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Country research project brings the world to Kensington

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At right, family members and friends view country research projects completed by third-graders in Karen Northrup's class at Kensington.

June 25, 2014 — For an afternoon in June, you could take a whirlwind trip around the world—just by visiting Karen Northrup’s third-grade classroom at Kensington Road elementary. Family members were invited in to take a tour of “the most interesting countries in the world,” including Costa Rica, South Africa, France, Italy, and many others. The 18 different displays included food, flags, costumes, photos, artifacts and more as a culmination of an in-depth country study each student completed.

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“We spent two months going through the entire writing process, from students selecting the country of their choice, to voting on what they wanted to research, to note-taking and writing a rough draft, to revising and editing,” said Mrs. Northrup. “We finished with a ‘walking museum’ celebration of all the great work we did.”

“I think one of the coolest things about Costa Rica is the name of what they eat for breakfast – it’s called gallo pinto. It’s made with beans, different spices and onions,” said Trey Patton.

James Quinones reported that people eat seals, whale and reindeer in Greenland. “Hundreds of years ago when Vikings visited, they named it Greenland to get people to go and settle there,” James wrote in his report. “Greenlanders used to speak Danish, but it ended in 2009. Now the name of the language is Greenlandic, or Kalaallisut. One of the words that they say is Ikingutinnersymik (Ick-in-goo-tin-ner-soo-mick), which means please. Greenlanders also use signals to speak. For example, when they say yes, they raise their eyebrows and when they say no, they squint their eyes.”

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Third-graders Owen Kress and James Quinones display their projects.

“There are more sheep in Ireland than people,” said Owen Kress, who built a giant sheep out of Legos as part of his project.

Students also collaborated with librarian Annie Miller on the project. “During library and technology, Ms. Miller taught the students database instruction, how to write a work cited page, and website evaluation,” said Mrs. Northrup.

“Just today I had Brandon and Christopher say their favorite writing this year was the country report,” said Mrs. Northrup. “I also had students remark that they never thought they could write such a long report. Lots of them really want to visit the country they wrote about.”