Wrapping Up Maslow Study in our K/1 Class

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Over a month ago, I wrote that our K/1 students were beginning to learn about Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, and how this relates to our year long unit of study, Families & Homes. After much delving, sharing, drawing, reading and writing, our littles ones have an impressive understanding of Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs. While I wish you could spend an afternoon with my class, discussing their learnings, I’m hoping you see via some of their documentation, how their appreciation for their families has deepened.

Basic Needs (food, water, air)

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My mom always gives me healthy foods.

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I go outside and get air.

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My dad packs my lunch.

Safety Needs (shelter, job)

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I have a safe home.

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If people don’t have a job, then you can’t have money, and you can’t pay for insurance to be healthy.

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Health insurance lets you go to the eye doctor, so you can see and you can learn.

Love & Belonging Needs (family, friendships)

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Me and my mom snuggling.

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I belong to my family and my soccer team.

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I belong in my school.

Self Esteem Needs (confidence, encouragement)

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      I am great at handstands.

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Self Actualization – Doing what you love!

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I learned to count.

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I learned to play basketball.

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I learned how to read music.

 

Many of the kids had huge realizations that many, if not most of the things they had already accomplished were a direct result of their supportive families and community.

 

One of the goals of education should be to teach that life is precious.

— Abraham Maslow

 

The Belonging System: A glimpse into the places where children feel they belong.

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In Social Studies, we are continuing our learning on Families & Homes. We have spent the beginning of the school year exploring the various ways families come to be. Some family members are born into their families and other are made with love and appreciation. We have concluded that families are formed through friendships, school communities, religious places like churches or synagogues, work, school and travels.

We are beginning our investigations on where families live and the types of places that can be considered home. We will discuss the types of homes people live in, in our communities and around the world. To start this conversation, we read the gorgeous picture book, You Belong Here, written by M.H. Clark and illustrated by Isabelle Arsenault. This book takes the reader on a lyrical journey of where plants, animals and children belong.

And the trees belong in the wild wood and the deer belong in their shade,

and the birds belong so safe and good and warm in the nests that they’ve made.

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After we read this book, we brainstormed the various places where we belong. We explained that belonging can be attached to a physical place like one’s home or favorite park. We can also belong to ideas, or places that make our hearts sing, nourish our souls, and ground us. I shared that I belong to words and writing, picture books, and my yoga corner. Using a systems map we asked, “Where do you belong?”  Our littles shared many interesting and heartfelt places of belonging.

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As a follow up activity, our little ones wrote a book where they chose five places using the sentence starter: I belong in / I belong with__________________.

Here are some of the wonderful places where we belong. It was also noted that no matter where we come from, there is always a place where we belong.

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If we have no peace, it is because we have forgotten we belong to each other.

– Mother Theresa

 

Student Created Alphabet Cards

We have begun our year long social studies investigation on Families & Homes. Through picture books, family shares, systems thinking and essential questions, we hope to guide our little ones to understand how families and homes are inherently similar, while celebrating the unique differences of everyone’s family and home.

 

The three essential questions guiding our discussions are:

  1. How can families be the same and different?
  2. What systems does a family use to work together?
  3. What does a home give a family?

 

When asked, “What is something that you do with your family that warms your heart?”, students eagerly listed various activities particular to their families. Using their ideas, students created their own alphabet cards that will be posted in the classroom. Their ABC cards nicely link their use of systems thinking to their personal lives, their school and the learnings around Families and Homes. They are also adorable and extremely creative!

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We are only four weeks into our year long investigation, but our little ones have already concluded that the most important part of a family and home is love. Another recent comment is that family members aren’t necessarily those that you are born to.

I am looking forward to what I will learn from their conversations and how their wonderings will steer our investigation.

 

I sustain myself with the love of family. –Maya Angelou

 

Shine A Light On Modern Day Slavery: 5th Grade Project

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Shine A Light On Modern Day Slavery Installation

Social Justice was an integral part of my formal education at the University of San Francisco and Loyola Marymount University. From my vantage point, the role of an educator is to not simply teach reading, writing and math, but to provide students the opportunities to think critically, think outside the box and to be agents of change. Today, I witnessed how powerful teaching can be when educators go beyond the basics and truly delve into subjects that some might think are too difficult for students to grasp. Our little ones were given a tour by the 5th graders showcasing their research/art project: Shine A Light On Modern Day Slavery. They were knowledgeable and passionate as they shared what they had learned about modern day slavery. I took some pictures and I hope they convey how amazing and important the 5th graders’ work is.

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How Design Thinking, Making & Systems Thinking Give 5th graders Agency Over a Social Injustice.

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Help Slaves Be Free

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Fair Trade Certified

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Freedom

 

The 5th graders also handed out a pamphlet providing ways we can help stop modern day slavery.

  • Be a conscientious consumer! Find out where and how products that you buy are made.
  • Reach out to your elected representatives to let them know that fighting slavery is important to you.
  • Join or support organizations that are committed t ending modern-day slavery.
  • Donate funds or needed items to an anti-trafficking organization to in your area.
  • Stay informed, ask questions and be aware!

 

It surprises people that there’s actually a very large number of slaves in the world today—our best estimate is 27 million. And that is defining a slave in a very narrow way; we’re not talking about sweatshop workers or people who are just poor, we’re talking about people who are controlled by violence, who cannot walk away, who are being held against their will, who are being paid nothing. 

– Kevin Bales

 

I alone cannot change the world, but I can cast a stone across the waters to create many ripples. 

-Mother Teresa

The Magical Day: Book Review

the magical dayThe over arching K/1 social studies theme in class this school year is the World of Work, an investigation of how different community systems work together to keep them thriving. Since we have been discussing and investigating at length, the essential components necessary to maintain a thriving community, I was eager to read The Magical Day, by Sandra Elaine Scott and Illustrated by Jasmine Mills.

Prior to reading this beginner chapter book, we have read several books that lend themselves to discussing the concept of community. Students listed what they believed to be important factors in having a well run community.  They noted that shelter, health, education, safety, water and food were important components of a thriving community.

When I read, The Magical Day, my little ones quickly made many types of connections. In this story, 8 year old Donovan visits his cousin in the US and spends a day connecting with several community members who teach him various life skills. Donovan, an 8 year old who is multi-ethnic, curious and independent visits with a firefighter, a soldier, a graffiti artist, an athlete, a nun, a librarian, and a gardener.

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As I read the book, my students made the connection with the firefighter since we had recently visited the fireboat station. Another student said, “This reminds me of the book, Pink Fire Trucks. It’s about being brave!” When we read the chapter of the little girl in a wheelchair who was practicing to be in the Olympics – my students said the little girl had grit. And what I found most amazing was what they had to say about the gardener. In previous book discussions we learned that some communities don’t have access to healthy fruits and vegetables, also known as food deserts. Students said that food deserts are a broken system and that they would like to do something to remedy the problem. They are now doing odd jobs at home and earning money to support SoLa Food Co-op (South Los Angeles Food Co-op).

We watched this video and 5th graders even did some research on food deserts. The students compiled a powerpoint and shared their findings to our little ones. It was a wonderful and organic example of community, and how we are all interrelated and dependent on each other.

The Magical Day was a great addition to our study, the World of Work. It sparked great conversations, connections and motivated our students to be agents of change. I really liked the last page where students were able to use the diagram provided to retell the story. This resource is especially beneficial for struggling readers since the chart provides some support in retelling the main ideas of the story. I also really appreciated that the characters in the story showed varied and diverse members in our communities.