Friday, November 27, 2015

140 Characters

My eighth grader, who listens to a lot of NPR, finally asked me about the tagline "when you want a story that's more than 140 characters." I explained about Twitter and she came up with an idea, which I thought was a good one, to actually count out 140 characters in a newspaper article. She realized that it was a sentence and a bit. That really drove home to her how little Twitter could give you of a story. It was a worthwhile little mini lesson.

Of course, she then pointed out that the radio isn't limited to 140 characters but it IS limited on time. That was when she heard the interviewer say to the person she was interviewing, "quickly; we only have one more minute."

We've also spent a lot of time this block talking about credible sources.

Natalie has benefitted from listening to NPR and reading the Wall Street Journal, and while it may have been too ambitious to pace our World Geography / Economics block the way that I did, I'm still really glad we did an overview of the continents in that way. It has been especially helpful to have spent time talking about the situation in Syria. Now that she understands it she listens more closely to the news about Syria and so do I. I understand it better because I worked through it slowly with her.

She picked a funny little Europe topic for that continent: How to Lead a Nation That Never Existed: Free State of Bottleneck created by mistake after WWI. There was also an article in the WSJ about the euro and the dollar but she was intimidated by it and didn't understand the economics vocabulary, so I will work on that with her in our Math block which is starting Monday: Fractions, Graphing, and Practical Uses for Arithmetic.

One practical use for arithmetic is to calculate how big of a turkey you need! We had 8 people at our house. And I roasted an enormous 21 pound bird!!! Hmmmm. Carving it was much harder than I expected too, especially with the baby crying. We had to play hand the baby around the table. And next weekend is St. Nicholas Day which means that now we need to set up the Christmas tree, get out the Christmas decorations, put lights on the house... and I need to get online and order all the presents and hope they come in time. There are only nine picture books left in our wrapped Advent calendar, a tradition we have been doing since 2010 (I found my original blog post).

We have so many beautiful books, but my absolute favorite Christmas story -- I like the kind that makes you cry every time you read it out loud -- is The Little Trollby Thomas Berger, translated by Polly Lawson.

I can't believe you can find it used on Amazon starting at six cents!

And I think we will pick a poem from Isabel Wyatt's The Way Down: Christmas Poems for Children of All Agesto memorize this week.

Traditions are so cozy and soothing for kids and it's my fondest wish to have them be cozy and soothing for the adults too. I think I just need to get an earlier start. And some sleep.

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