Friday, March 27, 2015

Africa, Africa, Can We Live There?

Part 1 Week 13, March 23, 2015

We are certainly in an Africa mode these days.  Last weekend I found these videos that have some great footage of Kenya: Africa Into the Wild and Children of Africa. D really liked the shots of the animals.

This week D and I explored some of the Africa Cultural cards. We talked about how things in the photos were a little different than what we usually see here. We don't usually carry olives on our heads in great big baskets. We don't shop at open air markets where the produce is arranged on the ground. We don't see elephants out our backdoor, although D did ask, "can we live there" at the foot of Mount Kilimanjaro. I said, "maybe," but that he'd have to watch out for a lot of other wild animals. 

I have a hunch that in a couple of decades, D is going to be an aid worker living in Africa. I also think that I'll have this feeling only until we move on to another continent.

The other north African coins I had ordered came in the mail this week. Now we have coins from Libya, Somalia, the Sudan and Ethiopia in addition to the coins we have from Morocco, Egypt and Kenya.


T saw the coins from Kenya for the first time on Monday, and he immediately got out our Mama Panya's Pancakes book because it talks about money. He thought that the coins we had in our collection were definitely the coins pictured in the book. 
D and I also read this book. I mentioned this first book here when I was writing about land and waterforms but now I need to make a correction. Originally I had said that this book was about Lake Victoria, but it is actually about Lake Tanganyika which is the second largest fresh water lake in the world, if you measure by volume. D and I really liked this story. The illustrations are just beautiful, and you do get a sense of what life is like in that part of the world. It is also a very good land and waterform story "fit" telling about what life can be like near a lake.

We worked on putting new flags on our flag poles this week. We put up the flags for: The Democratic Republic of Congo, Egypt, Kenya, Morocco, Tanzania, and the Sudan. D asked if he could live in each country. 
These small carved wooden animals, made in Kenya, arrived in a banana fiber box.  After receiving these, I tucked away our other plastic animals for Africa. 
D thought that they looked a lot like the animals in the book Bringing the Rain to Kapiti Plain by Verna Aardema


And finally, our thumb piano came in the mail. When she saw it, S immediately smiled and said that it was like Rafiki Kaya's thumb piano in our book, Mama Panya's Pancakes. (You are probably tired of reading about that book here!) Then she proceeded to play it out in our backyard for the next two hours. Our neighbors must be wondering what we are up to. 

That thumb piano has also accompanied us on many a shopping outing and somehow always gets put back in our bolga basket in the classroom afterward safe and sound. (T, S and D generally have a hard time putting things away. Except in the classroom.) 

I talk more about our Africa Cultural Studies here and everything that started it here and here. 
More logical analysis. The last post I can find on this topic was here, in November! My albums suggest that the child write, or find their own sentences. Well, T doesn't feel like doing this. He feels more like analyzing other people's writing. So, for him, I printed out a large number of sentences on colored paper and cut them into strips. He has been happily snipping away ever since.

 S is still going with her Daily World Problems.

And I think that S is just about done with this iteration of the division stamp game. Not is is on to two and three digit divisors and then divisors with zeros in them. 
T started on the next bells lesson, writing music. I started "writing" a song on the green staff boards and he saw my first five notes and without touching the bells, asked me if was writing "Mary Had a Little Lamb." REALLY? I told him since he already understood the lesson without me presenting the lesson, that he could just take over. Which he did, and then he wrote down "We Wish You a Merry Christmas" on the green staff boards.

D and S did sound objects the other day: initial sounds only (f-f-feather.) She commented that he really knows his sounds.

I think we are getting to the cusp sooner than I had thought where D is ready for sandpaper letters. The other day, D came up to me and asked me to show him how to write "Tokyo Mater" (from Disney Cars.) I think we'll be presenting sandpaper letters very soon.

This is some of the Work of Air, Currents demonstrations. This demonstration calls for a shallow dish of water and fine saw-dust. We emptied out our pencil sharpeners and used these wood-shavings.

We could see here that the "wind" will push the dust particles in a single direction.
We could see here, that the wind blows the dust particles in two directions when there is a rock pile interrupting the flow of everything. When the currents are interrupted by land forms (in our case a pile of rocks) the currents tend to circulate in two different directions.
Here we saw that by heating this beaker of water, the dust particles at the bottom of the beaker will move upward with the current of warm water.
This is our chart from the KotU albums that shows the names of some of the different ocean currents around the world.
D did a little bit of Europe with T. Getting Europe back into the puzzle was pretty easy for T, but not for D. Next time we'll work on taking out only the pieces we know and a couple more we want to learn. This way we aren't inundated with a whole continent of pieces we have no idea how to put back.

The KotU albums reading list suggests the Sir Cumference book series. These are pretty neat books, but they are kind of tricky to get since they are out of print. (If you are looking for used books, because they are cheaper than new books, or otherwise, go to Abe Books, or Thrift Books.com. I think that both of these sellers also sell through Amazon as well. Even with paying the occasional shipping cost on these sites, the total cost of the book is many times less than the $0.01 book cost plus $3.99 SH on Amazon.) 

Anyway, we have collected almost the entire set, and T is asking me everyday to find the last two books. These books are about a knight named Sir Cumference and his adventures. The stories are pretty neat and they all are about geometry. T really, really enjoys this series and is now stretching ahead of us in terms of his geometry knowledge and he is even asking to learn more. Horray!!

Speaking of geometry, we examined our Geometric Cabinet triangle drawer by angle the other day. I talk about the prerequisite angles lesson here.
Then they did a little bit of geometry collage and labeled their angles either, acute, obtuse, or right.
This was T's little sign saying that he was "done" with Factors table C. (You can see more of this work here.)
D got into some of our new Montessori materials. I think I am just about finished collecting all of the official wooden, metal and bead materials. I told my husband to not get too excited about the fact that I had exhausted all the catalogs because there are still many materials to make and so many more items/specimens/books to collect!!! D has the algebreic trinomial cube...or at least that is what the materials companies call this work.

Primary doesn't usually get their hands on this work. The color patterns are different than in the sensorial trinomial cube, but D did get the new color pattern after a bit and was able to determine by size, which cube and prism went where.
D actually did this work before the algebric cube. Here he is creating each layer separately. (He decided he wanted to stack them after making them.) He starts with the diagonal squares and then fills in with the prisms.



We also tried a little more color box three. (I thought that I had posted about D doing this lesson before, but evidently I didn't. You can see what this work might look like at the Elementary level here.)
At first I thought that I needed to re-present this lesson to D, but now that I am looking at this shot, I think he's mostly got it. We just need a bit more systematic organization. I don't know if you can tell from this shot but he has graded a good number of the sets correctly. It is just that some of them extend from darkest to lightest and then others extend lightest to darkest. After this D made a huge long train track.
D also did a bunch of biological classification with me. I made these booklets from the descriptions and text from the KotW language album. Then I made the card sets separately. I have a number of other digital cards sets from other places, but felt that making a collection that fits D's personality and interests was the best way to go.
We worked on classifying items as "living" or "non-living," and "plant" or "animal." He has done these activities before and knows this stuff pretty well.
The cards I collected for the Story of the Five Classes of Vertebrates is from the Learning Resources Classifying Cards Bundle. I wrote more about this set of cards here. These biological classification stories are part of the KotW language album vocabulary section.

A couple of things we did that I didn't capture on digital film were: ant studies and grammar command cards. Perhaps I'll get a shot of these activities next time. 

I can feel that we are coming up on a spring break here. Things are getting looser, momentum is slowing. Everything is a cycle, so I am sure before I can write down on my shopping list, river rocks that we will be up and going again. Hope you are having a good one where ever you are. I need to go help the kids fill our planters out back.

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