Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Music - Explorers/Trailblazers

What an energetic and creative group we have at Faith! Today the kids came prepared in there Native American Costumes. We talked some more about Native American culture, especially how important music was to their way of life.
We sang our Native American Welcome Song-Gayowajeenayho, as well as America, America. We listened to some celebration music, and compared that with the sad sounds that came out of the Trail of Tears. 
And then we spent some time creating our own Native American instruments.

Monday, September 29, 2014

Trail of Tears - History 1&2

In 1830 the US passed a law called the Indian Removal Act. This gave the US government the right to force Native American tribes to move.  They were removed from their homelands and forced to travel west to “Indian Territory.”  

Many tribes moved without major protest, but the Cherokee took their case to the US Supreme Court and won their right to govern themselves and their land.  Unfortunately, President Andrew Jackson ignored the Supreme Court ruling. He directed the US Army to capture and force the Native Americans to move.  

More than 4000 Cherokees died on the journey.   Sadly, once they arrived in the land “reserved” for them by the US government, the soldiers left them without adequate supplies, leading to even more deaths.
In class activities:
  • Learned about the history of tension between European and Native Americans
  • Discussed the word 'cede'
  • Learned about Manifest Destiny
  • Discussed the three parts of the US government
  • Made our own Trail of Tears leather bracelets
  • Mapped the Trail of Tears
  • Created sad paper dolls to remind us of the suffering of the children along the trail
Optional lesson extension activities:
  • Read first hand accounts of the Trail of Tears at this site - there are some really amazing quotes that drive home the personal tragedy in this story
  • Take a look at the slideshow on this page.  Notice how the Native Americans dress.
  • Read Trail of Tears by Michael Burgan
  • Experience life as a Native American with this interactive game.
  • Read timeline cards 7, 8, & 9
  • Practice your timeline

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Treasure Hunters: Slavery

FOCUS: Slavery and the slaves' journey to freedom
EXPLORATION TABLE: Painting boxes for a diorama-type project; colored a constellation of the big dipper and then made individual ones with sparkling stickers
LITERATURE: "Follow the Drinking Gourd" by Jeanette Winter
DISCUSSION: the song taught to the slaves with the directions for their freedom, how stars were used as maps, the North star and the Big Dipper (or drinking gourd), the slaves traveling to Canada to be free and how they were hidden along the way in the underground railroad
Listen to the song here:

MUSIC: sang the Rhythm Song and some silly songs; continued with special song and another song you will hear later in the year; practiced learning notes with rhythm cards- kids learning this very well!

QUESTIONS to ask your child:
Ask them about the boxes theywe learned about? and which way did it point them to go?
A: The big dipper - extra points for "the drinking gourd" - NORTH
Q:How did the salves know if the house was safe for hiding?
A:The lantern was lit outside
Q:Where were they going to be free?

BONUS QUESTION: What was the name of the river they were following?
A: the Ohio river

Ask them about the boxes they brought home as well!

Slavery in the Land of the Free - History 1&2

Cotton is a tedious source of fiber.   One person working for an entire day can clean only one pound of cotton by hand.

Eli Whitney learned of this difficulty while working as a school teacher for the Greene family in Georgia.  In 1793 he designed a machine to separate cotton fiber from the seed.  This engine (gin) could clean up to 100 pounds of cotton per day.

His invention was soon copied and plantations throughout the country began to plant more cotton now that they knew how to quickly process it.  Soon cotton clothing became so inexpensive that, for the first time in history, most people had more than one outfit to wear.  This affordability continued to increase demand for cotton.

In order to meet the demand, plantation owners needed more and more workers to plant and harvest the cotton.  They found those workers by purchasing massive amounts of slaves.

In Class Activities:
  • Separated seeds from our own cotton bols 
  • Discussed the word paradox and whether America was truly the "land of the free"
  • Mapped the growth of slavery in the US
  • Discussed selfishness and perceived needs vs. real needs
  • Learned about black slave owners
  • Discussed the 1808 ban on slave importation
  • Drew the big dipper and learned about the underground railroad
Optional Lesson Extension Activities:
  • Listen to Follow the Drinking Gourd and see if you can find secret directions to the Underground Railroad hidden in the song
  • Play at Mission US's Interactive website.  You are a 14 year old slave in 1848.  What choices will you make?
  • Read history card #6 - The Trail of Tears
  • Practice your timeline

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Art - Trailblazers & Explorers 9/16/2014

Today we talked about Genre painting being paintings that depict everyday life. We looked at paintings by William Sidney Mount. He was well known during the time before the civil war for painting Genre paintings. We learned a little of his life and painted our own Genre paintings, depicting everyday life. We learned about color and experimented with mixing paint to make any color that we might need for our paintings.

Art - Navigators & Pathfinders 9/16/2014

Realism Art Period: 1840-1880
The characteristics, style, artists, and paintings

Contour Drawing: Silhouette, Memory, Blinded, and Guided

Trivia Question: What was the brush style used for Impressionism Art?

Pathfinders/Navigators Drama 9/16/2014

It was a joy to finally be able to meet all the students and see how they connected with Drama activities.  Every class has its own personality and creativity, and they were delightful to work with.
Speech was our main focus on the older levels as well, working on correct breathing to produce good projection and articulation.  Then their creative juices went rampant as we did activities working on movement, imagination and lastly being convincing acting as themselves.


Explorers and Trailblazers Drama 9/16/2014

It was a joy to finally be able to meet all the students and see how they connected with Drama activities.  Every class has its own personality and creativity, and they were delightful to work with.

Once again our focus was on practicing skills.  We spent time working on the vocal skills of projection and articulation with the first phrases of The Pledge of Allegiance.  Then we worked on movement and creative thinking with pantomime activities and character walking.

Treasure Hunters 9/16/2014

Focus: The Erie Canal
Explore table: Which items sink or float?
We read the Amazing Impossible Erie Canal by Cheryl Harness.
We discussed how the canal was dug and what it did for trade. In addition the children dug their own canal using sand and toothpicks as shovels- hard work!
We continued learning about rhythms through words and clapping. This week
we learned a new note- three eighths note ( silly word- pineapple). The children listened to the song "Erie Canal" and continued learning their special song.

Questions to ask this week: What was the Erie Canal? A long pathway of water that was dug from Buffalo to Albany, NY.  Why was it built? To help the trade and selling of goods

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Jacksonian Democracy - History 1&2

Andrew Jackson, our 7th president, grew up as a common rural boy.  He warned that the nation had been corrupted by "special privilege.”  At that time the US was a deferential society, submitting to the wealthy to make decisions for the country.  The proper road to reform, according to Jackson, lay in an absolute acceptance of egalitarianism, majority rule. 

Jackson believed in offering access to  affordable western land to ordinary white Americans (unfortunately, Jackson took racism for granted). At the same time, industrialization was coming to America.  To facilitate the movement of raw resources, people, and supplies, the Erie Canal was built linking Buffalo to New York City, decreasing freight costs significantly. The canal boats were slow, but could pull thousands of passengers each year with the help of mules who pulled the boats along a towpath. With increased population, better health, and new technology, a market revolution arose, leading to a boom in cash-crop agriculture, capitalist manufacturing, and westward expansion. 

In class activities:

  • discussed beginning of industrialization and the change to steam power
  • built our own  mill wheels
  • learned about Andrew Jackson and democracy
  • discussed the difference between deferential and egalitarian leadership
  • made a list of changes caused by the building of the Erie Canal
Optional lesson extension activities:
  • Watch a video of what it is like to travel through the locks of the Erie Canal - look for the rising water
  • Travel in the Erie Canal Time Machine online
  • Listen to 15 Miles on the Erie Canal by Thomas S. Allen (1876-1919)  This song is about the time when mule powered boats were common along the canal.  Listen for the "low bridge" warning in the song - Travelers would typically ride on the roof of boats when the conditions allowed, but low bridges along the route would require that they either duck down or get off the roof for the boat to fit under bridges.  

I've got an old mule and her name is Sal
Fifteen years on the Erie Canal
She's a good old worker and a good old pal
Fifteen years on the Erie Canal
We've hauled some barges in our day
Filled with lumber, coal, and hay
And every inch of the way we know
From Albany to Buffalo
Chorus:Low bridge, everybody down
Low bridge for we're coming to a town
And you'll always know your neighbor
And you'll always know your pal
If you've ever navigated on the Erie Canal
We'd better look 'round for a job old gal
Fifteen miles on the Erie Canal
'Cause you bet your life I'd never part with Sal
Fifteen miles on the Erie Canal
Git up there mule, here comes a lock
We'll make Rome 'bout six o'clock
One more trip and back we'll go
Right back home to Buffalo
ChorusOh, where would I be if I lost my pal?
Fifteen miles on the Erie Canal
Oh, I'd like to see a mule as good as Sal
Fifteen miles on the Erie Canal
A friend of mine once got her sore
Now he's got a busted jaw,
'Cause she let fly with her iron toe,
And kicked him in to Buffalo.
ChorusDon't have to call when I want my Sal
Fifteen miles on the Erie Canal
She trots from her stall like a good old gal
Fifteen miles on the Erie Canal
I eat my meals with Sal each day
I eat beef and she eats hay
And she ain't so slow if you want to know
She put the "Buff" in Buffalo
In preparation for next week's class please:

  • read history cards #4&5
  • practice your timeline

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Music - Pathfinders/Navigators

Chopin's signature
Public Domain - author passed away 1847
Today we took our first look into some music from the "Romantic Period". We studied the very famous Polish composer, Frederic Chopin. He was truly an amazing pianist with a most interesting personality as well. Unfortunately he died at age 39 from tuberculosis, despite that, he still accomplished quite a bit in that short period of time. In class we listened to several pieces that he wrote, one(Polonaise in G minor) he wrote when he was only 8 years old!
At the same time that Chopin was writing and performing music in France(where he settled in the later part of his life), here in our homeland a very familiar song was written. "My Country, Tis of Thee" was written in 1831. And we'll be taking a closer look at that next week...

Music - Explorers/Trailblazers

Camille Saint-SaensUS Library of Congress ID ggbain.19050
Public Domain - first publication prior to January 1, 1923
Today we studied a Classical Composer from France. His name is Camille Saint-Saens (make sure you ask your children how to pronounce that). Camille Saint-Saens was a child prodigy who started writing music when he was just 4 years old. He wrote many, many pieces right into his later years, and he also conducted and played both piano and organ. In class we got to experience a piece that he wrote for children when he was actually 51, "The Carnival of the Animals". The children got to listen to the story and the music. The Explorers got to act out each part, and the Trailblazers drew their own pictures to go along with the music.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Drama - All Classes 9/9/2014

Our goals for the first few weeks of Drama classes are to practice the basics of drama (Vocalization, Stage Presence, Characterization and Presentation) for each level.  We are starting with Drama games and exercises that allow the students to practice these skills in addition to building teamwork.  The kids have amazing creativity (sometimes they don't even know it) and pick up the skills quickly; especially when we begin to work on them as a group.  I am very excited to see what they will produce in weeks to come.


History Navigators/Pathfinders

Today we tackled the most difficult topic we will handle all year - American Exceptionalism. The class became acquainted with the idea that God created the USA to show the world what true freedom, religious, economic, political can look like - when the country is living up to its ideals. We considered the four sides to Civic Culture - Industriousness, Community life, Egalitarianism and Religion - and how these four American values helped us to achieve what other nations have not.

Art Trailblazers/Explorers

We talked about an artist from the time period that we are studying, Edward Hicks. He did some interesting paintings called Peaceable Kingdom, which we looked at and talked about. We discussed the fact that he used his art to tell a message about his hope that people could live peaceably together. We made collages that portrayed our own ideas about peace between "scarey things" or strong things and weak things or creatures. The kids were very creative in there work. I am looking forward to next class! 

Art: Navigators/Pathfinders

Romanticism Art Period

Each week we will be focusing on a different art period within this semester’s history timeline. We will be looking at the characteristics, style, and features as we analyze and critic different works from that art period.
Today we learned the three basic steps to critiquing a piece of art, which we will continue to apply throughout the semester:

A: ANALYZE the main objects/subjects
R: RECOGNIZE the colors, shapes, lines, textures, etc
T: TRANSLATE the meaning/emotion

Applying the three ART steps of critiquing, students found and cut out words from magazines to describe the various paintings shown. These words were then used in our group project, a Subway Style Word Art Poster.

Treasure Hunters and Eli Whitney

Eli Whitney- Inventor of the Cotton Gin (and interchangeable gun parts)

Focus:  Eli Whitney and inventions

Explore table:  tinker toys, erector sets, wheels and gears, screw board

Literature/Listen:  The children listened to an excerpt of the Story of the World (v3) on Eli Whitney's life and we read from the Discover the Life of an Inventor series:  Eli Whitney by Gaines.   Slavery was briefly discussed, (taking a person from their homeland, making them work for free, likely not treating them nicely).

Project:  The children colored a portrait of Eli Whitney and made model cotton gins.  We also discussed and pointed out North America on the globe, as well as identified Florida and traced fingers up the coast to NH. (and Massachusetts where Eli Whitney was born).

Music:  The children were introduced to the concept of rhythm through various songs/clapping.  They learned the value of a quarter note and rest and an eighth note using hand motions and the silly words blue, jel-lo, and (whispered) rest.   We worked on learning a song (surprise!).

Questions to ask your child throughout the week:
"What does a Cotton Gin do?"  (separates seeds from cotton) "Who invented it?" (Eli Whitney) "Why?" (because it took a long time to pick the seeds out).

Wonderful week!   Enthusiastic kids!

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Music- Navigators

The Navigators delved deep into their young minds, and began to think about what music is, and what it was meant to be. They had already written their own definitions of music which we discussed further in class. And then we looked at a quote from Plato-"Music is..wings to the mind, flight to the imagination, and charm and gaiety to life and to everything." After drawing little pictures of what came to mind from those phrases, they went a little deeper and started thinking about how those word pictures really do relate to music. They began to talk about how important music is to our everyday lives, and how it affects us. Music reaches into so many areas of our lives, many more than we even realize. Many conversations were opened up about music's affect on us, and God's intent for it. And hopefully we will continue those conversations through the rest of the year, as we follow the progression of music through this time period.

Music- Pathfinders

We took a look at the definitions that the students brought in today, paying attention to the common denominators between the similar definitions. They decided that music should be described as combinations of sound that are pleasing to listen to, rather than just noise. They also realized that both sound and silence are needed to create music.
We took a look at a quote from Plato-"Music is..wings to the mind, flight to the imagination, and charm and gaiety to life and to everything." The kids drew pictures illustrating what those word pictures brought to mind.
And then they got creative making rain sticks. I gave them the initial instruction, and then they experimented by adding/modifying until they had the sound they were looking for.

Explorers/ Trailblazers Music

     Today's class was an introduction to music, where we explored what music is. The children shared the definitions of music that they had found. And then they came up with their own one-word descriptions of what music is to them.
     After that we took some time to play with some dynamics. We took a simple, familiar tune (Yankee Doodle) and changed the feel and sound of the song by changing the dynamics, singing it loud and soft, even shouting and whispering.
     And then we finished decorating our shakers, and used them to play some rhythm games. The kids enjoyed creating their own rhythms as well as mimicking others.

Monroe Doctrine

Only 40 years after the US gained its independence, the Monroe Doctrine fearlessly marked all of North and South America as a territory independent from Europe. According to Monroe, the US would no longer tolerate future European colonization or intervention in newly independent countries of the Americas, promising to retaliate if pushed.  

Interestingly, this message wasn’t found in a statement to other countries, but buried deep in a State of the Union speech that President James Monroe made to the US Congress. 

“The American continents … are henceforth not to be considered as subjects for future colonization by any European powers.  We … should consider any attempt on their part to extend their system to any portion of this hemisphere as dangerous to our peace and safety.” 

In class activities:

  • Reviewed US path to independence
  • Discussed the similarities between animals marking their territory, and the Monroe Doctrine
  • Made handprint dogs
  • Discussed our own ideas of territory and defense
Optional lesson extension activities:
  • Monroe information and coloring pages - usa-printables
  • Listen to the entirety of the Monroe Doctrine - librivox
In preparation for next week's class:
  • read timeline cards #2-3