Jambo! Each year the 4th grade embarks on an educational journey to explore Africa. They begin by covering the continent as a whole, then delving deeper and focusing on a week long study of each region. They discuss the countries, climate, landforms, historical influences, languages, and cultures. To accompany their regional work, they also explore a tribe that resides within that part of Africa. Afterwards, they select a country of choice and begin to study this location by researching landforms, languages, currency, location and borders, and places.
The students are asked to devise an itinerary for their country of places that would be most interesting to visit. Places such as museums, mountains, rivers, waterfalls, national parks, and safaris are researched and information is written into “postcards” detailing their excursions. This year, they also created video postcards, in which they utilized green screen footage to superimpose photos of their “trips” behind them, while they dictated their postcards in a voice over. The 4th graders wrote advertisements for their country, and also wrote Diamonte Poems to describe the beautiful and exciting countries that they were studying.
While all of this went on in the classroom, they rehearsed African folktale plays in drama, and batiked clothes in Art class, which would be used as their costumes. During technology classes, students learned how to create a pages document with an informational table, which served as their brochure. This 5-month study culminated on the day of the “African Travel Agency” where the students showcased the fruits of their labor to their families and the St. Michael’s community. They presented their plays in the morning, shared their research, and even had an African feast for lunch. It is a day treasured by the students and brings a cultural experience to life at St. Michael’s.