Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Treasure Hunters 11-18-14

Focus: The Wright Brothers
Explore Table: The children made paper airplanes and a helicopter. They enjoyed giving them test flights from the second floor.
Literature:First To Fly by Peter Busby
                 To Fly by Wendie Old
                  First Flight by Leslie Garrett
                  The Wright Brother by Russell Freedman
                  We discussed the Wright Brothers journey of building a successful airplane.
                  We talked about their struggles and setbacks and the determination to not quit
                   Also the impact their invention made on the world both then and now.
Project: The children made biplanes out of clothes pins.
Music: We practiced our presentation song( the children are doing great with memorizing!)
             We also reviewed our notes and rests we had learned in previous weeks.
Questions to ask: Who were the Wright Brothers? What did they invent? What was the plane called that we made in class( biplane.)

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Progressive Era - History 1&2

As millions of immigrants flooded the US in response to industrialization, the economic plight of the poor grew.  The time that followed was a period of activism and reform known as the Progressive Era.   The goal of progressives was to remove corruption and solve social problems through legislation.  

The most famous of these reformers was Theodore Roosevelt.  He had a strong personality, and was known for getting what he wanted.  Roosevelt took over the presidency after McKinley’s assassination and his lead was marked by a drastic increase in the powers of the president.  He is most remembered for his drive to build the Panama Canal and manage natural resources.

In class activities:

  • Learned about continued US expansion
  • Mapped the locations US battles
  • Discussed the problems of industrial workers
  • Listened to the history of Theodore Roosevelt and his policies
  • Stitched our own "Teddy" bears
  • Mapped the distance required for the US to move its navy from the Atlantic to the Pacific and discussed the benefit of building the Panama Canal
  • Reviewed the 3 parts of American government and the balance of powers
Optional lesson extension activities:
  • Watch Crash Course History - Progressive Presidents
  • Theodore Roosevelt was famous for his love of animals.  He allowed many curious pets into the White House.  Read more about Presidential Pets.
  • Learn more about what it was like to be an American immigrant in this interactive game.

Assignment due 12/2 (Enjoy your Thanksgiving holiday!):
  • Read history cards 26-28
  • Practice your timeline
  • OPTIONAL - Some of the kids have started joining me in dressing up for class, which I think is absolutely fantastic!  We will be studying the time of flappers and WW1 soldiers next.  Students are welcome to come to FAITH in any period appropriate clothing that you have around the house.

Monday, November 17, 2014

TREASURE HUNTERS & Westward Expansion

FOCUS: Westward Expansion and the Oregon Trail
EXPLORE Table: Lincoln Logs - building a structure the way it would have been done back then
LITERATURE: My First Little House: Going West; If You Traveled in a Covered Wagon by Ellen Lavigne
We talked about families traveling west to find more land and live with nature (getting away from congested areas).  We touched briefly on the reasoning behind people going to Oregon (the more Americans, the land wouldn't be given to Europe which would mean more taxes).  We also talked about what they brought in their wagons and how the people traveled together in "wagon trains" to stay safe.

MUSIC: practiced our songs and learned Half Rest (rest rest) and Whole Rest (rest, rest, rest, rest)

Questions:  How did people travel to go west? What did they bring along? Why did they try to get many Americans to go to Oregon?

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Drama 11/11/14. Pathfinders & Navigators

The Pathfinders have quite a challenging scene about the Roarong 20s, for which we have just about finished laying in the blocking.  The students are very enthusiastic about their parts, and have worked on memorization, but need to have their lines memorized even better.  We are going to have an extra 2 hours of rehearsal for this class to be sure we can do it justice for the performance.  The Navigators are also working hard on the scenes of history they have written.  A lot goes into transforming action from the paper to the stage, and the students are encountering some challenges withl it.  It is exciting to see their learning process and willingness to work through the challenges for an effective performance. 

Drama 11/11/14. Explorers & Trailblazers

Rehearsing was the name of the game in class this week.  Line memorization was quite good in both classes, but review is vital, or they can be forgotten.  Also, knowing the line right before theirs is very important as well.  For the most part, the students seemed to understand how important it is, and left class saying they would be diligent to do so.  They have been working hard and promise to deliver a most delightful performance.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Art, Navigators and Pathfinders, 11/11/2014

Abstract: 1940’s

We discussed briefly how World War II affected the art world, mainly with Paris, France no longer being the center of it all, but art making its way to New York City. Abstract art was not about a subject, but all about the colors, lines, and shapes; while some works were thoughtfully planned out, others were about the emotion and expression.

Finishing up Decalcomania project from last week’s Surrealism study.
Started the Name Sculpture project by drawing and outlining letters.


Art Summary, Trailblazers and Explorers 11/11/2014

We learned about Frederic Remington and looked at pictures of his paintings and sculptures. We tried our hand at working with red clay, creating something to do with cowboys and Native Americans.


Music-Nov 11 Pathfinders/Navigators

So, the last few weeks, we have been looking at early American Music including Folk& Mountain music, Classical, Cajun, Klezmar, and finally African American Slave music. All of these styles led the way for most of the music we hear, play and sing today.
Today we got to experience the Blues. The very distinct sound of the Blues came straight out of the hardships and suffering of the slaves. Music was the best way for them to express the suffering and hardships of the slave life, After the Civil War, the freed slaves needed to make a living. The most common options-hard, manual labor and performing music and skits. Life was still hard, and music still a great way to express-the blues.
The Pathfinders and Navigators listened to 3 different samples of blues(by Bukka White, Muddy Waters, Chris Thomas King) and compared them, paying attention to all the sounds and rhythms that make the blues sound the way it does. We discussed how the rhythms came from the slaves, who used to use African drumming to communicate with slaves on other plantations. To illustrate this form of communication pairs of students created 4-line conversations with one another using only percussion.
We also listened to and imitated the back beat and the shuffle beat. Both started in blues music, and are still used in a lot of the more modern forms of music.
The pathfinders got to see 2 videos of modern performing groups-STOMP and Blue Man Group. Both of these groups use their creative beats and rhythms to communicate with their audiences.

Music-Nov 11 Explorers/Trailblazers

So, the last few weeks, we have been looking at early American Music including Folk& Mountain music, Classical, Cajun, Klezmar, and finally African American Slave music. All of these styles led the way for most of the music we hear, play and sing today.
Today we got to experience the Blues. The very distinct sound of the Blues came straight out of the hardships and suffering of the slaves. Music was the best way for them to express the suffering and hardships of the slave life, After the Civil War, the freed slaves needed to make a living. The most common options-hard, manual labor and performing music and skits. Life was still hard, and music still a great way to express-the blues.
The Explorers and Trailblazers listened to some samples of music from some of the early popular blues artists-like WC Handy, as well as some newer ones like Muddy Waters and BB King.
They learned about the blues back beat, and did an activity using Yankee Doodle showing how the back beat changes the whole feel of a song.

History Navigators & Pathfinders 11/3/2014

This week the students sat back and listened to Pastor Huntley as he taught them about the Butler Act and the Scopes Trial of 1925. We learned about the events that led up to the trial and what was happening in the town itself prior to the trial. All of the major players, Clarence Darrow, William Jennings Bryan, John T. Scopes and the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) were discussed in terms of their worldview, their actions, words and ultimately their motives.
Pastor Huntley also discussed with the class the topics of Social Darwinism and the concept of "survival of the fittest" on a free market economy, equality in society, as a justification for war, Imperialism , and its far reaching effect on the world, especially in WWII.
Charles Darwin's Origin of Species and the theory of evolution were also discussed. Finally, we discussed the effects of the Scopes trial on the perception of Christianity and Christians by society and how they are negatively viewed today, largely because of biased and inaccurate reporting of the trial, most notably by H.L. Mencken of the New York Times, an extremely influential newspaper then and now. The same un-truths and inaccuracies abound in the fictional work "Inherit the Wind" and yet it continues to be shown in multiple classes in schools across the country without the students being aware that it is fiction and inaccurate fiction at that. The effect upon parental rights with regard to the control over school curriculum content that we are feeling today is due in very large part to the Scopes Trial. It was indeed the "Trial of the Century".

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

End of the Native American Way of Life - History 1&2

Geronimo (right) waiting for transport to Florida
 1886. -
National Archives
Being forced to live on reservations caused nomadic tribes to loose their entire means of subsistence, spurring more than 1000 battles between 1861 and 1891.

A pivotal law was passed in 1871 stating that the United States would no longer treat Native American groups as independent nations.  The government urged Native Americans to move out of their traditional dwellings, and become "civilized."

In the Dawes Act of 1887 tribal land was divided into plots.  Land not allotted to individual Native Americans was sold to railroad companies or settlers. 

One of the last major conflicts between Native Americans and the U.S. Army took place near Wounded Knee Creek in 1890.  A group of Indian policemen had been sent to arrest Sitting Bull, but crowds gathered in protest and while trying to take him into custody, he was killed.  Retreating Native Americans were pursued.  As they surrendered there was an unexpected gunshot.  Indians and soldiers grappled with each other at close quarters. Those who did not die in face-to-face battle froze to death in  the bitter cold of the night.

In class activities:

  • Learned about Custer's Last Stand
  • Made baskets and imagined having to change our entire way of life
  • Discussed the impact of cowboys and cattle on the Native Americans
  • Discussed the Battle of Wounded Knee
  • Made our own paper tee-pees and then destroyed them

Optional lesson extension activities:

  • View historic images of the aftermath of the final Native American massacre of Wounded Knee (parents you may want to pre-view these images, but I highly suggest that you share #1-18 with  your students - this was a sad period of our history and it will be important as we discuss the World Wars in future classes to understand that the white Americans are not always the good-guys)
  • View a video about the growth of civil rights that Native Americans have today 
  • Read first hand accounts of the battle
  • Read history cards #23-25
  • Practice your timeline

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Drama 11/4/14. Pathfinders & Navigators

The pathfinders have begun rehearsal for a challenging scene about the Roaring 20s.  If they spend time every day memorizing their lines we will have more effective rehearsals in class.  We have a short amount of time to accomplish a lot, so it will take a lot of focus.  The students are very enthusiastic and fun to work with.  The Navigators are now rehearsing the scenes they have written.  I've been very pleased with their innovation and creativity in writing their scripts, and now they must learn to use effective stage techniques to communicate them to the audience.  We had a talk about how it feels strange to be on stage and use the techniques one has to for the audience to be able to fully understand the scenes.  We also talked about how it is not good to do a performance where the audience cannot understand what's going on, either due to poor voice production or bad staging.  It proved to be somewhat challenging to the students, but I believe they are going to be able to rise to the task and produce effective performances.

Drama 11/4/14 Explorers & Trailblazers

We have turned a corner in class this week, in that we now must spend the entire period rehearsing our December presentations.  The Explorers are working on an Immigration scene that, I believe, will be highly entertaining.   The students are putting in great effort and have done quite well with their memorization.  The Trailblazers are rehearsing scenes about the progression of Black History.  They have also completely embraced their characters and are adding their own creativity, which makes the rehearsals delightful.   Finishing their memorization work and reviewing their lines daily is very important at this time.

Art Navigators & Pathfinders 10/22 - 11/4/2014

Cubism: 1902-1920s

We focused on the art period and style of Cubism. Our study looked at different works, and focused on one of the founding artists, Pablo Picasso.

 Expressionism/Fauvism – early 1900s

We looked at the characteristics of the Expressionism and Fauvism movement, looking at some of the works and discussing how it was not necessarily about a certain object or style, but about the emotion and color behind the works.

 Surrealism: 1920s
                                                                                                                                                               We talked about the Surrealism art period, looking at a couple paintings and discussing the often unusual themes of subconscious and dreamlike ideas. We also talked about a couple of the techniques used such as Decalcomania and Grattage.


Decalcomania project, using three colors from the previous homework assignment of color meanings. 

Art Explorers and Trailblazers, 10/29/2014

We looked at some traditional quilt designs and talked about the pioneers' creating quilts. We created some quilt squares using colored wire. Then put them together to make a "Wire Quilt"! They are beautiful! 

Art Explorers & Trailblazers , 10/22/2014

We looked at paintings by Winslow Homer, who was considered a Civil war artist. We then looked at some Pointillism paintings and noticed the very different style and talked about how the artists made there paintings with dots of color. For our project we drew a picture and filled it in Pointillist style, with colored cereal and other foods

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Art, Trailblazers & Explorers 11/4/2014

I had the pleasure of filling in for Joni Comrie's art classes this week!  A big thanks goes to Gail for being a great helper!

We began our discussion with the question...
  • What do you know about glass?  
 The children shared various ideas about the qualities of glass and came up with several on my list.  It is transparent, heat resistant, pressure resistant, strong, chemical resistant, can be colored, can be produced in large pieces, doesn't fade over time, can be made perfectly flat.
  • We then looked at some examples of stained glass.  After discussing the pictures they saw we focused on the artist for the day.  Louis Comfort Tiffany (1848-1933) grew up in NYC where his family owned the famous Tiffany jewelry store.  His lifelong goal was the pursuit of beauty.  He was originally trained as a painter and began studying the chemistry and properties of glass making at age 24.  He was inspired by nature and often took his ideas about colors from plants and flowers.  HE created art by making large windows and small lampshade our of stained glass.  He worked for some famous people, Mark Twain and President Chester Arthur!  The beautiful Tiffany lampshades were especially popular because electric lights were a new thing!  Tiffany's favorite subjects were flowers, plants and people in natural settings.
The children finished the class by creating their own "stained glass" using tissue paper and decoupage solution.

Treasure Hunters - Civil War & Age of Industry


FOCUS: The Civil War- Battle of Gettysburg- soldiers and nurses
EXPLORE: playing with doctors' kits
LITERATURE: "Gettysburg" by James Bow and "You Wouldn't Want to be a Nurse During the American Civil War" by Kathryn Senior
MUSIC: continued with our surprise song, reviewed rhythms of half note, quarter note, eighth note, sixteenth note, quarter rest, and half rest.  
PROJECT: cutting soldier paper figures for boys and nurse figures for girls.   Medical kits to emphasize helping. 

QUESTIONS to ask your child: What were the northern and southern states fighting about?  (slavery).  


FOCUS: Age of Industry
EXPLORE: three groups build machines (a blender with gears, a rubber band powered car, and a well with pulley).  
LITERATURE: Viewed illustrations of mills and looms in "The Bobbin Girl" by Emily Arnold McCully and read "Marvelous Mattie: How Margaret E. Knight became an inventor" by Emily Arnold McCulley.  Kids also viewed pictures of mills in Manchester.  The class discussed simple machines (inclined plane, lever, pulley, wheel and axle, and screw) while presenting each group's discovery project.  We talked about  Manchester's role in the textile industry and watched a model waterfall turn a turbine to explain power behind simple machines. 
PROJECT: Children colored a picture of a mill building and made a "Simple Machines" board with examples (TO GO HOME NEXT WEEK).  
QUESTIONS to ask your child: What powered the mills in Manchester? (Water, River, or Waterfall).  What did they make in the mills?  Was the cloth made "by hand" or "by machine" ?  

We are loving these kids-  They are such a joy to learn with each week! 

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

American Industry - History 1&2

Inventions create the need for more inventions.  After the Civil War, great factories full of machines sprung up.  In many ways the 2nd American Industrial Revolution improved life for people by making it easier to obtain inexpensive goods, travel quickly, and communicate efficiently.  Sadly, faster work had a steep price.  Children worked long hours, independent workers lost their jobs, people were housed in slums, and many workers were injured in the machinery with which they worked.

In Class Activities:
  • Learned about the connection between Railroad, telegraph, telephone, and other inventions
  • Built our own cup & string telephone
  • Discussed the importance of coal
  • Defined the word "revolution"
  • Learned about the large gap between working class and elite
  • Built our own clocks and discussed the changes in measuring time across long distances

Optional Lesson Extension Activities:
  • Read history cards #20-22
  • Practice your timeline