Third Grade Country Day
I went around the world this morning between 10:15 and 11:00 am. I walked over to Mrs. Tyndall's classroom and visited Greece, China, Australia, and Bulgaria. Then I went down the hall to Mrs. Federman's class and dropped in on Ethiopia, Rwanda, France, India, and Burma. And about two dozen other places.
Third graders choose a country, do research, draw a map (the maps are impressive, being very detailed and all hand drawn, according to a technique that divides the image into eight parts), do some cooking, collect artifacts, draw a flag, color figures with traditional dress, and write a simple outline for an oral report on basic facts about their countries. All good pedagogy and a rich learning experience. It's quite the international bazaar in the classrooms, with the students standing behind their desks, ready to tell you more than you can remember about their country of choice.
And it's that choice that got my attention this year. I've seen a lot of country days in my days at Trinity. But I hadn't seen until this year the wonderful motivations and connections the students are making to these countries. One student's family is helping some refugees, and she chose that country. Another has adopted a child through Compassion International, and another has friends who are missionaries. One student chose his ancestral country. These are deep and meaningful connections, and they augment the learning and make all this a richer experience.
One of my favorite moments was when the students went around the circle, introduced themselves, and said, "Hello" in eighteen different languages.
This is a rich and unhurried curriculum in practice.