Our studies of ancient India have come to a close, and we have jumped back in time to the development of civilization on the Yellow River in China and moved forward in time to Confucius and Lao-Tse. We’ve read excerpts from The Analects of Confucius, and we’re reading The Tao of Pooh by Benjamin Hoff, which offers a delightful explanation of some of the concepts of Taoism told from the user-friendly perspective of the character Winnie-the-Pooh. The students will be creating stop-motion animation films highlighting one of the abstract concepts of Taoism beginning next week. Our history studies will continue with the Story of Math and excerpts from the non-fiction book, China: Land of Dragons and Emperors, and we will make Chinese water compasses and try out hands at Chinese calligraphy. Our visit to the Asian Art Museum complemented our studies of Ancient China, and set us up for two projects: our calligraphy project and our synthesis of ideas, art, and Mindfulness that sparks the creation of the clay meditative figures. The students choose one culture’s version of the Buddha or a Hindu deity to research and recreate in clay. I hope these beautiful sculptures will have made the required visits to the kiln to be ready to take home at conferences.
I’m sure you’ve noticed that we create and analyze a lot of art in 6th-grade Humanities. Correlative studies also show a strong relationship between arts education and:
- positive emotional development that leads to stronger abilities to self-regulate
- deep engagement in learning
- motivation to learn for understanding
- a decrease in disciplinary issues in schools
- self-awareness, self-concept and self-expression
- self-efficacy and self-confidence (13)
By integrating the arts and creative endeavors into history and language arts studies, I find students (and I!) are far more motivated and engaged in the curriculum. I love teaching at a school that values every part of our children and that allows me to be creative and inspired as a teacher.
I am truly enjoying my time in the classroom with your children. They are fascinating and certainly keep me on my toes! Thank you for sharing them with me.