We also had a ratios mini-lesson featuring Oobleck. I used my Recipes with Wooden Stars technique -- see my previous post to teach the recipe and it worked great. Two red stars and one green. The recipe is two parts cornstarch to one part water. All ingredients at room temperature. Heating it up ruins it. Just mix with a spoon. Precise measuring is key to your success! Oh, this concoction is super-fun and it's great for assessing students' scientific observation. For clean up you MUST use a DRY paper towel. Clean off your hands well with the dry paper towel and throw it in the trash. Scoop the oobleck out of your bowl with a spoon and throw it in the trash. We let our bowls sit outside and get filled with rain by mistake before we washed them and it was easy to wash it. Becca did notice, before it rained, that the stuff outside had dried out and wasn't acting like oobleck any more but if she added water she could revive it. That was a nice review on ratios. If water evaporates out, the proportion isn't kept consistent. Add more water so you get back to that two red stars and one green star... you have oobleck again.
Natalie brought this recipe home from her high school science class. Thank you Natalie! If you haven't tried making oobleck at home, go for it!
We also did some of the math problems and puzzles from Jamie York's book Making Math Meaningful: Fun with Puzzles, Games, and More!. This is a must-purchase if you are teaching middle school or high school math.
Ok, back to my notes about the whole group last Thursday and Friday:
new educational game
Pattern Play - blue
current events from the newspaper: the discovery of a new planet which may be in that "Goldilocks zone" where liquid water is present
setting up and choosing birthday ring ornaments for a birthday celebration!
our beautiful cherry wood birthday ring from Nova Natural
free exploration with clay, leading up to Form Modeling in the future
We work outside, set out a bowl of warm soapy water for people to wash their hands off when they are done, and have plenty of towels available. Happily, we lay down bath towels in the grass when we do yoga, as mats, and so these are all already hung over the railing to dry. Thus we have plenty of towels around for clay as well. I love seeing the mixed ages of our group interacting with one another so sweetly, and snapped this great shot of a seventh grader and a two year old washing clay off their hands together.
Clay is a FANTASTIC thing to have at home. And we had one child who couldn't put it down for over an hour, he was so thrilled! (Early finishers read chapter books or picture books or read to one another. I didn't rush anyone on this free exploration day.)
Don't be intimidated by clay. If you have a large bowl, hot water and dish detergent, a bath towel, an old hand towel or dish towel, dental floss, a plate, and a ziploc bag, you can totally do clay. I would recommend not putting self-hardening clay down your sink because it may clog your drain, but if you're willing to wash off outside it's not hard at all. Cut small pieces off with dental floss (loop the waxed floss around the block, grasp the ends, and pull your hands in opposite directions and it will cut the clay and separate it so easily), cover them with a damp cloth when you're not working directly with them, and then wrap the damp cloth all around the clay and put it in a ziploc bag or other airtight container. Don't let it dry out. That's the key. But if it does, you can wet it again. Kind of like oobleck!
My book on modeling clay forms, by Hella Loewe, is actually available online for free as a downloadable PDF, courtesy of the Online Waldorf Library; find it here.
Basic Sculptural Modeling: Developing the Will by Working with Pure Forms in the First Three Grades
She recommends following clay work with a period of intensive language mental work. Thus we are following clay each Friday with our foreign language offerings, ASL and Spanish, which those parents will be team-teaching, presenting vocabulary in both languages simultaneously. The ASL teacher commented to me that she really appreciated how much the clay had helped the children to warm up their hands!
introduction of the weather tree, another daily classroom routine (green - Science and Nature)
starting a new chapter book to read during snack time, inspired by the interest in one of our students in sharks and fossils!
The Monster Shark's Tooth: Canoeing from the Chesapeake Bay into the Ancient Miocene Sea
This book was written by a scientist with the National Geological Society in Washington DC who happened to be my neighbor in MD. He's Grumpa in the story. I also know that his publisher, another woman in our community, lost all of her copies of the book when a derecho came through and a tree fell on her house and then the rain destroyed the books. So I am GLAD to have my copy!
reading a favorite picture book to finish out the week, just for fun
The Little Mouse, the Red Ripe Strawberry, and the Big Hungry Bear
Quality of Numbers:
skip counting, walking and stamping out rhythms, creating quantities with "gems" and looking at patterns
I bought a large quantity of flattened glass marbles and Leah polished up a beautiful sterling silver platter. We love thinking of our gems as belonging to the cranky little dwarf from Snow-White and Rose-Red, so we are always very careful to lay them out quietly, so he won't realize we are borrowing them to do our math work!
adding Roman numeral II to MLB, hearing story for three (The Three Billy Goats Gruff), acting out the story... once it finished raining, adding it to our MLB and the Roman numeral III, lesson in block beeswax crayons and drawing simple animal forms based on the geometric shapes in their bodies, hearing the story for four (The Four Skilful Brothers)
To get just the primary crayons in block beeswax crayon form, I recommend A Small Green Footprint. They sell each crayon for $1.65 and will let you get the primary colors without getting a whole tin of the others.
The Story of Geometry:
add The Secrets of the Stone Age to MLB, hear Reading the Shadows, place a brick at the end of a tree shadow at 3 pm on August 25th (will check at 3 pm on September 25th to see if the shadow's end falls in the same place), add chapter to MLB, hear The Rope-Stretchers about geometric discoveries in Ancient Egypt of the easiest way to form a perfect right angle triangle and the invention of the level