Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Reverse Pulleys and Tolstoy in Young Explorers - Block 3 Day 2

1. Icebreaker
I let the kids come up with an icebreaker this morning and this is what they chose: If you were going to a cabin in California, what one item would you bring and what book? One of the kids brought "Tim Horton's," and that child has now become near and dear to my heart haha! One child brought her mom, another brought a DS or other video systems, another brought a suitcase and one boy brought the Toys R Us store. So he could shop for whatever he wanted. As for books, The Hobbit and Lord of the Rings are alive and well!

2. Oh Canada
Reviewed how to conduct, and then sang and conducted. We are getting good!

3. Poetry - More Roald Dahl
We read the poem Little Red Riding Hood and the Wolf.   You have to read it! It is so funny, and this is the stanza the kids loved the best (by their extreme laughter):

'That's wrong!' cried Wolf.
'Have you forgot
To tell me what BIG TEETH I've got?
Ah well, no matter what you say,
I'm going to eat you anyway.'

The small girl smiles. One eyelid flickers.
She whips a pistol from her knickers.
She aims it at the creature's head,
And bang bang bang, she shoots him dead.

My daughter has been busy making her own versions since yesterday.

4. Socratic Discussion - Tolstoy's What Men Live By
We are reading this over two days and discussing as we go. This is a short story about a Russian peasant couple who take in and care for a young man, Michael, who has been found shivering and naked on the roadside. They have zilch themselves but give him some clothing and bread, and offer to teach him the trade of shoemaking - he will work in return for shelter and food. He becomes famous - an expert at this trade - and the peasant couple begin to be more well-off. But the couple still do not know his story, for he rarely speaks, laughs or smiles. One day a rich man knocks on the door ... and that is where we left off today. We spoke about doing acts of kindness and everyone agreed the peasant couple did the right thing to take Michael in. However, what is their reward? Is there ALWAYS a reward for the kind things one does? Some said eventually you'd get your reward in heaven. I maintain that their IS a reward, right at the time of doing the act of kindness, but I'm letting them think on that one till next week and we'll discuss it further.

5. Art Picture Study - Emily Carr's Totem Walk, Sitka

Isn't it magnificent? I have this print, framed, from an Emily Carr exhibit I attended in Victoria, BC. Most of the kids were not familiar with this Canadian painter and poet, and we talked a little about Totem Poles and their place in Canadian history. I'm toying with the idea of doing some Emily Carr style art for our art day next week ... 

6. Composer - Debussy's "Goliwog's Cakewalk."
Debussy wrote 6 little themes and put them together to form The Children's Corner. Altogether they are supposed to be reminicent of childhood and the Cakewalk certainly has that flavour. Debussy was a French composer who entered the Paris Conservatory at age 10. Debussy was a contemporary of the Impressionist painters, and took that concept and applied it to music! You can listen to the music and learn more about Debussy here.

7. Living Science - Reverse Mechanism Pulleys

Have you ever searched for a pen and couldn't find one? If so, you are in desperate need of a reverse mechanism pulley system to keep your pen close-by. Like the one my son has in his room, handy to his calendar which is taped on his bedroom door. Pull it down when you need a pen, let go and it springs back up. This is what we constructed in our living science today.

This was another e-science project and is simple and easy to do. Except that we didn't use fishing line, we used a good strong kite string that I think was just too thin because it twisted up.  You don't want to use a thick string because it increases the friction, but the kite string is maybe a bit too flimsy. I guess that is the concept with science is that you aren't always going to get it right on the first try. You have to look at different variables - like the string thickness, the weight of the wingnuts, the weight of the pen. Regardless though, the kids have great plans for these pulley systems. You can attach pulleys to tree houses and haul baskets of treasures up. We are going to be working with pulleys this block in living science, so more fun to come!  

We had a few minutes left at the end of our morning so back to our Tolstoy story.  The kids like to do a little sketching while I read, it keeps their hands busy and their attention focused. 

Have a great week!

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