We hit the ground running each day and our schedule is tight. There is so much emphasis on reading, writing and math that other subjects sometimes get pushed to the side.
I love social studies and learning about our past is a big part of figuring out who we are now. In fourth grade we study California history. It is the only time the students will be exposed to the rich background of their home state. I have found the best way to grab their attention is to combine art with content. This is also the best and only time to fit in art as well. For many years I have introduced the regions of California through sketching. I give mini art lessons and demonstrate different art techniques. By the time we have finished, my students have a lovely sketch of a California region: land formations, vegetation, wildlife. For some, it is the highlight of the day. We do several sketches for each region and turn them into a book of the region. Combine this with writing, and the students have done some valuable work.
After many years of doing this, my pencil sharpener sharpened its last pencil. I have tried, without success, to replace it. None of the sharpeners I buy seem to last out the year. With as many as 36 students trying to sharpen pencils, a regular sharpener just doesn't have the strength. Without a reliable sharpener, the colored pencils just become impossible to maintain. Through a bit of research, I have discovered a high-volume commercial strength pencil sharpener. I think this will be just the thing to keep our points sharp and our artwork going.
Your help will ensure that my students pack in a lot of learning. Those sharp, colored pencils are the tool we need to bring the outdoors in, to discover California and learn about art at the same time. In today's fast-paced educational environment, this is how we fit it all in.
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