Changing of the Thematic Unit



Winter dealt us a couple days of diversion so far, but we will make that up this week and be back on track. I hope the kids were able to explain why we honor Martin Luther King and recognize him as a social hero. Social Heroism is an underlying theme that will run throughout the units we study. While it is indeed hard to identify a social hero who dealt with simple machines – until we expand that into engineering and we find the actress Hedy Lamarr who not only entertained the masses but also invented a remote-controlled communications system for the U.S military during World War II. Lamarr’s frequency hopping theory now serves as a basis for modern communication technology, such as Bluetooth and Wi-Fi network connections! Who’d thought? There are social heroes everywhere – individuals making positive impacts on society in the face of oppression, adversity, violence, and even death. Martin Luther King was one of those social heroes and that is why we honor him.


As for what is happening in South Clarkia, the first task facing all of us is the acquisition of supplies and materials for the Button Blankets. Below is the idea:


Dimensions: 3’W x 5’T (They will grow into it)

Trim: 6” wide on 3 sides

Button Design Area: 2’ x 4’ (keeping 6” off bottom edge)

Bolts of HEAVY felt at Joann’s are 72” x 10yds (6’ x 30’)

EACH CLASS needs 1 bolt of Red and 2 bolts of Black

25 Robes cut 3’ x 5’ (Black) 12 from each bolt (we have enough extra in stock for 2-3 more)

25 Top trim pieces cut 6” x 3’ (Red) from part of bolt 1 (with extra)

50 Side pieces cut 6” x 5’ (Red) from remainder of bolt 1 (with extra)

Robes are sewn together (Overlap the red felt at top corners and sew, do not cut at 45 degrees– see handles on inside of robe) Inside are handles of strips of red felt, possibly doubled over.


Background info on the robes can be found here, however, we are not going for the red applique in the middle, just a shape outlined in buttons: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Button_blanket

We have some material on hand and ready to sew and will need coordinated help with the fabric – it being the most expensive part at $70 bolt (although we can certainly get that price down w/coupons and such). In phase one we are in most need of buttons, buttons, and some buttons. White is preferable but bring it all regardless! Goodwill is a great source as are any thrift-shops and the homes of elderly relatives! In phase two we will commence the sewing of the 50 robes needed. Phase 3 in which students work directly on the robes will begin in a few weeks. There will be a signup genius created for the sewing of robes and a second one for sewing with kids (major help needed with that).


Early this week we must finish up our Weather Unit Assessment and then we can start on our Native Americans of the Pacific Northwest (NAPNW) Unit. As with all our thematic units we will be wrapping all the subjects into the woven basket of NAPNW – Reading myths/legends, narratives, and informational resources, writing informational reports, historical narratives, and myths/legends of our own, and researching an incredibly creative, diverse, and resilient group of humans, their environment, and how they lived. Quite a task and it will take until Spring Break! That feels like a long way off. It’s not and we all know it – 10 weeks at best!


Thank you for all you support, and I look forward to bags-o-buttons to start pouring in! Have a great week!


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