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The Power of a Circle - UE with Ms. Shannon

The world is full of circles. Some are natural and some human-made. In ancient Greece, circles represented natural balance. People have long gathered in circles for ceremonies, celebrations and governing. In a circle, we are one, connected, equals. In a circle, we are perfect, just the way we are and how we feel in that moment. We can open our circle to make room for all, to broaden our perspectives. There’s also a feeling of unity and togetherness. The connection of the circle provides strength and wholeness, with no beginning or end.

Our entire DGS community started the year in a circle outside and we made intentions for the year ahead. Upper El always starts the day in a morning circle. We come together, as a community, to talk about the day, discuss topics of interest and share with one another. If students arrive after we’ve started, we always open our circle to include everyone. Throughout the day, you can find us in circles of learning, listening, transitioning.

Upper El is reading the graphic novel, "The Stars are Scattered", written by Victoria Jamieson and Omar Mohamed. Each day, everyone gathers in circle for the teacher read aloud. It tells the real-life story of Omar and his brother, Hassan, two Somali refugees who lived in a camp in Kenya for 15 years before resettling in the United States. We had a special opportunity thanks to Main Street Books and Read Davidson and were able to Zoom with author Victoria Jamieson this week. She shared about her writing process and gave us tips for plot and characters, as well as how to create a graphic novel, character sketch lesson included! Additionally, she talked about the importance of authenticity in writing and to share your real feelings without sugarcoating anything. It was nice to learn about all the edits a writer must go through and to also be reassured that anything we love can be a story. So just keep practicing, do our best and share our stories. Victoria met Omar while volunteering at a refugee resettlement program here in the US called Refugee Strong. She was so inspired by his story she asked him to partner with her on her latest novel. This book is helping us see and understand Omar's story, while we listen with our ears and hearts.

This week, we learned about Sponsor Circles. This is a program that allows everyday citizens to come together as a community to support refugees who are resettling. The program started as an effort to support Afghan refugees and is now being extended to support the US government promise to resettle 100,000 Ukrainians fleeing the war.

The biggest circle of the week was the drama circle! All of those who created this circle put on an amazing production for their families. Seussical did not disappoint and the enthusiasm was palpable. Thank you, Ms. Maya for your dedication to the children. We appreciate you!

In other news, we continued our decimal and fraction studies and our focus for ELA was character development. Branches of government study is wrapping up and next we will take a road trip across the USA. The first day back after spring break UE will take a walking field trip and forage with Ms. Kathleen.

Have a wonderful week with your children. We look forward to the first circle back when we can hear all of the stories.

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