Monday, January 5, 2009

Family Time

I just want to share that we have recently incorporated a nightly board game or other game into our bedtime routine. It is going very well. My girls are ages 4, 5, and 6, and so everyone is now old enough to understand the rules of whatever we are doing. So it is dinner, board game, change into pajamas, brush teeth, bedtime story. The Uncle Wiggily board game has been a big hit. Tonight we did a memory game called Life on Earth which I got at Mindware. The pictures are quite lovely and the quality of the game is very good (nice thick cardstock). Tomorrow I think we will try Charades...

This is a lovely month to learn about the calendar and how different cultures measure time in different ways since the end of January is the Chinese New Year. We are trying to decide how to celebrate it. I have a Chinese student in my class so this will be a great experience! Today I read the story The Song of the Swallows by Leo Politi about the swallows of Capistrano. It was a wonderful tie in to both the calendar work and the instinctive vs. learned behaviors discussion that we are going to do tomorrow about humans knitting (learned behavior) versus birds building nests (instinctive behavior). As far as I know no one knows how old knitting really is but it is thought to have evolved from tying nets. I have seen ancient Egyptian tomb paintings showing use of a drop spindle. Weaving I think is even older than knitting; at least, it seems to me that it would be a more primitive way of making fabric and I know there is a weaver bird so did we learn it from watching them? If you are taking rushes and making a protective cover for your hut it is logical to overlap them a bit so they don't fall off... and did weaving come from there? Anyone know anything about the history of making textiles? One thing I love about teaching is that if you know everything you just preach and preach to the kids and they learn nothing... if you wonder, hypothesize, and discover it together than everyone is learning and you are modeling not only how to look up answers to questions but how to be an engaged, curious adult -- a lifelong learner.

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