Saturday, May 27, 2017

Year 1: Week 1

We did so many things this week!

Gemma listened to "Rumplestiltskin" (from The Blue Fairy Book) on her Kindle, and followed along. She read "The Tortoise and the Hare" from Aesop's Fables to me. (In her narration, she omitted the detail about the hare falling asleep. Her narration was something like this: "The hare was boasting and he raced the tortoise and the tortoise won.") I read to her three poems by Robert Louis Stevenson - Windy Nights, Bed in Summer, and Whole Duty of Children. She also read a Lego Elves book which she got for her birthday, The Emperor's New Clothes (also a birthday present), and listened to "Snow White and Rose Red" on her Kindle. We continued our bedtime free reads (Poppy and The Trumpet of the Swan).

I let her choose which composer's music she would like to study this term, and she chose Beethoven. She's familiar with Beethoven because there is a song in her Alfred Prep Level D piano book called "Fur Ludwig," which is based on "Fur Elise." We listened to the Classics for Kids podcast about Beethoven, and a dozen versions of Bagatelle No. 25 (salsa Fur Elise, heavy metal Fur Elise...). 😉

We did a sol-fa lesson (lesson 1A) from Children of the Open Air (Star Light Star Bright), which focuses on the difference between high and low notes. (Thank you to the woman who created this series of videos!)

Gemma worked on a new song on piano - "Concert Piece" - and we started learning a hymn we sang Sunday in church - "Thine Be the Glory."

Gemma continued with Duolingo Spanish (3 lessons), and started Duolingo French (3 lessons). I can't remember when we started Duolingo Spanish, but she's been working on it off and on for a long while and is on the 19th level - Adverbs. I don't think Duolingo is the best way to learn a language because she can't apply very much of what she's practiced - yet - but I do think that she's gained exposure to many things about the language (one example being that there are two ways to say "the"), and exposure to hearing and pronouncing the language. We also started learning two songs - Buenos Dias (Jose-Luis Orozco) and "Un, Deux, Trois." 

For math, we did a chapter of Life of Fred: Kidneys. We also tried out an app for multiplication facts called Drop Math. Gemma had mixed feelings about it. At first, she enjoyed it, but I think the numbers and equations dropped faster as the game continued, piling up on each other, which made Gemma anxious.

For copywork, my original goal was to teach Gemma to write her name in cursive - one letter at a time - this first week, but she has many thank you notes to write to friends and family, so we're focusing on those until we get them completed.

From the Bible, we read the parable of The Good Samaritan (her entire narration: "Go and do thou likewise.") Psalm 150, and The Call of Abraham. The Call of Abraham was Gemma's first experience hearing a story from the KJV. Her narration was, as I have read, a fairly typical narration for a beginning narrator. At the end, she said, "There was Abraham, and the Lord told him to depart, and he had a wife named Sarai, and a brother... or a son." Or a - ahem - nephew.

Her history lessons were the first two chapters of M.B. Synge's On the Shores of the Great Sea.

We completed one drawing lesson. We're not using a curriculum for drawing. A camel she drew looked very unlike a camel, so I decided we should watch a YouTube video about how to draw one.

We did not do handicrafts this week. Oops.😁

We also read the first chapter of Hillyer's Art History: Painting - The Oldest Pictures in the World - about cave paintings.

For geography, we read the poem "How All Things Praise the Lord," and a chapter of The World at Home (a.k.a. The World By the Fireside) by Mary Kirby. It was the story of the Tower of Babel.

For natural history, we read a chapter of the Burgess Seashore Book ("Danny Meadow Mouse Goes to the Seashore"). In the first chapter, Danny Meadow Mouse winds up in a "Man Bird" (an airplane), and flies to the seashore. There, he meets Jimmy Skunk, who does not have a white stripe like the skunks in Green Meadow. (Did you know that some skunks are all black, and some are "spotted"? Did you know that, now, there are even lavender skunks?) Gemma's narration for that chapter included those details, but she started with the end, and ended with the beginning. In hindsight, I should have broken up the chapter, instead of reading it all the way through. Lesson learned... We also read a story from James Herriot's Treasury (Moses the Kitten).

We also did not do nature journaling. Oops.😁 Let me explain. Gemma has a nature journal, which she takes with her once a week to Temescal Canyon park. I asked her to draw a leaf in it, but she insisted that her nature journal was reserved for Temescal. So, it looks like I will have to get her a journal for non-Temescal nature.

Lastly, for artist study, I let Gemma chose between Degas and Monet. She chose Degas. Then I let her look through our Degas book and choose a painting. She chose "The Dance Class." I asked her to tell me what she saw. Then I asked what shapes she saw, and what colors. I asked her in what ways the people in the painting were like her (they dance, they have dark hair). Next week, we'll look at it again, and I'll have her describe it from memory.

Year 1: Tap Dancing

Monday, May 22, 2017

Year 1: Beginning Narration

We started first grade (or Year 1, or Form 1B) last week.

I've chosen to use M.B. Synge's On the Shores of the Great Sea as our history spine. 
The first two stories in On the Shores of the Great Sea ("The Home of Abraham" & "Into Africa") were also about Abraham. I'm also using this as our Bible reading schedule, which meant that our first Bible story also happened to be about Abraham (Genesis 12:1-5).

Prior to reading "The Home of Abraham," I pointed out the Euphrates River and Iraq on a map in an atlas. (We used a National Geographic Kids World Atlas). I also made a list of the proper nouns in the chapter (Abraham, Chaldeans, Euphrates, Eden, Terah, Sarai, Lot, Hebrew). I read one page at a time. Gemma's narration was something like, "Abraham's father was Terah, and his wife was Sarai, and his little nephew was Lot..." That made me chuckle.

She also said that Abraham "crossed the flood," referring to this passage:
He crossed it and became known as the Hebrew - the man who had crossed the river flood - the man who came from beyond the Euphrates.
It was a pretty good beginning narration.

For "Into Africa," I again started with the list of pronouns. Gemma saw the names and said excitedly, "I see words from the last story!" I pointed out places in the atlas (Asia, Africa, Syria, Iraq, Euphrates, Egypt, Nile). Then - and this was something I had completely forgotten to do with "The Home of Abraham" - I told her to listen closely because I was going to ask her to tell back what she heard. Until she gets into the habit of narrating all of her lessons, I think reminding her that she will be narrating is probably a good idea. Because I told her this, she asked if I could read one paragraph at a time. Sure! I liked that she understood that she would be able to give a better narration if she narrated more frequently. Finally, I had her draw while she listened.

The picture is Abraham, a hot sun with no rain, a camel (the animal that looks like a horse), a sheep, Abraham's tent (behind the animals), a pyramid (lower left), a river (along the bottom of the page), and corn (grain growing next to the tent).

I made her first 1st grade drawing lesson How to Draw a Camel. Here are our camels... 😊

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Kindergarten: Weeks 37 & 38

Gemma is now the owner of "Rose the Tadpole."
At Christmas, Gemma was given a frog habitat. The coupon that came with the habitat could be redeemed for a tadpole, but it was uncertain how long it would take for the tadpole to arrive. Because we go out of town often, I didn't want to order a tadpole that would arrive at an unspecified date. While looking into other tadpole options, I realized that at some point, if all went well, our tadpole would be a frog, and I didn't want to have to care for a frog.

I found a local aquarium shop that had leopard frog tadpoles (from Florida) and said that I could return the frog to the store after it metamorphosed.

The employees at the shop were very knowledgeable and explained to me that I needed algae wafers, water conditioner, and a submersible pump to oxygenate the water. Who knew raising a tadpole was so complicated? I also needed a little net ($1.99) to fish the tadpole out of its habitat once a week, to clean the habitat (with a paper towel).

If all goes well, Rose the Tadpole will metamorphose into Rose the Frog within three months.
Lots of our bulbs sprouted! We also have a pot of nasturtiums and a pot of lettuce.
Every day, a new rose blooms. 

We are reading two books right now - The Trumpet of the Swan and Avi's Poppy.

We spent a Saturday making erasers.
Gemma finished another round of swim lessons. She's still a Minnow, but she figured out how to do an underwater handstand.
We discovered two little mushrooms growing in a Venus fly trap pot...
...and one Venus fly trap is flowering!
So is the octopus plant!
Gemma turned SIX!
Happy birthday, my sweet girl!

Friday, May 5, 2017

Specimen Narration Lesson: Geography

Form: 1B


Book Used: Geography (1st Series) by A.B. Archer and H.G. Thomas, Book I, pages 67-69

Aim: To arouse interest in the country and people of Pakistan

Method: Introduction:
Brief recapitulation of the last lesson. "What country did we read about last time?"

Step 1: Talk about Pakistan, mentioning any people whom you happen to know there. Explain that it was once part of political India.

Step 2: Find Pakistan on the map; notice its position with regard to Egypt (the last country studied) and England. Plan how you would go there from England by sea or air.

Step 3: Look at and discuss the pictures on page 67.

Step 4: Write any difficult words on a blackboard, if available, e.g. Bengal, Bengali, Pakistan, Roshik.

Step 5: Teacher read aloud section 1: "A boy who lives in Pakistan."

Step 6: Uninterrupted narration.

Step 7: If there are several pupils they may supply anything which has been left out. If narration shows that something has been imperfectly understood, the teacher should explain, but she should not tell the children anything they should have known if they had listened carefully.

Step 8: Look at and discuss the picture on page 68.

Steps 9 and 10: Reading of the section "A land of the three seasons" followed by a narration as before.

Step 11: Look at the picture on page 69, "Guess what they are cooking?"

Steps 12 and 13: Reading of the section "Dinner with Roshik's Family" followed by narration.

Conclusion: Answer the questions on page 69. If there is time, a quick drawing might be made of something in the picture, e.g. a cooking pot. This might alternatively be modelled in clay during a craft period.

My notes...

This is a "Specimen Narration Lesson" from the CMDC's PNEU teaching programmes 1968-1977 1952-1978 Pamphlets 1-9.

It is a "first grade" lesson plan.

The book, Geography (1st Series) by A.B. Archer, M.A. and Helen G. Thomas, was subtitled Six Children from Far-away Lands.

I found two images of pages inside the book.

My first thought was that these look very textbook-y.

This particular reading was divided into 3 sections, and each section was followed by a narration. The sections are very short - 3 to 5 paragraphs, and some paragraphs have as few as two sentences. 

I have several takeaways from reading this lesson plan.

  1. The objective is not for students to learn specific facts about a country, but to "arouse interest" in the country and the people who live there.
  2. We're supposed to ask our children what we read about "last time" before reading the next chapter.
  3. Connections. We're supposed to make personal connections to the text. If we know someone who lives somewhere, we're supposed to say so. We're also supposed to connect the new information to something the child knows; in this lesson, the children have heard of India, so it makes sense to tell them that Pakistan was once part of India.
  4. We're supposed to show them where a place is located prior to reading about it, and to connect this new knowledge to prior knowledge. Where is this new place in relation to the last place we learned about? Where is this place in relation to where we are now? How can we get there?
  5. Look at the pictures and talk about what you see.
  6. Write "difficult" words on a whiteboard. In this lesson, the "difficult" words were names of places and people - proper nouns.
  7. I can imagine the teacher reading about Bombo (above) and asking, "Now, what can you tell me about Bombo's house?" or "What can you tell me about Bombo's supper?" as opposed to reading three pages and asking for a child to narrate back all three pages. A child is going to be more successful at narrating if we break a chapter up into several sections. It's not just "okay" to do this; it's necessary. It shows a child that information can be organized by topic. Narration is oral composition, and organizing information by topic is a basic composition skill.