Thursday, September 19, 2013

CC Art Week 5: Perspective

My very favorite project to do with my class for week 5 is a One Point Perspective project.  I have done this with kids 9-12 years old with good results. I first learned about it on Deep Space Sparkle.  The original site for it is here, and it includes step-by-step instructions, which I absolutely, positively recommend that you write down and practice and then take your class through.

I start the lesson by explaining what perspective is, how perspective changes a square into a cube, how it can give depth, etc.  I bring some art to show some examples.  If you can bring a laptop and show the pictures on the original site for this project, that would be perfect.  I get big pieces of paper ready ahead of time, by either folding the horizon line and the diagonal lines, or lightly drawing them on with a pencil.  This just saves time and frustration since we only have 30 minutes in CC to do this project.

I tape my own sheet of paper to the white board and I draw every step along the way, explaining and showing as I go, what they are to do.  I think it helps them to see the actually demonstration.

We go through each step.  Room moms help make sure the kids are understanding and following instructions.  The process is quite counter-intuitive, so there may be some erasing involved.  Explain what parallel means, because it will be a helpful word for them to understand!  I found that the step where they put the sidewalk lines in is pretty hard for them.  They all want to make the lines diagonal, but they need to be parallel with the bottom of the paper.  (straight across)  Have extra pieces of paper ready because some will need to just start over rather than erase madly.

In the half hour that we have for art I have always been able to have all the kids have the street, trees, buildings, and some windows and doors on the buildings.  We just sketch it all in pencil.  Encourage them to take it home and add color to it!  Or, for week 6, since it's sort of a free choice week, you could have them continue to work on this piece.

My students this year (11 and 12 year olds) seemed very excited to realize that once they understood the concepts for the slants and so forth, that they could apply this to make different types of landscapes and scenes that they were interested in.

Good luck!

Challenge B: Linnaeus resources

Here are some resources that I found related to our study of Linnaeus for the science project in Challenge B.

Here is a chart showing the Linnaean Classification System.
More information here on classification.
Information about Carl Linnaeus from the Encyclopedia Brittannia.

Challenge A week 5 Geography: Central America, etc.

I thought I'd share (when I'm able to) what we're doing to help get through Challenge A, in case it is a help to others.  I was completely lost and struggling my first year.  This year is somewhat better.

I have chosen not to have my children do the freehand drawing for geography.  Instead, we label blank blackline maps.  (they do show the outlines of the countries and the features.  I just made copies of the map provided in the ChA guide.)  I choose features and capitals as I feel they are important.  We do leave some stuff out.  My goal is to have my children master the items that we do learn, rather than barely know a bunch more.  So, we spend about 45-60 minutes a day working on learning and adding on bit by bit.  I aim to get as much of it as possible, and get it well known by my kids.

This video might be a help to you:

What I did for Day 1 of learning this area:

--I gave out a blank blackline map of the area and a labeled version of it as well.  You can use the blank map in the ChA guide, or you can print from this site.

--We went through the main countries and labeled them one by one in this order:  Mexico, Guatemala, Belize, Honduras, El Salvador, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Panama.  After labeling, we chanted through, and I would say the country name and the kids would repeat and point to the country.

--Once we had that, we went on to the Greater Antilles.  We went in order, labeling one at a time. One helpful thing I did was I used a highlighter and went around from child to child, highlighting the next item that we were labeling.  This way they knew how to spell and what country we were looking at.

--We chanted and pointed through those as well.

--We then added some bodies of water:  Atlantic Ocean, Pacific Ocean, Gulf of Mexico, and Caribbean Sea.

That is all we are doing for Day 1.  Tomorrow I will build on it, starting with giving everyone a blank map and asking them to fill in everything they can remember.  After they get as much done as they can, we will look back on the labeled maps to see what was missed, and fill in those.  Then we will add on some additional items.  We will repeat like this each day until we have everything that we want to get on the map.

At some point I will work on teaching the capitals for the countries.  We will probably not learn every single island in the Lesser Antilles, and I seriously doubt we will learn the capitals for the ones we do learn.

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Getting easier!

Encouragement of the day: Consistency pays off.

We have been doing school since Aug. 1. Many of the things we are doing are short little things (like a 2-3 minute timed test for math, 15 minutes of practice on penmanship, etc.) and it is so nice to see that now, a month later, there are less groans, and more confidence!

One son, who tends to believe he is not going to be good at a lot of things, is coming into his own and going a beautiful job in so many areas. It feels so good to see this and I know it feels good to the kids to gain confidence!

 I think the biggest key is to do a little bit, consistently, with gentle love and encouragement and fun. (and cookies! Sometimes I start handing out cookies when times are tough at the desks!)

There is no need to be cross and pushy and grumpy with your children.

If something is really, really hard for them, think of a way to help.

Maybe ask for less for awhile.

Maybe hand them a cookie or two.

Maybe find a different way to do the thing. (I found that using the white board to help kids get the hang of difficult cursive strokes really helped. Making the letters bigger helps them see the parts of the letter, and it involves more muscles when they make it. And you can use fun colored markers, too!)

 Reminds me of, "Just a spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down!"

What are your favorite ways to add a spoonful of sugar to make the medicine go down?

Friday, September 6, 2013

Motivational Tickets

So I'm using something new, and I thought you all might find it useful as a jumping-off point in your own homes.

We've had two persistent character issues going on this school year:

1.  Complaining and fussing.  Mostly about school work.  "This is SO HARD!"  "I'm DYING!!!"  (over something so strenuous as 15 minutes of penmanship practice for a 5th grader....)

2.  Mean words toward one another.

The other day at our CC tutor meeting, our director shared Proverbs 12: 18 with us as something that had helped her with her own children.  The next day I made a print out of it, in a modern translation, and we are reading it together each morning before school.  It says:

Some people make cutting remarks,
but the words of the wise bring healing.

I have a roll of those perforated carnival tickets.  (got them in the office supply area of Walmart)  I decided to give each boy two sets of 3 tickets per day.  One set is plain.  One set I draw a red stripe across. They write their name on the back of each one.  The plain ones are for complaining:  If they fuss or complain about something, they pay me a ticket.  The "red line" tickets are for cutting remarks.  (cutting=blood=red)  So if they make cutting remarks, they pay me a ticket.  

The goal, of course, is to still have tickets available at the end of the day.  I have a container that all of their kept tickets go into.  I have a small stash now of tickets that they paid me for complaining or for cutting remarks.

I thought this up on a whim, so didn't have the reward portion of this figured out when I started it, and I don't have it figured out now.  I'll come up with something.  I think that for my sons, just having something tangible to remind them to think before they speak is helpful.  

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Discover Europe

I've not typically been all that interested in notebooking, but Jessica's fabulous sets have really inspired me!  I already own both the Discovering Africa set and the Out of This World set about planets, and now I am so excited about the Europe set!

Jessica does a beautiful job of designing each page, and since she's a homeschooling mom of four, she knows what to think about for inclusion, interest, and ease of use.

The price is certainly right, especially considering that you could use this for an entire year of Geography, or to teach a small class in a co-op setting or something cool like that!

As a special introductory offer, you can get $3 off the already bargain price on the Discover Europe set by using coupon code backpack3.  Gotta hurry--the coupon expires Sept. 11.

You can also help yourself to some free page about England by clicking here!

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

CC Cycle 2 Week 3: Saturn

After our science experiment today related to Saturn, my class had so many questions that I decided to find some additional resources.  Maybe they will be of interest to you:

And these:

Monday, September 2, 2013

September: It's Time for a Contest!

One September day last year, we were in the midst of the school day when I declared, "Dance Break!"  I got this song going on the computer and got some of the kids to boogie a little and shake out the school day wiggles.  As I watched that video today and thought about doing another September video this month, I thought:  Why not a contest?

So here it is:

1. Make a September video with your kids using the classic Earth, Wind, and Fire song.  It can be unrehearsed, or it can be scripted and edited to perfection.  It can be just the kids, or it can include you/your husband/other family members/pets.  Just have fun celebrating September!

2. Upload it to youtube, and then  3. leave a comment under this post with the URL of your video.  I'll share it on our facebook page so people can vote for their favorite!  Make sure you've already Liked our page so you don't miss a thing and so you can get your friends to vote!

What will the winner (the video with the most votes) get?

Well, I'm going to work on this, but right now I can tell you it will include a prize package currently valued at over $100:

A set of ALL of our collections from Classical Composers Monthly
A set of ALL of my ebooks from Supermom's Health and Wellness

Depending on what else I can rustle up, maybe some other stuff too.  :)

So, get crackin' kids!  Fun is in the air!

Contest will run for the entire month of September.  I want to see A THOUSAND fun videos!*  (do you think we can do it?)  

Will you tell your friends?  Post this on your blog?  Let's have some fun!

**Fine print, rules, FAQs, and whatnot:

Family-friendly videos only.  Anything deemed inappropriate will absolutely, positively be deleted.  "Ain't nobody got time for that!"

"Can we submit more than one video?"  Sure, if you want to.  The more the merrier.  And, I don't have time to police or enforce anything else anytime.  Again:  "Ain't nobody got time for that!"

*"Did you really mean it when you said you want a THOUSAND videos?!"  Well, um.....yes and no.  See above:  "Ain't nobody got time for that!"  Well, we'll just see what happens, ok?  This is my first time at this rodeo.

"What if we're not homeschoolers?"  Oh, well!  You don't have to be a homeschool family to have fun.  Join the contest!  (And, really--how on earth would I know anyhow?  Say it with me:  "Ain't nobody got time for that!!")

"How do I make a video?"  I don't know.  All I do is play the song on my computer and use my cell phone to take the video.  If you know a fancier way, go for it!  If you want to share a link to a How To for all of us, do it!