After many hands made light work of it, we gathered together all the materials for the March-April Kings Kits. Thanks to the generosity of St. John’s Church Lafayette Square, each BWS scholar got a brand new, latest edition National Geographic Atlas to keep at home. And thanks to the generosity of one particular donor, Ann Wang, the Library organized a Travel Kit full of books, customized notebooks, an animal shaped sleep mask for plane travel and lots of arts and crafts materials to create souvenirs. We planned on using our imagination to travel through the Atlas and visit the marvels of the World.
The scholars first learned how to use a reference book. There are so many components that make the dense text and large size of the book much more accessible. The photos draw you in, so look at the captions for more info. The maps look complicated, so zoom in on the key to know what type of map it is and what each symbol shows you.
Of course, The First Big Book of the World dispenses with the intro quickly and gets to the continents. K-2 has spent one week per continent. With Europe, we focused on the many forests and then heard the music of Peter and the Wolf.
The older students needed a careful walk through the front and back pages of their World Atlas. Skills like reading a map, identifying location by coordinates, focusing in on the key and following statistics help us compare different regions. They learned that the Earth is constantly moving. From its daily rotation and yearly orbit around the sun, the scholars saw photos and maps of the moving plates of land that lead to earthquakes and volcanoes. Man’s imprint on the Earth is clear in this advanced Atlas. Deforestation and Endangered Species were topics that interested the boys most.
We continued in our virtual Library form but 3 out of 4 classes were zoomed from the actual Library each week. It is still a vibrant space with new books arriving each month. Here is the Early Primary area with the newest Coretta Scott King winner for best illustrations: R-E-S-P-E-C-T. Carole Boston Weatherford wrote and Frank Morrison illustrated the biography of Aretha Franklin.
We lingered over Asia, which is the largest continent and has the most people. Then we zeroed in on Japan to really feel what it’s like to study another culture, cuisine, religion and language. For the youngest, we drew the comparison with American culture by giving our boys beginner chopsticks that have a rubbery Teddy Bears at the top holding the sticks together. The travel kit also had a sushi eraser for practice. We read several lively folktales from Japan such as Momotaro-Peach Boy and The Samurai Cat. Origami paper for 3-5.
The whole school was given a wooden-framed white paper fan to decorate with pink cherry blossoms or Sakura. We read about the friendship Washington DC has with Tokyo and the special gift they gave our city-thousands of highly prized cherry trees. The boys were to give their flowered fan to someone they love.