I love to connect a study on Point of View (peoples' thoughts/feelings) with Black History Month, and I'm always touched by the fact that my (almost exclusively white and of European descent) sweet students have very little understanding of the idea of racial hatred. Though many have limited exposure to other colours and cultures, they also don't have any preconceived (or drilled-in notions) of superiority or inferiority.
The Story of Ruby Bridges by Robert Cole
Henry's Freedom Box by Ellen Levine
The Other Side of the Fence by Jacqueline Woodson
In writing, kids worked on Point of View poetry (based on The Bug In Teacher's Coffee by Kalli Dakos), where they chose an inanimate object (ranging from curtains to hockey stick to lightning) and wrote a poem from that object's point of view. They all had a fabulous understanding of the skill, and the finished products (typed and illustrated) made a great hallway display.
This was my favourite Art activity of the month: cityscape quilts, based on the book Tar Beach, by Faith Ringgold. Kids outlined their sheets with fabric squares, then added black buildings and cut out yellow construction paper to represent the lit windows. The pièce de résistance: I took the kids' photos in a "flying through the air" position, which they cut out and added above the skyscrapers.
Original Pinterest pin: http://www.pinterest.com/pin/175288610470824911/
As Ash Wednesday approaches, I thought these Lent Boxes were very appropriate, with symbols representing this religious season:
Original Pinterest pin: http://www.pinterest.com/pin/175288610470878203/
As I try to get on board with "Inquiry-Based Learning", I felt our Science unit on Forces was a great place to start. We began the unit using a textbook/videos, led by me as the teacher, but spent the last few days with students devising their own questions about Forces, based on their knowledge, understanding and interests, and then having the opportunity to explore answers to their questions. I was kept hopping ("We need a skipping rope!", "Can you get us the magnets bin?", etc.) but it was totally worth it to see them engaged in (reasonably) self-directed learning. This is definitely a subject that is conducive to inquiry, as I don't feel pressured to cover each and every curriculum expectation.
And that was February...or some of it!