Connecting Our Lives to the Past

27 Mar



A few of the many GREAT examples we saw from Out of Eden, footstep #2 (Connecting Our Lives to the Past). Below are some great reflections I read from students. I Tweeted some because they were commendable. 


Paul Salopek is in India!

25 Mar

Join Paul Salopek live from Banbasa Village in Uttarakhand, India!

Explorer Classroom

Globalization – What is it?

14 Mar

What is globalization? Is the Silk Road an example of globalization? 

BriarHill24HrWorldTour – Photos!

12 Mar

Photo by Rob Martin


Photo by Rob Martin


Photo by Rob Martin


Photo by Rob Martin

On Friday, March 9th, students connected via Skype with students in Texas for what they call the BriarHill24HrWorld Tour. This is the 3rd year that Social Studies students have participated in their project, a fascinating ‘tour’ that takes their students around the world to connect with experts and other classmates around the world. Here is their blog and their 2018 schedule. What a great example of using technology to connect with others around the world. 

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Image source: 


7 Mar

Come to Mr. Martin’s room on Friday during recess from 10:30am – 10:45am to Skype with students in Texas who are doing a 24 hour Skype tour. They will attempt to make a call to seven people on seven different continents. They will have introductions, a short weather report, current event, and a quick conversation to learn about our school and Chennai. This is the 3rd year I have worked with this school. It’s a lot of fun! Bring your snack and come to 3126! H block students will join for the last 10 minutes of their conversation when their class begins.  

March Birthdays

1 Mar


Happy birthday to the following students celebrating birthdays this month: Jooeun (8), Yunwoo (10), Juhwan (12), Ryutaro (20), Bua (23), and Donghee (24). If I forgot anyone or made a mistake, email me and I will add them. Have a great day!


Special Learning Journey: Planetary Health (Out of Eden Learn)

1 Mar

Planetary health is a new subject, just like biology and math are subjects, and it focuses on exploring the impacts of environmental changes on human health. Researchers who work on planetary health are interested in the connections between how humans affect the environment and how the environment then affects human health.

This learning journey is optional (not required) and will be open to volunteers. There will be no grades and it will be offered as a club or independent activity. If you like science and health and are interested in things like climate change, pollution, nutrition, and how you can make an impact on the world, then you might enjoy this special opportunity. This will begin next week. Let me know by this weekend if you are interested.


M.S. Spirit Week

25 Feb

Show your school spirit and dress up during the week of February 26 – March 2! I need some ideas for crazy hair day! :>)

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Multiples Day – Superheroes


Multiples Day – Looking Sharp!


Multiples Day – Cool!


Multiples Day – Superheroes

Spirit Week

G6 Team


Crazy Hair/Inside Out Day


Crazy Hair (Or No Hair Day)


Crazy Hair Day


Crazy Hair Day


Pajama Day


Spring Colors Day


Spring Colors Day

Silk and the Silk Road Resources

20 Feb

The Silk Road was a network of trade routes connecting China and the Far East with the Middle East and Europe. Although it’s been nearly 600 years since the Silk Road has been used for international trade, the routes had a lasting impact on commerce, culture and history that resonates even today. Read this article on

Silk production, or sericulture, is the nearly 5000 year old process that supplies the world with its most prized threads.

Paul Salopek has spent many months walking through the ancient Silk Road region of Central Asia. He has written a nice article about it HERE (CLICK LINK). Read his article and watch the longer video on his blog post. 

View this post on Instagram

For two years I have walked the faded caravan trails that formed one of the world’s pioneering experiments in globalization: the Silk Road. Its forgotten byways are littered with old fortified settlements. Khiva, Bukhara, and Samarkand—all gloried trading oases of Uzbekistan—were once walled strongholds. Caravanserais dot the steppes in Kazakhstan, their mighty turrets collapsed into rubble. Parapets. Gates. Palisades. Moats. It is an irony of human relations, of human history. Even along memory’s golden corridor of cultural exchange, of openness, of free movement, we hunkered behind walls. // See the full video and read the dispatch from Ganish, #Pakistan on (link in bio).

A post shared by Out of Eden Walk (@outofedenwalk) on

The Week in Social Studies

15 Feb


Photos by Rob Martin

This week we learned more about the Silk Road and how it is was not just one road, but many interconnecting routes – a network – that connected China, the Indian Subcontinent, Arabia, the Horn of Africa, Persia and the Roman Empire. We worked on our ability to summarize the main idea of a text or listening passage, as well as defined vocabulary related to our current unit. Our essential question is: Which three factors of the Silk Road had the greatest influence on trade, and why? Here are some class photos of students collaborating to review vocabulary. 

We also began a new Learning Journey for Out of Eden Learn, The Past and the Global. We have new schools in our walking party and you wrote footstep #1, an introduction to your walking party. All posts should now be on Out of Eden. Please read and comment on other posts in our walking party and respond to any questions you are asked. 

Check out this really cool feature on Out of Eden Walk on Paul’s walk through the Silk Road. It features photos, videos, maps and much more! If you use Instagram, you will like the photos on Out of Eden Walk. 

Have a good weekend!


Grade 6 SEVAI Day

15 Feb


Here are a few photos from the Grade 6 visit to the Tree Foundation to help support some of the initiatives there. Students learned about sea and fresh water turtles, cleaned the walls, painted, cleaned turtles and much more. I will add some photos of the other trip to the Blue Cross Animal Shelter, if you took any photos. Email me! These two organizations are looking for volunteers, so this might be something of interest for you and your family. We hope you had a nice day. Thanks!



The Silk Road

11 Feb

Everyday Borders and Barriers

6 Feb

I preparation for our next unit (Meeting our Needs), we will focus on ancient China, it’s geography, and the Silk Roads. What barriers led to China being an isolated country? 

Take a slow walk around our school. As you walk, ask yourself:

  • What kinds of borders and barriers do you notice?

  • How is your movement restricted or prevented?

  • Are there any ‘invisible’ borders: places where not everyone feels able to go even if there is not a sign blocking their entry?

  • Are there places where you don’t feel welcome or don’t like to go.

Photograph borders or barriers that you notice around our school campus.

Student photos (Google Slides) – Click LINK

Adesh, William, Anya7AyannBushiroCaoiChanak and Donghee1Doyeon, Somin, Chaeyun3Emily and Chaeyun2jooenMilo and Adam2Milo and Adam3Neil and Iven1

Celebration of Learning + February Birthdays

2 Feb


Mr. Nick and I enjoyed meeting with your parents for the Student-Led Parent Teacher Conferences on Wednesday night and Thursday. We also appreciate the students who volunteered to share work we have done for the Out of Eden Learn Project at the Celebration of Learning in the CIC. We heard many parents complement this online project and your work. 

We begin our new unit, Meeting our Needs next class. This will focus on China, trade on the Silk Roads, and globalization in the world today. We will also be starting Learning Journey 2 with new schools. Your recent work on the interviews was excellent and we have enjoyed reading the stories.

Here are the February birthdays: Somin (1), Chihiro (10), DoYeon (17), Hyeongjun and Iven (24), Raymond (28). Let us know if we made any mistakes or forgot someone. Have a great day and weekend!




Listening to Neighbors’ Stories

25 Jan

Interview1Interview2Interview3Photos by Barathi Dasan

Students this week are interviewing an adult who lives or works in Chennai. This person could be someone they have never spoken to before, or someone they already know.  Among questions students will create, they need to ask the person for a story or memory about Chennai, for example: How did they come to be in this place? How have they seen the area change over the years? What are some of their memories about the area? Do any particular events in the area stand out in their mind? Students will write up the highlights of their conversation (or a Q & A). Alternatively, they can upload an audio file retelling their story in their own words.

In class this week, Mr. Martin modeled an interview with Ms. Priya (B, F, and H blocks) and Ms. Lakshmi (D block). Students also had an opportunity to ask a wide range of questions (yes/no, open-ended, and follow-up questions). Students will edit their work in class on next Monday and Tuesday and post their work on Out of Eden Learn. 

Reminder: Please submit your summative essay to Mr. Martin for our most recent unit, if you have not already done so. Thanks!

Great Quotes

15 Jan


Martin Luther King Day celebrates the life and achievements of the influential American civil rights leader. Known for their oratorical power and eloquence, King’s speeches emphasized the importance of compassion, unity, and empathy. In the U.S. today is a national holiday. 

Welcome back! January Birthdays

14 Jan


Welcome back to school. Monday is a 1A day. We hope you had a nice vacation, whether you stayed in Chennai or traveled. We look forward to hearing about your time spent away from school. 

Happy birthday to the following students celebrating birthdays in January: Jooeun (1), Shyam (5), Anais (8), Sungmin (24), and Ayaan (25). If we left someone off this list or made an error, let us know.

This week we will continue to focus on our compelling question: Was agriculture good for humans? We will see examples of the negative effects of the agricultural revolution. We will also be starting Out of Eden, Footstep #4. 


Last Post of 2017

27 Dec



Paris in winter


MS Christmas Party – Good times! Funny photo!

Greetings! I hope you are having a great vacation, whether you are in Chennai or traveling in India or overseas. My family leaves for France tomorrow morning, our first trip there. I really enjoyed your neighborhood photos and shared some of the best ones (there were so many!) in a post below this one. Check them them out! I also shared the photos on my Twitter handle and got some nice comments and ‘likes’ from Out of Eden Learn, Paul Salopek and others. They were very impressive and inspiring! Whether you are in India, in your home country, or traveling, take many photos and choose one to share with me. I will be happy to add it to our class blog when we return from vacation.

Happy New Year!

Out of Eden Learn: Footstep #3 – Taking Neighborhood Walks

20 Dec

AdamAhmetBeachBunshiroDaEunEllieEmilyKaranLazarLucaMaya2MayukaNeelNeil R.PaulRyutaroShyamSominSungminWilliamYashMarcWoohyunZiad


There were so many great photos taken for Footstep #3 – Taking Neighborhood Walks. Your task was to walk in your neighborhood and capture images that showed the physical traits and/or cultural characteristics of Chennai, India. Along with your photos, you needed to write a paragraph describing the photos, why you took them, and what wonderings you might have about the things you took photos of. My hope is that you learned more about your neighborhood or saw it in a new way. Great job!

Climate Change

12 Dec

This video has been going around social media. It’s a short, but powerful video about climate change and the effects of it.


Paul Salopek – Trekking across the ‘unknown’ Afghanistan, untouched by war (PBS Story)

7 Dec

Paul Salopek is one of the few people to have crossed a roadless, mountainous part of Afghanistan by foot. The journalist had previously reported there during the war. But as part of his Out of Eden walk around the world, he’s encountered a completely different Afghanistan than the one he had come to know. Hari Sreenivasan from PBS NewsHour talks with Salopek about the latest leg of his journey and what’s next. Click HERE to read the story. 

Creation of Written Language

5 Dec

Cuneiform tablet from Mesopotamia


Tokens from Mesopotamia

In class this week, you will learn about the development of writing in Sumer, a society in ancient Mesopotamia (pages 101 – 103 in your textbook). Here is a video playlist that supports the reading and the work we will do to answer our supporting question (#2): How did the development of agriculture in Mesopotamia lead to the development of writing?

December Birthdays

5 Dec


Happy birthday to the following students celebrating a birthday this month: Yash (2), Kavya and Rajiv (6), Marc (16), Thibault (17), Caio (20), and Seunghyun (24). Let me know if we forgot anyone or made an error. Have a GREAT day!


From Hunters-Gatherers to Early Farmers

29 Nov

This playlist features videos that show the gradual change from migration to our earliest villages and the development of agriculture. Our current question that we are focusing on is: Was the development of agriculture good for humans? Explain. I hope you find these videos helpful. If you find other helpful resources, please share them with me, and I will add them to our class site.

Our Greatest Innovations

27 Nov

What were the best inventions or innovations in history? I saw this article on 11 Innovations That Changed History. I also found this article from The Atlantic magazine, The 50 Greatest Breakthroughs since the Wheel.  Finally, here is one other article from International Business Times: Top Ten Greatest Inventions That Changed The World. What do you think is the greatest innovation or invention in history?