Educational Tales Help Light the Way

November 15, 1996
by Gilbert Mohtes-Chan
reprinted from the Davis Enterprise

Students are getting a good read on the real world at Patwin Elementary School.

This window to the outside world is being opened by a reading book called "Spotlight on Literacy" used by the sixth-grade classes.

It is filled with insightful and educational stories such as "Exploring the Titanic" and "Last Summer with Maizon," a tale about a girl who loses her father and best friend in one summer.

"It expands our minds while we're reading.   It's cool"

"I like the reading book because most of the stories are meaningful and educational," sixth-grader yasamin Parsafar said.

"Most of the stories help you with everyday life outside the classroom walls," classmate Melanie Hall said.

"It expands our minds while we're reading.  It's cool," student Elizabeth Thorpe added.

Meanwhile, Ruthie Simon's and Kate Bowen's sixth-grade students are learning about Mesopotamia or the Bronze Age. They have learned about the six main inventions: wheel, sailing ship, plow, harness, writing and metallurgy.

The class is finishing a mural of the Sumerain Hierarchy.  The students also are writing their names in cuneiform, the small wedge-shaped style of writing used in Mesopotamia.

"My favorite thing was making the pine needle baskets and the clay pots" In talking about their social studies work, some sixth-graders offered these views: "I like the creation story of how the earth was created because it was interesting to know about how people believed the earth was created, Yasamin said.   "I liked drawing out the main events in the create story and gluing them in order on a black strip.  I like to draw," Elizabeth Thorpe said.
In Bill Davenport's sixth-grade class, the students have completed their study of early humans. Students learned everything about the lifestyles of the australopithecines to the Homo Sapiens.

The class made time lines from 570 million B.C. to the beginning of human life to the Cro-Magnons, including dates of when different tools were invented.

The fourth-graders in Louise Zabriske's class are well into learning about Native Americans.  They are completing their reports on various tribes.

"My favorite thing was making the pine needle baskets and the clay pots," fourth grader Maya Zomer said.  The class is making clay pinch pots, which will be fired in a hole  in the ground just as the Native Americans did it years ago.

"I liked doing the Native American reports," students Olivia Hsia and Abraham Espinoza said.