Emily's Update 5-11-2020

posted May 11, 2020, 2:29 PM by Cynthia Friedman

Dear Families,


You may have seen this quote from Fred Rogers recently:


“When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, "Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.”


This resonates with me as we embark on our annual,  year-end peacemaker biography project.  As part of this project, students identify the character strengths that allow amazing people to help change the world.  Together, the class will find that many great people experience challenges and adversity in early life, then go on to become empathetic, strong and successful adults.  And by learning from each other’s projects, children will get to know 29 new role models.  It’s a pretty great way to look for – and find – the helpers.


We are starting with a series of “Biography Hunts.”  From a clickable list of online resources, students read a short biography and answer some brief questions.  Last week we looked for character strengths; today we’re sequencing events on a timeline, and on Wednesday we will look for ways a peacemaker overcame challenges.  On Thursday, kids will choose a subject for their final report. 


Who is a Peacemaker?

Although this is the peacemaker project, I define “peacemaker” broadly to accommodate the children's interests.  A peacemaker may be someone who made the world more peaceful, like Gandhi, someone who lessened suffering, like Mother Teresa, or an advocate for nature like Jane Goodall.  They might be someone who fought for equal rights, like Martin Luther King Jr., or someone who battled racism or sexism in their profession such as astronaut Mae Jemison or Native American athlete Jim Thorpe. 


As you help your child choose a subject for their biography project, I’m asking them to keep three things in mind:

1.     Choose someone who has made the world a better place. 

2.     Check that you have good resources (books or online sources) for your peacemaker.

3.     Make sure you care about the person you choose!


As a side note, athletes, musicians and scientists are all fine as long as they make the world better.  For example, Billie Jean King would be a good choice because she was an advocate for women’s sports as well as an outstanding tennis player.  Muhammad Ali was a boxer, but he also became famous for his social conscience.  


You Can Help!

Time to share your wisdom!  Young children often need a little context to understand the complex lives and times of their heroes. 

1.     Have conversations to help guide them to great biography subjects.

2.     Help them search the web for information.

3.     Talk with them about the life of the person they choose.

I am encouraging students to have more than one resource for the subject they pick.  Third graders would ideally draw information from three sources.  

I am asking children to get help from an adult when surfing the web.  Please help your child access appropriate information as needed.  Younger children may need help – feel free to skim the information on a web page and share a few useful facts. 


A Fun Video Project From Carmen

Our class is going to be creating a virtual book exchange video, just for funzies!  Tomorrow we will show this toilet paper tossing video from Ridgeline's Middle School: 


Your child can participate in our class challenge by taking a quick video of them grabbing their favorite book from the left of the screen (their right hand), opening it and then handing it over to the right of the screen (passing out of their left hand).  I will put all of the videos together and hopefully create something that looks like magic.  We'll see.  The more families that participate the better.  You can send your completed video, questions or challenges to carmen.coleman@ridgeline.org.  Let's have some fun!

I hope that distance learning continues to work for you and your family.  Please let me and Carmen know if we can help in any way.  Also, for technical challenges (Seesaw and otherwise), contact seesaw.support@ridgeline.org and you’ll get a response within 24 hours.


Happy Learning!