Welcome Back! I hope that you all had a wonderful break. We’re back in action in our Classical Conversations community this week, and although I feel a little like I’m swimming through jello trying to get myself and my family back into the routine of things, we ARE slowly getting our cylinders all fired up and in sync!
Usually, for this week’s Math, I use a Gallon Man or Gallon Bot to reinforce the idea of liquid equivalents. There is a nice Gallon Man that someone has posted on CC Connected (C3) and there is a Gallon Bot available at Super Teacher Worksheets.
What I’ve noticed about myself, however, is that it actually helps me more to SEE the liquid equivalents in action. I understand it much better when I think about it as I’m working around the kitchen. So, this time I decided to actually do a demonstration. In class, we took a gallon of water and broke it down backwards. Because of the time constraints, we were only able to do it once (I took an extra gallon pitcher to house excess water), but then were still able to use the empty containers to go over the grammar multiple times in class.
At home, we’re continuing to use the same containers as we review the memory work. My children just pretend to pour the liquid the appropriate number of times. They’ve been able to remember the grammar, as well as think about the math a little more (if there are 2 cups in a pint and 2 pints in a quart, how many cups are in a quart? etc.). I think it’s been very helpful! Seeing the relative size of the containers has made the abstract concept much more concrete in their minds.
I may have mentioned this before, but I like to do impromptu presentations a couple of times each year. This year, I did more planning than usual and arranged things so that we did impromptu presentations the week after coming back from each of our breaks in the Fall and Winter. I realize that sometimes the kids have GREAT things to report on from their breaks, and I would never mind a bit if someone preferred to do a prepared presentation those days, but as a parent, trying to get presentations ready those weeks always causes me a ridiculous amount of stress! It’s just like I’m not ready to start getting snacks packed, lunches packed, backpacks packed, and all the other things that go with preparing for CC Community day, and trying to get the presentations rounded up and ready on top of that is just too much for me that first week back! It always spoils my break a little. All the rest of you are probably much more pulled together than me and don’t mind it a bit, BUT I think it’s the PERFECT time to just do impromptu presentations!
In the Fall, I brought in a box of random objects. This children each drew an object out of the box and did a presentation on it. Some of them were VERY creative! Kids are so awesome! Some examples of things I put in the box were:
- Plain paper
- Paper plates
- Egg carton
- Plastic cups
- Cotton balls
- Popsicle Sticks
- Dried pasta
- Small pieces of PVC pipe (they were actually part of a marshmallow shooter)
- Paper clips
- Paint stirrers
I tried to come up with things for which I could think of at least two uses quickly and things that I thought the kids would generally be familiar with. I did this last year during second semester with abecedarians and was absolutely AMAZED at how well they did! My whole crew of 4 and 5 year olds walked up to the box, picked something out without debate or distress, walked straight to the front of the class and just talked. It just reminded me again about what a wonderful blessing CC and this presentation time each week is!
This week, we used some speech prompts. The kids drew a slip of paper from a bag (I allowed them to draw 2 and choose between them) and then made their presentation. Again, I was so impressed with how well they all did! If you’d like to download the Speech Prompts we used, you’ll find them here ( Impromptu-Topics.pdf (639 downloads) ) or on the Printables page.
Here’s a pretty decent video with information about Prince Henry the Navigator. I can tell you from personal experience that it’s difficult to read some of the text aloud quickly enough. On the upside, my effort to do so totally cracked my kiddos up and they cheered for me on the shorter slides where I was able to actually read the content to them completely before they changed. You know . . . it’s good to stay humble.
There are also some good videos and linked on the Age of Exploration and Prince Henry at this website:
One of the copies of the Gutenberg Bible is on display in the Library of Congress. We were able to see it when we went to DC last spring. It really is an amazing thing to behold! Especially since it’s displayed across from the Giant Bible of Mainz, which looks very similar and was handwritten in the same town of Mainz, Germany around the same time that Gutenberg was printing his Bibles. It took over a year for the handwritten Mainz Bible to be completed. Our tour guide told us 150 copies of Gutenberg’s Bible were probably completed in about the same time period. Fascinating! It’s definitely a must see (in my book) on your next trip to Washington DC. The Library of Congress, as a whole, was my favorite part of our last trip there!
This book on Gutenberg is great, but it looks like only used copies are available via Amazon (check your local library!).
I have 2 books to recommend this week relating to our history grammar. The first, in particular, is great! It contains a section on Gutenberg (this week’s timeline) as well as one on James Watt. It’s written comic book style, and the histories are brief, but well done and interesting.
I thought this video was an interesting overview of the Industrial Revolution. My 5 and 7 year old were not as enamored. To quote my very tactful 7 year-old: “He blabbed on too much.” It is a little longer, and moves a bit quickly for younger children. Probably best for middle school and up.
I found several videos this week. This first one is the very best one that I found for discussing all 4 states of matter. At 2:50, there is a vague reference to the Big Bang (a large amount of energy converts to matter). Near the end, there is a tie in to the definition of inertia, which will be coming up in our Science grammar.
Cute video excerpt from the Zula Patrol cartoon. Does a nice (quick) overview of 3 of the states of matter. Great for preschoolers and early elementary age children:
This is an excellent video on 3 of the states of matter, filmed in a glass studio. Excellent for early elementary and up. There is some non-narrated text that will need to be read aloud for non-readers (or slower readers):
Since the two videos above only discuss solids, liquids, and gases, we need to give plasma some attention! This video offers a good overview of what plasma is and where it can be found:
I’ve created some artist bios with examples of their artwork and have uploaded them to C3. Link is here for those of you with access to C3.
I adore the”Getting to Know” series written by Mike Venezia. There are books on SO many artists and other famous historical figures and they are written in an extremely approachable way. There are also videos on many, but not all, of the individuals. Rembrandt is one for whom there is a book and a video and I would HIGHLY recommend them both. The book is very reasonably priced on Amazon. The videos are cost prohibitive (I can only assume that they expect well-funded school and library systems to shell out big bucks), so if you’re able to find it at your local library snag it! They are SO good!
Here are two websites with good links to Rembrand bios and artwork:
A very brief video studying one of Rembrandt’s self portraits. This is a particularly good video choice if your community chose to sketch self-portraits for art for this week. Good for all ages:
My ABSOLUTE FAVORITE thing to recommend this week is this video. I love a good flash mob video! This is a flash mob sponsored by the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam to publicize a Rembrandt exhibition that included his most famous work – The Night Watch. It really is very cool! Be sure and pause it after the frame falls down and see if your children can see the characters from the original painting. It’s a fun way to really take some time to examine the artwork.