Monday, May 17, 2021

Week of May 10

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

This week we wrapped up our Cultural main lesson blocks:
Jataka Tales
Ancient Mythology: Egypt

In the individual Morning Math time, students are doing a wide variety of work, including dynamic addition / subtraction / multiplication / division, word problems, operations with fractions, algebra, operations with positive and negative numbers, and coordinate graphing. We've established that the rhythm works best if both groups have their Main Lesson Blocks first thing in the morning. Working in MLBs is followed by Math and then Plant Adoption.

Lots of plant experiments have been set up by the Early Childhood group and they are helping with larger planting projects as well. They also love to listen in on the Cultural lessons that the older kids are having.

Next week we will dive into Botany, beginning with a review of the Timeline of Life and, of course, the Tree of Life and scientific names! I am excited to do Structured Word Inquiry on some of the fascinating Botany nomenclature. There's so much terminology to cover! And so many fun experiments to do!

Monday, May 10

  • Early Childhood: check on plant experiments, enjoy lots of outdoor free play (current favorite theme: fort building)
  • Planting Projects: check on seedlings, learn about the terms "leggy" and "hardening off," move some of our baby plants to dappled sunshine for part of the day, final planting of the tomato plants (we have a dozen!), mulch the stinging nettles, pot up lots of deliciously fragrant herbs and make a path of pots which students can sniff on their way to and from the canteen tent (spearmint, apple mint, pineapple mint, lime mint, orange mint, sweet pear mint, ginger mint, chocolate mint, strawberry mint, lavender, and rosemary)
  • Language Arts: review 1st person / 2nd person / 3rd person persepective and read An Undone Fairy Tale by Ian Lendler
  • Lower Elementary: student presentation of "The Golden Goose" from Buddha Stories by Demi, discuss the first-ever printed book (which was a Buddhist sutra, and was printed using a carved wood block with gold ink on indigo rice paper; this inspired the artwork in Demi's book), create artwork of a golden goose feather using gold colored pencil and gold watercolor paint on "Nightshift" indigo cardstock
  • Upper Elementary: add Thoth to MLB, discuss the Rosetta Stone and how it is that we can read hieroglyphs (and have therefore learned so much about Ancient Egypt), read "Seshat - Goddess of Scribes, Building, and Astronomy" and "Bes and Taweret - God and Goddess of Home, Childbirth, Women, and Children"

Tuesday, May 11

  • Early Childhood: check on plant experiments, make plans for new planting experiments (date seed, lemon seed, whole wild strawberry), eat wild strawberries, help with gardening projects, play tag

    thank you to Zac for sharing a picture of the Rosetta Stone which he found in his Childcraft book (The Magic of Words, 1975, p.163)

  • Planting Projects: continue to check on seed germination and harden off seedlings, start watermelon and rutabaga seeds, lots of planting today! (cabbage, lemon balm, oregano, sage, zucchini, basil, wormwood), update Plant Adoption Forms and set goals for tomorrow
  • LE: hear student presentation of "The Magic Pig" from Buddha Stories and add to MLB
  • UE: further exploration of Seshat - Goddess of Scribes, Building, and Astronomy

    1. have students work together to complete Discover the Pythagorean Theorem! (FREE on TpT)

    2. review right angles; demonstrate Pythagorean Theorem with 3, 4, 5 bead bars from the Colored Bead Bar Material and 3, 4, 5 squares from the Short Bead Chain Material

    3. explain Pythagorean Triples; give students the remaining squares from the Short Bead Chain Material (1, 2, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10) and challenge them to find another Pythagorean Triple from among these pieces (6, 8, 10)

    4. read chapter 5, "The Rope-Stretchers," of String, Straightedge, and Shadow: The Story of Geometry by Julia Diggins

    use pompom yarn to stand in for the Ancient Egyptian knotted string

    stop at the bottom of page 40 to make the construction shown by using the pompom yarn and four students, each representing a stake

    stop at the bottom of page 43 to demonstrate my handy-dandy Ancient Egyptian Level, which I built with two students back in 2016

    5. assign Pythagorean Theorem Worksheet (FREE on TpT) for follow-up practice during the week (all Pythagorean Triples... no decimals)

Wed, May 12

    Because of so much missed school last week we didn't have an unscheduled Wednesday today. My plan book just couldn't allow it! But I promised the class that we would honor that tradition for the remaining weeks of May and June.

  • EC: hide plastic animals in the fort under the burning bush and see if friends can find them, play with kinetic sand, swing in the hammock and "fish" using a long stick and a long string and a paperclip hook, practice tying knots, run fingers through yellow pollen on the tabletop and run around yelling "I'm going to pollinate something!"
  • Gardening Projects: consider sprouts as an easy-to-plant / quick-to-harvest option, gather up all of the loose cardboard pieces left over from Boxville and place it in a huge pile and jump on it vigorously to flatten it (a very joyful job), use the flattened cardboard to make the last few paths in the garden, find an acorn in the mulch pile with a baby oak tree sprouting from it and carefully plant it in a large pot, discover a little black & orange beetle larva and watch it intently

    the highlight of today was when Zac came running over with the announcement that the baby pecan tree had leaves on it!

    we were amazed to discover that our pecan tree was still alive!!!!! (this was a huge deal to the children because it was partially buried by the Mulch Mountain and had been showing no signs of life and so we were certain that it was dead)

    the whole school came to help! we worked hard to rake away the extra mulch from around the pecan tree, carefully removed the crushed wire cage from around the pecan tree so that it could grow more easily, and put a new larger wire cage around the pecan tree so that everyone would know it was there and would keep it safe

  • LE: student presentation of The Brave Little Parrot by Rafe Martin, add to MLB
  • UE: transfer honey to another container and wash honey jars thoroughly with hot water, recall and add Seshat to MLB, hear last two legends ("Sobek - God of Crocodiles and the Waters" and "Khnum - God of Potters and the Flood"), recall irrigation ditches and explain how to build a shaduf (we will make ours next week on a hot day)

Thu, May 13

  • Gardening Projects: thank you to the student who followed up on our acorn/oak tree discoveries yesterday by bringing in a little sprouting sugar maple seedling still encased by its papery "helicopter"

    plant sugar maple seedling in a large pot

    plant all of the pollinator and native prairie and dye garden plants in their garden bed -- we have black-eyed Susan, Joe Pye weed, tall boneset, prairie sage, valerian, purple coneflower, calendula, coreopsis, and woad -- and note that the milkweed from last year is coming back strong (and hopefully will attract monarchs again)

    students are doing an excellent job of remembering to water their seeds and hardening off their seedlings... today we talked about thinning your seedlings if too many have germinated in the peat pot

  • SWI: even though we haven't done any lessons on SWI this week, I can tell that our conversations are making a difference overall, as students wander up to me every day or so with questions / comments

    "I think that the < br > in < brother > is a prefix for < other >"

    "is the < cele > in < celebrate > a prefix?"

    the student who adopted the Medicinal Herb garden becomes fascinated by reading the ingredient lists on all of the herbal remedies in the First Aid Kit to see if he recognizes the names of any of the herbs and we wonder, is there a relationship between < comfrey > and < comfort >?

  • Nature: discover that a mother cardinal is nesting in the burning bush! we are watching carefully but can't tell if she is about to lay eggs or is already sitting on eggs

    I worry that she may have laid her eggs while we were still using the Canteen Tent for all of our meetings, and that now that we are using the driveway extensively, we may scare her away

  • Handwork: students are still slowly working on their knitting projects (star gnome, pig)... this seems to work well as a relaxing end of the day activity while people are cooling off from running all around
  • EC: enjoy lots of outdoor free play (current favorite theme: playing mama and baby birds), play tag, snuggle with Archie
  • LE: student presentation of The Magic Plum Tree by Freya Littledale, add to MLB
  • UE: check on apple mummies and throw them away (this project was a new project this year and it did NOT work out), recall and add Sobek to MLB (it is great fun to trace your hands as the illustration for this story), read Muti's Necklace: The Oldest Story in the World

    do initial steps on canopic jars (this was another new project this year and it is working out really well!), mix up flour/water/glue and tear newspaper strips, cover outside of glass honey jars -- leaving a window where the glass is clear and the organ inside the jar can show through -- with paper mache, draw the organ which would have been put in your jar and use mod podge to adhere it to the inside of the jar so that it shows through the clear glass, use the extra mod podge and some illustrations from vintage books whose bindings had fallen apart to decoupage new pictures onto our Art Room card table

Fri, May 14

  • EC: sensory play with water beads in the mud kitchen, continue enthusiastically playing Baby Bird, hang upside down in the hammock to see the world a new way: "Mom, you're walking on the sky!"
  • Gardening Projects: look at the results of many of our experiments and decide which ones to keep, which ones to discard, and which ones to try again (yes, some the seeds which soaked in "ocean water" for two weeks did still sprout!)
  • Botany: taste 9 different kinds of microgreens from LEAF and introduce the terms "monocot" and "dicot" (examine popcorn microgreens and you can clearly see this is a monocot when comparing it to our other microgreens... basil, beet, broccoli, cabbage, nasturtium, pea, radish, sunflower)
  • LE: finish MLBs (number pages, write table of contents, decorate front & back covers)
  • UE: finish MLBs, wrap Nefertrouti II in strips of clean white fabric (nine pounds of salt were needed to completely dry out the dressed rainbow trout), make scroll for her with "May your heart be lighter than a feather" written in hieroglyphs (old rolls of fax machine paper are perfect for this), entomb her in the cardboard pyramid along with our other two mummies, explain Akhenaton and Nefertiti's attempt to start a religous revolution (monotheism!) in Ancient Egypt and read Tutankhamen's Gift by Robert Sabuda, look at Ancient Egyptian Costumes Paper Dolls, look at pictures in What Life Was Like on the Banks of the Nile: Egypt 3050 - 30 BC, give students a fun little gift (as it turns out, one of the "scrap" pieces of laser cut wood donated by Don Morris looks almost exactly like the Mask of Tutankhamen)!

    continue to work on the canopic jars: mix up a custom paint color to match our clay canopic jar lids (Unbleached Titanium with a touch of Graphite) and paint over the paper mache from yesterday (we actually did get good coverage on the clear glass as well, for places like the rim of the jar where we forgot to put paper mache, but I like the paper mache step because it makes the jars look more like they are truly made of clay instead of obviously being glass honey jars)

  • LE / UE: play Mad Libs at the end of the day

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1 comment:

Renee said...

On Saturday Zac came to me to report that there was cheeping coming from the nest! There was a baby cardinal! We were so excited.

As of Monday morning, May 17th, there are two little babies in the nest! It is so interesting to watch the mother and father take care of them. We are not sure if there are other eggs since we are keeping our distance.