from the Earth, to New Orleans and into a volcano

I wish I had been better at catching up the blog with posts of pics, things explored by the kids, etc…..Earth week seems like FOREVER ago, but it really wasn’t that long.  We made models out of playdough, we studied the structure and layers, we talked about the land, we looked at where earth fits into our solar system.  and so much more.  and then one day, we ate earth cupcakes.  It always comes back to food for me.  usually carbs, even though I don’t eat much of them anymore.  I love them.  The earth cupcakes would have been better if I had embraced the artificial dyes more heartily, instead of the healthy dyes.  They were a little on the pastel side.

Then came the civil rights movement.  I focused on music that week and we looked at how music was a part of the Underground Railroad, a way to give directions, a way to pass on information to slaves trying to get north to freedom.  We looked at how some of the very songs that were important in the Civil Rights Movement in the 1950’s were songs sung by slaves in the fields.  Full of coded messages and inspiration for their fellow slaves to not give up on hope, on themselves.  We listened to all kinds of music (from slave songs, to hymns to songs of protest and then since February is also Black History Month, lots of fab tunes by Otis Redding, the Commodores, Stevie Wonder, Etta James, Earth, Wind and Fire, just to name a few).

A lot of good conversations were had that week with the kids about fairness and prejudices that are still around.  Several exercises Tracey has mentioned earlier had a deep impact on the groups.  Jackie Robinson’s brave and heroic leap into the Major Leagues resonated with the kids.  Who doesn’t love baseball?

I loved our trip to New Orelans next!  Again, the food and the music!  My two favorite indulgences.  We had blueberry pancakes for snack on Fat Tuesday and King Cake on Friday.  We soaked ourselves in jazz.  and one day, Tracey, William and I took three groups and wrote rap songs with them, all on themes from New Orleans.  We learned the basic steps to zydeco dancing.  Hurricanes were a big part of the week, specifically Katrina.  Tracey is so good at engaging the Armstrongs, our oldest group of kids, in rich dialogue about subjects/challenges.  I just saw an article in the New York Times today how a man followed the rules for rebuilding his house in New Orleans after it was destroyed in Katrina is still waiting for permits.  The statement ‘the more things change, the more they stay the same’ comes to mind.

This week, we have been looking at volcanoes.  There is nothing more fun than filling a bottle with baking soda and then adding vinegar and then watching watch happens.  The only thing better is if you add some red food dye and simulate hot lava.  or dish detergent or shaving cream.  Mount St. Helen’s is categorized at the 2nd most dangerous volcano in the US.  I have forgotten number 1.  I was in 5th grade when she collapsed, erupted, exploded.  I remember it very well.  I loved that some of the kids made the connection between the layers of earth we studied during earth week and what happens inside the earth prior to a volcano erupting!  It was exciting to see them get it.  same tectonic plates, same magma and liquid iron core.  To say ‘The Ring of Fire’ to me brings up the romance of Johnny and June Cash, but it’s important in the world of volcanoes too.  It’s in the Pacific Ocean.

Today might have been my favorite of all the crafts I have done in Bright IDEAS.  I am not crafty.  I can only steal the ideas of others and try to simulate them.  I consider today a victory.  I gave myself permission to veer off the volcanic theme for this project, but thanks to the vision of my staff teammate Cari, our project was reconnected to the theme!  We were not just going to be making salted watercolors, we were making lava drawings!!  I loved it.  and so did the kids.

Next week is weird science.  Not Anthony Michael Hall, but weird none the less.

For now, enjoy some photos from the past few weeks.


IMG_3051IMG_3138IMG_3205IMG_3206IMG_3208IMG_3214IMG_3216IMG_3218Bright Ideas Pictures 2013 006 Bright Ideas Pictures 2013 015


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