February 1, 2012
Greetings from Malindi’s Journey: The Forbidden City,
Ten years ago while teaching at Mission Hill School, I had the opportunity to travel to China. That’s when my curiosity about trade connections between China and the Swahili City States began. During this past summer I returned to China and I realized that I had to continue the story of Malindi’s journey into the Forbidden City.
Early in my planning, I hoped to collaborate with teachers at Young Achievers School for Math and Science and Mission Hill K-8. Although the staff at Young Achievers was enthusiastic about this new venture, unforeseen challenges emerged. Important components of this project were planned for public spaces and we realized that the layout of YA could not accommodate these projects. Mission Hill k-8 has long wide hallways, making it an ideal space for extending learning beyond the traditional four walls of many classrooms.
Being at Mission Hill for this project is a bit like a family reunion. Former Mission Hill students, Taylor Emerson and Charles Johnson, will be interning on this project and Carla Johnson, a former Mission Hill staff member, will be collaborating with me as we extend this project to the afterschool program.
Each year Mission Hill k-8 students study an ancient civilization. This year’s ancient civilization focus is ancient China. Malindi’s Journey: the Forbidden City compliments the school’s thematic focus. While every class will contribute to the building of TheForbidden City, each class has chosen different aspects of Chinese culture to focus on.
On February 13th, I will launch this project, beginning with the art of African oral storytelling and puppetry in the K-1/Grade 1 classrooms. Afterschool I’ll be collaborating with Carla Johnson to guide students as they create a Big Book titled Malindi’s Journey: The Forbidden City A-Z Alphabet Book. On Mondays, Roxbury artist, Kenneth Charles Faldasz and Charles Johnson will work with students, teachers, the after school program and families creating a mural based on the nine dragon wall on the first floor. Patreka Wood will be working with Nakia Keizer to set up the blog that will connect students in East Africa, China and The Mission Hill School.
This project has been designed to align with Common Core Standards. Teachers and paraprofessionals from across the city are welcome to visit and observe this project as it develops. Connie Henry from the BPS math department will help us align the Common Core math and the k-5 Investigations math curriculum to the mural and the building of the Forbidden City Project to scale.In my next update I’ll share my thinking focused on the integration of mathematical concepts. If you are in the area, please feel free to join in and contribute your time, talent and enthusiasm.
Until the next update,