Wednesday, April 29, 2009

More creativity

My wonderful children are so creative. Here's a note I found on the floor, a conversation between Nonny and Daisy.

to: Nonnny
We are eating muddy snow.

I thought all the snow melted already!?

We saved some in the freezer and now we went outside to get some mud.

But will the mud taste yucky?

No! We flavered it with lots of suger!

But just thinking about eating mud makes me feel sick! What if there is a worm in the mud?

Worms are very tasty!

I'm afraid I don't think so.

Chickens and birds eat worms. Why don't you like them?

I'm no feathered friend.

Do you like ants and beetles?

No way, Jose!

I don't ether.

I'm glad to hear that.

The Title is "The Monsters"

One of the things they do better in public school than I do is teach the literary elements. Banana Boy can read the words "Illustrated By" and knows what they mean. Before he reads a book, he reads the title on the cover, the title on the title page and the names of the author and illustrator. He's very serious about all this.

He spent 45 minutes yesterday with one of his little notebooks. An idea had popped into his head and he was all inspired to write it down.

Listen to my story, Mom!

The Title is "The Monsters."

I was walking and suddenly I saw monsters. I was scared. We thought of a plan. The plan was, we distract

(at this point he came and found me to ask "What is that word when you want someone to go away?"
I'm all like, "huh?"
"You know," he said, "I think it's 'extract.'"
I'm thinking to myself, extract. Extract. Go away. Huh? Finally it dawns on me that he wants DIStract. Aha.)
The plan was, we distract them.

He reads me the story out loud. Each time he reads it, he says, "The Title is 'The Monsters.'" It cracks me up every time.

I prompt him now. How are you going to distract them? He thinks a bit, then frantically scribbles.

He reads it out loud again.

The Title is "The Monsters"
I was walking and suddenly I saw monsters. I was scared. We thought of a plan. The plan was, we distract them. We are going to do a play.

At this point, I'm just beaming! What a clever boy! I think it's a riot that they will distract the monsters with a play.

I had to go to work then, but when I got up this morning, I tracked down his notebook to see the end.

The Title is "The Monsters"
I was walking and suddenly I saw monsters. I was scared. We thought of a plan. The plan was, we distract them. We are going to do a play. I think they will like it if we do The Three Little Pigs! Yes! Yes! Let's do it! They did the play. The monsters like it. But how do we escape? Oh, quick, make a plan. Plan 2. what plan can we make? I know. Let's make them asleep. Good idea, but how will we do that? I know, let's do a song.

Apparently it's "To be continued....."

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Exploring Wisconsin

We've just finished this book, an exciting story about a very dedicated Jesuit missionary who was at heart an explorer. Together with Louis Joliet, he was the first white man to portage between the Fox and Wisconsin Rivers and find where the Wisconsin meets the Mississippi. They sailed all the way down the Mississippi to the Arkansas River where they turned back. Their discovery, as far as white explorers go, is really under-appreciated and overshadowed by the story of Lewis and Clark.

The territory Marquette and Joliet explored was so far in the wilderness, at the time, that very few Indians they encountered had even had any first-hand experience there. Their trek was done in birchbark canoes (two of them) with nine men (M & J included) The technology was so much more primitive at the time than what Lewis and Clark had at their disposal.

At any rate, it was an amazing discovery in their time and opened the west to settlement and further exploration.

The book was written by Jim Kjelgaard (of adventure dog story fame) in 1951 and, I would imagine, is largely based on the journals of Pere Marquette. We had some good discussion of the attitudes toward the Indian people demonstrated in the book.

As the story is primarily about the adventures of the Jesuit missionary, the Indians are referred to as "savages," child-like, in need of protection, unintelligent, wasteful, violent and more. We talked about bias, opinion and perspective.

Also, as the book was written in the early 1950s, it is not sanitized as to the missionary's work and we were able to have many good discussions about how the Jesuits were attempting to convert the Indians and whether their methods were successful or not.

It is not a very PC book, but it gives a good look at the hardships under which the French lived at the time and a glimpse into the life of a Jesuit priest in the new world. Historical fiction is always more fun to read than boring PC textbooks.

Plus it's a part of our Wisconsin history!

Friday, April 24, 2009

Friday Art

Today's lesson from Using Color in Your Art was to paint a still life of fruit. Here is the fruit.

Here is Daisy drawing, er, erasing her picture. She used pastels (Nupastels, to be exact) for her picture.

This is Pepper working on her fruit bowl using watercolors.

Sunshine used these handy-dandy Elmer's (as in glue) paintbrushes, which I didn't think I really liked, but in actuality, I now love! They were perfect for him. He put together a little blue with his yellow and made green and the bristles washed out perfectly when he was done. The paint is in the handle and he didn't go overboard with the squeezing out of the paint.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Screw This!

Sunshine's Easter present was this super-duper-schmooper (I hate when Sid the Science Kid says that--do any real kids talk like that???) drill set. I saw it on Amazon and it got great reviews.

Let me say, that for once, a toy is living up to its expectations!

First of all, ALL the kids love it and if it is out, they can't keep their hands off of it, from Daisy down to Sunshine.

It is as sturdy as everyone says in the Amazon reviews.

It was easy for Sunshine to figure out but challenging and interesting enough for him to keep playing with.

It is playable at so many levels. Sunshine just screws the screws in and unscrews them. Banana boy experiments with all the different bits. Pepper and Daisy use the pattern cards and also make their own patterns. They have also been trying to teach Sunshine to make patterns.

Oh, Sunshine DID, on his own, unscrew them by color for a while. In other words, he unscrewed all the greens, then all the reds. Then I think he got bored and did the rest randomly.

I love this toy!

Ouch! I just went over to Amazon to get the link and it is selling for $38 now! I only paid $28. Watch for deals!

Bug Catching

I was snuggling Sunshine before school this morning and he was playing with his bug catcher. He kept picking up the cage with the scissor-catcher thingy. Suddenly, I realized how good he was with the scissor-catcher thingy and I had the bright idea to get him some "bugs" to catch. Perfect fine-motor work!

He was thrilled to catch all these "bugs" and put them in the cage.

I think we can add this to his Tray Work list!

In case you can't tell from the photo, he is "catching" pompons.

Friday Art

Our most recent Friday Art project in Using Color in Your Art was to make the color wheel and then build a picture around it.

We had to draw the circles using a compass and then use a protractor to divide the circles into 6 pie sections. If you haven't studied the color wheel, you'll notice that the three primary colors: red, blue and yellow alternate sections. Between them are the three secondary colors, green, orange and purple. And if you look closely, you'll see that each secondary color is between the two primary colors which mix together to make it.

Daisy and Pepper chose to make color wheel snowmen.

Banana Boy made a flower.

Sunshine just experimented with a little purple.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Friday Art

Today's lesson from Using Color in Your Art was to do a "wash" using watercolors. The project was to make an underwater scene. Here the girls are painting their fish and seaweed and below you can see their experiments in washes. We never did get around to a finished project. I brought down the lincoln logs to keep Sunshine busy and the girls immediately abandoned art for construction.

Sunshine's Tray Work

Here is Sunshine's first day with Tray Work (a la Tot Trays)

He put wooden sticks through the holes in a spice container (5 stars! said Sunshine)
We made this very special "Monkey Bow" headband ourselves!

He painted with water colors (Fun! and I'm good at rinsing my brush, said Sunshine)

We played a matching/vocabulary game (I like when Mommy plays WITH me, said Sunshine)

He didn't really say any of those things. He doesn't talk that much. But he was thinking them in his head.

For the matching game, we laid the cards out in a grid FACE UP (I would have chosen to use way fewer cards, but he was helping me lay them out and insisted we use them all). Then he and I took turns finding matches. Not that intellectually challenging, but a good way for him to get the hang of choosing two cards and understanding that they need to match, then putting them in our own piles. Maybe next week we'll try the more classic Concentration/Memory with the cards face down. With way fewer cards.