Friday, October 5, 2018

Spelling & Grammar Week One

We are starting a new month-long main lesson block this week. Although I've titled this post simply "Spelling & Grammar," it's a Language Arts block covering a wide scope and introducing a lot of topics which we will continue to follow up on throughout the school year. I will be introducing Script and SWI (Structured Word Inquiry), and laying the foundation for those topics with the Montessori Fourth Great Lesson, "The Story of Written Language."

If you are interested in being trained in these subjects, Pete Bowers is starting a new Online Fall Workshop in SWI. The cohort meets via Zoom. Sessions will be Tuesdays in October (9, 16, 30) and November (6, 13). I got my Real Script training with Rebecca Loveless, who also teaches her courses remotely through Zoom. They are both wonderful teachers!

This week we entered into the Story of Written Language, traveling through time from Prehistory to the Middle Ages.

Monday, October 1

  • read "How the First Letter Was Written" from Rudyard Kipling's Just-So Stories

Tuesday, October 2

  • review the use of charcoal for drawing and writing by early humans
  • read from V. M. Hillyer's A Child's History of the World, 1952 about Ancient Egypt and hieroglyphs; look at how to write the name Cleopatra in hieroglyphs on page 31 (chapter 6: The Puzzle Writers); look at and feel a sheet of real papyrus; look at hieroglyph stamp set

  • explain how the Rosetta Stone (discovered accidentally by some of Napoleon's soldiers) finally allowed us to decipher hieroglyphs, but it took many years for scholars to crack the code
  • discuss Ancient Babylon and cuneiform; look at how to write the name Nebuchadnezzar in cuneiform on page 99 of A Child's History of the World, 1952 (chapter 18: A City of Wonder and Wickedness)
  • explain that we still call the bookshelves in libraries "stacks" because of the huge stacks of clay tablets in libraries from Ancient Babylon
  • discuss the invention of animal skin parchment
  • read Marguerite Makes a Book by Bruce Robertson (early 1400s in Paris, France)

Thursday, October 4

Friday, October 5

  • allow further time for hands-on explorations, adding in two new options for the Middle Ages:

    the explorations allowed students to better understand the challenges of writing during each time period before drafting summaries for their MLBs; the artwork created also doubled as potential MLB illustrations

  • allow students time to add Early History and Middle Ages to their MLBs
  • discuss student observations from using a quill pen; explain the later invention of metal nibs for quills; pass around variety of nibs
  • open and look at classroom fountain pens (Pilot Metropolitan Collection Medium Nib; examine how pen can be used as a dip pen or a cartridge pen; insert ink cartridges in pens as needed

  • discuss the penmanship terms miniscules, majuscules, x-height, ascender, descender; begin Script lessons; write thank you notes to Bandy's Pumpkin Patch

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