By Kathy Greeley, ELA Coach
If you look on the back of the Lincoln penny, you will see the words “E Pluribus Unum.” That is Latin for the American motto, “From Many, One.” These three simple words define something unique and wonderful about our country—that we are a nation made up of many different peoples who have come together from all over the world.
E Pluribus Unum is also the name of our 2nd Grade winter expedition. Through this expedition, students explored these guiding questions:
- Who are Americans and where did they come from?
- Why did people come to America in the past and why do they come now?
- What did people bring with them (traditions, foods, music, dance, ideas, beliefs, values) and how has that influenced who we are as a country today?
- With so many different cultures coming together, how do we all get along?
This expedition began at home, with G&P teachers and SEI students sharing their stories about coming to America. Students then learned about the first people on this continent, those who traveled across Beringia (the Bering Sea bridge) hunting for food. Next, students studied what brought different groups of Europeans here: the search for religious freedom, better jobs, and to make a better life. Then students examined a group of people who came here against their will--Africans during the time of the slave trade.
While learning America’s history, the second graders also learned about their own families’ stories of immigration and investigated reasons people continue to come to this country. Students created beautiful nine-square quilt pieces illustrating their families’ traditions and heritage (check these out in the front lobby!). In addition, students collaboratively wrote a poem (see below) called “We’re From.”
To wrap up this study, the two 2nd Grade classes conducted a neighborhood investigation of recent immigrants through our local restaurants. Students visited the restaurants, interviewed the owners or workers about their personal stories of coming to America, and wrote reviews of their meals at the restaurant. You can see these reviews here
We are lucky at G&P to have families who have come from all over the world. Through this expedition, our 2nd graders have learned to embrace their own identities while valuing the rich diversity of our G&P community.
We’re From | By Room 111
I’m from Macedonia, Italy and Ireland.
I’m from singing a song to celebrate my God.
I’m from the soft fur of my stuffed animal Copper.
I’m from my mom cooking in the kitchen.
I’m from my Xbox that I play games on.
I’m from eating soup at the Dalai Lama’s birthday.
I’m from going to church and wearing special dresses with beautiful designs.
I’m from my baby sister’s little hands.
I’m from eating dumplings in the kitchen.
I’m from loud bangs from the people living upstairs.
I’m from the smell of my books.
I’m from watching the Super Bowl with my dad.
I’m from the soft fur of my cat.
I’m from playing games in the living room.
I’m from the laugh I make when my mom tickles me.
I’m from all the pictures and old books that are so special to me.
I’m from shumai dumplings that me and my dad make together.
I’m from my stuffed animal Doggin.
I’m from my dad’s brown eyes.
I’m from the books on my shelf.
I’m from my Lego sets all over my house.
I’m from music echoing through the house.
I’m from my dad’s voice.
I’m from water dripping down from the tub after I take a bath.
We’re From | By Room 107
I’m from crispy challah bread.
I’m from the hugs I get from my mom.
I’m from the lake that connects to the Charles River.
I’m from my dad preaching on Ethiopian New Year and every single Sunday at church.
I’m from hugging my dad’s teddy bear.
I’m from Eid Mubarik.
I’m from Sudan.
I’m from the candles flickering on Shabbat.
I’m from the sound of sizzling steak on the stove.
I’m from balloons and streamers on my birthday.
I’m from soft teddy bears.
I’m from sushi with avocado.
I’m from eating brie every week.
I’m from my noisy dogs in Ethiopia.
I’m from hugging my sister, mom and dad.
I’m from the African sunlight.
I’m from listening to my birds singing.
I’m from my family playing games together.
I’m from cuddling with my first blanket and pillow.