Wednesday, March 14, 2012

"Backpacking Across Europe"

That was the theme for the 5th week activity we had at our elementary co-op on Tuesday.  I know I've said before how the co-op is structured, but we have 4 week unit studies on different topics--some historical, some science, some geographical, etc. each year--and for some of the units, we have a big "5th week activity" that is the culmination of the unit.  Sometimes it is a field trip, or a special speaker, or whatever. 

So the kids just finished 4 weeks learning about Europe, and they had such a fun 5th week activity!  First the kids went to various classrooms by tiers, and they each received a cute little fabric backpack that had some fake euros in it, and also a passport.  Then they all met in the big opening room, and one of the teachers talked in Polish (she's a native!).  Then they had kids come up and hold signs saying how to say "hello" in various European languages (Jonathan got to hold "ciao").  Jessica L. came over from the high school co-op to do some Irish dancing.  Jonathan said everyone liked that a lot--she's a great dancer!

Then the 4 tiers went around to 4 different rooms, getting their passports stamped at each room.  One room was a marketplace, where the kids got a globe key chain, a "football" popper, a pencil, and a compass, which they "paid" for with a fake euro credit card-thing they all had.  While there, Daniel McC taught Jonathan how to say, "Hello, my name is Jonathan.  How much does this cost?" in Italian.  The McCs took a big trip to Italy a year ago in November to visit friends, so apparently Daniel is still remembering his Italian!

Another room was an art room, where the kids got to paint a postcard scene using pointillism.  They used q-tips as brushes, and they only got to use 3 colors.  Someone had drawn a very simple scene of a sailboat on a lake with mountains behind, so the kids sort of filled in the areas with their colors.  The cards turned out really well!

There was also an Olympic game room, where they did a modified curling game, rowing on a skateboard, and long jump.  There was also a fake torch in there, Jonathan reports.

And lastly there was the "cafe", which is where I helped out for the first part of the morning (until I had to run over to Rivendell to teach science, and Christine came to TNT to take my place).  The ladies really went above and beyond with the food--a Slovakian beef and potato goulash soup, pierogies, Swedish meatballs, Swedish licorice, Polish cookies, cream puffs, baguette slices and cheese, pita bread and cucumber dip, churros, and Belgium dark chocolate pieces that looked like Pringles.  Yum!  There was peppermint tea to drink, which was also quite tasty.  I'm not much of a hot beverage person at all, but even I liked this tea!

So the kids had a fun time "backpacking" around the halls of TNT!  Then they headed over to Rivendell to finish off the day--and what a gorgeous day it was!  The temperature was in the high 70's, there was a nice breeze, and it was sunny!  When we got home the kids went down to the creek behind our cul-de-sac with Bob, and then the younger kids actually put on swimsuits and played in the sprinkler.  I can honestly say we have never put on swimsuits and played outside in March before!  Fun day!

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