This was a busy short week. On Tuesday school parent and Buddhist nun, Ani Tsultrim Lhamo, shared many fascinating items in a cultural presentation with the students as an extension of our unit study on China (and Tibet). She shared her mala beads, her bell and dorje that represent compassion and wisdom respectively, her bowl that makes a gong sound for beginning and ending meditations, and read the book “the Mouse and the Buddha” to the class. She donated this book to the class after reading it. The illustrations in the book are vibrant and the text very appropriate for the age group. Students were able to look at and handle her prayer books, Buddha statue, and all the other items that she brought to share after she finished speaking about the items. We were grateful to have her come and spend time in our class sharing. Compassion is so important, and is a lesson we strive to model each day.
This week in addition to making panda bear masks we also learned about some of the geographical wonders of China. On Wednesday we learned about Mount Everest. Measured by height above sea level, Everest’s summit makes it the highest mountain in the world. We learned that Everest grows a quarter of an inch a year. The rocky summit is covered with snow all year long. Because the jet stream sits a top Mt. Everest almost all year long winds can blow up to 200 miles an hour. There are only a couple of windows of time each year people can try to climb for the summit. Mt. Everest is named for Sir George Everest who led the British survey team who first identified it. Everest is called “Chomolungma” in Tibet, which means goddess of the universe.
The Gobi desert was covered in class on Thursday. The Gobi is a large desert region covering parts of northern China and Southern Mongolia. It is the fifth largest desert in the world and the largest one in Asia. The climate of the Gobi desert is one of extremes, having frost and sometimes snow on the dunes as well as great heat in the summer. The first dinosaur eggs found were found in the Gobi desert, and many other fossil finds have been made there. The Gobi desert is currently expanding at a fast rate, which is a concern for nearby areas.
On Friday the class learned about the Yangtze (or Chang Jiang) River, the longest river in Asia. For thousands of years the Yangtze has been used to support culture through travel, irrigation, sanitation, and more, as towns sprang up alongside the river. Barges have moved rice and people up and down the river for centuries. The Yangtze River has also been seen in history as a language definer with people on the North traditionally speaking Mandarin and people on the south speaking Cantonese.
Next week we will continue our exploration of China and will have Sifu Desmond from Gainesville Dojo present to the class on kung fu and Chinese culture. We are looking forward to this presentation. On Friday, January 31, which is Chinese New Year, the class will have a special Chinese luncheon. Half- day students are invited to stay and eat, but need to be picked up by 12:10 pm. The class will also be dancing the Chinese Dragon for the rest of the school in the morning. Parents will get their own private viewing of this event at Parent Night, when the class will dance for all the parents.
Please pay close attention to the Parent Night information included in this week’s folder. Each family is assigned a time slot. There is an overlapping time period where all the students need to be at class for the Dragon Dance. If you have any questions once you read the timeline then please ask prior to Parent Night.
We will be having our Valentine’s card exchange on Friday, February 14, 2014. Please read the information in this week’s folder explaining how our class’ card exchange works. Parents are invited to come and participate. The card exchange will occur at 11:20 am on Valentine’s Day. There are 17 students and three teachers. Goody bags are fine and so are simple cards. There are peanut allergies in class so please do not include any candy with peanuts in any of the student goody bags or cards.
Have a great weekend,
*Both books and Wikipedia were referenced for facts on the geographical specifics of China