Saturday, April 10, 2021

Week of April 5

Some quick notes & links about our Outdoor Classroom activities this week!

Wrapping up our previous topics:
Fearless Women in U.S. History
United States Geography

Beginning our two main lesson topics for April:
Jataka Tales
Ancient Mythology: Egypt

Everyone has prepared their record sheets for their individual math and language arts work in the afternoons including Lower Elementary Word Study from Montessori Research & Development, Upper Elementary Word Study from ETC Montessori, the Grammar Cabinet and Grammar Box Cards from Waseca Biomes, and the Techniques of Problem Solving Decks. I have been working very hard on collecting these lovely but out-of-print decks of word problem cards and now have the complete set for grades 1 through 9!

Monday, April 5

  • Community Building: whole-school Easter Egg Hunt with 132 eggs
  • Early Childhood: outdoor free play (mostly spent trying to create a pulley system in the magnolia tree), read "The Farmer Prince" from page 146 of Tell Me a Story
  • Lower Elementary: recall Sonia Sotomayor and add her to MLB, finish MLBs (# pages, add Table of Contents, decorate front & back covers)
  • Upper Elementary: study U.S. States flashcards, play U.S. States Elimination Game for assessment, play U.S. Capitals BINGO Game to help study and prepare for Wednesday's Quiz

Tuesday, April 6

  • Community Building: whole-school creative play with the mud kitchen (we set the water pump/table back up now that the chance of freezing has passed... and it was an enormous hit with all ages) including establishing a restaurant/store, writing the menu up on the gigantic outdoor white board, figuring out a magnolia leaf & cone currency (LNCs), opening up a bank, and electing a town mayor
  • Handwork: the first gnome was finished today! when all of the gnomes are done we will have a Gnome Party
  • Snack: discuss efforts to save Native American languages from extinction, read The Apple Tree -- A Modern Day Cherokee Story Told in English & Cherokee

    for more on this you may enjoy the following videos

    short video about Doris Lamar-McLemore, the last speaker of Wichita
    April 16, 1927 - August 30, 2016

    short video about Marie Wilcox, the last fluent speaker of Wukchumni
    November 24, 1933 -
    this is the amazing story of her dictionary project

    short video of Navajo words
    (Four Corners region)
    numbers, introducing yourself, sample text

  • LE: recall a portion of our read aloud -- The Cat Who Went to Heaven by Elizabeth Coatsworth -- and add it to the new MLB as our first Jataka Tale (the elephant sacrificing himself for the weary travelers who were dying of hunger and thirst as they crossed the desert)

    as a Language Arts block, we are focusing on composition and, particularly, the skill of summarizing ("Sombody Wanted But So")

    if you'd like one, here's a Somebody Wanted But So graphic organizer (PDF)

    it is interesting with a Jataka Tale to talk SWBS through more than once using a different Somebody each time

  • UE: continue to practice the capitals, play U.S. Capitals BINGO Game
  • Nature: pick daffodil/narcissus bouquets to take home

Wednesday, April 7

  • School Meeting: vote on the addition of new rules for the Rules Binder
  • EC: continued whole-school play with the water table, try to lift heavy buckets of water using the pulley system, add long tube pieces from the water wall supplies to the water table to create new paths for the water, pour many buckets of water down the driveway and splash happily in the puddles, dig clay and make clay balls and try to bowl with them, do a bug hunt with a magnifying glass and take along a clipboard for sketching what you find, read "The Little Girl Who Would Not Work" from page 131 of Tell Me a Story
  • Routines: add wooden pig to the table with the bell to remind us to put on our sunscreen (and the camel reminds us to drink our water!)
  • LE: add horse story from The Cat Who Went to Heaven to MLB

    if you have Drawing Simple Animal Forms by Live Education, the Three Archtypal Forms are on page 3, the elephant drawing lesson is on pages 14-15, and the horse is on pages 20-21

  • UE: study for states & capitals quiz, take states & capitals quiz, start new MLB (Egyptian Mythology) and hear new story (Ra) from Gods and Goddesses of Ancient Egypt: Egyptian Mythology for Kids by Morgan Moroney
  • Structured Word Inquiry: recall the Four Ancient Elements as part of our "Nature" topic in Philosophy

    divide into pairs and play "What's In, What's Out" game with Word Bags and long pieces of finger knitted string for forming the circles (each word in question is written on an index card, words that are in the family are placed inside the circle, words that are not in the family are placed outside the circle, words about which we are unsure are placed on the circle)

    review making a fist for a base and putting two figers in front or behind for an affix (a compound word is two fists together)

    recall that to be in a family words must have both a meaning relationship and a spelling relationship (in other words, morphological relatives share a base)

    practice writing word sums as evidence for the words that are in the family

    practice finding evidence for possible prefixes and suffixes by finding other words that also have those letters acting as a prefix or a suffix

    discuss how to decide whether a set of letters is an affix or another base (< tri > is a perfect example)

    begin the convention of BOXING the BASE

    discuss how compound words are actually in two families (!) and make a Venn diagram with two overlapping circles of string

    choose words that we would like to explore further on etymonline

    for FIRE:
    fire, fireplace, firefighter, fire hydrant, fire station, fired (lost your job), fiery, fear, phoenix, infrared

    for WATER:
    water, watery, waterfall, watercolor, water cooler, water lilies, waiter, wet, underwater, submarine,

    for EARTH:
    earth, earthenware, Earth Day, earthly, unearth, earthwork, earthquake, birth, dirt, breathy

    for AIR:
    air, airy, fairy, airplane, aeroplane, air freshener, airport, airtight, atmosphere, aerate, malaria

  • Nature: pick daffodil/narcissus bouquets to take home

Thursday, April 8

  • School Meeting: vote on the addition of new rules for the Rules Binder
  • Routines: organize school supply caddies for each child (4 pencils, large white eraser, pencil sharpener, pair of scissors, glue stick)

    kangaroo pouch holds plan book, clipboard, and main lesson book

    some children keep their colored pencils with their plan book in the kangaroo pouch and some children prefer to keep them opposite their regular pencils in the other small compartment in the caddy

  • EC: continued whole-school play with the water table, pump and fill many many buckets with water and pour them simultaneously down the driveway and run along the sidewalk to follow the path of the water as it runs along the street, take a "field trip" (meaning I accompanied them so that they could go past the edge of the property) to find the next storm drain and see if the water went all that way, mark with chalk where the water stopped and see if adding more water would make it go further, notice that when water spreads out into wide low places and makes puddles it slows down significantly, read My Great-Grandmother's Gourd by Cristina Kessler
  • Nature: figure out how to help a male and female cardinal escape after they both flew into our tent
  • LE: add water buffalo story from The Cat Who Went to Heaven to MLB
  • UE: recall legend about Ra, individual reading & group sharing of dung beetle information (A Beetle Is Shy by Dianna Hutts Aston, The Beetle Book by Steve Jenkins, I See a Kookaburra! Discovering Animal Habitats Around the World by Steve Jenkins and Robin Page)
  • LE/UE: act out Ra's epic daily journey across the sky (from beetle to falcon to old man) and through the underworld (getting powers from the goddesses, meeting Osiris in hour 6, battling Apophis/Chaos in hour 7 and winning the battle each time so that Ra will rise again)

Friday, April 9

  • EC: watch the firemen test the fire hydrant, outdoor free play, birthday celebration (16 hole birthday ring from Nova Natural with 6 beeswax candles and 10 wooden ornaments, Celebration Sun from Waseca Biomes with the solar jar and the Nienhuis Colored Globe of the Continents, and a peacock feather as the birthday child's gift)

    we have had lots of Early Childhood milestones this week! a birthday celebration for one child and two lost teeth (Sunday and Thursday) for the other

  • SWI: read Molly, by Golly! The Legend of Molly Williams, America's First Female Firefighter by Dianne Ochiltree, look up words on etymonline which students are curious about from our word sorting activity on Wednesday, consider the word sum for < fire hydrant > and whether < hydrant > has a base related to "water," think of other words with hydr signifying water (hydrate, hydroelectric, hydra) and question whether the Modern English base would be hydr, hydra, or hydro (what we find in etymonline is very useful re. Greek and Latin but we still need to think about how the Modern English word is built)

    look at matrices based on the words sums in our initial exploration

    create a new matrix for FIRE words that breaks them down further

    can any of these word be broken down any further? hmmmmm.....

    note: matrices are made using the free website Mini Matrix-Maker

    the program knows a word is a base if you capitalize the first letter, like this

    Fire + Fight + er
    Fire + Hydr + ant
    Fire + Place
    Fire + State + ion
    Fire + ed

    we have not come to any firm conclusions about hydr so we will revisit it next week; it is fine to leave things at "this is my question" or "this is my current understanding" and then come back later and go deeper... "this is my new understanding"

  • Nature / Philosophy / Language Arts: give each child a new tool to wear and which can be stored in the caddy: loupes-on-a-lanyard

    these were a huge hit! in fact, for twenty minutes I could NOT get them to stop looking at things so that they could have their lunches (note to self: next time, don't offer up this lesson right before a meal)

    "I'm going to wear this for the rest of my life!"

    "Whoa, look at a Cutie!"

    "It's really weird when you look at a lens through a lens!"

    "It makes you see things the way you never thought you could see things. It's out of this world!"

    they looked at a vast number of things but in our initial lesson of how to correctly wear the loupes they were all give the instruction to look at the same item and come up with some analogies (the "what else does this look like? what else does this remind you of?" questions are from The Private Eye: Looking/Thinking by Analogy - A Guide to Developing the Interdisciplinary Mind); I compiled all of their ideas

    can you tell what item this poem is describing?

    Loupe Looking

    Grand Canyon
    The letter K
    An alien landscape, flat with a bunch of little ridges
    The bark of a tree
    Land with a light layer of snow
    A snowy biome / a grassy biome / a cactus
    A planet of ice and ridges
    Little wrinkles in it
    Dried up rivers
    Ocean waves
    A river going in circles and circles
    A lizard’s back
    A scaly mammal

  • LE: add Banyan deer story from The Cat Who Went to Heaven to MLB
  • UE: summarize and add legend about Ra to MLB, hear legend about Shu "God of Air" and Tefnut "Goddess of Moisture"
  • LE/UE: play Monster Sock Factory

I will work next on putting together a few blog posts that are full of photos!

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