Thursday, December 06, 2007

Family Tree

Wow! For me, it's been a long time since I've blogged. I just haven't had the desire to do so lately. I'll think about something to blog, but I just don't get around to doing it. You would think that maybe my house is perfectly clean because I've been doing that instead. Alas, you would be wrong!

I did want to blog about Gracie's family history project she did for school. I've talked before about how much I love the activities Mrs. Zimmerman does. She really focuses on things that get the kids to think and be creative and she links different subjects together. She & I sat and talked about this earlier in the week when I was helping her in the classroom. She said she just can't teach the other way because she's miserable (read the textbook, answer the questions, etc.) As a parent, I love that she does the more fun things while still hitting on the standards that the kids need. I think the kids need to know how to read the textbook and answer the questions and she does give them those kinds of assignments, but she throws in these fun ones as well which I love!

She sent home a letter saying that they are studying history as part of social studies and one of their reading stories this week is about how stories are told and retold as part of history. She plans for this project to be helpful in the social studies unit and to support the reading story. She wanted the kids to interview us and other family members about our family's heritage and then they will present their findings on Friday.

She left it up to them as to how they will present the information. That's another thing I love because I feel this lets the different kids show their creativity. They could write a story or make a family tree. I'm sure anything would be okay. Grading is based on participation. I'm sure some kids will bring 1 picture and and that will be it while others will really "get into it."

Gracie wanted to do a family tree so we spent time on the phone this weekend & week talking to the grandparents to find out important information. (Click on the picture to make it bigger.) Gracie was disappointed that everyone (back to her great-grandparents) were all originally from the U.S. so we went a little farther back and found someone who had come from an area now known as France and we found some Indian blood on both sides of the family. Chris's great-grandfather fought against Pancho Villa & lived to be 102 years old so that was pretty impressive to her as well.

She worked hard on her family tree, had fun, and learned something as well. I think that's a successful project!

Another thing Mrs. Z is doing this week is that she is reading books by Patricia Polacco who is my very, very, very favorite children's author! I have 26 of her books, and they're all very special. I sent some to school to share with the class as well as I sent a list of all of them to Mrs. Z in case she wants to borrow more of them. You may not be familiar with her books, but she tells many family stories in her books and they're just beautiful! Many of them bring me to tears easily. An interesting thing to me about how much I like them is that a lot of her stories have to do with Jewish families celebrating Hanukkah which is something I don't know much of anything about, but the stories are told with such love and there is such an emphasis on family tradition and love for family & friends. "The Trees of the Dancing Goats" is a Christmas one that focuses on 2 families-one which celebrates Hanukkah & one which celebrates Christmas and how they help each other one year with their celebrations. Truly beautiful stories-check them out!

1 comment:

julie said...

I also love her books. She has a new one out that I want to buy. It's called The Lemonade Club. So sweet and sad. You will love it...classic Polacco.