West Seattle schools: Fairmount Park students celebrate heritage

When we toured Fairmount Park Elementary School just before its reopening, we heard a lot about the spaces on its walls where students’ work could be displayed. Thanks to a parent’s tip, we found out about one big example that’s up today for one final day before the work will be shown off at a schoolwide celebration tomorrow – corn-husk dolls celebrating students’ family heritage(s). It’s something that first-grade teacher Kevin Peterson did with his students elsewhere before he joined Fairmount Park – and now, at this school, his new class was joined in the project by another first-grade class and two 1st/2nd classrooms:

Here’s how he explains it:

This project is based around a book called Molly’s Pilgrim, written by Barbara Cohen. … The first and second grade students crafted the corn husk dolls here at school several weeks ago (with the help of parent volunteers from all four classrooms. Once the wet corn husks dried, the kids delivered the doll forms home and exploring a part of our heritage and dressing the doll became a part of a family project over Thanksgiving.

Here at school, first grade writers (did) a folio featuring a labeled drawing of their doll with descriptive words, a observational writing piece, and a map of which continent/culture their doll is representing. Second graders are doing some beginning research on the countries that their dolls represent.

We will have a heritage festival on Friday 12/19. Each classroom will sample foods from around the world and then will travel to the lunchroom to see the writing folio projects and dolls of more than 100 of their school mates. They will record three dolls from each continent (excepting Antarctica) and celebrate their hard work together.

We asked if we could stop by for photos, and he arranged for us to visit toward the end of the school day on Wednesday and talk to some of his students about their work – keep in mind, these eight are just a sampling of those who created dolls:

From left, the students who spoke with us are Georgia, Sophie, Delilah, Torin, Bear, Lilly, Chloe, and Magdalena. They all spoke enthusiastically about their creations, the country or tradition represented. This is the one Torin made:

He explained that it shows Ethiopian traditions in honor of his brother and sister, who are from Ethiopia. Chloe told us hers represents Colombia – “in South America!” she added. Magdalena mentioned her continent first – “Europe!” and then the specific nation, “Holland.” Take a closer look at a few more:

Toward the right, the doll with red hair and green satin was made by Georgia, who explained that Ireland is the country that inspired her. Other nations celebrated by the creations of the students we met included Japan, Iran, and Sweden. The parent who first wrote us about the project declared it “fantastic,” and we’d have to agree – what we’ve shown you here barely scratches the surface!

11 Replies to "West Seattle schools: Fairmount Park students celebrate heritage"

  • K8 December 18, 2014 (12:57 pm)

    Thanks for sharing! What wonderful dolls.

  • Sunset View December 18, 2014 (1:20 pm)

    Lifts my spirits to read about this wonderful project. Especially nice to focus on the enthusiasm of all involved. Wish we had such a class for adults!

  • LilyLu December 18, 2014 (3:50 pm)

    Nice Job, students! There are great things happening in West Seattle schools. Thanks for reminding us. It looks like that display should be under glass. So nice to see a family project celebrating how diverse we all are!

  • Proud Parent December 18, 2014 (3:57 pm)

    We are so thrilled to be part of Fairmount Park and have our kids part of the great projects our teachers bring! Great stuff! Feeling so fortunate!

  • LatteRose December 18, 2014 (4:03 pm)

    That is so cool!

  • Dado'rama December 18, 2014 (4:44 pm)

    Uber-Cool. These look like real treasures. This is something the students will always remember! Kudos teachers, students, and families

  • Lois December 18, 2014 (4:51 pm)

    Wow! Cute kids and great project. Thanks for sharing.

  • Supervalu December 18, 2014 (5:02 pm)

    This is awesome. It brings a little extra cheer this time of year. Woo hoo kiddos!

  • Grandma Suzie December 18, 2014 (6:42 pm)

    The children will sure remember this project all their lives!!

  • Ann December 19, 2014 (8:41 pm)

    Such a hands on way to teach, I love the integration of geography, literacy, writing, diversity and the senses! Bravo to Mr. P and to all those amazing students who participated.

  • Alicia December 23, 2014 (7:00 pm)

    Awesome dolls by our creative students! Great job.

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