Saturday, December 3, 2011

Learning About the Characteristics of a Civilization

There are characteristics historians use to determine if a culture is a civilization. The past week students learned about those characteristics and examined artifacts of Sumer (the first city-state in Mesopotamia). It was a fun and enlightening activity. This was an important lesson because we will compare all the cultures we study against these characteristics to see if they are truly civilizations. The seven characteristics needed for a civilization are:
· a stable food supply
· religion
· government
· technology
· social structure
· writing
· the arts
We determined that Sumer was a civilization because the artifacts we looked at reflected all of the above.
Next week we will be moving beyond Sumer to learn about the empires that came later. Students will learn about Akkad, Babylonia, Assyria, and Neo-Babylonia. Students who stay for the second half of the period will also begin working on posters to reflect the achievements of one of those empires. Classes usually enjoy completing the poster because it allows them to be creative and show what they have learned.
We continue to practice fluency and work on our reading skills. Also, students are learning how to write more detailed answers for the questions posed in homework assignments. The last two assignments have been difficult for many of the children because they do not give enough detail and information. We will continue to work on this skill.
Pictures that follow show some of the artifacts students analyzed and pictures of them doing fluency practice.

(P.S. The past week my student teacher, Ms. Byers, has been teaching. She has done a great job with the curriculum and will be with us until we go to winter break. So you might notice her in pictures the next couple of weeks.)

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