Day of Play 2017

Friday, October 6 was our Day of Play/Cardboard Challenge. We hold this event every year at Anastasis!

This year, our theme was “Marble Run.” Our class studied different marble run games that we have in the classroom, and we did some research on gravity. We wanted to know how we could make the best and fastest marble run!

First, we drew some plans and looked at how each person in the classroom thought about building our structure. Then we combined some of the best ideas. We used rulers and tape measures to figure out how high we would need to build the ramps on our structure. Then we started cutting some cardboard pieces to build our structure.

Some of our failures included taping and gluing our ramps to the sides of boxes. That wasn’t working very well. So we watched a couple of videos of people who made marble runs with cardboard, and we noticed they used cardboard notches! We created some of our own notches, and that helped our ramps stay up!


Block 1 – Who We Are

“Character, and who I am, is influenced by many factors.”

That’s the statement we started with at the first part of Block 1 – “Who We Are.” Block 1 at our school is always about our identity. We start out getting to know our classmates and other students at Anastasis. For our class, it was learning a lot about what we like to play and how we make friends.

Anastasis also holds an Identity Day in the first few weeks of every school year. We want to know more about the people in our school, and we feel more like family after this day!

Some of the activities we did during this block included drawing self-portraits and thinking about who we want to be when we grow up. One of our favorite activities was drawing ourselves as stick people and then using our 5 senses to share more about who we are NOW. Some of us drew photos of our our feet playing soccer or dancing. Some drew pizza near a mouth and music near ears. Mrs. Baldwin was really happy to see so many people drawing a heart and writing the words “good friend” right next to it.

During this block, we talked about stories we read, and how we see “good guys” and “bad guys”, or HEROES and VILLAINS. We wondered if these stories influence the way we think about ourselves and other people. We thought through stories we already knew and made a list of heroes and villains. We read some new stories and added to our list.

We also made a list of characteristics of heroes and villains, but we noticed that sometimes, heroes might look different than what we expect. A lot of us thought heroes have to big and strong like Superman or have special powers like Elsa. But then we thought about the fable, The Lion and the Mouse. The mouse saves the lion in that fable, and mice are very tiny! We decided that heroes (and villains) can look very different. Their actions are what make them heroes or villains.

After a while, we noticed that some characters start as villains and become heroes later in the story (and vice versa). This was a new discovery for some of us… we thought bad guys are always bad, and good guys are always good. Now we know that people, even in stories, have a little bit of light and a little bit of dark in them.

We thought about what that means for us! If we make a bad choice, does that mean we are a villain? Is it possible to ALWAYS be the hero? We like the idea that we can be forgiven for mistakes, and that we can even LEARN from our mistakes. We all decided we would like to be the kind of people who could forgive others for mistakes, too.

As we move forward into the school year, we want to keep thinking about who we are and how our character is influenced by our friends, our families, the stories we read, and our actions.




Day of Play 2016

Every year, our school participates in the Global Day of Play and the #cardboardchallenge. It’s one of the days we LOVE!

This year, we decided we would all create photo booths out of cardboard. The photo booths would showcase one country, so each class would do some research and learning about those countries. Our class chose to research China.

We started asking ourselves… what would we put into a photo booth to share about that country’s culture? We decided we would look at some of the most famous places in China and choose from there. Mrs. Baldwin helped us look up “famous places and cultural icons in China.” We found:

  • The Great Wall of China
  • Emperor Qin’s Terracotta Army
  • dragons in parades, stories, and decorations
  • a lot of beautiful temples
  • lots of photos of pandas

We investigated together to learn more about the Great Wall of China. We asked: How long is it? How did they build it? WHO built it? What is it made of?

We learned that two different dynasties ordered people to build the wall. The first emperor was Emperor Qin. The wall was 3,100 miles and took ten years to build. The Ming Dynasty rebuilt some of the wall and added on to it. The Great Wall is over 5,500 miles! It’s made of granite, brick, and limestone. 5,500 miles is a lot! We used base 10 blocks to try to figure it out. 5,500 miles in base 10 blocks would be more than 5 red cubes and 5 blue squares, if each block equals 1 mile. Wow! For perspective, we learned that most of us live between 5-10 miles from our school. That’s only a few yellow base 10 blocks or 1 green bar.

We were a little worried about how we would build our photo booth AND all of the parts to show what we learned about China. We were very grateful that some students from Mr. Fink’s class helped us build the actual photo booth! Most of our class worked to plan how they would build the Great Wall on our photo booth. Two students worked to research Emperor Qin’s Terracotta Army. Other students studied pandas and dragons, and a few studied all the beautiful temples.

Before we started building, we designed plans for what we were going to make out of cardboard. After we were happy with our plans, we started building! The Great Wall was the hardest to plan, because it had to go all the way across our photo booth. Can you find all the different things we learned about in our photo booth photos?



How Questions Help Us Learn

In Block 1, we asked ourselves, “How do questions help us learn?”

In our reflection time, we thought about this a lot and made some interesting conclusions.


Asking questions:

  • helps us learn new things
  • helps us learn to ask more questions
  • can start conversations
  • helps us know ourselves and others
  • helps us to stay curious

We talked a lot about questions and answers during this block. We wondered about questions that don’t have a right or wrong answer and how we learn to deal with those. We decided that, most of the time, those types of questions lead to a LOT more questions. At first, it was hard for us, because we want all questions to have a right answer. It’s also hard for us when Mrs. Baldwin says, “I don’t know,” because we thought teachers were supposed to have all the answers. (That made Mrs. Baldwin laugh.) In the end, though, we learned that sometimes the answers we think we know as fact can be wrong. If we always remember to ask more questions, we learn that facts can change sometimes.

Very early in the block, we asked questions about WHO WE ARE and how do people get to know us? We played a game where we got to ask each other questions and then had to share with the whole class what we learned about our partner. We also painted pictures of the emotions that live inside our heads. At first, we could only think about a few emotions. But we asked questions: “What other emotions do we have?” When we thought about it, we came up with jealousy, embarrassment, satisfied, and a few others. This really helped us think about how we’re feeling each day, and how we can express ourselves better when we have those feelings.


We also practiced asking questions by having a weekly #whatisit photo. Mrs. Baldwin said we could write/ask as many questions as we wanted, but we could not ask what was in the photo. NS said that is so hard, because our brains just want to know what it is! We got really good at asking questions, especially when we stopped to think about what we could NOT see in the photo. Sometimes, we asked what the item was made of or how the photographer took the photo. We got really good at asking better questions!


During this block, we explored how we know if facts are true or not. One day, we asked a lot of questions about fall: how do the leaves change colors? Why do leaves fall off the trees? Why do some leaves turn red, some orange, and some yellow? Mrs. Baldwin showed us three different videos, and we were able to answer some of those questions. But then Mrs. Baldwin asked us, “How do you know that the information we saw/heard in the videos is TRUE?” At first, we were confused. We thought that Mrs. Baldwin would only show us information that was true. She asked us if we have to trust the person who is giving us the information, and we said yes. After a little more discussion, we were also able to decide that the information was true because we heard the same facts in each video. Today, we reminded ourselves that we have to find a trusted source for information, as well as check with other sources to see if they all agree.

When we were asking questions about the Mars Rover and evidence that water had been on Mars, we took our questions to our Twitter account, @TeamBaldwin to share with others. We were able to get some great answers from Bobak Ferdowsi (@tweetsoutloud) about the Mars Rover. We learned to ask questions of experts, so that we could learn even more than we could discover on our own.


Some thoughts from our class —

BC: When you’re curious and you watch a video or read something, then you get even more curious!

RS: “I wonder… ” is a good way to learn something new.

As a class, we decided that questions lead us to discover new things we like. Also, if we don’t ask questions, we don’t learn new things as well. It’s like building with LEGO. If our teacher does all the building for us, we didn’t really learn how to do it ourselves. If we don’t ask our own questions about what we want to learn, then we’re just doing what our teacher tells us to do.