Friday, November 1, 2013

Connecting the Dots with Yianna and Helios....3rd grade

a magical adventure of  art, history and just a bit of mystery
My third grade students started their global adventure with an entrance stamp in Mexico!  Equipped with "passports", "travel journals" and curiosity, these great students joined their two friends, Yianna and Helios, on an adventure through ancient lands, rich culture and amazing art.
Our pen-pal friends, Yianna and Helios, magically helped us begin our first continental adventure in North America and the warm and colorful country of Mexico.
Along with its rich history, Mexico provided my students a broader lens towards investigating the world and finding those wonderful little things that make people different....and the same.
We started with a brief email from Yianna and Helios (  They even sent us a package! 
 Then we started with the "mystery" power point presentation.  
Mexico: Celebration of Dia de los Muertos

Our passports became passage into Mexico but, also, our note taking booklets.  Before starting any hands-on projects, we study, research, investigate, observe, question, compare, contrast and wonder about this wonderful new land we are discovering.  Referencing the power point presentation, we divide our focus into two categories: HISTORY and ART.  Our goal is to see the connections of both categories to appreciate and understand the nuances of different cultures and traditions.  At the beginning of the year, I write all the notes on the board, as we discuss what is important to remember in each slide.  As the year progresses, the students pick up the sequence and begin to use their own knowledge and take their own notes. 
 I LOVE SEQUENCES!  The students become so much more independent and critical thinkers.  AWESOME. truly. awesome.
The timing of this lesson played an important factor for the hands-on project.  As October progressed, the focus was to learn about, understand and appreciate other celebration that hold a deeper meaning within a culture. 
 I used "Dia de los Muertos".  Aside from making calaveras, which we did, we really focused on the purpose for this Mexican holiday and its significance for the people celebrating the day.

We made our own "sugar skulls" out of clay.  We sketched ideas and painted with very small brushes. We even ate some pan dulce.   But most importantly, we thought about someone we love....we care about....we miss. 

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xoxo, SMocK you.