Geography

The Great State of Michigan!

We like to end the year with a study of where we live.  For us, that is Michigan!

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We provide a sensorial activity of Michigan.  The children place paper over the sandpaper upper and lower peninsula and rub the crayon.

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You can see and feel our state come through the paper.

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We also learn about the Mackinac Bridge!  If you are a parent, you may have heard the song we sing by now.  The children learn that the upper and lower peninsulas are connected by this bridge that is 5 miles long!

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We provided another art work of Michigan.  Here the children color the land and use watercolor paint for the Great Lakes.

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This year we also baked Michigan cookies!  Here an older child helps a younger child with the baking process.

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We hope you all enjoy your summer and are able to travel around Michigan a bit!
See you in the fall!!

Culture- India and Australia

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Two of our wonderful families are from India and helped teach us about Indian culture!  They brought in beautiful clothes! (and a baby sister!)

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They brought scarves and bindi for our children to wear. We also had a little dancing game to Indian music.

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Special food was eaten.

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They passed around different lentils to observe.

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During the week we also made rangoli with colored sand as well as lentils!

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When we studied Australia this year, we brought out objects that a former student brought from her trip.  The children always enjoy looking at money and other cultural objects.  We also look at pictures of animals from Australia.

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We enjoy Australian dot painting every year.

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Our friend Joel came to play his didgeridoo again for us this year.  The children had SO many questions for him!

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You can listen to the sound here:

A HUGE thank you to our parents and to our friend Joel for helping us to learn about different cultures!

Germany

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One of the fathers in our classroom is from Germany so we asked him to come in and share a little bit of Germany when we were studying Europe.  Fabian showed us his lederhosen (leather pants).

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He also showed us his Advent wreath and talked to us about the tradition.

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Fabian also played and sang the wonderful song “Alle Meine Entchen” which means all my little ducklings.  He said it is the first song German children play and learn to sing.  Below is a clip.

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Finally, as a treat, we were able to taste some pretzels as a nod to the German “bretzel.”  Having lived in Germany these were not quite as good but still tasty for the children.  We really enjoyed learning about Germany!  Danke to Fabian!

A hoodoo experiment

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One of our families took a trip out to Bryce Canyon in Utah a few weeks ago and wanted to share their experience.  We asked them to come in to make a presentation about their trip.  They did some hiking and wanted to share photos of hoodoos. A hoodoo is a tall, mostly thin rock spire formed usually from sedimentary and volcanic rock.  They may be found in the desert and are affected by erosion.

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The children enjoyed the photos of hoodoos.

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Next up was an experiment.  Kevin and Teresa wanted to introduce the children to the idea that rock structures can be affected by water that freezes over and over thus expands and retracts.  This contributes to how hoodoos are formed.

Each child placed a water balloon in a paper cup halfway filled with plaster.

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Teresa then took the cups and filled them with plaster.

From Kevin: “Each child will have two cups to discover how freezing water expands to crack rocks, which is one way that hoodoos form.   One cup marked “C” is the control and is solid plaster.  It should not crack (in theory).  One cup with your child’s name is the experiment and contains a water balloon.  It will likely crack the plaster when frozen (but it doesn’t always crack).”

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Most of the homemade hoodoos cracked.

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The control is on the right and experiment is on the left.

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Two kindergartners wanted to record the results of the experiment.  They made a check list and marked if the plaster cracked or not.

A HUGE thank you to Kevin and Teresa!

From a globe to a map

Each year we give a lesson on how the continent globe and the continent map are the same.  We like to give this in a concrete way so the children can absorb the information.  Antarctica is always tricky as on the map it is divided into two pieces but is one solid piece on the globe.

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First we look at the map and discuss the seven continents.

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We then bring over the globe and talk about how they are similar and how they are different.

We show the children a smaller “globe” made of play doh.

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The play doh globe is cut in half and flattened.

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The children are able to get a hands-on experience of how a globe and a map are the same.

Many returning children launched into the “continent song” after the demonstration!

Michigan! Oh the Mackinac Bridge!

In our final weeks of the school year, we like to study our state of Michigan.

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We created a sandpaper Michigan to feel.

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Many children liked to complete a crayon rubbing.

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They hold the crayon sideways and rub.  Michigan shows up!

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We also taught the children about the five great lakes.

They used a watercolor crayon and colored in the lakes.

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The children then painted the crayon with water and a paintbrush.

One of our families headed north for a weekend in the spring and brought us back some fudge to sample.

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Oh The Mackinac Bridge!  Many parents have heard this song in the last few weeks!  Some families will be heading “up north”  to explore our state and may pass over the Mackinac Bridge.  The children loved learning and singing this song.  Click on the link to listen.

For visitors to our blog who don’t know about the bridge, here is a link to some information:  http://www.mackinacbridge.org/about-the-bridge-8/

We hope you all have a great summer and get a chance to head “Up North” and see the mighty fine bridge!

Australia and New Zealand

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As we study the continents up close, we wanted to take a look at Australia.  On of our students visited family last year and brought us back souvenirs.  We learned about the animals in Australia we don’t see here in the US.  We also looked at some money and a boomerang.  One fun thing to do was listen to a recording of a kookaburra bird.

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We invited our friend Joel to come and play the didgeridoo for us.  Below is a short clip:

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We are lucky that one of our lovely parents hails from New Zealand!  She came in to teach us about this fabulous country and give us some treats as well!

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We looked at where New Zealand was on the map.

We also learned about the Maori people and their legend of how New Zealand came to be.

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Our friend was wearing her Maori shirt with the 1-10  spelled out.

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Kia Ora = Hi

Whanau = Family

Waka = Canoe

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Georgie brought us DELICIOUS treats!  First up were the ANZAC biscuits. It is a sweet cookie (biscuit in NZ) that originated in WW1 and were associated with the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps (hence, ANZAC).

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We were also able to try her Pavlova.  This was a dessert named after a Russian ballet dancer and was made for her when she visited Australia and New Zealand.  It was also delicious!

A big thanks to Joel and Georgie!

France and THANK YOU to Zingerman’s!

We had a great week studying France!  The children had been studying the Europe map, euros and other objects from France.  We have two students who speak French fluently and they helped to teach us new words and sing songs for us.  When we learn about a country, we like to taste the food, see photos and objects and interact with people from the country if possible.

We are so lucky in Ann Arbor to have the amazing Zingerman’s!  They generously donated croissants to us so we would have a taste of France!

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THANK YOU to Zingerman’s Bakehouse for supporting AACH!
We thoroughly enjoyed our croissants!

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YUMMY!  Croissants from Zingerman’s!

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The children enjoying!

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We used a straight stitch and sewed a French flag.

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Our French family had picked this up last summer while home for a visit.  We learned how to say numbers, seasons, months and weather in French.

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The children were able to enjoy a fun art project.  Each day we had a different page from a book bought at the Louvre.

They trace their hand like the picture and use chalk pastels to color in.  Some children wrote the name of the animal in French.

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Thanks to Zingerman’s and all who helped to make our study of France so lovely!

Merci beaucoup!

Ireland

Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

Last week we studied the country of Ireland.  We learned about where Ireland is in Europe, Irish music, shamrocks, Irish dancing, potatoes and many more things.

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We used our sewing skills to make shamrocks!

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We had green smoothies with crackers for snack.

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We cut and ate potatoes for food prep work.

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Today we made crowns for St. Patrick’s day.

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One of our students takes Irish dancing classes.  Here she is demonstrating:

Irish Dancing

Thank you!

Enjoy!

A study of Italy- pasta, flags and Opera!

Throughout the year, we study all of the continents.  We try to give the children a general feeling for different cultures via food, artifacts, money, visitors, songs, art etc..  For the past few weeks, we have been studying Europe.  We focused on Italy last week and had a great time.  In our food prep area, children were able to have pasta and used a tiny grater for parmesan cheese.

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We also sewed our own Italian flags.  This required pre-cut felt and a straight stitch!

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Some children chose to color the Italian flag on paper.

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OPERA!

The highlight of our week was listening to Marlene Inman-Reilly!  We asked Marlene to perform a few short pieces for the children to expose them to the sound of Opera.  She told us about the origins of Opera and explained that we would not understand the words but to listen to see if songs were happy or sad.  She told us a little story before performing each piece so the children could listen and pick up clues about the stories.  When performing, Marlene is so expressive that the children were engrossed listening and watching.

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Click on the audio links below to hear what the children heard:

Bel Piacere from Handel’s opera Agripinna

Lasciatemi Morire from L’Arianna by Monteverdi

O Mio Babbino Caro from Giani Schicci by Puccini

Marlene will sing with the Michigan Opera Theater to perform A View From the Bridge in April and Turandot in May.

Click here for tickets and more information: http://www.ticketmaster.com/Detroit-Opera-House-tickets-Detroit/venue/65713