Sunday, January 8, 2012

Save the Golden Frog! A View of the Ann Arbor Open Multicultural Fair

Sure, there's lots of hard-hitting news to be written, but I thought I'd start off, post-winter break, with a look back at the last week before winter break, and a peek at my favorite school event of the year. My favorite school event of the year is Ann Arbor Open's Multicultural Fair.
What do I like about this event?
To begin with, it is the culmination of several weeks of project-based learning for each and every class in the school.
Second, it begins with a gigantic potluck that enhances the sense of community.
Third, it is a fundraiser for the library. Families are asked to bring a potluck dish and a $10 donation, but nobody is turned away.  A lot of people come, and the event raises a couple thousand dollars for the Ann Arbor Open library every year.
And last--but not least--I really appreciate the timing of the event. Since the Multicultural Fair takes place the week before break, the entire focus of the school that last week is on the Multicultural Fair exhibits. That's right. The focus is not on Christmas. As a Jewish parent, I find this to be a huge relief--even when the fair itself takes place on one of the nights of Chanukah. (After all, there are eight nights of Chanukah.) I've been in other schools just before Christmas and the Christmas fever is a little bit overwhelming.
So this year I took some pictures (with a cell phone). They are not going to win any awards, but they will give you some of the flavor.

Some of the first and second graders were studying Malawi, and they built a village.

All of the seventh and eighth graders worked together on a spectacular exhibit around Africa.
During the event, the students took turns drumming. I did take pictures of them drumming, but since I didn't ask permission to use their photos, the only one I'm posting is where everybody is blurry:). On the far left is Papa Tito, who is an African drummer by training and who came in and worked with the students.

Here you can see the baobab tree that some students built.

I have to say that the Africa exhibit made me realize how terrible my African geography is. I do have a basic grasp of the larger countries, and I did know a lot about a few of the countries. But had I heard of Sao Tome and Principe? No, I had not. Did I know that the Second Congo War has been the deadliest war since World War II? It sounded familiar, but I couldn't tell you the reasons for the conflict. Yes, I did learn some things from the students' exhibits.

 The third and fourth graders studying Panama decided to do something about the demise of the golden frogs of Panama. There were students sitting at a table collecting donations. I took a picture of the sign.

I made a donation and I got one of these really cute bookmarks in return. Do you notice the pink tongue? And I love how that is a "corner" bookmark.

1 comment:

  1. Our daughter is in Kindergarten at Open so this was our first MCF. We loved it! We celebrate Christmas and still really appreciated the emphasis on something else (anything else really!) that last week of school.