Monday, December 16, 2013

History Level 4, 12/3/2013

We discussed the answers to the homework questions, the first and second amendments to the Constitution and the need to maintain a balance of power between the 3 branches of government.

Assignment Level 4:

1. Students who received books the week before 12/3, please complete the book report that will be sent to your email account (or your parents' email).

2. Write out in your own words what you think each founding father meant by his quote(s).

Government is instituted for the common good; for the protection, safety, prosperity, and happiness of the people; and not for profit, honor, or private interest of any one man, family, or class of men; therefore, the people alone have an incontestable, unalienable, and indefeasible right to institute government; and to reform, alter, or totally change the same, when their protection, safety, prosperity, and happiness require it.

John Adams, Thoughts on Government, 1776


It is the duty of all men in society, publicly, and at stated seasons, to worship the SUPREME BEING, the great Creator and Preserver of the universe. And no subject shall be hurt, molested, or restrained, in his person, liberty, or estate, for worshipping GOD in the manner most agreeable to the dictates of his own conscience; or for his religious profession or sentiments; provided he doth not disturb the public peace, or obstruct others in their religious worship.

John Adams, Thoughts on Government, 1776

The only foundation of a free Constitution, is pure Virtue, and if this cannot be inspired into our People, in a great Measure, than they have it now. They may change their Rulers, and the forms of Government, but they will not obtain a lasting Liberty.

John Adams, letter to Zabdiel Adams, June 21, 1776

All of us who were engaged in the struggle must have observed frequent instances of superintending providence in our favor. To that kind providence we owe this happy opportunity of consulting in peace on the means of establishing our future national felicity. And have we now forgotten that powerful friend? Or do we imagine that we no longer need his assistance? I have lived, Sir, a long time, and the longer I live, the more convincing proofs I see of this truth-that God governs in the affairs of men. And if a sparrow cannot fall to the Ground without his Notice, is it probable that an Empire can rise without his Aid?"

Benjamin Franklin, To Colleagues at the Constitutional Convention

I am for doing good to the poor, but I differ in opinion of the means. I think the best way of doing good to the poor, is not making them easy in poverty, but leading or driving them out of it. In my youth I traveled much, and I observed in different countries, that the more public provisions were made for the poor, the less they provided for themselves, and of course became poorer. And, on the contrary, the less was done for them, the more they did for themselves, and became richer.

Benjamin Franklin, On the Price of Corn and Management of the Poor, November 1766

A fondness for power is implanted, in most men, and it is natural to abuse it, when acquired.

Alexander Hamilton, The Farmer Refuted, February 23, 1775

And can the liberties of a nation be thought secure when we have removed their only firm basis, a conviction in the minds of the people that these liberties are the gift of God? That they are not to be violated but with his wrath? Indeed I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just: that his justice cannot sleep for ever.

Thomas Jefferson, Notes on the State of Virginia, Query 18, 1781

If men were angels, no government would be necessary. If angels were to govern men, neither external nor internal controls on government would be necessary. In framing a government which is to be administered by men over men, the great difficulty lies in this: you must first enable the government to control the governed; and in the next place, oblige it to control itself.

James Madison, Federalist No. 51, February 8, 1788

It is impossible for the man of pious reflection not to perceive in it [the Constitution] a finger of that Almighty hand which has been so frequently and signally extended to our relief in the critical stages of the revolution.

James Madison, Federalist No. 37, January 11, 1788

Can it be, that Providence has not connected the permanent felicity of a Nation with its virtue? The experiment, at least, is recommended by every sentiment which ennobles human Nature.

George Washington, Farewell Address, September 19, 1796


I have often expressed my sentiments, that every man, conducting himself as a good citizen, and being accountable to God alone for his religious opinions, ought to be protected in worshipping the Deity according to the dictates of his own conscience.

George Washington, letter to the General Committee of the United Baptist Churches in Virginia, May, 1789








Art Levels 3 & 4, 12/3/2013

Embroidered ornament
We worked on drawing a pattern for the snowflake, and then backstitching it.  To finish off the ornament blanket stitch the two felt circles together, leaving an opening after 2/3 around to add a small amount of stuffing.  Then continue the back stitch.  Create a loop with the string before cutting it off to hang the ornament. 
Activity:  try making more felt ornaments out of different colors of felt with contrasting string. For example, choose red felt, find a circle object to trace, we used duct tape, and then draw your pattern and stitch using white string.  Beads and glitter glue add embellishments and make the ornaments catch light on the tree.
Here is a picture of the finished project.
Another idea, use cookie cutters for the shape of the ornament.  Cut two of the same shapes in different fabrics or felt.  Embroider  an initial or small picture or leave blank, blanket stitch them together, adding stuffing.  If you don't have stuffing use cotton balls, pull apart to fluff them up.  Add a ribbon to hang it.

Happy sewing and merry Christmas.

Drama Level 1, 12/3/2013

This week in Drama we continued to work on our Christmas presentation. We have a brief script and three songs which are rooted in scripture that we are learning.

MusicLevel 1 & 2, Dec 3, 2013

Topic studied:
The History of Christmas Caroling: The meaning and development behind the Tradition
Projects completed:
Locating the country of origin of various Christmas Carols
All Classes – Sheet Music Christmas Star Craft

Art Levels 1 & 2, Dec. 3, 2013

That was a great art class, what beautiful watercolor sunsets your children made behind a covered wagon silhouette.  I was impressed with the colors children chose and blending methods. They did a beautiful job, very proud of them.  Most of children in the level 1 class left theirs with me to dry so I will have these set out at the Christmas party to take home. A special thanks to Mrs. Hood for her help in art this week. :)


We practiced blending primary colors to create colors of the sky when the sun sets in the evening.  We read about how sunlight travels through a layer of dust, air and clouds to reach us.  This layer is called the atmosphere.  As sunlight travels, some of its colors bounce off bits of dust and air in the atmosphere. This scatters the colors.  The blue in sunlight scatters all over the sky. This is why it it blue in the day.  As the sun sets, blue light scatters even more.  It scatters so much that it disappears.  Only the redder part of the sunlight is left for you to see.  *Tried to keep the science lesson to a minimum :)


History Level 3 , Dec. 3, 2013

We discussed the answers to the homework questions, the first and second amendments to the Constitution and the need to maintain a balance of power between the 3 branches of government.

Assignment Level 3:

If you could switch places for a day with one of these founding fathers, who would you switch with and why? George Washington, Benjamin Franklin, Benjamin Rush, James Madison, Sam Adams, or John Adams?

Who were Lewis and Clark?
Why should we know about them?

Treasure Hunters 12/3/2013

Little Treasure Hunters looked at a replica of the Declaration of Independence and examined the tiny cursive writing and signatures.
They then listened to the ENTIRE declaration as illustrated in Sam Fink’s book:  The Declaration of Independence. . .The words that made America!  The kids loved the humorous illustrations depicting each phrase despite lots of wordiness! 
These little guys milled blueberries to make blue ink and put together straws and feathers for a pen.  They practiced writing their names with ink like the founding fathers did.
Regular music making ensued, as we practiced rhythms and songs for the Christmas presentation.  

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

The Constitution, History Levels 1&2, 12-3-13

The Constitution 
The Constitution was written in 1787 by a group of 55 men that we now call the Founding Fathers or Framers.  They were worried about the way that the country was going with the loose federal control granted in the Articles of Confederation, but rather than re-write the Articles, they created a new Constitution.
These were the elite of American society.  Many were rich, and some of the framers are still very famous, including George Washington, Ben Franklin, and Alexander Hamilton.  
During the hot summer of 1787 the Founding Fathers met in Independence Hall, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The process of coming up with a document that they could all agree to was not easy.  They had a lot of arguments, but in the end, they agreed to the words in the Constitution.
After the Framers wrote the Constitution, they needed the approval of the states.  It took some time, but all of the states eventually signed, and a new government was created.  The first order of business was to elect the nation’s first president, and George Washington was unanimously chosen by the electors.

In class activities 12-3-13:

  • Enjoyed portions of "Shh! We're Writing the Constitution" by Jean Fritz. {affiliate link}
  • Practiced active listening skills by "taking notes" on the book using clay
  • Created our own Constitution out of clay
  • Discussed the difficulties that the states had in deciding whether to relinquish control to a federal government
Optional lesson extension activities:
  • Finish listening to "Shh! We're Writing the Constitution"  - Free Audiobook with photos from the book available here.
  • Test your knowledge.  Try to identify the founding fathers based on historical clues.
  • Watch a crash course on our Constution, and learn not only about how American government was founded, but how it works today.
There is no preparation needed for our Christmas event next week or for class on January 7th.  Enjoy your holidays!

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Drama 2,3,4, - 12/3/13

Today we took a trip up the to sanctuary for a final rehearsal with each class!  We are getting very excited to share with all the FAITH classes!!

Drama 4 - We are still in need of memorizing, PLEASE be working with your student this week.  I was impressed by all the vocal ability to fill the large space and most of our timing is great!

Drama 3 - We worked on our jitters today, trying out the stage together and alone in hopes of feeling more comfortable for next Tuesday!

Drama 2 - We still have many who are not up to speed on their memorizing, I know this is a tough time of year, but please put in one last push as the work is coming along so well!

Thank you to all the parents, helping your children memorize is a precious task and I thank you for the effort!
See you all next week :)

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Treaure Hunters 11/19/2013

This week we studied the Revolutionary War. We learned all about what it took to be a Revolutionary soldier including the skills, training, pay , rations and hardships.

For Drama, we took turns being Minutemen getting dressed in full uniform in a minute. The students really enjoyed timing them while shouting, "Hurry!" "The British are coming!"
For gross motor we played a game of who could sneak up on the British-very carefully!
In art we made paper doll soldiers. The students enjoyed cutting out uniforms and hats with different textiles.Of coarse we couldn't forget the muskets!
Lastly for music, we are working on our Christmas presentation songs as well as learning our Bass and Treble staff.

Treasure Hunters 11/12/2013

This week was Valley Forge. We learned about the harsh winter and what the Continental Army endured that season.
We also learned about their training and drills and who led them-General Von Steuben.
To give the students an idea of what it was like, they camped out in a tent while enjoying an episode from Liberty's Kids. They had a great time!

Treasure Hunters 11/5/2013

This week we learned about George Washington! We found out what makes a good leader, one who is humble and a true servant of the people.  We played a game of hunting foxes-one of  George's favorite past times. For Art we made powdered wigs out of cotton balls. A lot of cotton balls!

Treasure Hunters 10/29/2013

 The students enjoyed a real tea party complete with actual tea- one lump or two please:) 

Art Levels 3 & 4, 11/19/2013

Needle Arts Summary

We were reminded in class that sewing things together is not new, in fact, it is probably the first documented craft.  In Genesis 3 Adam and Eve sewed fig leaves together and made coverings for themselves. Since the beginning of time people have been sewing.  Throughout history it has been and still is a necessary craft.  Colonial America was no different.

In the late 1700s a girl’s education was reflected in what was called a Sampler. She would
have been expected to sew very well in order to make all of her family’s clothes and to add
a beautification to the clothing through her needle work. The Sampler was a “sample” of
her work. It served as the final exam for her type of schooling.

In the same category, a young man had to learn to sew buckskin with sinew and would be
able to make himself clothes or repair his clothes in the late 1700s. Later, a young man
would have actually carried a mending kit known as a “housewife.” It contained a needle,
thread, and buttons. Civil War soldiers carried them in the mid 1800s.

Native Americans were highly skilled in sewing as well. 

Quillwork was a form of embroidery using porcupine quills; the quills were used to decorate clothing, pouches, birchbark boxes, and baskets. Quillwork was almost entirely
decorative but also sometimes incorporated spiritual symbols. This was common in the
great Lakes, Northeast and the Ohio Valley regions.  Take a look at some examples with your kids.


Finish working on the embroidery project you brought home.  Our next lesson will be using the backstitch and blanket stitch.  Here are directions for the backstitich. and here are directions for the blanket stitch.   Try practicing both on your project.
Link to an online embroidery book with detailed instructions of other stitches if you would like to learn more. 

 I told the Pathfinders that I would send out this one for them. For fun, you can create a sampler on Felicity’s American Girl Activity page.



History Level 4, 11/19/2013

We discussed the homework questions and then focused on the Declaration of Independence - understanding the words and their meanings.

1. Why did our country decide to call a Constitutional Convention?

2. What did the delegates disagree about and how did they resolve their differences? Give two examples
3. What is the Bill of Rights? Who insisted that the Bill of Rights was necessary? Bring a copy to class.
4. Find and read a copy of Washington's Inaugural Address. Bring a copy to class.
5. go to - read it and bring a copy of Washington's Inaugural Prayer to Class.

History Level 3, 11/19/2013

We discussed the homework questions and then focused on the Declaration of Independence - understanding the words and their meanings.
1. Why did our country decide to call a Constitutional Convention?
2. What did the delegates disagree about and how did they resolve their differences? Give two examples 3. What is the Bill of Rights? Who insisted that the Bill of Rights was necessary? Bring a copy to class.

Art Levels 1 & 2, 11/19/2013

We started a lesson this week on silhouettes and it is a two part lesson which we will conclude after Thanksgiving break. We are in the process of making a covered wagon silhouette with a watercolor sunset in the background.

A French finance minister in the 1700's, Etienne de Silhouette had a hobby of cutting peoples profiles which were referred to as "shades" or "profile miniatures". This is where the term silhouette is derived from. So why was this man's name synonymous with the art of paper cutting? One theory is the word came about as a joke. By associating Silhouette's name with the cheapest art form available at the time, this ridiculed his cheapness and the small economies allowed during his term in office, which was short lived...only eight months. Therefore, it was joked about due to Etienne's short time in office, all one caught of him was his shadow. There is no doubt that a black profile was the cheapest form of portraiture available, and a simple alternative for those who could afford no other method. In the mid 1800's, the use of lights and projectors were making it so silhouette artists were tracing profiles and the demand of the art form was on the decline. The sihouette has repeatedly fallen and risen in popularity over the last two centuries.

Art Levels 1 & 2, 11/12/2013

We reviewed the history of colonial writing and use of the quill pen and discussed how all signatures are unique.  The declaration of Independence was signed by many and we touched on how John Hancock's signature was larger and more distinctive than the others because of how large it was.  

Art Levels 1 & 2, 11/5/2013

The first 10 minutes of class were spent observing one another's maps, which led to a classroom discussion of compare and contrast. Giving the students an opportunity to really look and think about the art work in the room was great. I would like to try this more.

The lost craft of making and using quill pens was what made up the remaining class time. The fall of the Roman Empire is when Reeds from Egypt became less available and the rise of the quill pen came to be. Farmers raised geese, which became the quill of choice but other birds were also used. Crow feathers were preferred for fine lines. The quills on the left wing curve were favored by right handers and vice versa for the left handers who had less of an advantage with the way the paper had to be angled and the curve of their wrist. The most desirable quills were the top 5 along the curve. The lifetime of a quill was only a few days because of the way the nib ( where the quill came to a point) needed to be chiseled away to keep the quality of the line. Imagine the demand for geese! At the peak of the quill pen, in Great Britain alone, 100 million geese in one year were used. The use of quill pens declined in the 19th century when the fountain pen was invented, eliminating the repetitive need to dunk the quill in the inkwell. Mark making and writing with quills was laborious but some made it their career and created beautiful works of art with them.

Music Levels 3 & 4, 11/19/2013


Hymns: The Stories behind them
The Hymnal: Understanding the Layout

Share Story behind Hymn, Analyzing Hymn/Hymnal Layout, Hymnal Drills

Research the history of Caroling
Needed for next class: A large map of the world for use in class, buttons for a craft project


Music Levels 1& 2, 11/19/2013

Hymns: The Stories behind them

The Hymnal: Understanding the Layout

Younger Class:           Presented short biography of Hymn writer
                                    Hymnal Drills


What does the word Carol mean (as in Christmas Carol)?
Be prepared to share the name of their favorite Christmas Carol



Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Drama 2, 3, 4 - 11/19/2013

This week were rehearsals!  We have just one more class time together before the Christmas presentation, so please keep working with your students on their memorizing!!  I have asked everyone to be fully memorized by the time we get back from our Thanksgiving break and to even practice on car/plane rides and over the turkey with family :)

Drama 4 - Rachel, Oren, Zoe, Eden, and Jacob, please video tape yourself giving your speech and send it to me or set up a time with me for a skype visit to do the same!!

Drama 3 - great work all around, keep practicing your parts, read through your whole poems, and turn up your volume :)

Drama 2 - PLEASE be working with the kids on memorizing (i know some want to keep our piece a surprise, please encourage them to practice with someone else!)

Thank you all and see you after Thanksgiving!

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

American Revolution, History Levels 1&2, 11/19/13

Most of the battles of the American Revolution did not go well for the colonists. Colonial soldiers were hungry, poorly clothed, and ill-equipped, but they did not give up. Inspired by Thomas Paine’s Common Sense and the bold General George Washington, they endured the awful events of Valley Forge and even did battle on Christmas day.

Although the war was between the colonies and Great Britain, other countries got involved as well. The French were a major ally to the colonies and there were German and Spanish soldiers who fought in the war also.

The final battle was won by the Americans at Yorktown, and a peace agreement was drafted. In the end, about 7,200 Americans died in battle during the Revolution. In addition, 10,000 died from disease or exposure, and another 8,500 died in British prisons.

When Treaty of Paris was finally signed in 1783 a few remaining British troops continued to cause problems, but the war was over. The colonies were independent!

In class activities 11-19-13:

  • Created our own wooden Brittish soldiers
  • Read George Washington and the General's Dog by Frank Murphy
  • Learned about Benjamin Franklin's role in the war
  • Discussed the courage required to be a soldier at the time of the Revolution
  • Worked on our Class Notebooks

  • Optional lesson extension activities:
    • Take a look at this fun way to learn more about the American Revolution from Mission US. What will you choose to do?
    • The American Revolution Center has a fantastic interactive timeline available. It is full of clickable images of artifacts from the time, and lots of great details about the war.
    • Read history cards #25-27 covering the beginning of the War of Independence
    • Review your timeline.

    Note to parents - I need to correct myself. In class today I was talking to the children about the colonies acting independently and not being truly "The United States" until they agreed to the Constitution. This was not entirely accurate and may have confused them. Although the Colonies were very independent under the Articles of Confederation (each state governed itself and only minimally agreed to a very weak central government), the name United States first came into use in the Declaration of Independence. The colonies were not fully united, but they were in fact a new nation.

    We will be covering the Constitution in detail next week, and I will make sure to clarify this to the children. If the kids have questions in the mean time, feel free to refer to this resource

    Timeline - 11/19/2013

    Thursday, November 14, 2013

    History Level 4, 11/12/2013

    Here is how I would describe the students this past week: eager, ready to answer the questions in detail and especially eager to present their arguments for the colonies to King George. I sat back and enjoyed their presentations! At the end I presented the one argument they missed and applied it to our responsibility today to protect our freedom from the power hungry in every level of government who seek to turn the citizens into servants of the government.

    1. Find a copy of the Declaration of Independence and read it to get a feel for what the colonists said. Ignore any words or sentences you don't understand - we will cover those in class!
    2. Find a list of the major battles and which side won them.
    3. What was life like in Valley Forge?
    4. What brought the war to an end?

    History Level 3, 11/12/2013

    We discussed the answers to the homework questions. In the last 10 minutes of class the Spirit of God entered the room as the students realized how righteous the cause of the colonists, how unprepared for war the colonies were and how unlikely it was that the revolution could succeed. They seemed to get it when I said, "I believe God created this country."

    1. Find a copy of the Declaration of Independence and read it to get a feel for what the colonists said. Ignore any words or sentences you don't understand - we will cover those in class!
    2. Find a list of the major battles and which side won them.
    3. What was life like in Valley Forge?
    4. What brought the war to an end?

    Wednesday, November 13, 2013

    Music Levels 1 & 2, 11/12/2013

    Discussed:     History and Usage of Military Instruments

                            Bugle Calls

     Projects:  Bugle Call Names, Meanings, and Sounds


    Each student brought home a Hymn writer Bio sheet for them to fill in about their assigned writer. Students may need help researching  and filling in info. and are excellent resources to help with this. Students need to be prepared to present their info in front of the entire class next week.

    Drama Level 1, 11/12/2013

    Today in class the children presented their pictures and illustrations demonstrating emotions during our snack time. It was wonderful to see how much thought went into each selection!  During this time we also practiced projecting our voices so they could be heard across the room. 

     Next, we read The True Story of Christmas by Nell Navillus featuring beautiful illustrations by Allan Eitzen. We used this as a springboard to introduce two Christmas songs based on Jeremiah 29:13 & Matthew 2:2. The children were given handouts of the words to these songs to practice at home. Towards the end of class, the kids did a beautiful rendition of the Jeremiah piece and learned it so well we were able to practice it in a round with the boys and girls singing separate parts!  Next week we will learn our final piece for the presentation based on John 20:31.  I hope to send home CDs with these songs so the kids can listen & practice over Thanksgiving.

    Art Levels 3 & 4, 11/12/2013

    This week we created our own silhouettes.  Each student had their profile traced onto white paper last week.  We used this as our template, by cutting it out and tracing it onto black paper.  It was then cut out and glued onto another contrasting color paper.  It was a fun activity.  Most students wanted me to hang on to the finished work until the end of the year celebration.  Please let me know if you want them to come home, that is fine too.
     Thank you for taking the time to watch the videos last week, it really helped the lesson make sense for them. 

    Optional Activity

    Try making a silhouette of a family member or friend.  Here are the directions.

    Materials Needed

    Flashlight (and a dark(ish) room)

    Construction paper (white & black)


    Poster board

    Masking tape

    A friend to trace your silhouette

    What to do:

    Tape a piece of white construction paper to the wall in a dark room.

     Place the flashlight on a table. Shine the light at the white construction paper.

     Sit between the light and the paper so that your profile appears on the paper.

     Have a partner trace around your silhouette onto the paper.

     Remove the paper from the wall and make sure your lines are smooth.

     Next, cut the silhouette out of the paper, place onto black construction paper, trace around it and cut it out.

     Glue the black silhouette onto white poster board. Add your name and date to the work.

     Optional: You may wish to add more than one silhouette to the poster board (as shown in example above).


    Music Levels 3 & 4, 11/12/2013

    Discussed:     History and Usage of Military Instruments

                            Bugle Calls

     Projects: Understanding Bugle Tones, and the Notation of Bugle Calls

    Each Student needs to create their own “Bugle Call” based on the class we had today. They need to have a name for it and be prepared to “perform” it as they are able.

    Each student needs to research the story and author behind the Hymn that they chose today in class. They need to be prepared to present their information next week. 

    Tuesday, November 12, 2013

    Drama 2,3,4 - 11/12/13

    Today in class we talked about strategies for memorizing!

    1) repeat, repeat, repeat
    reading out loud gives it a multi-sensory approach (typing out the lines was also mentioned!)
    2) get up and move!
    adding motions to punctuate lines not only adds drama and visual aids to the audience, it helps give our brain cues to the lines we have been repeating!
    3) listening to the rest of the play/speech/poem...
    understanding helps us to memorize as well as add to our delivery

    To work on paying attention to all the other actors we played a wonderful game in drama 3 and 4 to hone our concentration and interaction.

    In drama 2, we watched this fun video...(classics can be seen in a really fun way!)

    This week please have everyone working on memorizing!  Only two more class times together before we enjoy each others hard work :)

    Timeline - 11/5/2013

    Wednesday, November 6, 2013

    History Level 4, 11/5/2013

    We heard excellent arguments from the students defending the King's right to impose taxes on the Colonists. I took that information and showed them how multiple events, decisions and actions built up to cause the Revolutionary War. If you have not heard your child's oral argument for the King, you should have your child stand and read the argument as it was read in class. They were well written and well delivered. After listening to it ask yourself this question? "How would I refute this argument?" Then see how closely your response is to the one your child creates (see assignment #1).


    1. Play the part of a lawyer for the colonies and respond to the argument you made yesterday for the King.
    2. Bring a nice printout of both arguments to leave with Pastor Rick. Feel free to make them look like a lawyer's office made it up!
    3. What events, actions or decisions caused the tension between Britain and the colonies to increase?

    Art Levels 3 & 4 , 11/5/2013

    In class we compared traditionally painted portraits to cut profiles (silhouettes).  Students worked in groups of two or three to try their hand at cutting a profile. 

     What a Portrait Can Tell Us

    Since colonial times, portraiture has been a tradition in American art. Merchants, politicians, and others of rising stature sought to have their image and status captured in the form of a portrait. The tradition and practice of portraiture continued after the Revolutionary War, as artists, though still heavily influenced by England and her traditions, sought to establish American styles and techniques. In the eighteenth and first half of the nineteenth century, portraiture was the primary artistic activity in America.

    A portrait is more than a pretty picture of a famous or wealthy person. A portrait is a historical and social document revealing information about the sitter and the period in which he/she lived. Portraits show people’s appearances, characteristics or actions. Displayed in a home for family, guests and servants to see, a portrait served as a symbol of the sitters’ status in society and place in their family heritage. Because the size of the portrait was directly related to its cost, size often, but not always, provides us with a measure of the sitter’s economic status. Full-length portraits usually included more visual information in the form of background material and items that a simple head-and-shoulders portrait could not provide.

    Traditionally, artists painted portraits of famous people or others who could afford it. Only the wealthy could afford the services of a professionally trained artist. Most Americans were satisfied with the work of a craftsman or portraitist with little or no education or training in the field. These itinerant painters, moving from town to town, were often called limners. Limners would complete a likeness of a person, often in exchange for board and lodging.

     The beginning of “A la Silhouette”

    Silhouette cutting was the popular way to recreate an image of oneself or loved one before the invention and common use of photography in the mid 1800′s. During the years of 1500 and 1860, professional and amateur artists would either paint or cut profiles – using paints or scissors.

    Although the true name is “profile”, “shade”, “shadow portrait” or simply “shadow”, the word “silhouette” is taken from the French finance minister Etienne de Silhouette in the mid 1700′s, who cut these profiles in his spare time. He was disliked by those who were affected by his tax plans, chopping tax money from the rich and reducing cost expenditures in the French government. Needless to say, we weren’t well liked. Some writers explain the phrase “à la silhouette” (in the manner of Silhouette) was applied to things which were cheap, including cheaply-made portraits cost far less than the traditional extravagant painted portraits and sculptures. Anything”à la silhouette” was a reduction to the simplest form.

    Profiles have a long romantic history including (supposedly) as a hobby by Catherine de Medici (1500′s), as an aid to judging personality by the physiognomist Johann Lavater (late 1700′s), as love-tokens by countless soldiers in wartime, and posted in homes to remember family members for hundreds of years. Profiles can be painted on glass, plaster, or paper, or cut out of paper or even cloth.

    Painting or cutting profiles by hand may have been a skill, but when “machines” for tracing a client’s face were developed, this ‘technology’ became the rage for inexpensive profile artists: they could impress their clients with the latest device. Whether the machine cast a client’s shadow on the wall, or traced the face’s shape, the late 1700′s and early 1800′s were filled with artists looking to gain clientele – and remove clientele from their artist rivals. With the heavy competition for portraits, even the name of the portraiture began to change – from its origins of “shadow portraits”, the old boring name, to the newly exotic name of profile portrait, “silhouettes”.

    Portraiture continued to be popular with heavy competition amongst the artists. With few inexpensive opportunities for personal images, portrait artists became more widespread. Temporary rooms in hotels, traveling artists, or permanent studios, there were all types of portrait artists. Some traveled from rural town to rural town, finding their clientele in their own houses. Some portraitists frequented the resort towns in the high seasons. Some artists claimed the highest social status of the artisan class, due to their work with the nobility and royalty. Portraiture could be a poor artist’s skill or a rich artist’s skill; perhaps the art was not in the hands, but in the personality.

    Photography was developed in 1829, and improved steadily and enthusiastically. When portrait photography became possible around 1840, silhouette portraiture was on a downhill slide. “From today, painting is dead!” exclaimed Paul Delaroche (1839). Photographic portraits varied widely in price, up to the tremendous fee of $10, even when average prices were less than $1 for a shirt.  In 1880, portraiture was highly affordable to the average person. In the excitement of the new medium of photography, silhouettes slid away. It stayed for a while in rural areas and in amusement parks, but the decline of silhouettes’ popularity had already begun.

    Fortunately in the 20th century, a few people looked past the silhouettes in attics and museums and continued the art form, as “art” and also as amusements. And that’s what you discover here – as a reminder of history, of romance of slower living, and as reminders of family.

    Two Activities for Homework

    There are some very talented silhouette artists in America today.  Watch artist Tim Arnold  explain the history while making silhouettes. Click here for the video.

    Click here for a video of another artist making silhouettes.

    Also in connection with our learning about how writing was done in England before and after the invention of the printing press there is a video that explains the history of typography in an artistic way.  It is very interesting if you have ever wondered where the fonts that we use come from and how they have changed over time and why.

    Answer these questions from the following video - Click here for the link.

     1. What is the difference between san serif and serif fonts?

    2. When the printing press was invented what font was invented and why?

    History Level 3, 11/5/2013

    The students shared the results of their research. I took that information and showed them how multiple events, decisions and actions built up to cause the Revolutionary War. We then talked about the willingness of the colonists to suffer for what they believed was right and the willingness of some to surrender their rights because it is easier than taking a stand. We wrapped up with a couple of illustrations of how the colonies could have lost the war, but God intervened.

    1. How did Parliament treat the Colonies unfairly?
    2. What did the Continental Congress do to try to make peace?
    3. What battles were fought in 1774-1775 before the Declaration of Independence was written?
    4. Why were these battles fought before we decided to become a separate nation?

    Music Levels 3 & 4, 11/5/2013

    Older Classes: Expounding on Basics of Rhythm and a brief history of the metronome
    Older Classes: Rhythm “Cup” Creations, using a Metronome

    Fine tune created “cup” rhythm

    Music Levels 1 & 2, 11/5/2013

    We reviewed of Native American Instruments


    Students made a Native American Rattle craft and performed the "Cup Song"


    Practice Cup Song Rhythm at home

    Drama Level 1, 11/5/2013

    We began Drama this week with introductions because this was my first day teaching. As the children ate their snacks I read Max Lucado's Just the Way You Are and we discussed what it meant to give our King the gift of our hearts. I was very impressed with how attentive everyone was and their level of engagement  and consideration of what we were reading.
    We also used Saton Freymann and Joost Elffers's, How are you Peeling? Foods with Moods, to talk about how facial expressions & body language can be used to convey a story as the children made up situations to explain what was happening in some of the photographs from the book.

       I would like to begin work on a Christmas presentation with the kids next week incorporating some drama and a musical score, If you could have the kids bring in a blank CD with their names written on it, I can burn the songs we are learning for them. I also asked them to bring in a picture (maybe ripped out of a magazine or copied from a book) where people were showing emotions. We will use them as a starting point to make up stories during class and segue to the story of the birth of Jesus....


    Drama 2,3,4 - 11/5/13

    Drama classes 3 and 4 read through our works for the Christmas presentation.  I am very excited about the variety the kids have come up with!  The opportunity to present in front of the other classes gives us the chance to bring together many of the pieces we have been working on this year in a practical application for life.  We discussed many of the meanings and unfamiliar words used in older English, along with some tone and background.

    Assignments drama 4 -  all should work on vocabulary (understanding and pronouncing)
    Curtis - John Adams letter #83
    Mitchell - Benjamin Franklin's speech to the Continental Congress (perhaps pare it down some)
    Oren - Patrick Henry's "Liberty or Death..."
    Jacob - Intro to Common Sense
    Suzie - Abigail Adams letter #81
    Ellie - still working
    Eden - still working
    Zoe - George Whitefield's sermon (pare it down)
    Rachael - still working (perhaps collaboration with Oren)

    Assignments drama 3 -
    Each child is to make sure they know and understand all the words in their poems and begin to memorize.

    Drama 2 class began to work on our presentation piece.  It is shrouded in surprise and many have asked that I send their assignments to other family members to make sure that Mom has a treat on our presentation day...please check with your student about their wishes and then send me and email from the account they wish their parts to be sent to :)  Thank you!

    Assignment drama 2- please print the piece for your student to bring into class

    Tuesday, November 5, 2013

    Colonial Discontent - History Levels 1&2, 11-5-13

    No Taxation Without Representation
    The American Revolution didn't begin with a battle, but in the minds of the people.  After the 7 Years War England's control of trade centers around the world was secure.  Managing that empire, however, became problematic.  Without the threat of the French, British protection was no longer needed by the colonists.

    In addition, Britain's debt had nearly doubled during the long war with France and the people of England were very vocal against additional local taxes.  They were already the most heavily taxed people in all of Europe.  To remedy the problem, Britain focused on increasing the 1-way flow of money from the colonies to England (mercantilism) through compulsory purchases and taxes.

    The colonists attempted to reconcile with England, but were ready for independence.

    In class activities 11-5-13:
    • Assembled our own Boston Tea Party comic books
    • Discussed the words boycott, taxation, and representation
    • Discussed the global reach of the British kingdom and its new concerns
    • Built our own lanterns to place at the base of our liberty pole
    • Reviewed the Townsend Act, Stamp Act, etc.
    Optional lesson extension activities:
    • Schoolhouse Rock - No More Kings (note - this isn't completely historically accurate, but it is still lots of fun)
    • The Stamp Act required that all legal documents and many other paper materials in the American colonies be embossed with a British stamp.  Give your child 5 minutes to gather as many paper items as they can from around your home.  Ask them if they think they would need to pay a lot of money in taxes.
    • Assemble a puzzle of the Boston Tea Party online.  (more games linked at the bottom of the page)

    • Read history cards #19-21 covering the beginning of the War of Independence
    • Review your timeline.