

In music class, they learned about the music from China and a little song to perform briefly in the Yeh Shen play.

During writing time, they eagerly made up their own fairy tale characters, giving them special talents and magical powers. By the end of the performance, these first graders had not just experienced the music, art, and fairy tales of China, they had an intimate knowledge of a story to share with their parents through their play. I didn't see one nervous performer nor one hesitant speaker, and even the children I know to be shy, found their courage and boldly shared this tale which has become part of their life experience now.

Yet another shining example of the educational accomplishment of this little charter school we've come to adore.

Thursday, May 8, 2014

more storage for canning

The time finally came. The time where I clearly needed more space if I planned to continue canning as much as I have been. We filled our little jar shelf that used to sit in this space and then another two shelves in the pantry, a half shelf in the garage of empty jars, and still we were squeezing jar into random places. Random places that I would, of course, forget about when I needed a particular item. We've talked about added more jar storage in this space for nearly a year, and the time finally came.

We hired another parent from our kids' school to build this shelf unit, then I immediately set to work on the painting. The paint on the top 3 shelves are drying as I type, but I just couldn't wait any longer to get some of these jars out of the hallway!

The best I can figure, this shelf will hold about 250 jars of varying sizes, which is about how many we have right now. If I decide to can more than that, we'll still have to utilize part of the pantry, but at least the bulk of our jars will be in a single, organized location.

Bring on the summer! I'm ready to start canning!

PS. Have you visited The Book Children recently? There's a giveaway right now so check it out!

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

a Lego poem by Philip

Philip had an assignment for his AG class to write a poem that was a metaphor. The metaphor was to center around the story of the Mexican migrant workers in Arizona in the 1920s who were making such low wages that they walked out of their jobs and walked some 300 miles in protest. As Lego is the language that Philip speaks best, he used a Lego man as a metaphor.

Lego Sadness

I am the Lego head.
What a sad life I have lead.
I am the Lego hand.
I am worth a pile of sand.

I am the Lego arm.
I do not mean any harm.
I am the Lego leg.
Bad Legos I wish to peg.

And then there's the body.
We don't know about him.
He's come to help.
We now are one!
We now can walk & talk!
Our former lives are dim!