Kids Clean a Classroom In Singapore

In Singapore they don’t have custodians at school, instead the kids clean.  They need to clean their own canteen table after they eat. Not only do the kids clean at school but they also clean at their own house. For example on boy used to throw his chocolate wrappers around the house, then he had to go around picking them up and throwing them away. They sweep the floor daily and sometimes wash the dishes. That way the moms aren’t so stressed and don’t have so much work to do. Also the kids learn to be more responsible at school and home. If they wouldn’t teach the kids that later on they wouldn’t continue with these good habits and think that there mom and dad will clean up after them. Even if they’re having fun at the same time they are picking up good habits. When they clean their classrooms their desks are clean and there are less bugs and insects that come around because there is nothing to attract them. They clean the classroom 10 minutes before recess. Another good thing about this is that if there is bits of food or scraps of food wrappers it would be really hard for them to concentrate. The teachers are really happy, and it’s less work for them to do after school.  There are even brooms in the classroom so the children can sweep the floors. These activities go until college and then the children learn to clean. Also in Singapore most houses are clean because the children have learned to take care of it to be clean all their life.  Another good thing is that the kids won’t want to make a mess like stick their bubble gum under their desks because they won’t want to clean it afterward. The thing is that all the students don’t just start cleaning all around the classroom, they have different stations to choose from. There is a mopping station, a wastebasket station, and many more.  The class has a cleanness check about 2 or 3 times a day. This means that if the classroom is dirty they have to make it clean again and they do that 2 or 3 times a day. In other schools kids only clean after a big project or for open house. In any times something big is happening they clean the room to make it look good.  But in Singapore they want the room to look nice every day so they clean. If the kids have no chores at home they at least have a chore to clean at school. Some schools in Japan and Taiwan are also cleaning classrooms but not all of them. Also if any kid is rich and has a made clean at their home they usually don’t learn anything but when they go to school they learn to be responsible and neat. If their backpacks are all thrown in one ugly pile during cleaning they put their backpacks in pretty straight rows. This way it is not only prettier it is also easier for them to find their backpacks at the end of the day. However one parent didn’t like the idea, she said “They may get tired easily and lose focus on their studies.” This is kind of true but on the other hand when it’s clean it’s easier to focus. So cleaning is kind of bad but is really good in another way. Cleaning is a nice way to make it easier to work and brings on a good habit in life. The kids in Singapore even clean after lunch. They pick up trash, and clean the tables. This way after lunch it’s as clean as it was before the kids ate. Also, the custodians are almost not needed their except for of course washing the toilets, fixing broken computers, and vacuuming. These things the kids can’t do at school. Of course they can do these things as chores at home but at school they can’t. When they don’t clean at their school for a while they get unfocused for example, by starring at scraps of paper on the floor or books that fell out of the book shelf. I think Singapore had a really good idea. What about you?

 

The Forest Kindergarten

Freiberg, in south Germany has a special camp called a Waldkingarten where kids use knives to carve out different things like statues and play with spears. The adults that work there barely supervise the kids, usually they just sit and carve out picture frames or sticks, and the kids can join them if they want. The kids are so young they are only about 2.5 or 6 years old. There is no electricity, toilets, there is only a little shed to store musical instruments and carving tools. The camp starts at 8:30 and ends at 1:30. First they read a story some music and some time to calm down. After that the children can do whatever they want. They make seesaws out of logs and bake fake mud pies. This teaches them how to be creative and things that you have to do when you grow up.  Once they went on a trip up on the mountain Gondola. Can you believe it? Preschool going on a hike for a not so special preschool day trip? Wow, those kids must really learn a lot. Also, the older kids helped the younger kids carry there mini backpacks. They walked for miles together and none of them asked to be carried. The kids investigated plants and took them for example, moss (which the little kids carried).  They go under fences and on their way they found a lake where everyone jumped in for a splash.  A pair of girls found an edible mushroom in the woods and to it to inspect it in the shed. A founder and the brilliant fellow whose farm they are currently encamped on told a story about a boy and his strict old teacher who told him off for writing the wrong way. But the little boy replied “it’s not the wrong way it’s my way.” Even the littlest kid is trusted at the camp and allowed to express their power and by time they become more confident and secure. Sometimes when the kids play games they use their imagination so  much that sometimes they have to explain what they are doing for someone to understand. If it gets exceptionally cold the children and teachers can seek shelter in a basically teepee with a campfire.  The kids in winter time are very creative. For example, last winter it snowed so much the kids built an igloo without any help from the grownups. Also the kids played with fire today. They were left unattended and put more wood into the fire by themselves, or some kids took twigs and poked the fire with them. If the teachers noticed they didn’t show any sign of concern. The teachers don’t have a lot of control, but they know where the kids are and not being there all the time allows the kids to asses better risks.  At recess time the kids don’t have monkey bars. Instead, they can climb every tree they want to climb. The only rule is that the teachers won’t help the kids climb up, they will only help them get down. It makes them more cautious and careful because they have to trust themselves. The only time a kid fell out of a tree was when his or her mom or dad were there because he thought ‘Daddy’s going to be there to save Me.’ there are fewer accidents at Waldkingarten then at regular preschools because there is no walls and softer ground like leaves and mud. Kids that go to Waldkingarten have a much more understanding of the world than other kids who go to normal preschools. They also have more confidence and are more outgoing when they reach school. Also, no matter what weather it is the kids have to come to the Waldkingarten. There are now 700 Waldkingartens in Germany. The person that invented the Waldkingarten was called Froebel.  Did you know there are more than 100 Japanese Waldkingartens following the German idea? I think Waldkingartens are a really cool idea, what about you?

 

by N.

Tornadoes

Tornadoes are a funnel shaped cloud that forms over land. If you want to protect yourself from a tornado you should go into a basement if you have one. If you don’t you should go to lower ground and stay inside your house. Go to a bathroom without windows and stay in the bathtub without water. Keep all your windows closed. Never go into your car even if it’s just a tornado watch. You never know what might happen. Do not leave your house until you hear the tornado has passed. When warm air meets cold air thunderstorms form. Then the thunderstorms join together, that is called a tornado. Tornadoes are most likely to form in the spring and the summer. Tornadoes occur more often in the late afternoon, since that’s when most thunderstorms are common. However tornadoes can form at any time of the day and any time of the year. On March 18, 1925 the biggest tornado ever recorded appeared. The tri-state tornado struck Missouri, Indiana, and Illinois. It was recorded at 1:00 pm. The damage cost about $18 million dollars (1,925 dollars). More than 200 people were injured and 689 dead. 15,000 homes were destroyed. The tri-state tornado was a quarter mile wide. No buildings survived after the monster struck. 1 hour before 4:30 it was going 73 mph (117 kilometer). At first the tri-state tornado was as small as any other tornado but when it hit ground it grew into a monster! 70 buildings were destroyed by fire. Sadly, no buildings survived. As you can see tornadoes can be really destructive sometimes.

Outer space

Outer space is an awesome place to visit! First, there are Astronauts. Did you know that engineers are trying to make a space suit that astronauts can go on Mars too? Well, they made a suit that they’re working on. Scientists still need to upgrade it, it’s called the Z-2. It’s all black and has basically a red v on the chest. Scientists are trying to make it weight 250 pounds. But now it’s weighing 350 pounds, scientists are 100 pounds off. The Z-2 is easier to put on then the other spacesuits. In Mars you also have to be able to bend your knees so on the Z-2 you can bend your knees. Mars is the fourth planet from the Sun and is the second smallest planet in the solar system. Mars has the largest volcano in the solar system – Olympus Mons. It measures some 600 kilometers across and rises nearly 27 kilometers above the surrounding terrain. It is a shield volcano built by the continuous action of flowing lava over millions and millions of years that began some 3 billion years ago. Olympus Mons is part of a complex of volcanoes that lie along a volcanic plateau called the Tarsi’s Bulge. This entire region lies over a hot spot, a place in the planet’s crust that allows magma from deep inside to flow out to the surface. While planetary scientists have not recorded a volcanic eruption on Mars in real time, there is evidence of geologically recent flows perhaps in the past few tens of millions of years. It is possible that Mars is not yet volcanically dead.
Next, there are stars. Did you know that stars seem like tiny bright dots in the sky for us, but actually they are giant balls of hot gas? No one knows how many stars exist, but the number would be staggering. Our universe likely contains more than 100 billion galaxies, and each of those galaxies may have more than 100 billion stars. But on a clear night sky our eyes only reveal about 3,000 of those stars. Stars may occur in many sizes, which are classified in a range from dwarfs to super giants. Super giants may have radii a thousand times larger than that of our own sun. Hot stars are white or blue, cooler stars appear to have orange or red hues. Some stars have always stood out from the rest. Their brightness is a factor of how much energy they put out–known as luminosity–and how far away from Earth they are. Young stars at this stage are called proto stars. As they develop, they accumulate mass from the clouds around them and grow into what are known as main sequence stars. Main sequence stars like our own sun exist in a state of nuclear fusion during which they will emit energy for billions of years by converting hydrogen to helium.
Finally, there are black holes. A black hole is a region in space where the pulling force of gravity is so strong that light is not able to escape. Some black holes are a result of dying stars. The strong gravity occurs because matter has been placed into a tiny space. Black holes come in many sizes. Because no light can escape, black holes are invisible. However, space telescopes with special instruments can help find black holes. The smallest ones are known as primordial black holes. Scientists believe this type of black hole is as small as a single atom but with the mass of a large mountain. The most common type of medium-sized black holes is called “stellar.” The mass of a stellar black hole can be up to 20 times greater than the mass of the sun and can fit inside a ball with a diameter of about 10 miles. Dozens of stellar mass black holes may exist within the Milky Way galaxy. There are different kinds of black holes. The black holes mass and size determines what kind it is. Black holes do not wander around the universe, randomly swallowing worlds. They follow the laws of gravity just like other objects in space. The orbit of a black hole would have to be very close to the solar system to affect Earth, which is not likely. The sun does not have enough mass to collapse into a black hole. In billions of years, when the sun is at the end of its life, it will become a red giant star. Then, when it has used the last of its fuel, it will throw off its outer layers and turn into a glowing ring of gas called a planetary nebula. Finally, all that will be left of the sun is a cooling white dwarf star. I think outer space is a fascinating and dangerous place to visit.

Swallowtails

Swallowtails include some of the most beautiful butterflies in the world. They are large which makes them easy to see and many of them have bright patterns on their wings. Their double tails give them their name because they remind people the tail of the swallow. On warm afternoons male black Swallowtails perch on shrubs, waiting for females. Black Swallowtails are mostly black with yellow markings, but in the far West individuals can be mostly yellow. Swallowtails are found in a variety of open areas including fields, suburbs marshes, desserts and roadsides throughout most of the eastern United States, southern Canada, and West to Colorado and southern California. Adults feed on nectar from flowers, including red clover, milkweed and thistles. Caterpillars eat leaves of plants in the parsley family, including Queen Anne`s Lace, carrot, celery, and dill, and sometimes plants in the citrus family. Black Swallowtails can be seen from April to October. Swallowtails are really beautiful and interesting to learn about.