When we opened as a charter school back in 1995 if there was one thing we were determined to be it was non-traditional. While we are a different kind of school, over the years we have developed rituals or traditions that make our school our school. Some rituals are even seventeen years old and one of them is Globes. Well it is “globe season” here at the South Shore Charter Public School again and this year, like each of the past seventeen years, the first graders of SSCPS make their own globes. This is a labor intensive project that has stood the test of time. To give a sense of the work involved here is a summary of the project used back in 2005:
First Grade Globe Project
In the first grade globe project we studied world geography. The children learned that the globe is a model, which represents the earth. They learned the seven continents: Asia, Africa, North America, South America, Antarctica, Europe, and Australia. They also studied the four oceans: the Pacific, Atlantic, Indian and Arctic and that the equator is a symbolic line represented the part of the earth that never tilts away from the sun.
They did this by making globes with paper mache. It was a long and messy process of tracing, and cutting, and one layer of paper-mache after another layer after another layer. One of the things that we hope the children learned is that it can be worthwhile to work over an extended period of time on a single thing and to gain the perspective that the end result will be worth the effort.
It would be very helpful if from time to time you would take out your child’s globe and go over the seven continents, the four oceans and the equator. If you do that every few months the shapes of the continents and their names will become automatic to your children. This knowledge will help them put into context all the history they learn as well to understand from what parts of the world their toys and clothes have come.
A few weeks back I got the following e-mail from a parent who is coordinating and directing the parent volunteers who make the First Grade Globe Project possible. It is a huge undertaking that is worth the effort as the students keep the globes for years. I have two in my house, one fifteen years old and the other nine years old. We are only able to continue this huge undertaking year after year because of the amazing work of parents. Below is the e-mail with the subject line, Accomplishment!
I am just so proud of our "Globe Team", I had to share it with you. Today we surpassed our previous record of 14 globes with an outstanding15 globes! We would have done a few more, but we ran out of stands!!! How awesome is that??? I brought in 3 old chlorine buckets today to use too!! Also, I know this will make you proud. We had 2 of our globes implode and cave in. I remembered how you repaired one last year. Deb Paquette and I figured out how, and the loading dock became the operating room. We ever so carefully and successfully replaced and paper mache bandaged the patients (globes). We have layer two half done, should be done by next week. Thought you might like a cheerful update!
I did want that cheerful update. I was proud and grateful that something which began as a simple geography unit is now what we use for students of South Shore Charter to help them understand their part of a larger world. This tradition has continued for more than a full cycle of K – 12 schooling. Our school was founded by a group of parents who wanted more for their children. Seventeen years later it is wonderful to see how a crucial a part of the parental involvement and project based learning is still strong. Strange and inspiring to think that as charter schools age they take on the patina of age that is built up over time and that makes a school a individual institution which has become a very good school.