It’s hard to believe that two weeks ago the first graders were exploring the woods in t-shirts! On a sunny fall day the first grade scientists explored the Unquowa woods for signs of fall as well as clues that the animals were preparing for the coming winter months. The first graders learned that leaves do not “change” color, but actually reveal color that has always been there, once the leaves stopped producing chlorophyll. They observed orange leaves (carotene), and yellow leaves (xanthrophyll), as well as birds eating seed, squirrels collecting acorns, and even ducks swimming in Horse Tavern Brook!
First graders have been learning and playing a fun music game called Mouse Mousy in performing arts class. Students take turns being the mouse inside the house, or the kitty on the outside of the house. The students form a circle with connecting arms to create our house, and then the fun begins! The mousy has to use their dramatic skills to show that he or she is afraid of the kitty outside! And the kitty also must act, being very sneaky trying to catch the mouse. After the song is sung there is a short chase where the mouse tries to escape! The musical purpose of this song to hear and sing accurately sol, mi, and do pitches which the song is built upon.
The first grade class is off to a fantastic start in performing arts! In this class, students created a movement piece. They each added their own style and step to create a flowing piece showing each of their personalities.
During the first weeks of school, it is always thrilling for students to meet new friends. No wonder in First Graders’ Mandarin class, students are so excited making this new friend–熊猫 (xióng māo, panda) from China. With this excitement, it is just natural for each of the students to sing greeting songs with 熊猫 and describe to him their age and their grade. Most importantly, students happily did this in Mandarin. Good job, everyone!
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!