- Farmington Woods IB-PYP Magnet Elementary
- Forestville Elementary
- Jeffreys Grove Elementary
- Joyner IB-PYP/Center for Spanish Language Magnet Elementary
- Millbrook IB-PYP Magnet Elementary
- Smith IB-PYP Candidate Magnet Elementary
- Stough Elementary
- Timber Drive Elementary
- Wiley International Studies Magnet Elementary
During the month of April, Smith Magnet students and staff held a fund raising campaign for hunger awareness. Teachers and students worked daily to meet, and exceed, the previous year’s goal. The culminating activity was on Friday, April 26th with a Walk for Hunger, benefitting Heifer International. The Smith community not only exceeded the goal but almost doubled it! The Smith family is excited to know their efforts will contribute to needy communities around world.
Smith Magnet 5th graders are preparing for their Inaugural International Baccalaureate Exhibition. In April, the groups researching Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs) had the opportunity to Skype with a Research Analyst at the North Carolina Biotechnology Center. They were in search of more balanced information regarding GMOs. Most of the information they had found was very negative and biased against GMOs, but had no real research to support the negative stances. Dr. Deborah Thompson spoke with students, answered their questions, and provided further resources for students to use. After the talk, Dr. Thompson blogged about the experience and it has been featured on the NC Biotech website.
Forestville first graders boarded busses one sunny morning last month to spend a day touring the North Carolina Zoo in Asheboro. As part of the school’s global program, each grade level examines a different geographic region from across the globe. The first graders have studied Africa all year, which made exploring the 500-acre park’s Africa exhibits particularly meaningful.
Throughout the year, students have read books, such as Bringing the Rain to Kapiti Plain; The Clever Monkey, a Folktale from West Africa; and For You are a Kenyan Child, as well as non-fiction texts featuring Africa. Teachers use these and other globally themed resources to teach social studies, language arts, science, etc. Walking through the zoo’s diversity of nature and experiencing face-to-face encounters with magnificent giraffes, gorillas, elephants, zebras and more, brought the pages and curriculum alive for the kids.
In addition, students put their academic skills, such as map reading, to use in a real-life situation. They used the colorful zoo map to pinpoint their location and predict what amazing animals they would see next!
This year’s International Festival was a HUGE success. Over 1200 students viewed the exhibits and participated in engaging discussion with fellow students. The exhibits were created and managed by students in all classes: math, language B, arts, theater. Local organizations with international ties were also available to discuss community needs with students. Over 70 students auditioned and performed in the auditorium as well. The fourth block performances included Latin partner dancing, the East Millbrook Middle School drummers and dancers, Vietnamese song and dance and a Multicultural Fashion Show. Staying true to its theme, the Festival allowed all students to make connections with people from other.
Smith Magnet Elementary was chosen by the American Heart Association to receive a Teaching Garden. On March 25th, students, staff and sponsors gathered to learn about planting, nutrition and the benefits of physical activity. The Teaching Garden is an effort to counteract childhood obesity by instructing students on the importance of a healthy lifestyle. The garden aligns with the International Baccalaureate curriculum which includes Balanced, Principled, Open-Minded and Reflective learners. The garden will be nurtured by students and staff until the culminating Harvest Day in June. Harvest Day will include harvesting, cooking and sampling the “fruits of their labor”.
You could’ve heard a pin drop in the classroom at Forestville Road Elementary as Maria Perez showed a group of fourth graders a faded photo of her and her grandmother. Maria, now a mother of one of the students sitting before her, was a young girl in the picture, sitting beside her grandmother as she made tortillas by hand over a wood fire.
“Tortillas were my grandmother’s life,” Mrs. Perez told the children.
“You couldn’t just go to the store to buy them. We would go to the hills to collect firewood, build the fire, and she would make the corn tortillas by hand,” she said. “My grandmother made them and sold them out of her house. I would wait and wait beside her and hope she’d give me a hot one. They were incredibly delicious.”
Perez, a native of Mexico, talked about growing up in a Mexican pueblo. She told of parties, traditions, national holidays and nostalgic facts, such as how integral the church bell was to the people of her small town.
“Before cell phones and so much technology, people depended on the bell to know what time it was. The bell would ring to tell people it was time to come in from the fields to each lunch,” Perez explained. “The bell told us other things too. For instance, a sad-sounding ring would tell us someone in our pueblo had passed away. We would hear it and know to gather at the church to find out what had happened.”
Students applauded after Perez’s 10-minute presentation. And tears rolled down her cheeks.
“We only have our memories,” she said.
Perez shared those memories with students at Forestville Road Elementary on Friday, March 15, as a guest presenter during the school’s first International Festival of Learning. Like Perez, dozens of other parents, members of the N.C. State University Culture Corps as well as staff members and their relatives shared their experiences, their cultures, and, most notably, their hearts to give students insight into other countries and cultures.
In all, more than 30 people representing dozens of countries and each of the seven continents made presentations to the school’s nearly 700 kindergarten through fifth-grade students during the two-and-a-half-hour event.
The presenters occupied virtually every classroom in the school. Every ten minutes classes rotated or “traveled” to another “country” to learn about a different country and stamp their festival “passports.”
The next week, in follow-up literacy activities, students recalled dozens of facts they learned about the Mexican peso and U.S. dollar exchange rates, water markets in Thailand, “pushers” in Tokyo who earn a living shoving subway riders into crowded cars before the doors close, how kids in China spend more time in school than kids in the United States, and how the country of Turkey uniquely occupies parts of two continents (Europe and Asia).
“The International Festival of Learning was a first for Forestville Road, a member of the Global Schools Collaborative Network,” said FRES Principal Dianne Pridgen. “It was a wonderful day of collaboration with our school staff, our community and our parents. We took students on personal journeys to places around the world while celebrating the heritage of our rich and diverse student body.”
“The event exceeded even our high expectations. The amount of learning and student engagement was amazing,” Pridgen said. “Our wonderful parents and other generous and top-notch presenters helped us learn about their special parts of the world and the special roles each of us plays in our world.”
Millbrook’s faculty social committe is gearing up for the second annual Dancing with the Staff competition. This unique event allows current Dance students to choreograph and teach a routine to staff members who have bravely volunteered to participate. The performances are recorded and shared by the Millbrook broadcasting class. Students are then allowed to vote on the best performance and the winners receive their very own mirror ball trophy. So, why is this on the Global Schools blog? Well, I will tell you. This year a new member has been added to the long list of collaborators. One of our Behavior Support classes has been learning about Pakistan and Afghanistan and the challenges students in those countries face. In a class project, they decided to collect donations for Pennies for Peace. While this project began in complete isolation, it is now part of the Dancing with the Staff voting process. The Behavior Support class will be creating a segment on the morning news to make students aware of the Pennies to Peace organization. They will also explain to students that Dancing with the Staff voting will be done with penny donations to the organizaion – one penny equals one vote. So, not only do we get to see our teachers “perform” but we are getting the students involved in a service project that will benefit other students on an international scale.
So let’s call roll to make sure we have all of our collaborators accounted for:
1. Volunteering Teachers
2. Dance Students
3. Broadcasting Students
4. Behavior Support Students
5. Pennies for Peace
5. Faculty Social Committee
It is truly amazing the great things that can come from the willingness to collaborate and the creative ideas of students and teachers!
Golden Gates offered students at Millbrook Elementary PYP Magnet School an entertaining and authentic glimpse into Old Russia through music, song, and dance. The performance was centered around masterpieces of Russian folklore and represented the diversity of the culture, ranging from gently humorous songs, to elaborate lyrical suites, to pulsating dance numbers. The program was broad and varied, with something to appeal to everyone, including audience participation through clapping, dancing and learning Russian songs and words. Lilting balalaikas, dynamic bayan accordion, unique trashotky and loshky, humorous dances, and superb vocals combined for an exhilarating and educational performance for audiences of all ages.
In 1993 the company Golden Gates was created in St. Petersburg, Russia. Drawing upon students from the Author’s Aesthetic Music Secondary School, these children became the first members of the group. They began performing at various cultural events, folk festivals and concerts throughout Russia and Europe. Currently under the direction of Marina Tourlygina, the performers range in age from five to fifteen.
As part of their kindergarten curriculum classes explore different cultures and the holidays they celebrate. In music students learned a song from China, Silver Moonboat, and listened to traditional Chinese Music. After learning the song the students watched several YouTube clips about the Dragon and Lion Dances done during Chinese New Year celebrations. The class then formed a line and tried their own dragon dance. One student led the group with the mask. All the students were thrilled to try on the mask after their successful dance!
Walk into any classroom at Forestville Road Elementary School (FRES), and, in addition word walls, text features, and anchor charts, you’ll see glimpses of some far (and not so far) corners of the world. Teachers from kindergarten to fifth grade have ushered in different parts of the world by designating spots in each room as “culture corners” that share information about our diverse world and its populations.
FRES teachers created and maintain the culture corners as part of the VIF (Visiting International Faculty) International Education global gateway course they have undertaken this academic year. As part of the program each grade level examines a different geographic region. For example, kindergarten studies North America; first grade, Africa; second grade, Asia; third grade Europe; fourth grade, Latin America and the Caribbean; and fifth grade, Oceana.
Professional development and lesson planning that acknowledge and explore culture aim to help teachers, “…understand the cultural values and behaviors of individuals and systems…,” according to the VIF, and to study “students’ cultural backgrounds and importance in teaching and learning…(and to) implement cultural investigation strategies….”