The Black Death

You are a peasant in a medieval village.  One day, you hear of people in town getting this strange disease.  Soon people all over are dying suddenly.  One day, you wake up to find your father in bed with a fever and large black blisters on the sides of his new and under his armpits.  The next day, the blisters grow bigger. By the third day, the blisters are the size of a goose egg.  He begins to vomit blood. On the fourth day, he dies.  Your mother, your two siblings, and you do not know how to handle this since so many people have died and there is not enough time for a proper burial.

This was the scenario presented to the children this week.  As I read it, I refused to answer any questions.  Instead, I told the children to write down all their questions from this situation and anything that they noticed.  They eagerly started filling up their notebook page with observations and questions.  After a few minutes, they shared with the class their thoughts.  Below are the intelligent questions and observations and creative solutions that they came up with.


The next day, Mrs. Stephens picked up the children from recess apparently Miss Savides was not feeling well and she just had to go home early.  The children did not really question it.  They realized with surprise that there was more information on the back of their story about this mysterious disease.  This story let them know that the next day the mom also started having the black blisters.  And the doctor was summoned.

Suddenly, our beloved principal told the children she wasn’t feeling well.  She then revealed a black blister on her neck.  Oh no!  Mrs. Stephens was the mom in the story!  She called out for the doctor, and someone walked in with a long stick, all black robes, a hat, and a bird mask.


The children were speechless at first, but then began asking questions of the doctor (including “Are you Miss Savides?”).  They wanted to know why the doctor only poked Mrs. Stephens and did not actually do anything else.  Check out a few more pictures here.

Soon as the questions began to dwindle, the doctor left. Mrs. Stephens led the students in more questioning.  Towards the end, I came back feeling much better; though somehow they all suspected that it was me in that doctor’s costume (how strange!).  The children looked up several diseases that they thought this might be including Zika, Ebola, leprosy, and the Black Death.  By the end of the day, they all knew that this plague was called the Black Death.

Next week, they’ll explore even more about it to understand the cause, the effects, and solutions to this far-reaching disease.  And ultimately use this new understanding about this disease to discuss how faithfulness can be sustained.


The question of the week

This week, several people, students and adults, walked into my classroom.  They took one look at my window, and with an inquisitive look asked, “What are those?”


They are the water cycle in a bag!  Going along with our weather unit, we talked about the water cycle this week.  To show a lake or other body of water, we put a cup filled half-way with water.  Then each morning, as the sun heated up the air in the bag, the water evaporated and then quickly condensed into water droplets at the top of the bag.  Closer to the afternoon, the water  cooled and started running down the bag as precipitation to the bottom of the bag outside of the cup.  After about a week, the bottom of the bags looked like this.  A visual water cycle!


In more weather news, we got to see a cumulonimbus cloud today!  I told the children that I thought it was so beautiful.  Some looked at me puzzled; I explained that everything that God has created is beautiful.  It was the perfect culmination of the week especially as we had looked at creation this week to understand what the weather was like in the garden and before Noah’s flood.  Later in the day, the cumulonimbus cloud poured down its abundance of water on the children as they  departed for home.




As I have mentioned in a previous post, during our fruitful event, all of the children were honored by being dubbed knights.  Here are the ceremonial pictures of the official event.  No longer are they earning knighthood, now the knights are upholding and sustaining the Code of Chivalry on their day-to-day interactions.  Each day, the knights begin with 5 knight cards.  In the course of a day, they are to make choices to retain the knight cards.  At the end of the week, if they have kept all 5 of their knight cards with the exception of  possibly losing one, they earn a star on our star of improvement ladder.



Weather or not

After a wonderful spring break, we have all gathered back together for one final quarter in the fourth grade.  I cannot believe how fast time has gone.

This week included many introductions to new units of study.  We began our new book of the quarter My Side of the Mountain, which is about a boy who runs away to the forest.  Over the next several months that he is living in the mountains, he records what he learns and memorable moments.

To go along with that, as a class, we are going to create a scrapbook over the next month about our lives.  Everyday, we will be writing for an entire ten minutes and editing for five both at home and at school to record what is happening daily.

To further be like Sam Gribley from our story, we will be daily tracking the weather using tools like an anemometer, thermometer, and a barometer.  In the end, we will be able to graph the weather patterns to see what has happened over the month.

Here we are setting up our rain gauge to see how much rain we have daily.

This week, we also went outside and observed the various clouds.  That day, we were able to see cumulous (big puffy white clouds), stratus (sheet-like clouds), and cirrus (high wispy breaths of clouds).