With the drumbeat and chant from our kindergarteners, the excitement of performing to celebrate the Chinese New Year of the Dog began from the first moment. Students performed songs and chants using their own traditional crafts as props and introductions and background were given by our older students in… Mandarin and English!
Making these crafts gave students the opportunity to learn the Chinese traditions involving food, decorations and the history of this holiday. Very quickly each student knew the character – 福（fú, luck and happiness)and the traditional gesture for wishing a good Chinese New Year with the expression – 恭喜恭喜 ( gōng xǐ gōng xǐ). Students in third and fourth grade were very proud of themselves when they made their 福（fú）character crafts. As students learned in class, when福(fú）is upside down, it means “luck and happiness have arrived.” There are several upside down 福（fú）characters in the first grade students’ crafts, so luck and happiness have just arrived around us at Unquowa. Upper school students also made their own 春联 ( (chūn lián), adding happiness and best wishes to the celebration.
As you are watching this video full of our students’ enthusiasm and talent, we wish you and your family 狗年大吉大利 (gǒu nián dàjí dà lì)…luck and prosperity in the Chinese New Year of the Dog!
Kindergarten and First grade learned new vocabulary for Valentine’s Day. They then had fun using their new vocabulary to write Spanish letters to their Valentines. Holidays offer a great opportunity to talk about traditions and new phrases and vocabulary … and these young Spanish speakers really put their “hearts” into it!
Students in first grade have been learning about all of the instruments in the orchestra. A great piece of music to help students listen to and identify different instruments is Sergei Prokofiev’s “Peter and The Wolf”. This symphonic fairy tale for children is an excellent way to show students how music can tell wonderful stories! Today students were able to act out the different characters in the story with a listening game. I chose a character from the story and played their musical theme and the students had to act out which character they heard! What a fun way to assess the students’ ability to recognize different instruments and musical themes! Can you tell which animal these students heard?
To extend our learning of the solar system, the first grade scientists traveled to the Discovery Museum to view the planetarium show The Little Star That Could. The class felt as though they traveled into outer space as the stars and planets surrounded them in the planetarium. The class recharged with snack and blasted off to the museum galleries to explore all of the exciting things at the Discovery Museum. Our trip was out of this world!
In social studies the first graders have recently explored the idea that where people live affects the kind shelter they may need, as well as when people lived affecting the materials they may have used. To explore a firsthand comparison between the houses we live in now and the shelters that people built in the past, the first grade stepped back in time by visiting the Ogden House right here in Fairfield. The class learned about the life of the Ogden family and all of the hard work the children were responsible for each day just to maintain the shelter. The first graders were able to learn about cooking, making clothing, and other various daily activities in the 1700’s. They explored the kitchen, family room, the two bedrooms and the garret, where the Ogdens dried the herbs from their garden and made comparisons to their own homes.
Students in first grade have been clapping and singing the quarter and eighth notes since day one of music class this year. We have been using a cool song called “Sweet Beats” to practice improvising our own four beat measures in class. Today was an exciting day where the students got to “write” using popsicle sticks, their own measures in 4/4 time, adding another layer to our music theory lessons!