Social Studies

May 12th

First, we learned about the first English settlement establish in 1607.  Jamestown colonists experiences very challenging and trying times over the years, due to disease, starvation, and warfare with Native peoples.  Captain John Smith, eventually a leader in the Fort, suggested to Governor Wingfield that they build a fort to protect against Indian attacks, but he did not listen.  After an attack that caught the English by surprise, injuring several and killing a few, Wingfield finally listened and they built a triangular shaped fort with three bulwarks to keep a lookout from.  Second graders learned about all of the structures built inside, where they were located, and why the triangular shape was most beneficial (better visibility into the forest and up and down the river).  Last week they all worked together quite excitedly to recreate a large sized fort on paper.

This past week students got a tiny glimpse into what life was like on the 66 day journey on the Mayflower.  Storms caused seasickness, below decks was overcrowded with 102 passengers, pigs, chickens, and goats, and lack of light, fresh air, and food made it a long and difficult journey. Students recreated this journey by acting out the sounds and sights of above and below the deck.

Our field trip to Fort No. 4 was a great success! The children traveled to five different stations; the kitchen, weaving, Captain Stevens Trading Post, the Native Center, and the Blacksmith.  The weaving was especially fascinating as they got to see how flax seed is made into linen, dyed, and turned into thread.  Another fun fact learned was that a blacksmith made about 18,000 nails that were used to build an average sized fort during the time.

April 28th

Wow, we completed our Maya studies and the final project, which was a codex, a small accordian style book that displays some creativity along with new knowledge.  Students learned how to write their name in glyphs, their birth month with a symbol, equations using a different number system (based off the number 20 instead of 10) and draw pyramids.  They now know that color, patterns, and textures were important to the culture, particularly because of weaving.  Also, they particularly enjoyed learning about a ball game that the Maya played.  Ask them to explain to you the rules and what happens if you were the winner or the loser.  We've had great fun with this unit, but now it's time to move forward and get started on Colonial Days!  Next week we will hit the ground running and talk about the development of the Jamestown Fort and the Native Americans that settlers encountered when they arrived.  Be sure to check out my google documents that I shared with you.  If you can volunteer at all on Colonial Day we'd love to have your help.  Also, Jen Hutchins sent a SignUp Genius email requesting many cooking items and ingredients for Wednesday, June 7th. Looking forward to getting started on this journey with everyone!

March 27th

      We've been working away on our biography poster projects for the last week.  The creative juices are definitely flowing!  We're up to our ears in paint, glue, fabric, felt, feathers, buttons, lace, ribbon, popsicle sticks, cotton, and much more! Once the posters are finished, students will write an informational piece about the person they're studying.  They will wrestle with answering questions like, "Why is this person famous? What is he or she known for?  What are some character traits of this person?  What are important contributions he or she has made to the world?  What do you think is the most interesting thing about this person?"

The posters and writing will be displayed on the walls in the library. Students will also record themselves reading their writing, and these recordings will be assigned a QR code that will be stapled under the poster. The code is scanned with an iPad so that other students and staff in the building can hear their voices.  

We've also started our unit on the Ancient Maya.  Today I showed the class 3 photographs (thanks to Jen Hutchins for snapping them on a recent visit) of a Pyramid at Chichen Itza.  We used a thinking routine called, "I see, I think, I wonder."  All of the students were so engaged in this exercise, especially when it came to sharing all of their wonders about this giant, ancient structure.


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