from scraps to paper

we’re studying the development of language,
and as an extension made paper like the Chinese first did.
(the Egyptians were the first to make paper,
but they used a layering technique with papyrus
while the Chinese used pulp from cloth.)

we used two Ikea frames:
one became our mold,
the other — doctored up with screening and duct tape —
was our deckle.
next we tore up colored paper scraps from our recycling bin.
we put our scraps in the blender with warm water and then…

making pulp in the blender
making pulp in the blender
our bucket was too narrow for the deckle and mold...
our bucket was too narrow for the deckle and mold...
...so we had to pour the pulp
...so we had to pour the pulp
pulp in the deckle
pulp in the deckle
removed the deckle
removed the deckle

we flipped the mold over onto felt and newspaper (to soak up surplus water) and…

sponging off excess water
sponging off excess water

removing the mold
removing the mold

allowing paper to dry
allowing paper to dry

the pink flecks in the blue paper above are flower petals that were added in the pulp
between blending and pouring.

here’s a good video to watch before you start:
http://video.about.com/familycrafts/How-to-Make-Paper-With-Kids.htm

and an excellent book to read after you’ve made paper the first time
and want to upgrade the look and feel of your paper:
paper making for kids: simple steps to handcrafted paper by beth wilkinson

this what we call hands-on history!

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value of the month: trustworthiness or amanah

hippo and mouse trust fall

every month we focus on a value or character trait
that we want to nourish within ourselves and as a family.
this month it is trustworthiness or amanah in Arabic.

in addition to reading stories on this theme from the library,
i also work with character building day by day, by anne d. mather & louise b. weldon,
as well as islamic values for children by lila assiff-tarabin
and a to z of akhlaaaq: moral values for children by nafees khan.

download and print this month’s value
then talk about, read about and be about being trustworthy this month.
studies show it only takes 21 days to make a habit!

do you know any good picture books or short stories about trustworthiness?

sundays at the farm with green muslims

kids love to compost!

we were back at The Farm at Walker Jones
with Green Muslims.
this time we did a lot of weeding and bed preparation
in anticipation of DC School Garden Week.

The Farm is an excellent example of urban agriculture
— it sticks out like (pardon the pun) a green thumb
on the corner of New Jersey and K Streets in NW DC —
school gardens
— it serves the kids, families and neighbors of Walker Jones Education Campus
and volunteerism at its best.
we plan to join Green Muslims when they volunteer
on the last Sunday of every month, inshaAllah.
join them then or contact Sarah Bernardi
(sarah at wjfarm dot org or 202.320.4996)
to find out when you can help individually or as a group.

promote sustainable urban agriculture by volunteering
or buying fresh-picked food at uncommonly low prices from The Farm’s stand;
get back in touch with the Earth that,
by the will of Our Creator,
provides us with sustenance;
help our children remember where our food comes from
before the grocery stores.

kunte kinte heritage festival

Nazu & Company

even though i read Roots, the book, and saw Roots, the TV series,
i needed to be reminded that Annapolis, Maryland
is the actual location that Kunta Kinte
— one of 98 enslaved people brought to Annapolis,
aboard the ship Lord Ligonier in 1767 —
arrived to America.
the sight of the colonial buildings at the fish-scented dock
created a moving backdrop to the African rhythms that reverberated around the harbor.

besides the numerous booths, food vendors and musical entertainment
the festival had a children’s booth that kept hands and minds active:
dress up in various African-print cloths,
making medallions with your name in Arabic,
printing with adinkra stamps,
and making west African instruments with recycled materials.

“Kunte Kinte’s experience symbolizes the struggle of all ethnic groups
to preserve their cultural identity”,
and the Kunte Kinte Heritage Festival
— a yearly event —
highlights the contributions of African Americans
and the strength of African traditions in the US.