Sunday, October 2, 2016

Finishing Up Our MLBs

Week Three: Aesop's Fables
overview on my website of all the stories for this block

Story Seven: "City Mouse, Country Mouse" from City Mouse, Country Mouse and two more mouse tales from Aesop

    We worked as a group to draft a poem for two voices for "The Bear and the Bees." Click here to see our finished poem! (PDF)

    The process of sleeping on a story and then remembering and retelling it is a powerful one which makes content sink deeper, whether it's Fables or Physics. One little boy quietly pulled me aside Monday morning to tell me his thoughts about an alternate moral for Friday's story, which was "The Bear and the Bees."

    'Sometimes you just have to leave it be.'

    I just thought of that when I woke up in bed.

    Next we made mouse stick puppets using two large wooden spoons per child. While the glue was drying, the children drew the "set" on the chalkboard, showing a simple hole in the ground (for the country mouse's home) and a large house with a grand dining room (and the city mouse's home tucked below the spacious table, even featuring his own little bitty curvy chandelier). Then the students performed the story, sitting on a stool below the chalkboard.

    After acting out the story, each person wrote a poem for two voices for "City Mouse, Country Mouse," which went in the MLB as their summary.

Story Eight: "The Fox and the Stork" from Aesop's Fables

    We had a great time acting out this story over and over, using two shallow plates, two tall narrow vases, and a set of chopsticks.

Story Nine: We heard several versions of "The Tortoise and the Hare" but our favorite was from The Tortoise and the Hare by Jerry Pinckney

    This is a nearly wordless picture book, with the moral being the only sentence. However, the author/illustrator slowly builds the moral throughout the course of the book, with the new word added being highlighted in red. On one page the sentence begins simply with only the word "slow"... on another page, "slow and"... on another page, "slow and steady" and so on, until the entire sentence has gradually been built and the tortoise has won the race. In the author's note Jerry Pinckney explains that he has always felt a personal connection to this fable, given his struggles as a dyslexic boy in school.

    For this, our final story for our main lesson books, we both illustrated and acted out the story by making a moving picture from Making Picture Books with Movable Figures by Brunhild Muller. Students had great fun making these! Finally, we glued our finished pictures in our MLBs to serve as the illustration alongside our summaries. Students then glued in a small decorated envelope containing the loose animal pieces.

If you'd like to follow up with more fables at home, one classic collection is

Week Three: Ancient Mythology
overview on my website of all the stories for this block

Ancient India: We finished up Ancient India by modeling Buddha. One child also started to knit the pure white horse of King Sangara, using the horse knitting pattern in A First Book of Knitting for Children.

Ancient Persia: We heard "Ahura Mazda and Ahrimen," "Hushang Discovers Fire," and "Zarathustra and the Kingdom of Light" from Ancient Mythologies: India, Persia, Babylon, Egypt by Charles Kovacs

    One wonderful two-page spread we did featured a border of warm colors and flames around a list of Ahura Mazda's creations and a border of cool colors and icicles around a list of Ahrimen's creations. The illustration doesn't always have to be on one page with the summary facing; you can also incorporate the visual element into a border, into the font of the title of the summary, or into a background design with the summary in the middle of the page. Main lesson books give you endless opportunities to be creative, which is why they are made using unlined paper.

    We also made Faloodeh (Persian Rose Water Ice)

If you'd like another Persian story to read at home (and this one is suitable for younger children too), I like

The Legend of the Persian Carpet

Ancient Mesopotamia: We heard "The Land of Two Rivers," "Marduk, the God Who Knew No Fear," and "Gilgamest and Eabani" from Ancient Mythologies: India, Persia, Babylon, Egypt by Charles Kovacs

Thank you to the family who arranged for us to buy eight straw bales for our straw bale cold frames this year (these bales will also be the planting beds for next year's vegetable garden), and delivered them!

Now on to the pictures:

felting hollow eggs for "The Milkmaid"

chalkboard drawing of Manu above, and a shadow puppetry set below

shadow puppetry for "The Crow and the Pitcher"

vase and marbles from shadow puppetry in my kitchen, drying off

"grapes" high in the dogwood tree for "The Fox and the Grapes"

labeling the curved side of wooden spoons, ready to make our puppets for "City Mouse and Country Mouse"

the fancy abode of the City Mouse

straw bales!

laying down a corrugated cardboard layer as a weed block

simple cold frame design with straw as insulation and an old window covering the center

the straw bales will get moved to the outside edge of the garden in the spring; these will be planted DIRECTLY into, after spending the winter conditioning (flip them over to get the best fungus on top)

the warm palette and cool palette for Ahura Mazda and Ahrimen

ready to act out "The Fox and the Stork"

clay modeling of Gilgamesh and Eabani

making moving pictures for "The Tortoise and the Hare"

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