During the all-virtual week following Spring Break, and just in time for peak bloom, Grade 1 students got into the spirit of the season with a mini-unit on cherry blossoms and Japanese folktales. They began by reading Cherry Blossoms Say Spring and learned about the history of these special trees around Washington, D.C. After viewing images of the cherry blossoms around the capital region and discussing trees they had spotted in their own neighborhoods, students created their own cherry blossom artwork using tissue paper. Throughout the week, students reflected on other signs of spring through Morning Meeting discussions and writing activities.
Students learned that the cherry trees were a gift of friendship from the city of Tokyo more than a century ago and that the cherry blossom is an important symbol in Japanese culture. Building on their earlier study of folktales from around the world, children listened to stories such as Momotaro the Peach Boy, Issun Boshi: Little One-Inch, and I Am Tama, Lucky Cat. They were also introduced to the geography and culture of Japan. Children designed their own lucky cats and created koinobori, or carp kites, which are traditionally flown during the Japanese holiday Children's Day.
Grade 1 students will continue to focus their attention on the natural world as they begin their farm-to-table unit this month.