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Sunday, July 28, 2013

A journey of discovery with Lewis and Clark

"Our care of the child should be governed, 
not by the desire to make him learn things, 
but by the endeavor always to keep burning within him 
that light which is called intelligence."
Maria Montessori

Lewis and Clark!  Our oldest children spent the last month learning about the great journey of Lewis and Clark, their Corps of Discovery, and their incredible exploration across a wild continent which we can barely imagine now.  I had an "idea" of how the process would go, with certain projects in mind.  But these children led the way instead, they shaped the process themselves, and it turned out more wonderful than I could have imagined.

Early in July we created the map you can see above, and began to trace the journey.  I gathered collected a set of books about Lewis and Clark, from the library, and quite a few that I purchased. We read them all, a bit at a time, reading sections more than once, overlapping the story from different perspectives, following the journey on the map.  "Seaman's Journal" told the story from the perspective of Lewis' dog Seaman. Several books focused on Sacagawea, and the girls were on fire with interest about her.  (Did you know she was only 15 or 16?)   I read some of the simpler stories to all the children in the morning, but it soon became clear that this was an extended-day, afternoon project.  It developed a life of its own. 

As it happens, these three oldest girls have been doing free writing in their "story folders" for many months now, it's a real passion for them, and this was the part I didn't anticipate.  They began to write the story bit by bit on their "story pages," and to draw picture after picture.  It became both a shared and separate project, sometimes they worked together, sometimes alone, each child just lit up about her own work.  I realized we should set these pages aside, and I began to tell them they were writing their own book.  Then we found out the date for Morgan's last day, which gave us an end goal.  Each of their books were finished last Friday, and they shared them and told the story to the whole group of children.

Their books were going home, so I photographed just some of their pages, randomly moving from one child's book to another - I gathered the tale with the camera.  This is what I want to share, a mix of their pages, with no names attached.  I have simply typed their words verbatim.    

two men livd in virginai, lewis and clark.

[Julian's brother Luca caught just a bit of the story early on, and created this]
They fild the keel boat with supleys in 1804
lewis and clark went on a long jrney

they brot gifts to the indians

lewis and clark, and seaman was a dog

they went up a long rivr

the bear got shot

Sacagawea had babe in wintr

Sacagauaya careed her baby

Sacagawea helpt them find food

sacagawea found hur bruthr

they crost the mountains

they rech the Pusific ocen in Novembr 1805

in march 1806 they strted east but there wuz a fight

they went down rivr to go home 1806

Here are our proud and beautiful explorers, Ava, Cara, and Morgan, as they finished this most wonderful part of their own "journeys of discovery."  As William Clark wrote in his journal when the Corps of Discovery first sighted the Pacific Ocean, "Oh the joy."