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Leaping Into Spring - Upper El

Updated: Mar 22

This year, spring began on March 19th, a day earlier than usual.  Why?  It’s a leap year!  This gave upper el students the opportunity to practice their research skills.  Using a variety of articles and videos, they took notes and documented their sources.  They prepared their work in written or typed form answering questions such as:  What problem does a leap year solve? What is the difference between a solar  year (how long it actually takes the Earth to orbit the Sun) and a calendar year? What was the Year of Confusion (hint: Julius Caesar was to blame)? Also, do other planets have leap years and what’s the connection with leap years and presidential elections and the Olympics?

Spring is a time of renewal and rebirth.  It’s also a time of hope.  Last week culminated in the witnessing of our beloved Magnolia Treasure Tree being cut down due to upcoming road changes and development.  As we returned back to school from our field trip to the UNC Charlotte Botanical Gardens, where signs of spring were beginning to bloom, we were stopped on the road in front of DGS by construction crews.  That is where we sat and bore witness to the end of our tree as we knew it.  

On Tuesday, we sat on the stump of the tree with our journals in hand.  We thought about the idea that heartbreak and hope can coexist.  This is a theme in our current novel, “When Stars are Scattered”.  It tells the true story of a Somali refugee at a camp in Kenya.  Throughout the story, we see heartbreak and hope simultaneously.  The boy in the story witnessed his father’s murder in Somalia, and he and his brother have been separated from their mother for years.  All the while, there’s hope in the new community of people who become like family in the refugee camp, an opportunity for education and the hope of relocating to America.  Not to mention, the hope that comes through love.    

So, the students wrote and drew in their journals.  As we mourned the loss of our tree, our friend.  We teach our children to care about nature, and they do.  They are connected.  We thought about heartbreak and hope.  We said goodbye and we also thought of new ways to enjoy our natural areas at school, ideas for our forest playground, all while embracing the first day of spring.

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