Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Feudalism - History 1 & 2, Explorers and Trailblazers

During the Middle Ages, the feudal system was the primary form of social organization.  Under feudalism all land was held by the king. Scattered throughout the king’s land were many small villages, each ruled by a noble or vassal who was granted this honor by the king in return for their help in fighting wars.  Villages were filled with serfs (peasants) who farmed the land and gave a portion of their crops each year to the lord in return for protection and in payment for the use of the land.

Freemen who lived in towns worked for and took care of themselves.  Guilds began as craftsmen formed partnerships based on their trades, and agreed to support one another in adversity and business.

In class activities:
  • Created our own feudal system triangle using our chairs, and participated in assigned roles as food moved up toward the peak and land moved down toward the base.
  • Discussed who truly had the most power during the middle ages (military leaders) and discovered the purpose for knights pledging loyalty to the king through a code of chivalry
  • Reviewed the way that the church was intertwined with politics during this time period
  • Made paper crowns (in-class for explorers, take-home for trailblazers)
  • Signed our own pledge of loyalty and added it to our history notebooks
Optional lesson extension activities:
  • Learn more about the age of chivalry
  • Watch a video detailing the origins of the feudal system
  • Two Disney movies took place during Medieval times: Robin Hood and The Sword and the Stone.  Consider watching one and writing the names of the characters in the correct place in the feudal system hierarchy (worksheet)
Assignment due Nov. 1:
  • Read History Card MA - 13 William the Conqueror and the Battle of Hastings
  • Practice your timeline

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Art - Pathfinders and Navigators

Tuesday, October 25

Today's class finished up a two week project of Romanesque Medieval Tiles. As we now are in the Romanesque art period, we are beginning to see how the art is branching out into other mediums and types of art.

Last week in class the students created their tiles from clay by molding and cutting it to shape. It was fun to see all the creativity as various pasta was used for imprinting a design into the tiles.

Today in class, students took their now dried tiles and painted them. A characteristic of the Romanesque art is that the colors began to get brighter, and also, gold began to be incorporated into the different arts. However, the colors were still simple. So students were offered a simple palette of the three primary colors - red, blue, and yellow - along with gold; with encouragement to mix the colors how their creativity led, we ended up with a beautiful array of tiles!

Want to see more of how these tiles would have been made?
Here is a special LINK that shows a great video of how medieval tile would have been made:

-Research the characteristics of the GOTHIC art period
-Look at examples of Gothic Stain Glass. Come to class next week with an idea for your stain glass project.

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Music - Navigators - 10/18

Students completed a quiz on the first Unit - The Elements of Music.

And then, we spent the rest of class working on their Music Projects.

  • Email me your paragraphs for the Music Project
    • this was the paragraph assignment: Write a few paragraphs on the music that is important in your life. Talk about how the music affects who you are. Focus on the music that relates to you, and speaks about who you are. Why do you love it? And what does that say about you? Or what do you hope it says about you?

  • If you have not put your 4-6 songs onto a computer with the Audacity program, please send me your song choices. I will put them onto mine for next week.

  • Listen to 2 different Gregorian Chants. Find the composer, and research/compare what the 2 chants are about.

Music - Traiblazers/Pathfinders - 10/18

Students did an awesome job this week, creating their own instruments! Each one was unique and creative. Each student had a chance to share what their instrument was called, and demonstrate how it was played. And then we put them all together into an orchestra of our own.

We also worked on the 6th element of music - Form. Using 'The Happy Song' the students learned how to pick out the different parts. And then demonstrated the form using different motions for each part.

This week students need to review all the elements that we have studied in preparation for the quiz tournament next week.

  •  Melody - Harmony - Rhythm - Dynamics - Tone Color - Form
  • Also review - Sound & Pitch

Music - Explorers - 10/18

Yesterday's class was all about Tone Color - the quality that distinguishes one voice or instrument from another. Each voice and instrument has its own tone color, which is the reason you can recognize someone's voice on the phone.

The kids listened to a story about the instruments of the orchestra. And practiced picking out the sounds of different instruments in the music.

Next week - please have your child bring in some recycling-containers, boxes, egg cartons, cardboard tubes, etc. We will be creating instruments in class together.
Explorers and Trailblazers:
This week we looked at more paintings by the Limbourg brothers and reviewed that they were hired by the Duke of Berry to create paintings for his Books and a type of calender called The Book of Hours that depicted the castle and acivities of the seasons. We noticed many details including the colors they used. For an activity I showed them how to shade a cylinder shape and make it "pop" off the page. We also made a cone shape and shaded it. From there we made a new castle drawing including shading on the towers and rooves. The children did very well. They have the responsibility of bringing their notebooks with them each week. I have incorporated this because sometimes I need them to finish things at home and I want them to keep their artwork together as much as possible. Moms, if you could help them out, only by giving them a notebook and checking it occasionally to see if they need help keeping it neat! Thanks!

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Explorers and Trailblazers Art class:

Tuesday we actually did three fairly quick projects. First we looked at pictures by The Limbourg Brothers. They were artist brothers that worked for the Dukes during the 1400's, doing paintings in the castles and creating a popular thing called a Book of Hours. This was a hand written book, usually including inspiring word for each hour of the day. First, we put gold trim o a photo copy of a painting from these men, since they embelished their paintings with real gold! Then, we worked on a color wheel, learning how to mix colors. Finally, we began a page from a cal lender, somewhat like what the Limbourg Brothers would have painted. For Homework: They are to finish these callender pages. They should draw, then paint a picture of their home in the fall, using their color-mixing skills as best they can remember. They can write in what month it is and add any special dates. Also, they should bring their notebooks!

Music - Navigators

Navigators brought in their own listening samples for Harmony. A few even created their own samples of harmony.
In class we covered the last 4 basic elements of music-texture, form, tempo, and dynamics. For each element we listened to some great pieces of music to demonstrate the points covered.

By next week, students need to have 4-6 songs chosen for their Music Project. They need to either put these songs on a flash drive to transfer to my computer, or put them onto a laptop that they can bring to class and use for the project.

Music - Trailblazers/Pathfinders

After reviewing the elements we have learned so far-rhythm, melody, harmony, & dynamics- we began looking at tone color.
Tone color is what makes two different voices sound different each other. It's the reason you recognize someone's voice on the phone. Instruments also have different tone color. The sound that a violin makes is different from the sound of the trumpet.
The kids had fun identifying the different instruments that they heard in Wagner's Lohengrin, Prelude to Act III & Duke Ellington's C-Jam Blues.
They also sorted the instruments into their different Instrument Families.

Assignment: This week the kids are to create their own instrument, using recycled objects from around the house. Next week they will need to bring it to class. They'll need to share the name of their instrument, which Instrument Family it belongs to, and show us how it's played!

Music - Explorers

The Explorers got to hear the story of Peer Gynt that comes from Grieg's 'In the Hall of the Mountain King.' The first time listening to the piece, they came up with their own great endings to the story. And then they did an awesome job picking out the tempo and dynamics changes, that make this piece so interesting.
They also began working on a Medieval Christmas song - Personent hodie- for our Christmas Presentation.

History 1&2 - Explorers and Trailblazers

Hi friends, I took off for Mexico without remembering to add my class notes. Sorry about that! I'll log back in and update this space when I return.

For now, just know that Kristina will be teaching next week, and you will need to read the history cards for Otto the 1st and the Holy Roman Empire , and the East/West Schism.

See you soon!

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Art - Pathfinders and Navigators

Tuesday, October 11

Today we finished our FRESCOES with the painting of them. Students began by getting their prepared plaster wet with a spray of water. 'They then took their egg paint that was made at last week's class, and painted a Bible story of their choice.

We made the bridge today from the Byzantine art period into our new adventure in the Romanesque period. Looking at images of two frescoes, we saw some of the changes- how colors were becoming brighter, and the art was extending into the architecture.

-Research what are the characteristics of the ROMANESQUE art period.
-View images of romanesque/medieval TILES
-Bring in a variety of pasta (shapes and types- a little bag full) to be used to create imprints into clay at next week's class.

Thursday, October 6, 2016

Rise of Islam, History 1&2, Explorers & Trailblazers

Islam is not just a religion, but a political entity. It began when, at the age of 40, Muhammad believed he was hearing from God in the form of visions.  His revelations were later written down by a follower into the Quar’an.  

Muhammad was called prophet. His strong military leadership along with his promise of peace with God united the local tribes.  He then led these tribes to conquer Medina & Mecca, and continue expansion. Throughout much of the Middle Ages the Byzantine Empire fought the Muslims for control of the eastern Mediterranean. 

In class activities:

  • Reviewed the rise and fall of the Roman Empire, & the subsequent re-expansion under the Byzantines
  • Learned about the origins of Mohammed and his rise as a powerful religious and military leader
  • Mapped the expansion of the Islamic empire and compared it to the Roman and Byzantine empires
  • Discussed various forms of government and added the Islamic State to the list.
  • Compared Christ's "one way to the father"John 14:6  vs. the pillars of Islam
  • Carved our names into soap to remind us that God has engraved us on the palms of his hand.  Isaiah 49:16  We can do nothing to earn our way into heaven.

Optional at-home lesson extension activities:
  • Read The Golden Age of Islam by Linda George or a similar book from your library
  • Click through this interactive map showing the powers in control of the Mediterranean region
  • Watch a 10 minute Crash Course video explaining the basics of Islam and discuss it with your parents
  • For more advanced students (or curious parents): This professor at Yale does an excellent job of explaining why this particular religion has such a significant impact on politics:
  • Read timeline cards MA8 & 9
  • Practice your timeline

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Art - Pathfinders and Navigators

Tuesday, October 4th Class

A FRESCO was a major type of art created during the early medieval/early Christian art period. A Fresco consisted of painting on wet plaster with paint, allowing the paint to actually become part of the wall or ceiling these frescoes were done on.

As we get ready to branch out of the BYZANTINE art style, students looked at and compared two different Madonna and Child Frescoes:

One of the frescoes was done by CIMABUE, a famous artist of the Byzantine art period; we saw how his painting consisted of several of Byzantine characteristics:
-The painting was one dimensional, lacking detail and depth
-The colors were sombre
-The faces were all front facing, and all similar, lacking any emotion or expression.

The other fresco we compared it to was by Cimabue's student, GIOTTO:
-The painting had depth and more detail
-The colors were brighter and had more variation
-The faces were facing different directions, and were different from one another with more expression

To capture the most authentic experience of painting a Fresco that we can in our limited art class space and time, students began the first step today by making their own paint. Paint from back then was made with egg and pigments. Students began by grinding up their own "pigments" (Chalk Pastels). They then had a blast - with a few "EWWWWS!" - separating their eggs to preserve the yolk for the paint. We look forward to using this collection of homemade paints next week as students' paint their own frescos!

Students need to fill in the index card they brought home with the title of their favorite Bible story that they will be featuring in their fresco. Please sketch out a simple drawing of this story on the card, as a plan of how it will be painted on the fresco next week.

Music - Navigators

The Element of Harmony: Musical Space

To the movement of melody, harmony adds depth. Harmony pertains to the movement and relationship of intervals and chords.

Listening Samples:

Major tonality - Mozart: Eine kleine Nachtmusick
Minor tonality - Beethoven: Symphony No 5, First Movement
Consonance - Handel: Messiah, "Hallelujah" Chorus(No 44)
Dissonance - Ligeti: Disorder, from etudes for piano


1. Send me your own song/composition with harmony. Please send it to me by Monday.
2. Continue working on your paragraphs for Music and Identity. Put your song selections onto a flashdrive in mp3 form. Or bring them in on your computer for next week.

Music - Trailblazers & Pathfinders

Melody & Harmony

Melody is the tune of a piece-a series of notes and pitches adding up to a recognizable whole. Melodies have phrases, just like sentences. And they have a beginning, move in a particular direction, and come to an ending place.

The kids tried putting together melody puzzles. Each group had 4 songs that were all mixed up. They had to sort them out by following the direction of the pitch and putting them in the right order.

We explored pitch with water filled glass bottles. A different amount of water in each bottle creates a different pitch. The kids got into groups and created their own song, using the different pitches as well as experimenting with different parts of the bottle.

Music - Explorers

All About Rhythm

We started out with a clapping game - Double This Double That. The kids had fun trying to learn the pattern and keep it going.

We talked about rhythm patterns and started making rhythm patterns with body rhythms.

We talked about note values - especially the half note, quarter note, eighth note and quarter rest. And then we practiced following written rhythms with rhythm sticks.

Finally, we used monster rhythm cards to create our own rhythm songs, which the kids got to bring home.

They also brought home their Aquarium pictures from last week. So, if you want to have some fun with them, find 'The Aquarium' from The Carnival of the Animals on youtube, and listen together while your child describes what they drew from the song. :)

Pathfinders and Navigators History Homework



Study Cards 8 and 9, Charlemagne and Alfred the Great, for the oral quizzing.




Study Cards 8 and 9, Charlemagne and Alfred the Great, for the oral quizzing.


Write a BRIEF report and prepare an oral report on Alfred the Great answering the following questions; who was he and what did he do that caused people to call him great?


Here are some websites to consult


If you have any questions please do not hesitate to call. Please note that from Tuesday morning on I am not at home and may be unavailable for last minute questions so please try and get to me before Tuesday morning or contact Pastor Huntley directly at his email address above.

Have a great week and enjoy this beautiful day.


Mrs. Klekar


Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Art for Explorers and Trailblazers:

This lesson I introduced the artist Giotto. He was important during the late Middle Ages/early Renaissance, because he made people look realistic. He is interesting because it is thought that he began drawing well as a child and was discovered and became an apprentice to the artist we learned about last week, Cimabue. As a child, Giotto was a shepherd boy, who drew pictures of sheep on rocks with sticks. So, we tried our hand at scratching a picture in pastels. The children should bring their notebook every week for art, and have their pictures neatly organized and colored. rewards are for bringing notebooks and sitting quietly and working diligently on the projects.