Monday, September 10, 2012

One Million Bones

Today our students had an amazing opportunity to be a apart of an impactful social arts project to bring awareness of and to raise funds for the victims of genocide.  Your students can too!  In the spring of 2013, the project will culminate in Washington D.C. where 1,000,000 handmade bones will be placed on the National Mall as a reminder of the millions displaced and sufering from historic and on-going genocides and mass atrocities, particularly those happening today in Burma, Sudan and the Democratic Republic of Congo.  

 Now, I know genocide is a very intense and heavy subject and that it can be very uncomfortable and scary to talk about with small children.  Yet, when approached with great care, it can also be a very real way to emphasize the importance of tolerance, respect, appreciation and cooperation.  I strongly urge you to visit the website and join this powerful movement.    

                       As you engage with the One Million Bones project, you and your students 
                       will become a part of a larger community of artists, activists and students 
                       from around the United States and the world. Emphasizing the ways that 
                       art can build bridges between people, connect us to each other, and 
                       provide individuals with the ability to turn creative impulse into social 
                       impact stands as a core belief of art activism and this project.

If you aren't sure how to approach the subject with your students the website has some fantastic resources with complete cross-curricular lesson plans.  They are differentiated and available for classes k-12.

{click the picture to take you to this page.}

Our students had a great time creating their bones for the installment and are so excited that the bones will be traveling all the way to our nations capital.  We are studying body systems right now so it was perfect to have a life size skeleton visit the school for our students to see.



The volunteers came from the organization to talk to the students about tolerance.  Their message was that underneath it all we are all the same.  No matter what we look like, where we live, the clothes we wear, the languages we speak, our religion or interests we are all the same.  They told our students that the reason for this project is to promote peace and acceptance and that it's not right to suppress or kill people because of their differences.  I think this message is quite fitting considering the New Mexico state flag proudly waves the Zia symbol, which represents friendship among united cultures.  

They were so proud of their sculpted bones.

As the volunteers left and carried away the skeleton I couldn't help but feel this eerie presence of the real importance and meaning for this project.  The fact that  people are dying every day in genocide is unfathomable in this time and space.  I feel so proud and grateful that the bones we created today will help to bring aide to some of the suffering.  We must always remember to teach our children love and respect for everyone and the best way is through example.  

I hope you are inspired to take part in this beautiful and powerful art installment!  What a great way to help make a difference!      

Sunday, September 9, 2012

River Exploration and Observation

I'm back!  I have missed being able to share our adventures in learning and exploring with you.  

Like I've said this school year our theme is Rivers and this quarter our projects are based on river systems and body systems.  

A few weeks ago we walked down to the river that is on the same property as our school.  Clipboards in hand the students were making observations and sketching and labeling what they saw.

We first had to make our way through the alfalfa field.  
*Did you know alfalfa is a nitrogen fixing plant and can be used in guilds?

The school can be seen in the background up on the hill, the hoop house is located on the playground.  We will be installing a drip system soon,
 as we just received a grant to fund the project!

Tyson, the horse, just had to get in on all of the excitement!  The other adult is Miss Erin.  She is my amazing partner teacher!

Students observed scat.  Helping us identify some of the local fauna.  The students guessed this belonged to the coyotes we heard one morning.

More evidence of local fauna... it appears to be the markings of some beavers hard at work!

We stopped to observe the pond and mini-wetland ecosystem. 
 It's quite abundant with biodiversity.  Nature at it's best!

Manure and some fungi, one of my favorite animal kingdoms!    

We made it to the river but stayed behind the fence for safety purposes.  

We headed back to the school house to talk about what we had observed.  On the way we passed the corn field and garden.    We added another observation the next day as we were all scratching the mosquito bites we endured in the name of science.  We can add them to the list of species inhabiting the river system!