This third and final play has been the most detailed of all our plays. It is based on the book Bringing the Rain to Kapiti Plain by Verna Aardema. We are making all of our costumes, props and studying about Africa to tie this play into the curriculum. Betsy has been working with the kids in music to bring songs into our play. Ariane has been in charge of scenery and costumes and has done a fabulous job of adapting the book to our play. We will have a wonderful program the children wrote (and then I typed) that will tell you in greater detail all they have learned and worked on with the play. The kids are very excited to perform this on Wednesday evening.
Judd asked the kids to pick their two favorite pieces of artwork they had done this year with him and he framed them. Their favorite one was for them to take home and put in their house. The other was to be displayed at Prairie Green. Below you can see the pictures that will hang proudly at Prairie Green.
Jack Ruth, who is a graduate of this school in 1951, came to speak about the history of Cosgrove. Before he came, we visited the old St. Peter's Church site just down the way on Black Diamond Road. The only thing left is the cemetery. The kids had a good time looking at the graves to see the names, families and figure out how old the person was when they died. Many came from Ireland or Germany. Some were hard to read while others used a more expensive stone that preserved well which lead into a discussion about money and how some spent all of their money leaving Ireland or Germany and traveling to Iowa. Jack had a nice presentation organized with handouts of maps and locations of buildings in Cosgrove. He talked about what school was like when he was here and shared stories of how he had to get out of the hack (school bus pulled by horses) on rainy days to because the horses couldn't pull the kids up the hills. He also said there was a horse barn that was located in the southeast corner of our property. We actually found the foundation of this earlier this year while exploring! He made an awesome model or the original church and buildings to show the kids as well. The kids were respectful and took away interesting facts about the history of our school. Cool!
Another exciting addition to our library day is when we rent room A there is a black piano in there. It's been in there all year but we didn't think of playing it until Claire wanted to share her recital piece with us. Claire performed for us the first time and now BJ and Lucy have also performed. Then one day, as a few kids were feeding the Iowa fish (in our Art room) and Claire walked over to the piano and played for us. It was beautiful to have her playing while we were working. These student initiated ideas are marvelous.
Our garden is coming right along. We had a preschool group from Cedar Rapids (their teacher Heidi volunteered last summer during garden camp) come and help us plant on May 9th. We planted all of our flowers from seed...sunflowers, morning glory, natsurtium, flax, mixed flowers, quinoa and black-eyed susans. We also planted, cucumbers and potatoes this week. Finally we planted blueberry and raspberry plants that Taproot donated to us. Our morning chores include watering (we are very excited to have a hose to help us water), picking strawberries, digging for worms to feed our Iowa habitat tank (we have a painted turtle, 2 bass, 1 bluegill, minnows, 3 crayfish, and tadpoles...but they might have gotten eaten, duck weed and we had a tree frog but now we can't find him/her), feeding fish, filling up bird feeder (we can't find it after the graduation party last week) and watering the blueberry and raspberry bushes along the fence. I love that Prairie Green has chores as part of the day. It's teaches our children to develop a good work ethic, take responsibility and feel a sense of accomplishment.
When Paula went to Charleston, Sara subbed for me and did a wonderful job with our energy unit. The students did an energy audit of our classrooms, the library and the kitchen. We discussed renewable and nonrenewable energy sources (our visit to the reservoir tied in nicely when we were able to see how water can produce energy) and briefly talked about our geothermal heating and air. The kids put together a poster of ways the Institute could save energy and money and I presented it to them at their board meeting. They were very excited to hear that if we unplug two of the three refrigerators the institute will save $103/year! They decided to unplug them after the graduation season was over. I am curious about the pop machine that is in the hallway. Maybe when the play is over we will use our new Kill A Watt to see how much energy that uses! Check out this website that we used for information. It also has some fun games and quizzes you can do at home!